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My Period Post

by Meghann on October 20, 2010

*Disclaimer*

This is a post about my period. There I said it. If this topic makes you uncomfortable please do not read.

And just as a side note, this is a topic that I’ve discussed with every member of my immediate family, even my boss and a few co-workers. I am not ashamed.

Let’s see. Where do I begin with this topic?

This is a subject that I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while, but I never knew quite how to approach it. The truth? I haven’t had my period in over a year. It’s easy to make assumptions about this statement, I mean everyone does, but – as with everything in life – there’s so much more to it then that.

So, let’s start from the beginning shall we? Here is the story of my period. I have no answers, no theories, no conclusions – just a story.

This may be going way too far back, but I got my first period when I was 13. It was irregular at first, but after a year or so it was normal. I was one of those lucky ones who never really dealt with mood swings or had major cramps. My period was a problem-less one and I was thankful for that.

When I was 18 I started on the pill. Again, no problems. Everything was normal and every month my period arrived right on schedule. However, I loathed taking the pill everyday and moved on to the NuvaRing for a couple of years. I loved it. I only had to deal with the ring once a month and after that it was a ‘leave it and forget it’ type of approach. Unfortunately my insurance stopped covering the NuvaRing and I was forced to go back on the daily pill.

After years of slowly gaining weight I decided to do something about it. I started running, I started eating right, and I started getting healthy. I, also, ended a two year relationship with my boyfriend. The break up left me single and alone for quite a few months afterwards.

When the time came to renew my birth control prescription (in October of 2008) I opted out of it. I was tired of taking the pill and couldn’t really see a point to it anymore. This was about the same time I was training for my first half marathon and was stepping up my running game. I went from 10-15 miles per week to maybe 20 -25; give or take a little.

I was running and enjoying my life, but something was missing. Oh yeah, my period. I was so busy with training, blogging, and making new friends in my new city (I had just moved to Orlando a couple of months prior) that I forgot I was supposed to be getting my period.

A couple of months went by and I really didn’t think anything of it. When my annual gyno appointment started approaching that January, I started doing the math. Turns out I hadn’t had my period since I went off birth control 3 months prior. Time sure does fly.

At the appointment I explained to my gyno exactly what had happened. I had lost 30 pounds the previous year through eating right and running. I had gone off birth control that October and had been getting my period regularly before that, but hadn’t seen it since. She told me that it was perfectly normal to not get a period after going off birth control and if I waited a few more months I would probably see it again.

I asked her about my running. I wanted to know if training for my half marathon had anything to do with my period. She told me that it was a possibility. Everybody’s body responds differently and it could be that since my body wasn’t used to running that much mileage, that it was responding the way it knew how.

She really had no answers for me besides not to worry about it and that going back on birth control would bring my period back. If not I should call her and make another appointment.

She gave me a prescription and sure enough my period appeared like clockwork the following month.

I continued taking the pill and continued getting my period for a few months. Then, while training for my second marathon (where I maxed out at 40-45 miles per week leading up to the race), my period stopped coming again. This time I was still on the pill when my monthly friend stopped making her visits.

Again, I was so busy training, blogging, and loving life, that when my friend stopped visiting, it didn’t even cross my mind to worry about it. A couple of months went by and I was still on the pill and still not getting my period. Finally, I stopped taking the pill altogether and decided to wait it out for my yearly exam with my gyno to see what to do.

She still didn’t have any answers. She told me I was healthy as a horse. Healthy weight. Healthy body fat. Healthy cholesterol. etc.

I have a family history of hyper-thyroidism, so we had blood work done to rule that out. Everything came back normal, except for my estrogen level. Apparently I had the estrogen level of a “pre-pubescent little girl.” Great. How do I fix that? Her answer: more birth control.

She wrote a prescription, but I never got it filled. I wanted my period to come back on it’s own. I made a 3 month follow up appointment and continued doing what i was doing.

Still, no period.

The appointment came and went, but no answers.

I cut back on running. I gained 5 pounds. I told everyone under the sun about my problem and was surprised to hear how many people were going through the same thing.

A friend suggested I see an oriental medicine doctor. I went and enjoyed the appointment, but due to the long drive I was unable to make any follow up visits. The doc-to-be did informed me my chi was out of whack during that one visit. He prescribed a diet plan to help set it straight, but I’ve never been one to follow a diet plan. I like to do my own thing and eventually failed miserably following the set guidelines.

At my next 3 month follow up appointment I decided to finally take my gyno’s advice and take the pill she had been trying to get me to take for months now. I took it reluctantly. Why was her only answer to take birth control? I didn’t want to take birth control! I wanted a way to bring my period back without that damn pill!

Since the regular BC had stopped bringing my period a few months prior, she stepped up the game and gave me extra high estrogen birth control to counteract my personal low levels.

The side effects of that pill were almost unbearable. I was moody, bitchy, and over emotional. I hated the way I felt and I could tell I was really starting to annoy Derek and other loved ones in my life. I had my fair share of breakdowns over the course of that month and felt like I was always on the verge of crying.

To top it all of the extra high estrogen pill wasn’t covered by my insurance. It was costing me over $50 a month. Not cool.

The end of the first month came and still no period. I rode that emotional roller coaster for nothing. Granted I was only on that pill for one month and was told I needed to give it a try for at least two or three to make it happen, but I was done. My head was done. I would rather not have a period then feel like crap.

