How to get your period naturally immediately? There are easy and natural remedies you can do to make it happen.
One of the most common questions you get asked at any doctor’s appointment you go to is:
“When was the first day of your last period?”
And…you can’t even remember!
Although it’s sort of nice not having to ‘deal with’ the red tide or crazy chocolate cravings every month, in the back of your mind, you wonder, Am I really healthy? (given you are of ‘menstruating age)…And, if not, how can I get my period back?!
The reality? You are not alone.
Amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual bleeding in a woman of reproductive age.
There are two main types of amenorrhea:
- Primary amenorrhea: This is when a girl over age 15 has never had her period.
- Secondary amenorrhea: This is when a woman, who has had regular periods, stops having her period for 3 cycles or longer.
Secondary amenorrhea is also called “functional amenorrhea” or “hypothalamic amenorrhea.”
It is a condition that is often due to a problem involving the hypothalamus (your brain’s hormone command center).
However, it’s not that anything is necessarily wrong with your hypothalamus. Rather, your hypothalamus has simply stopped producing a hormone required for menstruation (GnRH). This can happen in response to things like: emotional stress, not eating enough or overtraining.
If your hypothalamus is NOT working correctly, hormones such as FSH and LH shut down or “go to sleep” and stop communicating to the ovaries to produce adequate estrogen and progesterone for reproduction. Ovulation and menstruation stop…leading to missing periods.
Who Gets Amenorrhea?
It’s an epidemic no one is really talking about, but one that is more common than you think. In a room full of 10 women, 3 out of 10 of them haven’t had their period in over three months.
Another 8-9 women in a room of 10 women have some sort of “hormone imbalance,” such as “crazy” PMS symptoms or irregular cycles (from lighter or heavier flows, spotting, “hangriness” or waterworks tears and outbursts that come out of nowhere).
Why Do I Need My Period?
Your period is ONE marker (of many) on your body’s “report” card that it is “healthy.” If it comes monthly, as it should, your body gets a “gold star” in the female ovulation department.
A regular period also contributes to these positive benefits:
- Iron balance (prevents overload)
- Hormonal balance (Regular menstruation tells you that your body is in homeostasis, making appropriate levels of sex hormones optimal for reproduction)
- Good bone health
- Thyroid balance (your metabolism mothership)
- Adrenal balance (stress hormones)
- Healthier weight for your body
What is a Normal Period?
We often hear that the “regular” cycle is 28 days long, and many women are like clockwork this way. But a cycle lasting anywhere from 21–36 days, if you’re regular, is also perfectly normal for many women.
Signs & Symptoms of Amenorrhea
Typically amenorrhea, period loss, doesn’t happen alone. Other signs and symptoms that often occur alongside period loss may include:
- Gut issues (constipation, bloating)
- Thyroid problems (low T3, Hashimoto’s)
- Low bodyweight or difficulty gaining weight
- Low libido
- Anxiety, low mood or depression
- Osteoporosis or low bone density
- Easily cold
- Food intolerances
- Low blood sugar
- Fast oxidizer/metabolism
- Type A personality, perfectionist or overachiever
- Low energy
- Stacked schedule (little down time)
- Autoimmune conditions
- Other hormone issues (PCOS, cysts, infertility)
Recognizing and addressing both the causes and other signs and symptoms of amenorrhea is essential to getting your period back “online.”
Why Your Period Goes Missing in the First Place
Period loss typically doesn’t “just happen” on its own. Common causes of hypothalamic amenorrhea include:
- Poor digestion
- Leaky gut
- High dairy consumption (especially conventional)
- Marathon training and long workouts (even if you don’t identify as “overtraining”)
- Environmental exposures (endocrine disruptors)
- History of birth control use
- Bacterial or yeast overgrowth
- Not sleeping enough
- Antibiotic use and other prescription medications
- Chronic stress (“adrenal fatigue”)
In fact, all of these triggers link to stress. When your body is stressed, your hormonal balance is stressed, setting up the perfect storm for amenorrhea.
What’s Really Happening Inside My Body?
It’s easy to blame “stress” on just about every health imbalance we have in life, but how does this stress impact you physically?
Here are a few common things that may be going on under the hood that are common in amenorrhea:
Cortisol is your #1 stress hormone, responsible for helping keep your body and its processes in balance. Throughout your life, whenever something threatened your body’s homeostasis (balance), cortisol was there to the rescue to fight the stress and ensure things like your respiration (breathing), digestion, brain function and hormone balance were protected, so when stress calmed down, cortisol could calm down and all would be well. In theory, this natural process works beautifully.
Sure, stress is a part of life, but chronic stress was not the original plan for anyone. However, when we take the reigns and subject our bodies and lifestyles to constant stress, cortisol has no other option than to kick into high gear at the cost of balance in other parts of our body (hormones included). Common ongoing stressors include: dieting and undereating, lack of sleep, low water intake, overtraining, doing the same workouts day in and day out, overwork, filling our to-do lists and stacking our schedules, with little built in rest.
Hormones affect the gut and the gut affects hormones. They are intimately connected. If your gut is “leaky” (not absorbing nutrients) or has an underlying gut pathology (like bacterial overgrowth, yeast infection or dysbiosis, an imbalance of good and bad bacteria) than your hormones are unable to receive all the essential nutrients and building blocks they need to function, produce, and thrive. In fact, more than 30 hormones are produced inside your gut alone, and your gut health impacts every single organ, process and system in your body (your gut is the gateway to health).
