You want regular periods because they make life easier, healthier, and happier! These tips for regulating your menstrual cycle are based on the most common questions I get from my readers.
If you want regular periods, try as many natural ways to regulate your cycle as possible. Eat healthy foods, try complementary health treatments such as acupuncture, adhere to a regular sleep schedule, and do exercises that decrease stress. These will help regulate your hormones, which will regulate your menstrual cycle.
If your periods aren’t regular, read Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle: Herbal & Medical Solutions. It offers practical help and information for amenorrhea (no periods), irregular periods, period pain, and more.
And, one of my favorite books about women’s health and menstruation is The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle…at Any Age, because it goes beyond a woman’s cycle! It describes how to get regular periods, but it’s also about empowering us women to accept our amazing bodies.
Here are several questions about and tips for regulating your menstrual cycle naturally…
Tips for Regulating Your Menstrual Cycle
Many women experience one or two irregular periods every six months. This isn’t usually caused by a serious medical condition, but if you’re worried about your period or other health issue, don’t wait to see your family doctor or gynecologist!
Not getting your period for six months goes beyond “just” having irregular periods. Not getting your period is called amenorrhea — a total absence of menstruation. Irregular periods or oligomenorrhoea is when you get your period every month (more or less), but it comes at totally different times and at different flows (heavy one month, light the next).
Q: I’m 20 years old and I haven’t had my period in several months…I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. I don’t have the money for a doctor visit and I’m scared something is wrong with me.
A: Look for a free medical or health clinic for women in your area. Your health is too precious to ignore! Some clinics offer free physical checkups at no charge, but it depends where you live. I suggest calling your local women’s help line for information on free or low-cost physician visits.
If you have don’t have a regular period, you first need to determine the cause of your irregular menstrual cycle.
The most common cause of infrequent periods is polycystic ovaries. About 10% of women are affected by this common health condition, which causes very small (less than 1 cm) cysts on the ovaries. It’s associated with a hormone imbalance.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome leads to irregular ovulation and an irregular menstrual cycle. To diagnose polycystic ovaries, you need one or more blood tests to measure hormones. And, a pelvic ultrasound scan of the ovaries is often taken as an additional test.
Seeing a doctor in person really is the most important thing you can do to get your menstrual cycle regular again! And, the standard health advice always applies: to balance your hormones and regulate your menstrual cycle, get regular exercise (but don’t exercise excessively), eat a healthy diet, get the sleep your body needs, and deal with stress in healthy ways. And, if you’re taking prescription medication, find out if it affects your hormones (which affects your period).
If you want to get pregnant, read When You Can’t Predict Your Periods and Want to Get Pregnant.
Making Spotty Periods Regular
Q: I’m almost 19 and my periods have never been regular. I have anemia and sometimes my periods will skip 2-3 months or just be a few weeks late. What could be causing this and what is a safe way to regulate my periods?
If you’re anemic, then you don’t have enough iron in your body to support regular periods. To make your period regular, you need to figure out the cause of the anemia (low body weight? blood loss from another health issue?), and treat that. And, you need to take iron pills or eat iron-rich foods to boost your iron levels. Both these suggestions require a visit to the doctor, I think. Some pharmacies won’t sell iron pills without a doctor’s prescription (depending on where you live). So, get thee to a doctor and get your anemia checked and treated….
Also, your hormones influence menstruation. If your hormones aren’t in balance, your period won’t be regular. If your periods are irregular, ask your doctor to measure the hormones in your blood. A test like this will help determine if you have a serious hormonal problem. But, note that some doctors belief that since “normal” varies greatly with regard to women’s hormones, blood tests may not be the best measure of the more subtle imbalances in your cycle. If you have irregular cycles, you need to talk to your doctor to determine the best tests.
Age and Irregular Menstruation
Q: I’m 37 and have two children. Could my irregular periods be because I am getting older?
Our bodies — and our menstrual cycles — definitely change as we age. Many women have irregular periods in their teens, and more regular ones as they reach their early 20s. Other women, however, always have irregular periods no matter what…and still others are like clockwork from day one!
Weight also influences hormonal balance and menstruation. If you’re overweight or underweight, your hormones will stop working properly and your periods might stop altogether. Recent research has also shown that obesity can throw hormones out of balance and make it harder for women get pregnant.
Stress also affects the hormones. Many women find that if they are worried about something, it can influence menstruation. In some cases, a woman’s period might actually stop if she is very worried about whether she is pregnant!
Periods, Fertility, and Dairy Products
Q: I’ve read that low-fat dairy products actually increase infertility risks while full-fat dairy products reduce them. Could incorporating a little full-fat dairy into my diet help regulate my menstrual cycle?
Yes, research that indicates that full-fat dairy products can increase fertility levels. Incorporating a little fat into your diet may help regulate your period. Balanced, regular hormones lead to a regular menstrual cycle (including ovulation and fertility, which helps you get pregnant!). The way dairy products are processed (to make dairy low fat) may affect the proteins, which in turn affects our hormones.
If you have any questions or thoughts about regular periods, please comment below…