I had my final appointment with my gyno this past August. And after another round of blood tests to conclude everything else was normal – besides my estrogen levels – she was at a total loss. For the millionth time I asked her about my weight and running, but she told me it was fine. With no other suggestions from her besides trying another pill, we decided to try to wait and see again.

I’m scheduled to go back for my annual exam this coming February. Who knows what will happen before now and then. She seems certain if I give it enough time that my period will come back on it’s own.

In the mean time I don’t know what to do, but wait myself.

This past August I attended a session at the Healthy Living Summit on Properly Fueling for Work Outs. The RD presenting had peaked my interest when she spoke of clients that had lost their periods and had come to see her in hopes of getting them back. It honestly had never occurred to me before then to see an RD or any other doctor besides a gyno or enchrodonologist regarding my lack of period.

I thought I was eating right, but was I really?

I spoke with a RD at the conference and told her my story. She had mentioned that I probably wasn’t eating enough or the right food and that I should send her a journal of a week of my diet and exercise routine. I told her it was all on the blog – give or take random bites throughout the day – but I never followed up with her.

I did want to push through the point that since losing my period, I had gained weight to see if that would help. I had also cut back on running over the summer. My body fat percentage is in the mid-range of what is considered normal for my height and as far as any blood tests can tell, I’m fine. She hmmm…ed over those statements and again had no answers. It seems no one has any answers.

During my last two years of period craziness I have been very open about it with friends and family. I will usually tell anyone who will listen and have even had a conversation with my boss about it who concluded “but, you’re not even skinny-skinny” Umm.. thanks.

Heather had wrote a really moving post about this same subject a couple of months ago. As I was reading about her struggles to gain her period back I felt like she was reading my mind. The same thoughts of “It can’t be because I’m too skinny – there are plenty of people out there that are skinnier than me” or “It’s not because I run too much – there are people out there who run more than me” Those are the things I tell other people and those are the things I tell myself, but I often wonder how much of that is true.

I read stories of elite runners like Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliff getting pregnant and having babies and I think to myself “if these elite athletes can get their periods and have babies, then why can’t I?” It’s a very confusing thing, because I don’t know their private history. Did they need help to conceive? Did they continue to get their period as normal and never have a problem? I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t know anything.

So, here’s where I conclude my story. With a big fat – I don’t know. Did I lose my period because of running? Probably. Do I eat enough? Yes. Do I run too much? Do I sleep enough? I don’t know.

After all my research I’ve concluded that not getting my period could be any number of things. But since I’m an athlete everyone’s minds – including mine – seems to narrow down on one thing. It’s not safe to make assumptions. We all have issues and I’m still figuring mine out.

Sorry, for the long drawn out story, but I wanted to set the record straight. So many of you had reached out to me with your own story, and it’s god to hear I am not alone. This is a common problem for women – athletes or not – and there are still a lot of unanswered questions out there.

I’ll keep seeking out any answers that I can, but for now it’s a wait and see game.

{ 283 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope October 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Have you ever thought of getting a second opinion and seeing a different gynecologist?

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2 Meghann October 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I have thought about that and I should. My brother is a 4th year med student and we talk about it all the time. he has sent me countless articles on it. He says I run too much. But this is why I was nervous about posting on this because I haven’t sought all the answers out yet, I’m still fighting my way through everything.

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3 Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope October 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm

For peace of mind, I would definitely seek another opinion and make an appointment with a different gynecologist. I’m sure you’re healthy like your MD said, but sometimes things can get missed and it helps to have a second eye of a medical professional.

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4 Becky October 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Totally agree about the 2nd opinion. It certainly wouldn’t hurt. I’m sorry you are struggling through this. It sounds really stressful and difficult. I’m glad you have supportive family and friends to help you through. One thing that struck me through your story was that it does seem like you’ve bounced around a bit from doctor-to-doctor (gyno to chinese doctor) and plan to plan (on the birth control, off the birth control, etc). I know you said the BC you were on was horrible, but I do wonder whether a different prescription or a different plan that felt like you could stick with it would help. If you haven’t had your period for more than a year, you probably need to give your body some time on a “new” plan (whether that is BC, a change in diet/exercise, whatever you choose) to sort itself out. As you said, 1 month isn’t going to be long enough to see a change. Whatever you decide, I hope you get some answers!

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5 Courtney Smith October 21, 2010 at 5:56 am

You should go to an endocrinologist since they deal directly with hormone issues. A lack of estrogen can mess up more than your reproductive system as it is a protective factor against dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. Also, eating lots of soy can decrease you estrogen levels.

6 Morgan October 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm

I honestly don’t think you run enough to have lost your period… And you seem to eat right.

Have you thought about getting checked to see if you ovulate? You may not have a period because you don’t ovulate.

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7 Morgan October 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm

This is very interesting-I hope you will keep us updated on this. You need House, MD!

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8 J October 22, 2010 at 11:00 pm

From an outside perspective , I would say you do NOT run too much, but you do eat too little for the amount you run. Almost any amount of running is beneficial if you work up to it gradually and eat enough to make-up for the training.

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9 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Wow, it was really brave of you to share this!! I lost my period for two years during my ED, but have had it back for several years. I know how confusing it can be even when there’s a solid REASON to not be getting it, so I can only imagine how frustrated you must feel. I must say though, you ARE a healthy woman and our bodies can be very tricky sometimes, so if any haters (ahem, Marie Claire) try to use this to say otherwise, you know the truth!!

