So today I want to talk about periods and feminine things that might seem uncomfortable to talk about but are actually infinitely important for us to talk about. Right here. Right now.
And this here is a churro waffle salted caramel ice cream sandwich because....Monday.
Today I want to chat about why the absence of menstruation, or hypothalamic amenorrhea, isn't okay. I've seen articles floating around the webosphere suggesting that not getting your period is actually a good thing. Wahhhhttt? After screaming into my pillow and wondering how on earth people can be so ignorant, I decided to handle this how I handle most situations that fluster me into cranial chaos---by writing about it.
Now it's important to note that not getting your period can be the result of many different conditions. See a doctor to eliminate possibilities like PCOS, ovarian failure, hyperprolactinemia, or genetic abnormalities. While genetics and stress can play a huge role in your cycle, nearly all of the women I see don't get their periods because they're a) not eating enough or b) working out too much.
When we under-fuel our bodies and/or over-exercise, menstruation takes a back seat. Your body doesn't really care about your reproductive system, your body temperature, your hair, skin, or nails when it barely has enough energy (ahem, calories) to maintain vital functions like keeping your heart beating and brain buzzing.
Just like literally everything medically speaking, we are all very unique. While your best friend may be able to menstruate on a 1,200 calorie diet or a gym routine of running twelve miles a day, you may not. Increases in stress-related hormones like cortisol, which is released during exercise, can lead to amenorrhea. That means that over-exerting yourself at the gym is a surefire way to lose your cycle. Again, your body is smart and it's going to conserve its precious energy for what really matters, and that's keeping you alive. Burning away half the calories you eat puts your bod in a pretty tough spot. Just like you can't expect your car to drive across the country on a quarter tank, you can't expect your body to exert more energy than what you're giving it. Every single thing that happens in our bodies, from blinking to sleeping to riding a bike, requires calories. And lots of 'em!
My personal period saga begins in seventh grade. Come high school, the terrible cramps, super long and heavy cycles, back pain, and near fatal mood swings drove me to get on birth control like the rest of the universe (or so it seemed). I got my period every 28 days like clockwork and my cycle only lasted about four days rather than seven. Birth control had me in period HEAVEN. Those were the days when my friends and I thought it was normal (maybe because our doctors told us it was fine?) to purposely skip our periods and to take the Plan B pill whenever we forgot to take birth control. We treated our bodies like they were automatic machines.
Fast forward a while to grad school. My best friend went off the pill and then I did, too. I don't have anything against the pill and realize it's the preferred method of contraception for tons of women (including myself for many years); but I decided I didn't want to be taking a hormone every day. It took a while for my period to come back and I didn't think much of it. My body needed time to adjust, right? It wasn't until later that I learned that post-pill amenorrhea actually isn't an evidence supported conclusion at all. I studied up on menstruation, read No Period, and learned that bleeding every month on the pill doesn't mean you're actually getting your period. Yes, your birth control may very well be masking the lack of a real cycle.
I didn't get a period for more than six months after stopping birth control and my doctor told me it was fine. She didn't ask me if I was stressed, if I was eating enough, or if I was exercising too much. She didn't ask if I was a perfectionist, if I may have issues with food or body image. Did you know research shows that women who don't get their period have "higher levels of perfectionism" than those that get their period regularly? The only question she asked me was if I wanted a prescription for some pill that would induce a period.
Looking back, I probably should've looked a helluva lot closer to my body. Was I eating enough? Was I sleeping enough? Was I managing my stress properly? I didn't think twice about taking that pill back then. I was the typical consumer who wanted to walk out with meds that would magically solve my problem. Lifestyle intervention? As if!
I took that pill and I did eventually get my period back. The weirdly amazing thing was that my miserable PMS symptoms never came back, nor did the terribly lengthy cycles from pre-birth control days. Our bodies change. Pre-birth control menstruation doesn't always equate to post-birth control menstruation. And hallelujah for that!
Luckily I haven't had any issues since. But if I were to not get my period again, I surely would not turn to medication. I would turn to myself, to my body, and how I'm caring for it. Sometimes caring for it means a giant green smoothie and sometimes it means feeding my soul a warm donut.
