57: Why PCOS may not be the only thing causing your missing periods – and how to get your periods back
If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS or you think you have it, you’ve almost inevitably fallen down the rabbit warren of trying to understand everything there is to know about PCOS. So you’ll definitely know that one of the three criteria used to diagnose PCOS is an irregular or completely absent period.
What you may not know is that PCOS may not be the only thing causing your period to go AWOL. You may have heard of it before or it might not have been on your radar – Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA).
Now you may be thinking “well great, I’ve already got PCOS which sucks but now I’ve potentially got something else wrong too?! Is the world out to get me?!” and let me tell you – I hear you, I’ve been in your shoes! But the positive here is that very often it is in fact curable by making lifestyle changes. There are a few things that could be causing you to develop Hypothalamic Amenorrhea – but a lot of them are generally within your control.
This podcast episode is solely about Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I talk you through what is actually is, what the common causes are (which are in your control and which could be beyond your control), what to ask your doctor, anyone else I think you should be consulting about this, if genetics play a role in HA and what YOU can do to help get those monthly cycles back in action.
Periods give us a huuuuge amount of insight on what’s going on not only down there but also with our more general health.
So, if the symptoms of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea resonate with you, you’re having trouble with your periods or you’re just interested in learning more about your cycles, plug in those headphones, get out for a walk or potter around the house and tune into this episode!
This episode is for you if:
- You have low oestrogen
- Your periods are irregular or missing all together
- You’ve just come off the Pill
- You have low or normal luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone levels
- You are an athlete
- You’re working out / training a lot (intentionally or unintentionally)
- You’re interested in nutrition and eating
- You have disordered eating tendencies – whether that mirrors under eating or binging and restricting cycles (intentionally or unintentionally)
- You think you have or have been diagnosed with RED-S
Some things we cover in this episode:
- Genetics and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA)
- RED-S, HA and PCOS
- Being an athlete and menstruation
- Psychological stress and periods
- Body fat’s role in your cycle
- Exercise, Nutrition and how that affects your cycles
- Eating disorders, disordered eating, PCOS and HA
- The pathways that HA affects
Resources and References:
- A Genetic Basis for Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
- Compartmentalised disciplines: Why low energy availability research calls for transdisciplinary approaches
- Resting metabolic rate prediction equations and the validity to assess energy deficiency in the athlete population
- My Book: Getting Pregnant with PCOS