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Periods (or lack there of)

Blog Forums Women’s Health Periods (or lack there of)

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    Hi all!

    Just looking for some advice, or insight, or anyone who can relate. I’ve been recovering from a pretty severe bout of ED for the last 16 months. I underate, and overexercised for over a year (and even nursed for some of those months!), didn’t lose a ton of weight, but was about 20 pounds below my normal. Needless to say, I never got my period back after I had my daughter and when my hormones were tested my estrogen was nil. I jumped in to recovery, as my hubby and I wanted to have another baby, and was literally knocked down for several months with SEVERE water retention, fast weight gain, pain and exhaustion. Yay.

    Anyway, it took me almost 10 months, but I finally had a period in January. And since then…nothing. I have times when I will spot for several weeks, but still no period. It is frustrating and confusing, and I never thought I would say it, but I just want a regular period again! Of course, I keep hearing that I probably have PCOS, but I really don’t believe it is PCOS, because before I had my daughter, I had periods like clockwork. And I know it can take a while to get your periods back to normal, but this just seems like an extremely long time to wait to get a second one. My face breaks out like a teenager and it is annoying. I’m pretty sure if I’d get my periods back that it would calm down, but I don’t know what else to do to get them back. I eat 3000 calories a day, I still don’t exercise as my body is not fully repaired and I have no clue what else to do.

    Anyway, has anyone else experienced this? Is there anything I can do to get my hormones working right again? I will say that at one point I did try progesterone cream, as I read about estrogen dominance, and within a week of taking it, I started to bleed without stopping the cream (I did eventually stop the cream and had a “fake” period, as the bleeding became heavy).



    I used to have months in between menstruating…the longest was 5 months I believe. I am not one to recommend supplements, but there is one herbal combo from Nature’s Sunshine called FCSII. It is AMAZING. I have several friends I’ve recommended it to and they all had good results. One of my sisters won’t get her period unless she takes it. So, yeah, supplements are kind of a band aid, but I think they can help in the long run too. Good luck!


    Hi Courage12, I stopped getting my period about 3 years ago and before that I had a very regular period. It even came back after the birth of my daughter when my nursing slowed down (maybe about when my daughter was 1.5 years old). I was at a really thin weight then for me too but my period was normal. Then training for a marathon and getting in paleo did me in.

    I know exactly how you feel about wanting a regular period!! It seems like you are doing everything right and I’d just keep on doing it and doing as many relaxing things as possible- meditation, massage, etc.

    I began eating loads more and not exercising in May and I just got my period about a month ago and I’m expecting another one any day now. Obviously, I’m no expert but i did see this Chinese healer and in addition to doing clearing she recommended that I always keep my feet warm. So now I always wear shoes and socks, Uggs, slippers, and socks if I’m home. I very rarely wear flip flops because you never know if the temp will change. I’m sure if you go to the beach you can but just make sure to have warm feet. My friend who saw the same healer also mentioned keeping your ankles warm but i haven’t done that as much. Also, I soak my feet in warm water every night and then hit them vigourously (sp?) 36 times on the arch. Sounds weird I know but it’s good to get the blood flowing.

    Other things I do include using essential oils: clary sage is good and I buy solace from DoTerra, which is supposed to help with regulating periods. I’ve also done Mayan abdominal massage and that is supposed to be good at regulating your period and helping fertility. I had a woman teach me how to do it. I’ve tried everything from acupuncture to progesterone to Chinese healers and other spiritual healers in addition to getting every possible test done (bloodwork, MRI, seeing a pituitary specialist) but i really think the eating and resting has been making the most difference. If you live anywhere near LA i can give you the Chinese healer’s info. She’s amazing and my friend is now pregnant. I know that acupuncture is supposed to help a lot too. Good luck!

    Matt Stone

    Ray Peat talks about how warming the feet has a similar de-stressing effect to having warm feet via a high metabolism. One of those two-way streets (de-stress to warm up the feet, warm up the feet to de-stress).

    3000 calories is respectable. I would be curious to know some ballpark figures on the composition of those 3,000 calories. I’d also like to know how much sleep you get and how much stress you are under otherwise. Glitches in some of those major departments are the best place to start.

    I’d also like to see what would happen if you ate 4,000 a day for a couple weeks. The body has a tendency to stay stuck right where it’s at unless it gets a little kick in the pants to reset itself differently.


    Thanks for the suggestions…

    Saisrice, interesting about always keeping the feet warm. I NEVER wear socks and hate shoes, so if I am home (which I am a lot right now because I am still struggling with water retention and soreness, despite being so far along in my recovery), I am usually barefoot. However, my feet are hardly ever cold, and if they are I put a blanket on to keep them warm. I unfortunately, live in the middle of nowhere Ohio, so finding anything outside of a regular doctor is a no-go unless I travel a good distance.