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10 Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat October 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. It must be a little frustrating to hear that you are as healthy as a horse, despite not getting your monthly visitor. But the good thing is that you are healthy!! Mother nature has her own plans, and sometimes it’s just best to go with that.

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11 Lindsey @ DownwardFacingFoodie October 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I know you’re really worried about this, but I have read from numerous sources that there is no scientific/biological reason that women NEED to have a period. It doesn’t do anything for us besides get in the way. I’m not a doctor, obviously, but I would guess it would have something to do with how lean you are. You just happen to be one of the lucky ones. :)

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12 Megan October 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm

While there is no need to actually go through the process of having a period if you are on birth control (thank you, seasonique commercials), if you’re not getting your period (with or without BC), my understanding is that the hormonal imbalances CAN have negative consequences. Specifically problematic for running, amenorrhea is often part of the “female athlete triad” that includes osteoporosis–which can lead to stress fractures. Right or wrong, for lots of runners, just hearing that stress fractures *might* be a possibility is enough to get them to sign up for BC pills.

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13 J October 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm

This is just not true. Hormonal balance is involved in SO many bodily functions. Blood production, bone formation, energy metabolism, and so many more bodily actvities are affected by hormones!

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14 Angie October 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Meghann,
Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve too had a similar problem. While I’m not a true athlete, I do exercise regularly and had lost around 30# when I stopped taking the pill in order to try for child #3. When I didn’t get a period I thought I was pregnant, nope. After a few months of this I talked to my Dr. and was tested for numerous things. I too had low estrogen levels. Why? Possibly because of the weight loss. The only way I got my period back was to try 2 different pills to bring it back. I’m still on BC, but someday I hope to go off of it. I wonder, will I then get a period or not? Right now it’s artificially induced.
My only other concern, for you and myself, IS the low estrogen. Bone loss, etc….that’s why for now I chose to go back on BC to give my body some estrogen since I don’t seem to be producing my own.
Good luck to you and you ultimately know what’s right for your body!
P.S. I enjoy your blog immensely and you inspire me in so many ways.

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15 Meghann October 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Thanks Angie! And i’m concerned about the low estrogen too! My doctor has me on regular calcium supplements and a daily multivitamin.

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16 Brittney October 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm

My mom had low estrogen levels and they gave her some pill to take that wasn’t bc… just hormones. I don’t know what it was called and if it can even be used in your case, but maybe they could do something like that for you?

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17 Lindsay October 20, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Six years ago when I was really sick with a rare stomach disorder (GI Compromise) I too had lost my period at the same time as I had lost a profound amount of weight. While today I am healthy and regularly menstruate, my doctor back then had prescribed progesterone, which I am pretty sure is the exact hormone pill (not THE pill) Brittney is referring to. It did exactly what my gyno said it would do, it jump-started my period with zero side effects. Like you meghann, I also had (and still have) a horrible reaction to BC, and i’ve tried 6 different brands, that I refuse(d) to ever go back on BC ever again. I would seek out a second opinion and ask about progesterone. Perhaps it will provide the same glorious results as it did for myself. Good luck with the period…talk about frustration nation!!

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18 Jae October 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I dont know if I have low estrogen or not, but are there estrogen supplements available out there that I can request from my doctor or is it just vitamins and whatnot?
(I dont have my period ><)

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19 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather October 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Kinds sounds frustrating, but at least you aren’t just ignoring it and taking action. thanks for sharing your story.

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20 Liz October 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I have the same issues as you and have had them for about 7 years. As soon as I go on BC it comes back, but as soon as I go off of it, it goes away. I too have had all the blood work done and tests show I’m fine. I’ve never thought about the ‘down the road’ issues, though.

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21 Heather October 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Not trying to stir the pot here but…..you have a couple options that you could try. 1) Follow up with the RD or 2) try the diet from the oriental doctor.

I also do not get a period but mine is lost from my pills. It’s a 24 day “on” pill. I was on a different pill last year though & it came back fine.

I am sorry you are struggling with this & do understand because in the past I had lost it from marathon training (twice…2 years apart.) But you do have a couple options that you could follow up on rather than doing the waiting game. I understand that kids may not be in your near future but having this issue resolved now might prevent you from some struggles later.

Best to you.

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22 Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! October 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have had similar troubles for years, and I appreciate knowing that other people are struggling with the same issue. I admire you for having strong convictions about you want and don’t want in your body, and I hope that you will someday find the answers you’re looking for. I also think that seeing an RD is an excellent way to do a “check-in” with yourself and your activity level and eating and see if everything is well-aligned. Good luck to you!

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23 Nicole W. October 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm

you aren’t doing anything completely abnormal… maybe you have developed a fertility issue. If you don’t produce an egg, then the body will find no need to shed it each month.

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24 Kate October 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm

This is not an accurate statement, you are losing your eggs each month regardless of whether or not you get your period.

Not getting your period is a very serious issue if you would like to have children in the future. I have a runner friend that did not get her period for 7 years. She had to go through IVF 2x to get pregnant because her estrogen levels were so low. As a high-mileage runner (or former that is), I myself did not get my period for 13 months after having my son because my estrogen levels were low, possibly because I was breastfeeding or because I was running 60-90 MPW while training for a sub-3hr marathon. I do get my period on my own now, but the only way I do this is by having a BMI of 18.8-19.2 (formerly 18.1) and keeping my running below 20 MPW. I can guarantee you that runners like Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliff did not get pregnant without help. In fact, Kara Goucher announced that she was going to be TTC 9 months before she actually got pregnant, which to me indicates an issue. Do not ignore this. Your future ability to have children is dependent upon it. And, fertility drugs do not solve everything, as someone that has been through multiple rounds of IVF (due to male factor infertility, i.e., bad sperm).

