One of the questions that I often get in the clinic and by email, messenger, and on my Facebook page is “Why am I NOT getting my period?”
There are four main reasons why you might be missing your period or not having one at all.
- Hormone imbalance – This may happen because you’ve been on birth control for quite some time. Once you get off the pill, you aren’t getting your cycle like you did when you were on it.
Your body is trying to adjust to being off the birth control pill, and usually this is a temporary situation. Now the body is working to make all the hormones itself, so it needs a little time to adjust.
If it isn’t temporary, then we need to look deeper to see which hormones are off – estrogen, progesterone, or even another hormone, and figure out how to balance them all.
Sometimes women are encouraged to go on the birth control pill because they have irregular cycles to being with. Their doctors say “If we put you on the pill, it will regulate your cycles.” Which it does as long as you take the pill. But it isn’t getting to the root of the problem. The birth control pill is just a little bandaid, and when the bandage comes off, the problem is back.
If it isn’t because of the pill, then it is because there are other hormonal imbalances or irregularities that need to be addressed. They weren’t induced by the pill, but they were caused by other hormone dysregulation – usually foods, self-care products, stress, environmental toxins.
2. Over-exercising or Eating Too Little Food – This can be when you are worried about your weight, or when you are controlling what and how much you are eating. I see this very frequently, especially over-doing it with exercise.
With teenage patients who are physically active, training for a sport, and just beginning to menstruate, this can absolutely drop their cycles and can send them into a PCOS type of pattern.
For women who are used to exercising frequently, or doing serious training, for women who have gone from no exercise to intense workouts, this can trigger your body and throw off your cycles.
When it comes to fertility we have to be careful with exercise and calorie restrictions. Often times the two go hand in hand when trying to manage weight, and they are a bad recipe. Actually, a recipe for disaster. It will throw off your cycles, throw off your hormones and really increase cortisol and stress. So be extra mindful of targeted exercise and weight loss when considering your fertility.
3. PCOS – One of the more common reasons for not getting your period is PCOS. I see this all the time and PCOS is a common pattern that signals why we might have irregular hormones, very long cycles, or no cycles at all.
If that is the case, then we really need to figure out which pattern type you are in the PCOS profile and address it with targeted treatment.
4. Sleep – You might think that sleep has very little to do with your cycles, but it absolutely does. If you are not getting good quality sleep, enough sleep, and at the right time, it can throw off your hormones because of the stress on your body.
We get stress in many various ways and lack of sleep is just one of them. When it comes to sleep, most of the time when I see this, is with shift work or working the night shift.
Now I see this in the nurses that I treat. They’re on the night shift program and they think they are doing fine. I have a patient right now who just transitioned to night shift. Before her shifts changed we had gotten her cycles to be regular. After a few months on night shift, it is throwing off her cycle after she had maintained a regular cycle for the first month or two.
Sometimes it doesn’t happen that fast, but we eventually see it down the line. Sleep is playing a role. It just depends on how much time it’s going to take to catch up to you.
So those are my top four reasons why you might miss a period.
Hopefully, the true reason at some point why you missed your period will be because YOU’RE PREGNANT. And hopefully, I can get you to that point. If we can correct these four things, we should be able to do that. Some of the ways that we can correct these things is by addressing the root causes.
- If it’s lack of calories or nutrition, we’ve got to work on your nutritional profile, definitely.
- If exercise is the issue, then we need to moderate exercise and give it some time.
- If sleep is an issue, then we definitely need to regulate sleeping patterns.
My favorite thing to do with patients when we’re working on hormone regulation and irregular cycles is to create a customized plan for them. For most patients, that is really what you need. So try to get a customized plan for yourself.
Hopefully I was able to help you in some way with this information.
If you want more info about nutrition for fertility, you can download my Free Fertility Meal Plan.
You’ll get the do’s and don’ts of eating for fertility and ideas to get started with correcting and improving your nutrition.
If you have already had some medical testing, and need help interpreting it, or your fertility charting, take a look at our new Lab Review and Coaching program. We can help you understand why you may be missing your period, or why your cycle is so long, or help you come up with a plan when your OB didn’t.
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