Fast forward a bit to me discovering LOLA, a female-founded company that delivers the cutest box of organic cotton tampons right to your doorstep. I found them because I really, really like mail. Mail makes me happy. I also liked the idea of turning my period into something fun and exciting. Getting pretty wrapped tampons in the mail is totally fun and exciting. I wanted to not loathe but actually celebrate my period. That goes for my clients, too! My period makes me feel strong and sexy and womanly like I can do anything. I mean I could birth a freaking human if I wanted to!
Being super into food and what's in food, I started to explore what's in tampons. It made me feel warm and fuzzy that LOLA was transparent about the ingredients in their tampons, pads, and liners. No rayon or polyester or mystery fibers---just 100% organic cotton with no added chemicals, fragrances, synthetics, or dyes. With their customizable subscriptions, you can leave those frantic drug store trips behind you!
How much does this subscription cost, you ask? Applicator tampons (made with BPA-free plastic) are $10 per box and non-applicator tampons, pads, and liners are each $9 per box. For subscriptions with more than one box, LOLA offers $1 off each box in your subscription, so two-box subscribers save $2 and three-box subscribers save $3. They offer free shipping and you can cancel your subscription at any time. I appreciated the fact that you can pick from light, regular, super, and super+ so you're not left with a box full of the size you don't need. We've all been there. LOLA delivers exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.
And now for the loveliest news...
Get your first box of LOLA 60% off by entering the code Hummusapien at checkout!!
So here's the thing. Not having a period isn't just abnormal. It can have serious long term side effects. If you aren't getting your period, your estrogen and other reproductive hormones are low. So besides dull skin, a super low sex drive, and the inability to conceive in the short term, amenorrhea can lead to brittle bones, fractures, cardiovascular disease, early cognitive decline, and dementia in the long term. Losing your memory from lack of menstruation? You bet.
I had a client once that used to do bodybuilding. She told me that her teammates would brag about who hadn't had their period for the longest. The sad reality is that there is indeed a body of women who pride themselves on this because it means they're restricting in some way. That they're in complete control. You are so much more than that.
There's really no answer to how long it will take to regain a period, but if you don't have a condition like PCOS or another genetic factor, the chances of getting it back with proper nutrition support and exercise education is extremely high. It could be two months and it could be two years. What I will say is that regaining your cycle likely means stopping all intense exercise, finding meaningful ways to cope with stress, and eating not just more, but a variety of foods. Changing your thoughts surrounding food and exercise and body image is not unlike changing your religion (this podcast on the religion of dieting is gold). It's not easy. If you're in this boat, I highly recommend reading the book No Period and seeking nutrition counseling from an intuitive eating dietitian in your area. The tools for success are inside you but sometimes it takes a little outside boost to let them truly shine.
Not getting your period is not cool. Period!
This post is sponsored by LOLA. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Hummusapien possible!
Nancy Westberg says
I’ve been on more a for about a year and a half I’ve stopped having “periods” I still get moody and little cramps. But for the last week or so my breast have been super sore. Touch or just normal bounce during walking. I’ve been crampy along with the sore breast but not the same cramps as I usually get. Any ideas?
Hi Nancy! I'm sorry but without knowing your personal medical history I can't be much help!
Thank you for this insightful, open post. I actually just went to the doctor today for period-related issues. I'm a teenager and got my first period about a year ago. I only got it again five months later and I haven't gotten it since. My MD dismissed my lack of period
I'm 5'7 and 107 pounds, which I realize is pretty thin but this is just my body's natural size.
I exercise about five times a week and eat pretty healthily (including things like pasta and milkshakes but in moderation).
But I just got back from a three week vacation where I didn't work out at all and ate ALL the delicious foods hahahah and didn't get period, so it can't be that anyways.
Any thoughs? Thanks so much!
Hey Kendall! Thanks so much for sharing your story. There’s a lot of factors that influence menstruation and I’d have to know your full medical history/have you as a client to legally give you medical advice. That said, it’ll likely take more than a few weeks of normalizing eating patterns to regain a period. It could take anywhere from 6 months to a year, varying person to person. My best advice without knowing your history would be to continue to eat a variety of foods including enough fat and carbohydrate and ease up on your exercise (or focus solely on walking/yoga versus vigorous exercise) so your body has enough energy to menstruate. If you’d like to talk further feel free to email me at email@example.com. Hope that helps. Thanks!