In addition, cortisol (the main anti-inflammatory hormone in the body) greatly influences the integrity and health of your gut. If cortisol goes up, gut function goes down–impacting both hormonal balance, inflammation and digestion. In order to help calm cortisol and nourish hormones, gut health is an essential piece in the puzzle.
The liver plays a vital role both in detoxification and processing of toxins in our foods and environment, as well as hormone metabolism and the body’s use of hormones. The liver acts as a hormone processor, regulator and director– directing various hormones to perform their proper function in other parts of the body.
However, when the liver is stressed or overburdened, the liver may not be able to process the hormone(s) as quickly or efficiently, causing a hormone imbalance (i.e. low estrogen, progesterone and/or low cortisol clearance–elevating cortisol, while suppressing sex hormones).
Liver stress is a common byproduct from various lifestyle and environmental factors, including:
- Long term birth control pill use
- Long term medication use
- Packaged, processed and fake foods
- Artificial sweeteners and sugar
- GMO’s and pesticides in our foods
- Hormones and antibiotics in conventional meats/dairy
- Tap water
- Beauty and hygiene products with toxic chemicals
- Plastic leaching of chemicals like BPA
- Low vegetable and nutrient variety
- High caffeine, alcohol or stimulant consumption
Methylation, also known as “methyl metabolism”, is the process in which small parts of molecules (like estrogens and other hormones) are passed along throughout your body to function like they should. A lot of your methylation cycle happens in the liver. Once estrogens are methylated, they can be easily used by the body (in your cycle), stored or excreted.
In order for your body to have an adequate supply of estrogen and hormone methyl groups available, however, an adequate intake of vitamins (particularly B6 and B12 and folate) are necessary. Unfortunately, if your liver is malfunctioning OR your digestion is malfunctioning OR you’re deficient in B-Vitamins and not absorbing them…undermethylation happens, and your body is unable to utilize hormones as it should, resulting in low hormones altogether.
The thyroid produces hormones that control metabolism and play a role in puberty and menstruation. Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. A thyroid gland that is overactive (called hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism) can cause menstrual irregularities, including amenorrhea.
Additionally, thyroid antibodies, as in Hashimoto’s, affect hormone production, primarily because cortisol (stress hormone) is activated in the immune response. Thyroid dysfunction is typically caused by one of the following:
- Gut dysfunction
- Toxic burden
- Chronic infections or illness
- Chronic stress (overwork, undereating, overtraining, low body fat/weight)
Low-Functioning Pituitary (& Hypothalamus)
Your pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland that is housed within a bony structure (sella turcica) at the base of the brain. The pituitary controls the function of most other endocrine glands (adrenals, hypothalamus) and, consequently your hormones, and is therefore sometimes called the master gland.
A low functioning pituitary gland (or “hypopituitarism”) is the decreased (hypo) secretion of one or more of the eight hormones normally produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.
In the case of amenorrhea, typically the anterior pituitary is affected, lowering hormone production, suppressing thyroid hormone conversion (low T3), disrupting circadian rhythms, energy, and suppressing hypothalamus function (the gland responsible for “releasing” hormones and conducting menstruation).
How does your pituitary get low? Lack of pituitary hormones themselves that stimulate pituitary function!
Pituitary deficiency occurs primarily from two sources:
- Gut disturbances (where over 30 hormones are produced)
- Cortisol imbalances (suppressing other hormone production)
Low Leptin Hormone
Studies (Ajala et al, 2013; Chou et al, 2011) show that leptin is a key hormone in healthy menstrual cycles, with higher levels of circulating leptin particularly during the luteal phase, leading up to menstruation. Leptin is known as the “satisfaction hormone” that signals to your body it is balanced with energy needs. Circulating leptin levels reflect the amount of energy stores in fat as well as acute changes in energy intake.
Women with amenorrhea are chronically energy deficient and, consequently have low leptin levels and loss of leptin variation throughout their body’s “cycle.” This difference could stem from any history of dieting, deprivation, chronic stress or simply under-eating. The result? Leptin deficiency and a body in a constantly “deprived” or fatigued state (even if you don’t feel hungry or low on energy, often due to pituitary dysfunction as well).
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Vitamins and minerals essential to hormone balance include B Vitamins, zinc, magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, chromium and selenium. Ideally, you’d get the majority of these from real whole foods including: dark leafy greens and other fresh veggies (in season is best), citrus and berries, organic meats and wild-caught fish, cod liver oil, pastured egg yolks, organ meats, and brazil nuts. See your Supplement Protocol for extra supports to support nutrient balance.
How Do I Get My Period Back?!
It may seem like rocket science…BUT it is NOT. At least it doesn’t have to be.
Although old school methodologies and doctors may have you believe that you need to “go on the pill” or that you need to completely stop exercising, or that something is seriously wrong with you…the majority of the time, getting your period back is totally do-able in a natural way.
You need to convince your hypothalamus that all is well and it’s okay to have periods again.
To do so, it’s imperative to reduce stress.
While there is not one magical answer for what “stress reduction” looks like, a number of strategies can play a role in getting your period back naturally, including these hacks:
- Healing your gut
- Addressing underlying food intolerances
- Testing, not guessing (Addressing underlying health imbalances, such as: thyroid, adrenal, nutrient deficiencies)
- Eating enough
- Working out appropriately for your body
- Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night
- Resetting your circadian rhythms
- Gaining weight and/or healthy body fat
- Supplementing smart (don’t overdo it)
- Stopping the fight (with yourself)