Also, you may want to look into whether you might have endometriosis or PCOS, both are conditions which impact your period.

I encourage you to take care of this now while you are young so that you don’t have to deal with these issues when you actually want to have a child.

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25 Serena October 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I don’t know that you can say that you can guarantee that those elite runners didn’t get pregnant without help. It took me 10 months to get pregnant on a regular cycle with my period and it takes the average healthy couple up to a year. Without knowing for sure (unless you’re friends with these women or they’ve made statements to the press about getting help), I don’t think you should say that you can guarantee they didn’t have help, because you really do not know that for sure.

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26 Marianne October 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Women don’t produce eggs – we’re born with a certain amount of them – when you don’t ovulate, an egg is not released from the ovary (so it doesn’t have a chance to be fertilized).

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27 Kara October 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I had a similar issue and you may have already tried this (and it seems TOO easy and you may not think it will work), but I added more dietary fat, specially from dairy, to my diet and my period came back. I didn’t reduce my mileage or gym sessions, just added the full fat diary. Everyone is different, but it worked for me and I was able to conceive a child without any medical help (even after losing my period for over a year).

Plus, it has made me realize that skim milk is gross and full fat cheese is the only way to go! :)

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28 Kara October 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Also, the “period” you get on the pills isn’t a real period, it’s just withdrawal bleeding. Just FYI.

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29 Amy October 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

That’s a good point. When you’re on the pill, I don’t think you actually ovulate. (Correct me if I’m wrong …)

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30 Bree @ beeskneeslife October 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Correct. A pill period is withdrawal bleeding from the pill. There is no ovulation – otherwise it wouldn’t be a very effective method of birth contorol, no? ;) Sometimes – women can have a regular period (no pills involved) but not ovulate. It’s called anovulation.

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31 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I would get a second opinion as well. The pill just covers up issues in my opinion. And as someone who fought to get her period back in order to try to conceive (and went through all those emotions) I would seriously recommend fighting to find a way to get yours back before it could cause more problems. I had to hold off on workouts. It was HARD, but it was worth it to get my body functioning properly. I truly think figuring out what affects your cycle is something you need to work on. Perhaps eventually (maybe after this next marathon) see if cutting back some on running helps or giving a talk with an RD another try. Or even try the estrogen pills again and give them a solid effort. Things hormone related are HARD to deal with and battle. I know from experience. Please don’t think “I’m still healthy besides that” and not do everything you can to help this out. I’ve had TWO friends who had that same attitude and now struggle to get pregnant for YEARS.

I say this out of sincere hope for your well being. I hope it doesn’t come across as anything else. I can tell you want to figure it out, but at the same time it may take trying more things and giving it more time than you have already. I hope you are open to that.

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32 Jae October 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Ah, its great to hear of a person who fought the battle and won! thank you for giving me hope that I CAN get it back and possibly concieve in the future

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33 Mandy October 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I don’t get my period without the pill either. When I told my doctor about it she took some blood tests and I was diagnosed with PCOS….so as i’m been told, i probably would get a period Maybe once a year if I didn’t take the pill.

I’ve previously gone 8 months without having a period before going back on the pill. So i have no idea if i’d ever get it. It’s always been irregular before, and i thought i lost it due to losing weight.

Thanks for sharing your story…it’s nice to know there’s someone else who has some of the same issues.

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34 Heather @ Side of Sneakers October 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Oops…I probably should have followed up with you, not the other way around. ;) I’ll email you later, but I have to say, the period thing will get figured out- the most important part in the mean time is making sure you’re healthy in the “obvious” ways (which you are!) as in weight, body fat, regular check ins, etc. It might just be a matter of the estrogen & maybe you don’t need to suffer through the moodiness supplements cause until you’re getting closer to wanting babies. :)

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35 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

You know I think you’re awesome Heather, but I do have to disagree here. The longer such things aren’t figured out, the harder it is to deal with down the road. If Meghann has any desire to have kids, then she should do all she can to get this taken care of as soon as possible. She is certainly healthy on the whole, but a missed period does signify something that needs to be cared for and shouldn’t be put off.

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36 Heather @ Side of Sn October 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Didn’t mean “ignore”- just meant don’t overly stress. Sometimes finding a cause for something takes a little while. ;)

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37 Heather @ Side of Sneakers October 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Didn’t mean “ignore”- just meant not to overly stress about it. Sometimes finding a cause for something takes a little while. ;) [Adding stress to the mix doesn't help.]

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38 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Gotcha. :) I certainly agree with that! Stress won’t help at all. Definitely worth taking a closer look into asap though and going through more trial and error to really get at whatever the underlying issue is whenever anyone faces such a thing.

Meghann, I hate knowing you have to deal with this. Figuring out health related issues is a tough thing to do. Stay proactive and hopefully this will all resolve itself sooner rather than later. :)

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39 Jill E. October 20, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Meghann, it is really brave of you to share your story especially when it is still in process. i have just started running and have lost a few pounds but i have considered numerous times going off the bc, i do use the nuva ring which i love less headaches and less time wasted, but i am recently engaged and it would be nice to loose a couple more but there are cons and hearing your story adds a whole other side. thank you.