Not getting your periods suck because then you might think you are pregnant!
Average Mom says
Such an interesting topic! My daughter lost 20 pounds and started exercising like crazy when she was in ninth grade. We are a very fit and healthy family so of course we praised her for this svelte new look and for working so hard on her body. She stopped menstruating so I made her an appointment with the ob/gyn. I wanted her to have an open conversation with the doctor without me hovering, so I stayed in the waiting room. The doc said it was normal and suggested the pill. I thought that was a fine solution (after I was assured there wasn't any deeper issues going on like bulimia , etc.). She went on to college and suffered a bad boyfriend who made her insecure, leading to binge drinking and eating and eventually 40 extra pounds. This time, we tried a highly recommended therapist. The lack of a period way back in high school was a huge red flag we missed, marking the beginning of a very unhealthy relationship with food, because we, like so many other well-meaning parents, place a high value on appearance and social life and academics. We've had to take a long, hard look in the mirror at ourselves and make some changes. I'm certainly guilty of calling myself fat when I look in a mirror (size 4), and my husband and I both make crack comments about people we don't know when we think no one is listening (like "wow, what a whale!") She's thriving now post-college and we've all grown from her struggles. We're closer than ever and make sure to praise what's right about ourselves, rather than criticize what's wrong.
I have always been irregular and was told I was too thin (not!), exercises too much, too little, had PCOS then started with Mirena and my period was totally absent for over a year. Since I was traveling in places that were really off the beaten path, I was lucky I didn't have to deal with it. But now that I am back home in the U.S. I worked on getting it back again through working with my naturopath through self-care, some hormone balancing, and after removing the IUD I am on a 28 day cycle for the first time ever for the 3rd month in a row and I am so excited that I am regular. Hate the pain, but I'll take it knowing my body is in working order!
Hi, Alexis!! I just wanted to thank you for continuing to bring awareness to this topic. I , like so many other women, went through a period where I was working out too much and eating too little, and my body compensated for that by keeping me from having a period. When I went to the doctor about it, she just put me on birth control like it was normal which makes me super sad looking back. About a year later, I wanted to come off the pill, and so I just did one day. I then realized that I still didn't have a period. By reading blogs (mainly Robyn's blog), and some other information on the internet, I self diagnosed myself and did what it took to gain back my period. It took a while and it wasn't easy, but I realized that I had to quit doing intense exercise and I ate a lot more, and what do you know it eventually came back.
My story is not a lot different than many other women's, but I just wanted to comment to thank you for writing this and to encourage anyone who is going through HA right now to do what you need to do. I knew I wanted to be healthy and be able to have children one day, and that was a HUGE motivator. Thanks again, Alexis!!
Hey Courtney! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. It can be really really tough to deal with all this and feel so isolated. But good for you for self-diagnosing and taking on the challenge to gain weight and ease up the exercise. That's no easy feat, especially when you don't have someone coaching you through it. Kudos to you!
Wonderful, insightful article. Good to know that so many others are in the same boat! I was on the pill for over 10 years, and when we finally decided we were ready to try to have a baby, I was frustrated to learn that it would take me almost a year for my period to return and my cycle to regulate after going off the pill. When it finally did return, I was so happy (which was a weird feeling, ha!) and celebrated each period that I got - even if it meant I wasn't pregnant yet - because it meant that my body was finally functioning the way nature intended it. I felt so much better of the pill - even though I suffered from some hair loss during that year-long post-pill adjustment period (just like post-partum hair loss! It's a real thing!), my libido returned and I just felt better.
While my amenorrhea wasn't due to diet or exercise, I learned a great deal about the beautiful, delicate yet powerful hormonal balance our amazing female bodies were designed with. I also found that the herbal supplement Vitex seemed to help restore that balance.
My story also has a happy ending - after three "normal" cycles, I did end up pregnant and baby recently arrived 🙂 Now I'm looking into low- or no hormonal birth control options, since I'd like for my body to continue thriving as naturally as possible.