    Matt, 4000 calories a day would be tough. I probably eat closer to 3200-3400, but never go below 3000. I feel quite full and satisfied on that and I’m not sure how I would be able to reach it without making myself very uncomfortable. I guess I have lost a lot of my taste for food since I started recovering, the only thing I ever crave is red meat and I hate most other food, but I eat it anyway. So, I tend to eat what I feel I can manage without being too disgusted. :) Breakfast tends to be carby, sometimes cereal and a granola bar, sometimes pancakes. I switched to carbs when I tried eating for heat. I used to eat eggs and bacon and a bagel, but it never got my temp up. Lunch will often be a sandwich and greek yogurt and granola, or leftovers from dinner, maybe with some potato or macaroni salad. Dinner is almost always some sort of meat (often red) and a veggie like corn on the cob. If I don’t feel like cooking, its a pizza hot pocket. I eat crackers and goldfish for snacks, and always have a bowl of ice cream for dessert. Drinks are only apple juice (I crave it) or whole milk. I drink at most 4 total glasses a day. I am only just starting (after 16 months) to see my temp get up and stay in the mid-98s. Probably helps that the weather is warmer, but still, better then the below 98 temps I was seeing all the time. I should probably also mention that I am on thyroid support because when I went to the doctor after 4 months of recovery (because I had such severe water retention, joint pain and massive weight gain), she found my thyroid to be off ever so slightly (TSH 3.69, while fT3 and fT4 were fine), and she wanted to see if it would help. I never felt a difference after being put on the medication, but my TSH is back down so no one wants me to go off the meds. As for sleep…not always the best. I try, but it is hard to fall asleep. I have been working on it every day, as I know I feel best when I get a good amount, but my mind races when I lay down, despite feeling quite tired. Otherwise, the only stress I am under is the stress I place on myself, as it isn’t easy to feel like crap and quite disabled for 16 months…but I am working on this.

    That was long, but hopefully answered the questions. Thanks so much.


    I did 5 years of low carb/paleo. I actually lost my period for 6 months prior to that due to stress and under eating, and it didn’t return once I started the low carb. All in all I was missing my period for almost 6 years. I tried all sorts of pills, and hormone creams. It didn’t return until I started eating straight up junk food. I’ve had it consistently for about a year. Not quite healthy though as I have very bad cramps due to eating this kind of food and the inflammation. Be careful though, because eating junk food is real appealing, and once you make it habit it is hard to stop. I picked up a junk food habit just like I picked up an eating disorder, smoking cigarettes, and drinking. Trying to regulate myself is seemingly just as hard as it was when I had an eating disorder.


    Courage12, I’d definitely try keeping your feet covered even though they are warm. It can’t hurt and I’ve gotten used to it now. I bought some cute no-show socks and just wear shoes with everything. I bought slippers that I wear at home and I put on wool socks in I’m on the sofa. Since you’re mostly at home, maybe find some comfy socks or slippers that you like. I also soak my feet and then my husband massages them every night (per the healer’s instructions). Maybe you could incorporate some massage or nice warming baths.

    As for the racing mind, maybe some meditation or mindfulness? There’s a 10 minute chill that I like:

    And here’s a body scan:

    I usually do my meditation before my family wakes up but since it’s the summer and i’m not working I’ve been doing it in the afternoon and sometimes I just fall asleep because of the calming effect of my meals.

    There are loads of mindfulness meditations on youtube so you can search around and see if you like any.


    Vizzy – I definitely went through the period of eating nothing but “junk” when I first started eating again. I probably ate that way for a good 5 months, but now I have lost all appetite for things that are sugary and junkfoodish. I think if you allow yourself to eat them without restriction, eventually you won’t want them anymore…at least that has been my experience. I still don’t really crave veggies or fruit. So, I try to keep my diet mostly homemade stuff if possible, but I also don’t freak if I eat a packaged brownie or whatnot.

    Saisrice, thanks for the suggestions. It will definitely take some getting used to to wear things on my feet. I have tried a relaxation cd before bed, and sometimes it helps, and other times it doesn’t. I wish I had a switch to turn my brain off!

    Hannah Ransom

    I would definitely get the sleep worked out (do you ever journal before bed and does that help?).

    If you didn’t see any change with the thyroid stuff I would go off of it. According to some labs those values would be a little high, but for the most part you have to go by how you feel. I’m no doctor, nor can I even see you in real life, though, so take my advice with a grain of salt.


    Hannah, I am working hard on the sleep. It is just difficult. Last night for example, I was in bed for over 2 hours before I fell asleep. I was pretty tired when I went to bed too. It is frustrating, for sure, because it isn’t that I don’t want to sleep!

