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Your periods are irregular, but you can’t work out why. Perhaps you’ve had blood tests done and they have come back normal. What now? Let’s discuss the reasons why your periods are irregular and what you can do naturally to regulate them.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michelle Cooke, Period & Hormone Naturopath, Natural Fertility Educator & Naturopathic Emotional Release Practitioner. I’m the Founder and Director of Reproductive Wellness, a clinic located in Melbourne. I see patients online and face-to-face.

‘Normal’ blood tests

 If you have irregular periods and your blood tests have come back normal this doesn’t mean that nothing is wrong necessarily. Please remember that doctor’s read blood tests from an emergency room perspective they are looking for disease or symptoms to treat.

The range on the blood test is very broad and you could be showing signs of poor health even if you are within that pathology test range. You should be aiming for the optimum range for optimal health, which is a range in the middle of the pathology test range. This is the range that naturopaths will look at. The other issue is I also find that often things are missed – nutrient deficiencies aren’t tested, hormones aren’t tested on the right day plus other important factors. It is no fault of the doctor, that is just how they are trained.

About irregular periods

 Your periods would be considered to be irregular if the gap between each period keeps changing. In other words, the length of your menstrual cycle (day 1 of your period to the day before the next period) is different each time. You may notice that your period tends to come early or late. When you actually get your period is variable or unpredictable.

Keep in mind, that if your period is late it means that ovulation occurred later and if your period is earlier it means you ovulated earlier than usual. Your period will generally follow ovulation about 14 days approx. later. However, just because you have a period doesn’t necessarily mean that you ovulated. Your body will just reset regardless and clear things out with a period. Also, if your menstrual cycle (day 1 of your period to the day before the next period) is too short you may not have ovulated that cycle.

 

What is considered a normal menstrual cycle length?

 A healthy menstrual cycle length should be approximately 27 – 35 days in length consistently. Some variability in your cycle is normal but nothing too drastic.

 

Reasons for Irregular periods?

There are so many different types of scenarios and conditions that impact your hormones which as a result will change the timing of ovulation & your period.

 

  • Stress

When you are stressed, your body will move into ‘fight or flight mode’ which is a primal survival mechanism to protect you from the perceived danger. Even though it may not be a life-threatening type of scenario your body doesn’t know the difference between about to be eaten by a shark versus dealing with an unreasonable boss at work. The main aim is to keep you alive and well. It is not a safe time to reproduce (even though having babies is not on your agenda) so to protect you it will shut off girly hormones. This arises in hormone imbalance, delayed ovulation & delayed periods.

  • Night shift or shift work

  • Intensive Exercise

  • Sleep Issues

  • Rapid weight loss

  • Jet lag

  • Nutrient Deficiencies

  • Hormone Imbalance

  • Eating disorders

Anorexia and Bulimia

  • Menarche

Around the time of your first period, it is perfectly normal for your body to have a little irregularity until the training wheels come off and the body has gotten used to the process of producing hormones, maturing your eggs, ovulation & periods. Your body is very much in the learning phase, especially in the first couple of years.

  • Coming off the pill

When you stop taking the pill, your body has gone from not producing its own hormones to suddenly having to take the reins and produce hormones again so that you can have healthy menstrual cycles, periods and ovulate. Often it will have to do a few trial runs and it may jump start on and off with attempts at ovulation.

  • Perimenopause

The journey and lead up towards Menopause (12 months without a period). This usually takes place for a few years beforehand.

  • Breastfeeding

Your body is such a clever clogs  because when you are breastfeeding, prolactin is produced in high amounts in order to produce breast milk. High prolactin will suppress ovulation, this is so that you will prioritise providing nutrition for that baby. Due to this it does take time for your periods to return. If you are not ovulating, you won’t get your period.

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

High androgens (male hormones like testosterone) and too much insulin impact whether ovulation and periods take place or not.

  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / Premature Ovarian Failure

Either lack, irregular or occasional periods due to the poor function or loss of ovarian function before 40 years of age. The first term is the best representation because in some cases the ovaries still function it is just unpredictable or intermittent.

  • Medications

  • Smoking Marijuana / Cigarettes / Vape

  • Illicit Drugs

  • Diabetes

  • Uterine Polyps

Abnormal growth attached on a stalk which attaches to the lining of your uterus (endometrial lining)

  • Uterine Fibroids

They are benign abnormal growths that appear inside the muscular wall of the uterus, or they be attached to a stalk which comes out from the lining of the uterus into the uterine cavity

  • Thyroid Issues

  • Hyperthyroidism – thyroid is over-active and producing too much thyroid hormones

  • Subclinical hyperthyroidism – when you have low TSH but usually normal thyroid hormone levels.