Thanks again for the article, and for opening up the dialogue for so many other ladies!
Allison Paulson says
I hadn't had my period in almost two years after doing birth control, but I never realized the direct correlation! I was so concerned (but simultaneously relieved) about my lack of menstrual cycle, but didn't bother to research further. Thank you so much for sharing! This insight is so helpful.
Alexis Cole says
Thank you for posting this, Alexis! This is something that I've struggled with off and on for the last 6 years, and as much as I LOVE not having to buy tampons every month (because who doesn't hate spending money on something totally out of their biological control??), not having a period really DOES suck! I've dealt with stress fractures and shin splints, as well as unpredictable mood swings and anxiety about the possibility of infertility. It's so hard trying to balance eating healthfully and exercising while letting our body have what they need in order to fully allow for growth and normal functioning! The struggle still continues, but I just wanted to thank you for this perfectly-timed article. It was exactly what I needed this week!
I find the loss of a period so interesting because SO MANY people just don't think there's a problem with it. I lost mine for almost a year the first time, and probably about 6 months the second time, due to under eating and over exercising, along with the additional stress and anxiety i faced. Not one doctor could "figure it out" because all they did was focus on the fact that my weight was healthy. They weren't concerned, while I was.
Thank you for writing this post because the topic is something that women need to understand is a fairly common issue that means something isn't working correctly.
I really do appreciate this post. It can be a challenging and lonely path to travel when trying to walk through this subject matter. I am in the middle of working through gaining my period and looking into fertility and hormone issues. It is scary, and knowing what to do is difficult, because there is so much information out there. Thank you for addressing a quiet and controversial topic. Those experiencing this need community and encouragement!
Hey Laura! You're so right. There's so many people struggling here but we're not talking about it. I'm glad there's a conversation starting!
Hi Alexis, a couple of the women in my hypothalamic amenorrhea recovery facebook groups have mentioned your posts including my book to me recently - I wanted to thank you for sharing 🙂 And for writing an excellent post on the topic! Would it be okay if I shared the link to that group in case any of your readers might find it helpful? And I'm going to share this article around too!
Nico! The ultimate compliment 🙂 I would be so flattered if you shared my post with your readers. I learned SO much from your book. I'm so thankful I stumbled upon it!! Share away and thanks for all you do for this community!
Hey again, Nico! I wanted to ask you if there's any other books on reproductive health you'd recommend. I'm super interested in women's health these days and would love to read as much as I can. Thanks!
I'm so glad you're discussing this topic!! I highly recommend reading the book, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". It's amazing. I'm sad to say that as a 30 year old I didn't completely realize how my own body worked until I read that and started listening to the cues my body was giving me.
Thank you as always, Alexis, for a wise and insightful post. Having dealt with amenorrhea myself as well as the "so what" attitude from all my doctors, it makes me so happy to see that this is being discussed more and more in the wellness sphere. Periods are amazing. They are not something to hide, or be ashamed of, or wish away. You are so right about how many things our cycles affect, and it's so sad that modern medicine refuses to acknowledge this and that many women don't grasp just how special and magical periods are. Will share this post everywhere <3
Periods are kind of like unicorns, eh? 😉 Thanks for sharing lady!
Coleen Tobin says
Thanks so much for posting this! I recently went through the exact same issue with going off the pill and having to take another pill to kick start my period again. I never thought about the amount of calories or the stress being a contributing factor of starting back my period. It's been 3 months and I haven't had a "real" period yet.... just a small amount of bleeding around the same time every month. Do you think my eating habits and stress levels are keeping my cycle from getting back to normal?
Thanks so much for all you do and your posts are always a pleasure to read!! I'm a big fan 🙂
There's pretty much no education on this topic unless you seek it out. While MD's are awesome, they take zero nutrition classes and aren't always the end all be all for these kinds of things. Yes, not eating enough and over-exercising would likely be the reason you can't gain your cycle unless you're super stressed or have PCOS. Do you follow Kylie of ImmaEatThat or Robyn of The Real Life RD? They're rockstars with this stuff, too. Hope this helps!!
oh I so wish I had seen this post years ago when I lost my period suddenly due to stress and lack of food but blogs didn't even exist back then. I couldn't get anyone to listen to me that something was wrong and no one gave me the proper medical care or attention. As I result I have the long term complications such as osteoporosis and poor cognitive function. So I just want people to know that yes this is serious and not getting your period needs to be paid attention to and addressed. It is too late for me but I don't want others to suffer the same consequences I have.