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40 Alison October 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Have you had your body fat tested?

Even though you may be at a healthy weight, some women lose their periods at a body fat as low as 18 or 19%. It happened to me. At the time I was in my early 20s, a competitive athlete, and didn’t really care all that much if I had my period or not. :) However, once I got married and started thinking about having a family I started to worry. Luckily, as soon as I went off BC I was able to get pregnant quite easily.

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41 Laurel October 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I do not get my period unless I am on the pill. My doc told me #1 You do not need to have a regular period to get pregnant (I have 2 healthy kids) because you can still ovulate and not have a period (i did) and #2 You do not have to have a period to be healthy. I am perfectly healthy, my doctor said If I really want my period I can take the pill. The low estrogen is definitely a concern, so if going on the pill helps with that, it may be something you need to think about. Good luck!

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42 Marisa @ Loser for Life October 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Thanks for sharing your story, Meghann. I’m sure it will help many others who struggle with this.

I also agree, with other commenters that you should get a second opinion or perhaps see a specialist.

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43 Kate October 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I had the same exact problem (normal weight, normal body fat) and trained for marathons. When I significantly reduced my running, like magic- I got my period. I still exercise regularly, just not to the level I used to and now get my period regularly. I would get a second opinion.

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44 Jessica October 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I had the same problem – weight loss, high mileage running, and no period without BC. After three tries with on pill/off pill cycles, I got my period back.

I don’t think you need to gain weight or cut back on running (though I did both, too, initially). I think maybe a little more fat in your diet would help a lot. I’m no nutritionist or doctor, but I’ve been through it, and now I’m healthy. I eat a lot of nuts, nut butters, oils, and fattier fishes, etc.

You have got to be really careful with this, not just in terms of a healthy reproductive cycle (for future children), but the health of your bones. Even just a year without a period can do some serious damage.

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45 J October 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Meghann,

I’ve really grown to love your blog and I think it’s admirable how honest you are with your readers. Thanks for sharing- I think it was a low blow of the Marie Claire writer to highlight such a personal issue and take it out of context. Did you know that she was going to include that?? It just ticks me off that she took advantage of your candor and zeroed in on that to criticize and pick apart your lifestyle. Jerk!

Anyway, best of luck to you, I’m sure you will figure it out. Since you are so healthy (as the doctor confirmed) it is probably something that will be resolved with enough trial and error.

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46 Alayna @ Thyme Bombe October 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I’d say as long as there are no risks associated with not getting it every month (and you’re taking calcium for the low estrogen so that doesn’t count) then there’s no real reason for you to worry about it until you are trying to conceive. I have no idea what your baby-making plans are, but just make sure to back off on anything that could disrupt your cycle at least 6 months before you start trying, as it’ll probably take at least that long to regulate. (Not a doctor! Just reiterating things I’ve heard before)

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47 Amy October 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. Please keep us posted (I mean, if that’s not weird) as you find the answers!

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48 Heather October 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble getting an answer :( You’re doctor has probably already mentioned this but my sister has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and that causes her to not ovulate or have a period. She hasn’t had one in around 2 years and just started meds to help with it.

It scares me because I got off the pill in August and haven’t had one since then, hopefully it will come back on it’s own. I’m going to wait the 3 months they say is normal and then check into it. BTW I LOVE your blog!!

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49 Pearl Lee October 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Hi Meghann,

Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. I think you are beautiful and healthy and I understand how frustrating it may be to not have answers as to why your period stopped.

Have you ever tried acupuncture? I keep hearing wonders about it, and since you mentioned that it’s hard for you to follow a set diet plan (which is completely understandable), I thought that you might like to try acupuncture, as it’s just in-session and (as far as I know) doesn’t require you to take follow-up steps at home.

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50 Lauren October 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Thank you for sharing this personal story Meghann. I know I can relate to this and I know if I weren’t on the pill, I wouldn’t be getting my period either. No one really seems to have an answer though which is truly disheartening. As long as you are healthy and happy, then I say you are doing all the right things. Hang in there and when you are ready to slow down and maybe start a family one day, that is when you can spend more concern into this.

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51 Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous October 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for sharing! I did find it kind of different that you didn’t seem to “notice” that your period was missing until a few months had gone by.

As a sexually active person, if my period doesn’t come exactly when it is supposed to, I’m immediately concerned. What if I’m pregnant? (I guess I shouldn’t assume that you are also sexually active, but I do, I guess).

This is all such a scary topic and raises a lot of emotional issues (period, fertility, babies, womanhood, etc)! And I can see how a lot of people wouldn’t want to talk about it. You are really putting yourself out there and being vulnerable to your readers, and that takes a lot of guts. Thank you for sharing your story.

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52 Krystina (Organically Me) October 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I haven’t had my period in about a year, since I lost 200lbs. It scares me because I don’t know what’s wrong and no one will tell me answers either. I hope both of us figure it out sooner rather than later; it’s troubling.

You’re brave for sharing this with us. Thank you. <3

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53 Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin October 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Thank you for sharing this story. It’s kind of crazy how much is unknown still in medicine!

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54 Anna S @ History Running Girl October 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Thank you for sharing such a personal story. How frustrating to not know what is wrong.

