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How to Regulate Your Period

If you’re like me, and going an entire season without a period is not uncommon for you, and you’d like to get things working a little more smoothly, there are several ways you can do that.

I think it makes sense to start with the least invasive method and work your way up to serious medical intervention (if absolutely necessary). First, it helps to know what you’re actually dealing with. You can’t fix a car without knowing what’s wrong with it, and the same goes for your body.

So the first step in “regulating” your cycle is to actually figure out what’s going on, and the best way to do that is by charting your fertility. I’m not talking about the kind of “fertility charting” where you keep track of how long your cycles are and an “ovulation calculator” tells you when you are likely to get your next period. Those things are pretty much useless in this case.

To chart your fertility, you need to take your basal body temperature every morning, and check your cervical fluid every day.  Then learn how to read the chart, and soon you’ll start to learn some very cool things about your cycle.  Depending on what you find, you’ll then have great information to use in creating your own personal treatment regimen.

These are a few basics for pretty much everyone, and a good starting point for getting things on track:

  • Eat a healthy diet. 

Eat the right foods for you. The diet that makes your body sing might not be the same as your best friend’s, or your sister’s.  Some people have a perfectly healthy cycle eating a raw vegan diet, and other’s won’t cycle regularly unless they’ve got red meat in their diet.  There is a wide range of normal, and each woman’s body is slightly different, so do some experimenting and find out what makes you feel the best.

Your body will only think it’s a good time to ovulate if it thinks that now is a good time to bring a new baby into your environment, regardless of whether you want one. If you’re not getting the right nutrients your body might think “Oh no! She’s starving! Not enough nutrients to make a baby with, or to keep a baby alive.” And then things might go haywire.

  •  Drink enough water

The amount of water you need to drink can vary, depending on your circumstances. For instance if you’re in a hot and dry environment you’d need to drink more water than if you were in a cool dry environment.

 A good rule of thumb is take your weight in pounds, divide it by two, and drink that many ounces of water per day.  So if you weighed 120 lbs, you would drink 60 oz of water per day, adjusting, as needed, based on your particular circumstances.

  •  Get enough sleep

The amount needed may vary from woman to woman, and night to night.  If you wake up feeling tired, there’s a good chance that you’re not getting enough sleep. Some women might need only 7 hours, but others might need up to 10, depending on what’s going on at the time. If you’re sick, you’re likely to need more sleep than if you’re well.

  •  Get enough exercise

Exercise is important. It keeps your muscles and bones and organs healthy and toned.  Without any exercise you’ll start to slowly collapse like a flan in cupboard. Get the amount that makes your body feel good. Don’t just go out there and start running marathons if you haven’t taken a jog since 1992, or you’ll wake up stiff as a board and swear off exercise forever!

 Start with your own level of fitness. If that means a walk around the block every night after dinner, so be it. You can work up from there. Find the type of exercise that suits you. Walking, swimming, yoga, running, rock climbing, dance, hula hooping, martial arts, pole dancing, whatever strikes your fancy. Just make sure you enjoy it, or you won’t keep it up, and then, again with the flan.

If you’re not getting enough water, sleep, or exercise your body will not be at its healthiest, and, if that’s the case, it’s not uncommon for a cycle to be a little unpredictable.  YOU have to be healthy before you can consider bringing a new life into the world, and you’re not likely to ovulate regularly if your system is out of whack.

Assuming that you’ve done all of the above, and have been keeping it up for a few months, you may find that your cycle is now running like clockwork!

But if not, now is the time to start looking at what might be missing that might help your cycle.

  • More food!

We’ve already talked about food above, and finding the right diet for you.  But sometimes even a great diet needs a little supplementation. For me, the difference between a 55 day cycle and a 35 day cycle is as simple as a teaspoon of fish oil every day. Barleans makes a good one that isn’t totally gross.  I tried fish oil in the past, but it was yucky, so I never wanted to take it.  But now I found one that I do like, and it seems to be working! The key here is always to find something that works for you, that you will actually DO, because if you’re not going to do it on a regular basis, it’s obviously not going to have the desired effect.