Wow, thanks so much for your insight here Jacquie. What a shame but at least now you're educated and can move forward! XO
Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine says
You know, I've never thought I had an issue with my period (on the contrary, I had heavy periods and horrible cramps/dizziness for years at my cycle), but there were several years where my cycle was irregular and now I'm curious if it was due to my poor duet and stress.
Thanks for sharing this post - women need to be knowledgeable and feel empowered when it comes to their reproductive health!
Of course! I'm so glad it's made so many women think about why they're not getting their cycle.
Another great book is Women Code.
Thank you so so much for sharing! Means so much.
Awesome! I've heard great things about that one, too.
Every recent blog post you have written has hit home with me in so many ways. You are awesome!! I recently decided that after 7 years of taking the pill everyday I decided to go off of it because I felt like I didn't need know my own body without the fake hormones (although my doctors didn't necessarily understand or agree). I completely stopped getting my period, my sex drive was insanely low , and my anxiety felt unmanageable. I still wanted to use a reliable form of birth control, so I went with the Kyleena IUD (it is still hormone based, but much lower than the pill). I've been on it for about 3 months and it's made a huge difference with my hormones, although I still have yet to recieve my period.
I'd love to know your thoughts on birth control. I would love to be off of anything with added hormones, but this is so not the time in my life to get pregnant.!
See Nico's comment below about the Mirena IUD. Natural family planning is another option. This is probably TMI but what the hell...I've been using the "pull out" method for years and I'm fine. So did my sister. And we're both fertile. I know it's not technically the safest and I may not do it if I didn't have a long term boyfriend...I'd likely get a low-hormone IUD if I was single. Hope this helps!
Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run says
Great, personal post lady! Amen to *celebrating* our periods!! I've heard of Lola, but haven't tried it yet. That awesome discount is enticing.
Oh, and I too LOVE getting mail 🙂
Yay!! Thanks dear 🙂 We all need more mail in our lives!
Ahh this resonated with me so much. I lost a ton of weight and was struggling with exercise addiction and an eating disorder, the whole time I had my period because I was still on the pill. But I was literally 75 pounds and driving myself to the ground. Then after I gained weight back and recovered I went off the pill, and then my period stopped. After not having it for six months I freaked out, but every doctor I visited told me it would just take time and not to worry. It made me so mad..like OF COURSE I'M WORRIED. The only thing they ever told me was that they would give me a pill to induce it, which I didn't take.
Love this post!
Soooo interesting. There's so much we're not told about reproductive health!! I hope you're at a point now that you're getting your cycle. If you're not but you feel like you're eating enough, it's worth exploring if you're getting enough variety. Hope this helps!
Amber @ Bloom Nutrition Therapy says
The irregularity of my period was my first sign that I was putting my body under a lot of stress. I was running a ridiculous amount of miles every week while trying to fuel it on a 1200 calorie diet. At first, I didn't connect my period problems to my restriction or over activity. I sought the help of my doctor who, also, thought that the loss of my period was no big deal, and simply prescribed birth control. However, I experienced other problems such as fatigue, loss of hair and even depression. I stopped running completely for a total of 3 months and resumed eating normally - and what do you know? Period came back and has been nearly clockwork ever since. This is such an important topic and it doesn't get talked about nearly enough!
Awww this made me smile! I'm sure stopping running wasn't easy so good for you, girl! Thanks for sharing your personal story. I'm sure it's inspiring many other readers!