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55 Janae Jacobs October 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I have been reading your blog for about a year and I love it! This is the first time I have commented:) I am in your exact same boat and it is so frustrating. I even bought a body bug to make sure that I was eating at least as many calories as I was burning during marathon training etc. My brother is also a doctor and sends me emails weekly about the risks of osteoporosis and other things associated with the loss of your period. It is annoying when you try to take such good care of yourself with how you eat and exercise only to find out you still have to worry about health risks. As soon as you find something that works let me know! Thanks for sharing!!

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56 Danielle October 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for sharing Meghann. I totally understand your reluctance to go back on birth control…there has to be another answer! I hope you are able to figure things out soon. Lots of doctor visits with no answers can be the most frustrating thing. Hang in there!

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57 Bree @ beeskneeslife October 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for sharing and I am sorry you are struggling. I know you mentioned having lots of blood tests, but have you been tested for PCOS? The symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome are often similar to thryroid issues.

Otherwise I recommend to you and everyone here (well at least the women :) ) the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. It has sooo much information about our bodies. Every woman should really read it.

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58 Amy October 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Oh yes! Yes yes yes, read this book! It’s an invaluable resource and it’s been a huge help to me.

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59 Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin October 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I’ve heard awesome things about that book as well. I think Caitlin read it and did a post about it too.

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60 Clare @ Fitting It All In October 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

So frustrating. . I’m on the pill (Loestrin) but I my body ignores it and starts my period early or doesn’t start at all. My mom (a pediatrician) says there isn’t enough estrogen in the pill I’m taking and that my body’s hormones are overpowering it. I need to switch to a pill with a higher level of hormones but am terrified of the mood swings and weight gain that will mean! Ughhhhhhh girl problems

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61 Anna @ Doing Good & Living Well October 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I had the same problem with Loestrin — I was told it was a trace amount of Estrogen in there. They switched me to FemCon and things are right as rain. :) Also, the dose isn’t much stronger — I haven’t had any mood swings or issues with the new pill. Just an option.

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62 Clare @ Fitting It All In October 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for the tip! I’ll bring that up to my doctor at my visit in a few weeks.

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63 Cassie @sunkissedwithlove October 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Same story! Loestrin sucks!! I’ve never felt better than on Femcon!

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64 Paige October 20, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Had the same problem with this as well! My gyno just switched me to a pill with a slightly higher estrogen level.

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65 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm

After going of BC ti took me about 6 months to get my period back and it’s not regular at all. I still miss some months. I don’t think the birth control pill helps at all.
I would suggest you see a Naturopath, their holistic approach is really helpful and usually can explain exactly how everything in your body is connected.

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66 Sarah for Real October 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I’d suggest going to see a Naturopathic Physician. They have MD degrees but with much more training in how the body works overall. Many of them have training in dealing with hormones and they ALL have greater interest in solving the problem, not covering up symptoms. It might not be your running at all, but just your body is screwed up after being on the bc pills.

You don’t sound stressed about it, which is a good thing I suppose. But still you need to be your own health advocate. I’m going to go ahead and scold you like your mother here. You really need to do the leg work if you want to figure it out. Follow up, get a new doc, ask questions. It sucks, I’ve been to SEVEN different docs to figure out my headaches.

I blogged about my experience with a naturopath here: http://wp.me/pRf7R-I2

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67 Sarah for Real October 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

PS my insurance covers naturopathic physicians, score!

PPS I’m on mirena (IUD) and don’t get my period, which I’m told is more common than not on this thing. My NP says I have too MUCH estrogen. I loathe hormones…

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68 Arianna October 20, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Naturopaths have NDs, not MDs. They attend different schools, and their field is rooted in a different philosophical approach from allopathic medicine.

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69 Sarah for Real October 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Yes that is more accurate. All I meant is that they can act as a GP replacement. They can write prescriptions like an MD too. It is definitely true that they have a different approach. My experience has been only positive. My NP has addressed the cause of my problem instead of pushing drugs to cover up the symptoms.

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70 Arianna October 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Yep! I don’t mean that as a judgment of their capabilities or expertise.

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71 Sarah for Real October 20, 2010 at 11:06 pm

You are right though! I misspoke… err, mis-typed.

Meghann, you should definitely see if insurance covers one for you. All the ones in my area seem to specialize in hormones!

72 Lizzy October 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Meghann!
thanks for posting your struggles. I know it probably wasn’t the easiest thing. i can relate in a way, but i didnt have my period for over a year and this was all while i was losing weight. I had a low body fat percentage at the time which was what caused me to not get it, but once i gained some weight back long behold my period came back. i’ve never been on the pill myself so i’m not sure how that all works. i just ran my first marathon this past sunday the 17th, and i’ve been training since june, so i know my milage and exercise levels were at there peak and still i had my period every month, so i don’t think thats your problem at all. You are as healthy as they come, but you should probably get a second opinion somewhere else like everyone else suggested just to see what someone else that hasn’t treated you before has to say. I hope all the best for you and that something positive comes your way!

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73 M October 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

This has definitely happened to me before. I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years, and was very very irregular until I went on birth control. Then I had light periods, but would often miss them in the most intense part of my season. I don’t swim anymore, and I’ve been regular since but I’m still on the pill and a little concerned about the pill masking the bigger problem…thanks for sharing your story.

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74 D October 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I just want to say first that I REALLY admire you writing this, because I think it’s really brave. Not because this issue is something to be ashamed of, but because you know how vicious commenters can be and how quick they are to judge, so I think it takes a lot of integrity to write such a great, honest post.