  • Hypothyroidism – thyroid is under-active and the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough hormones

  • Subclinical hypothyroidism – when you have slightly high TSH but normal thyroid hormone levels

  • Grave’s Disease – Autoimmune disease that results in over production of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism)

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – Autoimmune disease where your immune system produces antibodies that attack your thyroid gland. You can either present with hyperthyroidism (overactive) or hypothyroidism (underactive) or it can swing between the two

  • After Covid-19

  • After Covid-19 Vaccinations

I have a masterclass called ‘Periods not the same after covid’ where I talk about changes to periods, menstrual cycles and hormones after covid and after the vaccination found in the research & why it is happening. I also discuss things that you can do to support your periods, menstrual cycles and hormones. The replay of the masterclass is ready for purchase CLICK HERE

 

What can help with irregular periods?

At the end of the day, it all depends, what the cause of your irregular periods are. I would suggest that if you are not sure why you have irregular periods that you see a GP, get a referral to a gynaecologist if indicated and see a Period & Hormone Naturopath like myself to get your periods back on track. But here are some suggestions of general advice for hormone balance and for healthy regular periods.

Zen zone

Promote relaxation in your life because remember if you are stressed this can cause irregular periods. Things like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, run a bath, get some fresh air and go for a gentle stroll.

Whoosh Exit

Make sure that once your hormones have finished their job in the body that there is some way out. Your bowels are involved in removing excess oestrogen from the body. If you are constipated (not doing a poo at least once a day) this will result in the hormones being reabsorbed > hormone imbalance (commonly high oestrogen) > irregular periods.

To prevent constipation:

-Drink water 1.5 litres per day (30ml per kg of body weight)

– Move your body (exercise at least 30 mins 3 times per week)

– Fibre: chia seeds (contain healthy fats & fibre), fresh vegetables daily

 

Lush Fats

Healthy organic saturated fats are very important for hormones, in fact cholesterol is the building block needed to make our girly hormones. If you don’t eat enough fats this will cause hormone imbalance and irregular periods.

Include things like: Avocado, organic coconut oil & organic butter.

Happy Belly

Your gut contains a crew of good bacteria specific to regulating oestrogen levels called the Estrobolome. The estrobolome produce an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase that will break down the oestrogen to either be escorted out of the body or reabsorbed to get to work. The perfect amount of oestrogen gets reabsorbed, it is all about balance.

Include foods / drinks that support healthy gut bacteria (the good kind) & the environment: sauerkraut, kimchi, water kefir & bone broth

Plant Oestrogens

Plant based foods containing phyto-oestrogens are really important in playing a protective role in the body against harmful xeno-oestrogens. Xeno-oestrogens are harmful toxins that can be found in commercially available cleaning & personal care products as well as in cosmetics. Phyto-oestrogen will bind to the oestrogen receptor stopping the harmful xeno-oestrogen from binding.

Include these foods: linseeds, legumes: (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black eyed beans etc).

Warm it up

Warming spices can be good to promote circulation & blood flow to the ovaries for proper function and to assist with regular periods

Include: cinnamon, ginger

Orange Ways

Your ovaries need an abundance of vitamin C to function properly, for follicles to mature and develop for ovulation to take place and for healthy periods.

Include: berries, red capsicum, tomatoes, citrus (lemon, grapefruit, kiwifruit, oranges) papaya, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage)

Sweet Hijacks

Eating / drinking high sugar foods frequently causes a rise in your blood sugar levels which will impact the ratio of oestrogen to progesterone. It is all about a delicate balance of the two in the body. Also, high sugar results in inflammation which causes hormone imbalance. Hormone imbalance will most certainly result in irregular periods.

Avoid: soft drinks, lollies, cakes switch for healthier alternatives like kombucha, chia pudding, protein balls

 

Can a Naturopath help with irregular periods?

Absolutely! Especially a Naturopath that specialises in periods, hormones & menstrual cycles which is what I do.

In my clinical practice I use herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, diet & lifestyle advice. I look at your test results differently to a GP because I look at optimum levels within the test range to make sure you are within that range for hormone balance & support. We can address things like stress, anxiety, hormone imbalance, periods, menstrual cycles and making sure that you ovulate etc.

I am also a Naturopathic Emotional Release Practitioner. Naturopathic Emotional Release is a technique which helps to identify underlying emotions / stress or sabotages relating to your irregular periods. This tool uses Muscle testing & Chinese meridian points to identify the emotion & Chinese meridian points & EFT to clear & process the underlying emotion. It taps into the Autonomic Nervous System and works on subconscious beliefs, stress or underlying emotions.

If you would like to get your irregular periods sorted once and for all. I would love to help you, go ahead and book a FREE 15 min discovery call to find out more about how we would work together and if we are a good fit.

 

have you been

 Experiencing period or menstrual cycle changes after covid or after the vaccination?

I have a masterclass available for you

‘Periods not the same after covid’

We will discuss what these changes are to periods and the menstrual cycle, why it is happening (for both after covid & the vaccine according to the research) & what can be done to help support your periods, hormones & menstrual cycles

90 min masterclass

for ONLy $29 (for a limited time)

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the box below 🙂