Today we talk menstrual cycles!
Whether your menstrual cycle is irregular, heavy, painful, or non-existent, that is a sign of imbalanced hormones.
Today I give you the reasons and how we can correct this without the need for hormone replacement therapy – a.k.a. the Pill.
↓ Plus check out a great testimonial at the bottom too 🙂
An irregular or absent period, or one with severe symptoms, is a sign that there is usually something else going on in the body besides just an estrogen imbalance.
Addressing the root cause of the menstrual dysfunction is preferable to immediately starting hormonal birth control as a quick fix, as the Pill will mask the imbalance, and can allow for that issue to grow in the background, which will eventually result in a more serious imbalance and new symptoms.
Of course, there are situations that call for the use of drugs or hormone replacement therapy, but many times the matter can be fixed with a functional medicine approach that explores the following factors, and addresses them with correct diet, nutritional therapy, lifestyle changes, and herbal medicine.
Statistics show that roughly 1/3 of all women have some level of menstrual dysfunction – making this a really big issue.
The good news is that many cases can be reversed!
Here are the top reasons for menstrual irregularities!
Diet and blood sugar control
For improved hormonal function, we need to aim to keep blood sugar as steady as possible. A “real food” diet made primarily from whole foods is ideal, with limited amounts of highly refined grains and sugars.
High-quality protein should be consumed at every meal, and plant foods like vegetables and fruit should make up the bulk of the volume of the diet. Healthy fats should be consumed at each meal. A higher fibre intake from plant foods will keep the bowel healthy, and the good bacteria in the microbiome well fed.
Low calorie diet and dieting can disrupt the delicate hormone balance, so if you struggle with weight loss, rather than yo-yo diet, it is best to look into the state of your hormones to see if your metabolism is being affected by this.
Maintain your healthy weight range
Extremes of BMI, either significantly underweight or overweight, are associated with amenorrhea and menstrual dysfunction.
Studies consistently show a higher prevalence of PCOS in women who are overweight and obese, which is likely related to the insulin resistance seen in many women who are significantly overweight.
If you are underweight, you need to work on gaining weight, primarily by eating more high quality food. If you have a loss of appetite, heart palpitations, brittle nails, and lose bowel motions, you may be hyperthyroid, and this needs to checked.
Most health professionals agree that the minimum level of “essential” body fat in women is about 12 percent, although a healthy range for most women is between 16 to 30 percent, with percentages in the low to mid-20s likely being ideal for fertility.
Exercise – but not too much
Your fitness activities should be enjoyable and low stress and you should feel good and positive after it.
General exercise guidelines for women with PCOS are 30 to 60 minutes of any type of activity per day.
Research suggests that some women develop abnormal menstrual cycles from the changes in androgenic hormones (i.e., testosterone) that come from high levels of exercise, regardless of their calorie intake. Eating a carbohydrate and protein-dense meal or snack post-workout may help prevent rises in post-workout testosterone.
Women under chronic stress are at higher risk for menstrual abnormalities and infertility. It is important to not compare your ability to handle stress to someone else, as everyone’s stress response is different. If you feel exhausted, deflated, anxious, or nervous from a situation or activity, this is you being stressed.
If your stress threshold is low, you need to actively practice stress management practices to balance your hormones. Mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation are great, with plenty of choices through classes, websites or apps to help you on your way.
Research shows that the gut microbiome has a major impact on hormonal balance. Not only is the gut a reservoir for hormones like T3, the bacteria we have in our gut also play a role in making hormones, neurotransmitters and nutrients that keep us healthy!
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha provide good bacteria that can help boost the diversity of your gut flora. Eating a vegetable rich diet also feeds your gut bacteria to keep it strong and healthy.
Disrupted sleep affects our hormones by disrupting the circadian rhythm. The primary hormone responsible for the circadian rhythm-related menstrual disturbances is melatonin, and under production will affect sleep onset and quality.
Sleep hygiene can also disrupt this cycle – so check our blogs for more about sleep.
Hormones need sensitive testing
Functional Pathology dives into understanding the hormones, allowing us to see where the body needs support, and guides the correct treatment process. Blood, urine and saliva samples help us discover sub-optimal imbalances that your GP may be missing.
Our Motto is:
“Test Don’t Guess!”
Book a free call to get started on a truly holistic program to balanced hormones, and easier periods.