Great article! Over the years I've been on and off bc pills because of abnormal, 2 week long periods. Went off for a few years and am now in the "dreaded" menopause/post menopause stage. What I really wanted to comment on is I thought the box of Lola at the top of your article was really a box of chocolates! LOL
I adore you and how much you have spoken off late about intuitive eating. It truly speaks to my soul
And this post too is an important one
However, it did make me feel a touch uncomfortable about the piece of women not knowing if they are actually getting their periods being on the pill. Birth control is prescribed by ob/gyns and is a huge thing for female health. I understand that you weren't trying to stigmatize it but it may lead to women questioning their own use of it and their doctor's recommendations. Before I took the pill my periods were awful - I was constantly miserable because I didn't know when they would come and how long they would last. This has given me so much peace of mind and I've found a routine that works for my body. I know you say every body is different but know that you have a huge following and it may lead to people questioning if they should be 'taking a hormone every day'. When it may be important for their bodies
I apologize if this doesn't come across well but just something that struck me
Particularly because I see your blog as one of the least judgmental and most real ones I've ever come across
Love, love, love this post! I stopped taking birth control 7 months ago after having horrible side effects randomly. I was on it for 10 years, but at the end of 2016, I was having terrible insomnia, irritability, bleeding for 3 weeks of the month despite taking the pill, and even having heart palpitations at night. I knew it was because of the pill. I could tell my hormones were off, so I stopped taking it. I had one withdrawal period and nothing since then. I started researching the pill and realized how terrible it truly is. I had no idea that you the "period" you get every month while on it isn't truly a period at all. I told my gynecologist about my issues and asked if I could have tests done. He basically laughed in my face and said it's nearly impossible to determine if hormones are off. He finally ordered blood work and everything came back normal of course, but I know it's not. I don't think I was tested for everything I should have been. Around this time, I was feeling so worn down mentally and physically (I work out 6 to 7 days a week), and I've struggled with body image for years. Tracking everything I eat has become an obsession. I feel like I'm eating enough for the amount of exercise I do (1800 calories or so for 45 to 60 minutes of lifting, cardio, or HIIT workouts each day), but maybe I'm not. I have since cut back on the HIIT workouts and tried to do less strenuous exercises. I'm trying to work on the obsession with tracking food and trying to teach myself to eat intuitively again, and I'm trying to lower my stress levels in hopes of getting my period back. I find it inspirational when I read blogs such as this one though, so thank you!!
This is an important topic, and as women, we should pay attention to our bodies. If you feel better without hormonal contraception, that's great. But the pill is my preferred form of contraception, and sometimes I get uncomfortable with writing that make me feel like there's something "wrong" or "unnatural" with taking the pill, even though I'm happy and healthy on it. (I started on it relatively young to help me deal with debilitating periods, and I'm grateful I had the option because that was NOT a fun experience). I just hope that as we discuss these issues, we remember that every body is different!
TOTALLY. I really hope this post didn't come off as judgmental about the pill because that was far from my intention. I really appreciate your feedback on the issue! I added in a sentence about birth control being a preferred method of BC for tons of women--including myself for many years! You're exactly right. We're all SO different and it's important to respect those differences and not judge choices.
I just signed up for Lola!
I had horrible periods as a teenager ( I would throw up my cramps were so bad) so I went on birth control. I would like to stop now that I'm married and want to have kids at some point but I'm scared!
Why are you scared? I don't know if it's typical but my periods were SO much more manageable once I was off. Give it a try!
I think I will try it knowing now it's possible there might be a change! 🙂
I was scared the puking and rolling around on the floor in misery would come back haha!
Kit B says
Sherry, I don't see anywhere where she says it's "awkward" to purchase feminine products at the store? I think you're reading more into it than is there. She's just presenting an option, and it's not the focus of the piece, either.
Kit, I've since deleted that line because I didn't want to make anyone feel awkward about the subject even though for me, it IS definitely awkward sometimes--and that's ok! That's why we're opening up a conversation about it 🙂
Since when is it awkward to buy tampons or pads at the store? Really?? It is a shame you are willing to try and create an issue about purchasing something that women need on a regular basis just to promote the product you are being paid to push.