    I go back and forth about whether or not to stay on the thyroid meds. I know the values were slightly high, but as I was only 4 months in to recovery when they were taken, it is possible that it was just that my thyroid hadn’t quite kicked back in. There is a part of me that wants to go off them, and then the other part that worries if I do that I will get worse. And, that I will gain more weight (of which I have already gained way more then I ever would have thought would have been necessary). Despite persisting in recovery for 16 months, the fear of more weight gain has yet to go away. Sigh.

    Hannah Ransom

    It’s a super hard road once hormones are messed up, so I totally understand. In your instance, sleep will help your hormones start to get better, but having messed up hormones is part of the issue in getting the sleep!

    I’m curious what things you have done/can do to help you sleep? I used to take SO LONG to get to sleep as a teen. It still happens on occasion. Some of the things that helped me were never reading in bed, waking up at the same time every day, getting to sleep earlier and getting up earlier, making sure everything was dark, and writing out to-do lists before bed and/or journaling before bed. Meditation is great, or if you aren’t very good at that just consciously try to think of things that are less important/stressful. You could also try some herbs that help your mind relax, though you could develop a dependency if you use them for too long/too much.


    I have tried numerous things to help me sleep. Baths before bed, light reading, listening to music, mediation tapes. It just doesn’t seem to help. I find that my heart and also my head start to race the second I actually lie down to sleep. Also, I get uncomfortably warm sometimes when I try to sleep, or my feet get ridiculously warm, but my temp is not highly elevated so I don’t understand what causes it. I am now starting to find that if something wakes me up, I cannot fall back asleep either (if nothing wakes me up, I sleep until morning)…like this morning, when my daughter woke up at 3:30 not feeling well, and after getting her back in bed, I could not fall back asleep, despite being obviously tired.

    I do feel that lack of sleep has definitely had an impact on my recovery. The whole process has been rather stressful for me with the water retention I developed, the rapid and very large weight gain, the lack of period, which I so desperately wanted back and everything else that came along. I have tried to lower my stress but it has not been easy….how does one lower it when they feel disabled and like they are missing out on life? Sometimes I feel like I still have such a long way to go, which is hard, considering I have been recovering for 16 months already.


    As far as the sleep goes, have you tried magnesium? I know many people on this forum are not super into supplements (and I understand), but magnesium is a pretty good one for relaxation and sleep. I think the best way to take it if you haven’t tried it already is via epsom salt baths (cheap, too!). There is also a spray that can go on the skin that I got from amazon one time. Or there is a supplement called “natural calm”, which is magnesium citrate (supposed to be well absorbed).

    Other forms of magnesium-like in a multi vitamin or something like magnesium oxide–are not well absorbed, or so I’ve heard.

    I had the same problem with falling back asleep after my (then) infant daughter would wake me up. I was so tired, but my heart would race and I couldn’t get back to sleep. Eating something sweet/salty and then magnesium oil sprayed on my feet is what finally started helping me. I know everyone is different, though.

    The Real Amy

    Courage, do you think the thyroid meds might be causing your sleep issues? Just something to consider.

    I think your food intake sounds pretty good, so my guess is, it’s sleep and stress. I know it’s tough, but stressing about not getting your period might be contributing to the problem.

    Sounds like you’ve already tried this sort of thing, but I’ve done the Deepak Chopra sleep meditation CD, and I like it. He advises breathing exercises during the day in addition to a sleep visualization at night, and I think the breathing exercises during the day are actually the most important part.


    Karime22 – I have tried magnesium supplementation (with Natural Calm actually!)…my sister recommended it to me and even with the smallest dose, it messed up my belly. So, I can’t take the supplements, that is for sure. I do make sure to put epsom salts in to the bath when I take them though. I haven’t heard of the stuff for the feet, that may not be a bad idea.

    Amy – I have wondered about the thyroid meds…I am on the fence as to whether or not to stop them. I worry if I stop them that I might feel worse (despite never feeling better after starting them), but I also wonder if I don’t need them, and they are causing me to be just a bit hyper, even though it doesn’t show up in my blood work. It’s all so confusing, and I wish it could just be simpler! I have no doubt that I need more sleep, and a way to lower my stress. I have been focusing on it more in recent months, as it really seemed to be the missing piece in everything. I just need to figure out how to sleep! I may look in to the Deepak Chopra CD. I have tried Circle & Bloom, which I like, but I can only focus on for maybe one night before it not working the next.

    Amazing to me how this all impacts me now just because I’m a little older (and also because of the damage I did I’m sure). In my 20s I didn’t get a ton of sleep sometimes, my eating was all over the place and there were times I was stressed but I loved life. I never had issues or problems with my period. Now it seems things are so much harder. Blah.

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