One of the questions I get asked the most by women is how can I get my period back? I get it, missing periods can be worrying. Even if you are not trying to get pregnant, irregular menstrual cycles are a sign that something is not quite right with your health. It’s always a good idea to visit your doctor first if your cycles have been missing for 3 months or more. They may carry out an ultra-sound scan or check the levels of hormones in your blood. This will allow them to see if there is any medical condition which could be causing your missing periods.
In many cases, missing periods (aka amenorrhea) is functional and a temporary state. Functional amenorrhea can be caused by:
- Under nutrition i.e. not eating enough or the right things
- Over exercise or not fueling your body adequately for your exercise level
- Losing a lot of weight quickly or being underweight for your body type
- Short or long term stress
- Being on or just coming off birth control
So how can I get my period back?
In this post I will share the basics of how to get your period back in a holistic way by looking at 3 elements: diet, exercise and stress management. In my experience, these basics are enough to support 90% of women with functional amenorrhea to get their periods back.
Nutrition plays a key role in your overall health and ability to produce the right amount of hormones. If you are trying to get your period back, it is so important to make sure you are eating enough energy and macro nutrients on a consistent basis. This means regular meals and snacks at least every 3-4 hours containing a balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein.
The exact amount of energy you need will depend on your height, weight, body type and your activity level. You may also need to eat more than you usually would in order to heal your body and to get your period back. Now is not the ideal time for low-fat, low-carb, keto or vegan diets. If you want to recover your missing periods as quickly as possible it is best to let go of all food rules and restrictions while you heal.
Eating a wide variety of foods will also help you to cover your vitamin and mineral requirements. These are important for correct hormone production but also help your cells to produce energy and for your body to grow healthy hair, skin and nails. Some of the common nutrient deficiencies I see in women with missing periods are copper, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and magnesium.
If you need support with nutrition to get your period back, I have created a Period Recovery e-book. This guide to getting your period back includes 27 recipes and a 7 day meal plan designed to meet your nutritional needs and support hormonal balance. I also offer personalised meal plans and eating recovery coaching via my 1-2-1 programs if you need more individual attention and support on your period recovery journey.
The second key element in the journey to getting your period back is to address your exercise. Are you working out too much or too hard? We are made to believe as women that we must be super lean and that we should be in the gym every day if we want to be healthy. Unfortunately, often this goes too far and women are exercising like crazy without providing their body with enough fuel to balance it out.
Many of the women who come to me with missing periods are doing lots of cardio, HIIT workouts or exercising in the morning before breakfast. What they don’t realise is that exercise is a stress on the body, especially when it is high intensity or long duration. If you are working out regularly, you need to take extra care to support recovery with adequate fuel and rest. Yes, moderate exercise has many benefits for our physical and mental health. But when taken too far it can create additional stress which can lead to missing periods.
Do I need to give up exercise to get my period back? Usually the answer is no but if you are exercising at a high level you will likely need to reduce the intensity and frequency of your workouts until your period returns. Walking, yoga, pilates, dance and leisurely biking are all great ways to move your body while you are healing your hormones. These lower intensity workouts combined with plenty of rest and relaxation are ideal to help you get your period back.
#3 Stress management
Finally, but no less important to getting your period back is stress management. Stress can be a tricky one to cover as often we feel like our stress levels are out of our control. It is true that sometimes external stressors are present which we cannot change. For example, illness in the family, moving house, the loss of a job or the end of a relationship. In these moments, all we can do is do our best and find ways to manage the stressful emotions we feel.
Yoga, meditation, journaling, art, music and time in nature are all great ways to reconnect with your spirit during stressful times. Incorporating stress management tools such as these as well as traditional tools such as therapy and counselling are just as important as your diet and exercise if you want to get your period back. They can help to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone which can cause disruption to your entire hormonal system if it is too high for too long.
As well as external stressors, you also have internal stressors which can effect your sense of wellbeing. This includes the way you speak to yourself and the story you tell yourself about the things that are happening in your life. An over active inner critic, a victim mentality and the tendency to over work, rush or pressure yourself are just a few examples of internal stressors which can contribute to high stress levels and missing periods.
In my 3 and 6 month Total Nourishment coaching programs, I provide you with tools such as restorative yoga, guided meditation and journaling activities to support you in reducing your stress and tackling some of the mental and emotional challenges that you may face on your period recovery journey.
How long will it take to get my period back?
I am adding this as it’s another question I get asked so often. Unfortunately it’s so hard to say! How long it will take to get your period back depends on many factors including your health history and how consistent you are with your recovery efforts. What I will say is that for clients who are ready to go “all in”, the typical recovery time is 3-6 months. Sometimes it can be faster than this, others need longer to heal. Back in 2017 when I was recovering my own period, it took 4 months to get my period back from the day that I finally discovered the right path to heal. I hope this offers you some encouragement if you are currently on or about the embark on this journey!
Over to you…
If you would like to work with me 1-2-1 to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We will create a plan tailored to your individual needs and vision for your health. I will then be there for support, guidance and accountability as you work towards your goals!
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