You know how most women complain about getting their period? About the cramps, or the fatigue, or the bleeding, or the headaches…. Well, they shouldn’t. I am sure it’s not pleasant, and I’m sure it’s painful at times – BUT do you know how big of a blessing it is to actually have a cycle every month?!
If you are one of the lucky (billions of women unlike me) ones that get their monthly period, you should be over the moon every time it comes around.
As you know, I haven’t had a period in almost 15 months. Yes…. 15 months – almost 60 weeks – 407 days to be exact. I worked out so much, and didn’t consume enough nutrient dense food that I lost my cycle; something that our womanly bodies are supposed to do.
I didn’t have enough fat on my body --> which in turn wasn’t producing proper levels of estrogen --> which in turn caused my body to basically shut down its reproductive functioning.
But wait – I was never SUPER skinny. I was fit, lean, with muscle definition. I never had an ‘eating disorder’. I have (always) had cellulite and stretch marks. I ate a lot. I only worked out for 45 minutes a day. How could my period go away…?! Well you see, the fun part of this is… Hypothalamic Amenorrhea doesn’t pick a certain type of person it affects. I have met a dozen women who are literally JUST like me, where health and fitness was really important, they never crash dieted or got super thin – but their period just disappeared. Then, on the other hand, there are women who are marathon runners, SUPER lean, and have a period every month. It’s kind of crazy how that works.
Regardless of who HA decides to affect – I think it boils down to the fact that we all have our own unique bodies. I thought being at 120lbs was where my body was supposed to be… when thinking back, I weighed that in, like, 7th grade (#yesimserious). This journey of HA has been a battle, but something that I’m starting to accept. I know I’ve been making great strides these last few months, but the biggest turning point was earlier this year in March when my Reproductive Endocrinologist asked me this question:
“How old were you when you got your period, and how much did you weigh?”
I thought back to Christmas morning my Freshman year of HS. We were on vacation in Florida. I was 14 years old.. and I woke up to having my period for the first time (#merrychristmastome)? – So, I was 14 and weighed somewhere between 130-135 pounds. I shared this with my RE, so then told me that SOME women will lose their cycle if they drop below the weight they got their period at. Some women it doesn’t affect, but then there are the lucky ones, like me… that is does.
I think that was my wake up call. At that point I had finally reached a good weight in that range and was hopeful that I was on the right track to healing and recovery. My workouts have been becoming less and less; because in all honesty, I couldn’t go cold turkey. I’ve come to realize that I was truly addicted (and still am) to working out. Some days I crave it, and want to jump on the treadmill and run 6 miles... but I don’t. I’ll do yoga, or a 2 mile extremely light jog/walk. I’m only working out 3 days a week and nothing over 30 minutes, low impact, of moving my body. Thinking back to January of this year – I was still doing 5 days a week at 45 minutes, either running or doing T25/Insanity. I had to cut back gradually, and I’m glad I went this route. It’s been the easiest on me – mentally and physically.
I know my body will get there – it just has to. And I have to say how proud I am that I’ve been able to come this far and make these necessary changes to move forward in this journey. Side note - my uterine lining has even grown these last few months, which tells us that my estrogen levels are rising (slowly but surely) – can I get an AMEN!?
Right now, my goal is not to get pregnant – it’s to regain my cycle. Once that happens, it is my hope that I could have the option to conceive naturally… but I do know fertility treatment is something my RE believes is the only thing that will work. I don’t want to think that way until I know for certain it’s the only option, so I’m going to focus on internally healing my hormones and reproductive system before we go that route.
Overall – I want you to be thankful that you get your period every month. I want you to be thankful that your body is doing what is supposed to be doing as a woman. I want you to be thankful that you most likely have the option to conceive naturally, without any assistance from hormone injections. I want you to be thankful that your body is working, and healthy. I feel like so many women take that for granted. We are typically so caught up in hearing people complain about their period, or how annoying their cycle is... when in reality, we should be having a period party every month. Because your body is beautiful, your cycle is beautiful. YOU are beautiful.
I can’t wait for the day until I have can have my own period party. You can better believe I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops.
Disclaimer: I am by no means a medical professional. This is all from personal experience and research I’ve looked into on my own and through my appointments, testing & discussions with my Reproductive Endocrinologist. ***Please also note that I do understand some women get their monthly cycles and still have infertility struggles.