  • Vitamins

A good multi-vitamin is also usually a helpful addition to any diet. And some women find that B vitamins give them good results. Vitamin D is also said to be important for a healthy cycle. And for those of you suffering with PMS, 750mg of vitamin C every day has been shown in some studies to alleviate some of those less-than-pleasant symptoms of PMS, like sore breasts, bloating, super crankiness, et cetera.

  •  Herbs

If food and vitamin supplements don’t do the trick, then it might be time to move on to herbs. Now, I know you can pick herbs out of the wild, and buy them in stores all willy nilly, but they can be powerful medicine and should be treated as such. Don’t just start taking them for the fun of it! Consult with a qualified herbalist before beginning any herbal treatment.  Bring them your charts and show them exactly what’s going on. They will likely create a plan of action based on your specific needs at that time.

While we’re on the subject, a word about maca. Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable, usually sold in powder form, that is said to help regulate all manner of hormonal disorders. Though maca is technically a “food,” in this case it belongs in the “herb” category, as this stuff is not fooling around! Anything that can influence your hormones needs to be treated with kid gloves. Just because it’s not regulated by the FDA doesn’t mean that it can’t hurt you, or at least really mess with you if you are not under the care of a pro. I have a really gross story that I’ll probably never tell you, about my own personal experience with maca.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture has also been used by women for thousands of years to help regulate their cycles and give them a healthier reproductive system. There are acupuncturists that specialize in fertility. Here is a list of some Acupuncture for Fertility practitioners in the USA, by state.

  •  Medical treatment

And lastly, if you want to seek conventional medical treatment for your irregular cycles,  you might want to ask your doctor to address the root of the problem. If your doctor recommends that you go on hormonal contraceptives, make sure you know what you’re getting into, and why.  If you want to bleed every 28 days, and don’t care about addressing any potential underlying concerns, go ahead and do that,  but know that being on the pill is not actually getting to the root of the problem, and that the bleeding you experience when you’re on hormonal contraceptives is not a real period. It’s a bleed caused by the sharp drop in hormones that occurs during your week of placebo pills.  This is preferable for some women, it all depends on what your desired outcome is.

In short, get your health in order by eating, sleeping, drinking water and exercising in the appropriate way for your particular situation, and if that doesn’t work try some food or vitamin supplements, moving on to herbs, acupuncture, or medical treatment, if needed.

Hope that helps!  If you have personal experience regulating an unpredictable cycle, please tell us about it below.

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  • Jerilynn C. Prior

    8:58 amDecember 20, 2012

    This is a very woman-friendly and helpful approach to predictable cycles. I speak as someone who lost my period for 9 months when I first went away to university (there were more people on campus than in a 200 mile radius from my home in Alaska) and as a physician focusing on women’s menstrual cycles and ovulation.

    In addition there is yet another basic health-restoring thing you need to do–decrease stress. Not enough calories for what you are burning and being stressed (feeling not at home in your body or your situation) are the strongest disruptors of cycles ever.

    Decreasing stress–that is easier said than done! However, we may not be able to control the causes of stress but we can control our responses. Learning and practicing relaxation or meditation or yoga breathing is an absolutely essential part of having a normal cycle/ovulation.

    Finally, if you’ve done all that Kati suggests and worked hard on stress reduction and your cycles are still far apart or non-existent, consider progesterone. Your response may be, “I’m not taking hormones! They’re dangerous or scarey or awful or. . . ” Yes, progesterone is a woman’s hormone–but it is not estrogen. It does not cause blood clots, migraines, increased strokes, heart attacks or even breast cancer. Instead it is natural (and you can take the “bio-identical” form as a pill) and its job throughout the body is to counterbalance estrogen and to play an essential and positive role with estrogen in breast, bone, brain, cardiovascular system and every other tissue in the body.

    Taking progesterone for two weeks and then off for two weeks will bring on flow if your estrogen levels are normal but will not if they are low. But most importantly it “talks back” to the brain and stimulates the brain into a more mature and less “frightened” reproductive stand leading to regular flow. We did a trial some years ago showing that women with lots of calcium (total about 2000 mg/d) and cyclic progestin (acts like progesterone on bone formation) had a significant 2-3% increase in bone density while those on placebos lost 2 % a year.

    When you feel “at home” your period will return. Be good to yourself and you will find yourself in physical and emotional balance.

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