I am also currently struggling with this issue, but I think there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel for me, as I’m sure there will be for you too. I lost about 30 pounds (going from 135 to 105) over the course of a year and became medically underweight at the same time I picked up running. I didn’t have an ED, but I just wasn’t fueling myself correctly at all, and eventually eating tiny portions felt normal, so I didn’t realise that it wasn’t. I didn’t have a period for two straight years, but unlike you I never discussed it with anyone. I casually mentioned it to a doctor, but all she said was, “you’re so lucky!” which scared me from ever mentioning it again. I told my boyfriend, but all he wanted to say was, “you’re too thin” and not discuss it. I agree that it’s the first conclusion that many people jump to, but I love that you said that about the elite athletes, because it’s so true – we have no idea about anyone elses’s bodies, and it’s also a huge wake-up call that we are NOT all the same. Even after I gained some healthy weight back, my period never came back, which made me realise that there’s a HUGE difference between a “healthy weight” and a healthy weight for ME, which is something I’m still struggling with. I just started training for a marathon, and figured that it definitely wouldn’t come back now, but this month I THINK I may have seen some signs that I will get a full, normal period in a few months. My skin started breaking out a TON, I felt cramp-y, and I had a “period” that lasted about a day. No, it’s not normal, but after exactly 2 years of nothing, it’s a start. I feel confident that you will get it resolved, because there are SO many women who go through this and things always work out in the end if you take care of yourself. Keep running and eating right, but make sure you’re honest with yourself about eating enough. I was certainly eating “enough”, but sometimes “enough” just ISN’T. A few pounds may help your body along, but I gained between 10-15 pounds and it didn’t just magically cure me, so don’t let people brush you off and say it’s weight. Good luck.

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75 Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) October 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I do think that being what is a healthy weight for you will help. Like D, I too lost my period because I was underweight. I gained some weight back to fall nicely into the healthy weight range for my height but still had nothing for another year. It was only when I reached a slightly higher weight (one that was more like the weight I was before I went on a diet) that suddenly I got my period back. I’m not saying that your weight is definitely the issue here, but it is something to bear in mind. I really hope that you manage to get things sorted out and I don’t think that birth control is the answer. When I went to see my GP (in the UK) about my lack of period, going on birth control wasn’t even an option. When I asked whether it would help she just said that it would only hide the problem and that it was important to find the reason behind the lack of periods.

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76 Stephanie October 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I’ve been on the pill for…11 years now (whoa, what?!), and until I started taking it, my period was SUPER irregular (like nothing for 9 months, then 3 months, then nothing for 6 months, etcetcetc). The first pill I was on turned me into a crazy person, and then I switch to a new one…I have NO idea what will happen if/when my husband and I decide to have kids, so it’s a little worrisome for me…but I’m a worrier so…

I concur with the idea of getting a 2nd opinion – can’t hurt to see if someone else has any other ideas.

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77 brittany October 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Hey lady! I went through a similar story, and feel for you what your going through. I was told to go birthcontrol but refused to do so, so I began to research and since I work for a large health food company, I was told to take primrose oil, and I also started drinking rasberry leaf tea. both help support the female reproductive system and balance hormones. It worked! I am not on the pill, run and eat very healthy, this is what worked for me, I hope it leads you in the right direction. b :)

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78 Lizzy October 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Meghann- I’ve gone through this and so has my running partner. Here is my question- does your family (meaning mother, aunt, grandmother) have histories of irregular periods? Because it can run in your family. I don’t think you run too much… there are people out there who run over 100 miles a week and still get it. But I do think you should get a second opinion. When I got off the pill, I didn’t get my . right away and my doctor told me she would give me estrogen (not the pill) to make me get it. I got it before that happened. But my suggestion is to DEFINITELY make another appointment with someone else AND research your family medical history.

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79 Katy October 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Wow…so many of us share this story!

I stopped getting my period after starting running, and despite that all my tests (including PCOS, twice) came back showing no problems, my doctor told me to a) eat a tablespoon of peanut butter every day b) go back on the pill. I *really* didn’t want hormones in my body, but I used a progesterone challenge to jump start my period. I didn’t want to do that every month, so I decided to table the issue and come back when I was ready to start having kids.

Oddly enough, after 18 months of no period and NO changes in diet/exercise/etc. it came back about 6 months ago and has been regular ever since.

Sigh…I did use Taking Charge of Your Fertility to make sure I was ovulating, which was my biggest fear. I LOVE that book.

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80 Meg October 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

Katy – were you ovulating even though you weren’t getting your period?

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81 katie October 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

there has to be some specialist for you to see. a Gynecologist cant be the LAST person on earth to know about periods. there has to be an expert. im sure you are OK and honestly if the side effect of eating healthy and being active is losing your period who cares, that thing sucks anyway. and think about all the money you are saving on tampons!

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82 Lindsay October 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

As someone who has textbook fertility, I can’t personally imagine the uncertainty of what you are going though. I do know that birth control does not solve the problem, and would be wary of a doctor who just wants you to take it…the periods it produces aren’t a true menstruation and they don’t tell you why you aren’t ovulating and getting menses! I am currently pregnant, but before, I used the sympto-thermal method as our contraception. I would be curious to see if you have hormonal peaks at all during the month (aka temp rises, cervical changes), not just what your levels are during a randomly timed dr visit. “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and sympto.org are very useful to me, I don’t know if they might be beneficial to you. I know this is much more than wanting to bleed a week out of every month for you, I hope you get answers long before you are ready to have children of your own!