Hey, Sherry. Running my blog is fun and amazing but it's also a full time job (in addition to the other full time job I have). Yes, I get paid to partner with companies to help promote products I believe in. If I didn't have student loans to my ears in addition to all the other monthly bills we all have, maybe I wouldn't need sponsored posts. But I do. I can't pay my rent with free almonds. People don't find it strange that lawyers or teachers or doctors or electricians get paid for their services but for some reason it's frowned upon that bloggers make an income providing free content to the world several times a week. I'm sorry this upsets you. I'm not by any means creating an issue by confessing that it can be awkward to buy feminine care products at the store. I'm bringing an important issue to light in order to educate the public and yes, I tied in a LOLA, a really great company, so I can pay my bills like any other working person.
I'm on birth control because I am paranoid and don't trust a single birth control method (like condoms), even though I don't love taking a hormone every day. I know it's a little silly to be so anxious, but the idea of getting pregnant at my current stage in life absolutely terrifies me.
Are the issues with brittle bones etc still a problem if you're taking birth control and getting an induced period? Thanks so much for sharing this info!!
Hi Marlies, unfortunately there is more and more evidence mounting that birth control pills are not great for bone density. I recently saw a research article where they found a 2% increase in bone density in teenagers on the pill versus 12% in those not on the pill. (not sure what formulation though...) I'd encourage you to learn about natural family planning.. and perhaps consider the Mirena IUD which has such a low dose of hormones that you continue to cycle, but chance of pregnancy is vv low (lower than bcp).
Thanks for your insight here, Nico! I'm learning so much.
Ellen Lederman says
Great post and insights. Funny how women can purport to care about their health but then ignore or even subvert their menstrual health. I've always been amused/bewildered by women who overexercise and underfuel their bodies (and contrary to the saying that you can never be too rich or too thin, I believe you can definitely be too thin) and then have difficulty getting pregnant. They then see doctors who advise them to eat more/eat some fat and they do for the sake of getting pregnant....but it's not like a light bulb goes off where they wonder what they had been doing to their bodies for all that time that they weren't eating enough/getting enough calories/getting any fat, etc.
You can most DEF be too thin. It really is so interesting that there's such a huge lack of education on this topic!
Juliette | Namastay Traveling says
So glad you addressed this issue! I had a problem losing my period for over a year growing up and it was such a wake up call on how I needed to treat my body now! It really is a sure sign of the health going on inside of you that you might not totally notice if you're feeling okay on the outside. Thank you for sharing your story!
Of course! I'm so glad you learned something and can start your journey till getting your womanhood back 🙂 Wahoo!
It's funny how generations change - the "older" generation would never in a million years find it okay to talk about such subjects! I used to be like growing up, but now I find it helpful to talk about it because you a) learn SO much and b) find out you're not alone!!!
For the last 10 years I've been dealing with a bunch of autoimmune disorders along with digestive issues. Half way through the years of my struggles my periods stopped (one big reason was because of major weight loss in such a short period of time). I had one doctor pushing the pill, others said no way. Because I was never one to to just pop pills, I opted not to take the pill. Although it was great not getting my period for 5 years, I missed having what I called my monthly cleanse. Fast forward to the last couple months - working with my acupuncturist and putting weight back on - I've finally started it again!!
Awwww I'm so glad!! Our bodies are so smart and have ways of showing us we're under fueling--we just don't always know how to recognize the signs!
emily vardy says
I find the whole topic of amenorrhea super interesting. I developed an eating disorder at a young age, long before I ever started my period. After I "recovered" and gained some weight, I got my first period, and almost immediately went on birth control. Flash forward about ten years and a few relapses (I'm pretty stable now), and I'm still on the same birth control and getting my period like clockwork. I always wonder about if I'd still be getting my period now without the meds, but I'm too chicken to test it out. Weird/interesting/scary.
Hmmmm. If your health is really important to you, I'd see no reason why you shouldn't find it out. You wouldn't want to look back with osteoporosis at an old age regretting never seeing if you were under fueling yourself. A reader left a comment below explaining how that happened to her because no one explained it wasn't normal. Just a thought 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
I went through a period (ha) when I exercised and lost my period. It really worried me, but once I started lazing about again, it came back. Ha. Guess my body doesn't respond well to vigorous movement, as I'm quite small already and more weight loss would be unhealthy. I might try some gentler sports though, like yoga.
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
It's so interesting that your body can give you signs like that! Love that you're listening to it.