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83 Nicole @ yuppie yogini October 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Good recap of your period drama ;) I hate you felt you had to share such personal information, but for women who aren’t haters and honestly have the same struggle, you’re story is probably so normalizing.

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84 Marina October 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Thank you for sharing this.
I have a problem with my period too. I was on birth control for about 4 years, and now I took a break, it’s suppose to be good to take a break every few years. But my period is gone. I’ve been of pill for about 3-4 months now, and nothing happened. The thing is, I’ve also lost some weight during those years, and my bmi is,well, almost below the healthy one, and it was a bit below few weeks ago. Now I don’t know why this period loss happened, because I’m underweight, or because of the pill…
Oh period, how I miss thee :D

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85 Jae October 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Definitely, “Oh period, how I miss thee” :D

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86 rachael (peace, kale, and yoga) October 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm

It took a lot of guts to write this.:) Have you considered speaking with an ND (not sure if they are licensed in Fl?) or an integrative MD? They may have more ideas to help balance your hormones naturally. You could look on the functional medicine or acam websites to see if there is one near you. Good luck! I hope you get things worked out soon. :)

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87 Sarah October 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm

thanks for sharing your story! you sound perfectly healthy so i would guess it is the running in your case. i don’t think you run too much though so it is a little confusing! i was a competitive gymnast from about age 7 through high school and that was always a big problem with gymnasts and i think runners as well. it is very frustrating not to know why and to not be able to fix it though! i hope you get some answers soon! maybe try another gyno? i find with doctors second opinions are always good…there is always a different angle to look at.

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88 Devon October 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Hi Meghann,

I have recently started reading your blog and this post definitely struck a chord with me. I am a runner and have had the same issue as you. I went of birth control and never regained my period (this was several years ago). I was interested in getting pregnant at the time, so i really pursued this whole no period thing. I did lots of research and finally ended up at a Reproductive Endocringologist. She took my blood and told me my estrogen levels were extremely low too. She diagnosed me with hypothalamic amenorrhea. Which basically means a loss of your period due to a number of factors – including, stress, exercise, low body fat etc. Your body thinks its in a state of stress (due to whatever the reason) and certain hormones are supressed.

Anyway, after this diagnosis, i did a bunch more research and found a super informative message board on the fertilethoughts.com website :
http://www.fertilethoughts.com/forums/lifes-journey/343535-hypothalamic-amenorrhea.html
Like you, i am not/was not ever underweight, just ran a lot. I have encountered a bunch of girls on this board with this same condition who lost their period after losing a bunch of weight (they never got too skinny, just started losing weight and working out and their period disappeared).

I just have a feeling this is going on with you and wanted to let you know what i have found in my research!

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89 Kate M October 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm

This post really resonated with me – I’ve had the SAME THING happening for a while. It only came back (after 9 months absence) once I got injured and couldn’t run for 4 months… :\ Now I’m running again, and it’s still there, but I don’t know what I’ll do if it disappears again…

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90 Me-Linh October 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I think all of our bodies work differently. Some are allergic to certain medications and some don’t get periods. Consider yourself lucky! I hate getting my period!!

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91 Britt @ Runnerbelle October 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Thanks for sharing! I am in the midst of dealing with this issue right now. After being on BC for 15 years I recently stopped….. and now no period.

My first concern was another ovarian cyst, I just had a large one removed in January. Fortunately no cyst. So for now we are going to try 5 days of hormones to see if that “jump starts” my period.

I actually had even scaled back my running recently after doing a half ironman the beginning of September and am getting ready to start building my training back up in prep for the Boston Marathon in April.

So hopefully in the next five days I’ll get things jump started and that is all my body needed!

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92 Natalie October 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I think this is a great topic and I feel like more women experience this than we even realize.

I’ve had a similar history and finally tried acupuncture (I didn’t do the herbs or diet) for four sessions at the recommendation of a friend. My period came back while I was undergoing treatments. I couldn’t afford to continue but I felt relieved to know that it happened on its own. I know I live a healthy lifestyle and I have faith that it will eventually come back on its own!

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93 Staci October 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Hi Meghann- I’m so glad you posted on this (I’ve been lurking for a while now :). I haven’t had a period for almost 3 years. My gyno said that I have low estrogen levels and that I’m at too low a body fat percentage. So I did what you did, I tried gaining weight and that didn’t help. I run everyday, about 15 miles a week, as well as weight training and other forms of exercise. Nothing seems to help and nobody knows exactly WHY this happens. Unlike you, however, I can’t take any form of the pill. So pretty much it’s a lose-lose situation. Has anyone ever told you how this will affect your future fertility? I’m about to get married and we’re thinking of kids in the future. That’s my biggest fear. Going period-less is fine with me!! Less hassle to deal with :)

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94 Tami October 20, 2010 at 1:06 pm

it’s good that you posted, this I hope people will be able to help you

I would get a second opinion or a 3rd for that matter. Seeing a endocrinologist might help

I worry for you and your ovaries and when you are ready to have a baby what all this might mean for you. Too many people run much more than you but you never know, everyone’s body is different.

It can be so hard to deal with all this, the doctors, the insurance, the time from work…

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95 Kiran October 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

We all can relate to this issue. It’s frustrating. I’ve gone through it myself for many years now. It comes and goes. Stress can be the main trigger here. Give it some time, I am sure it would be fine. Hormones are complex after all.

It’s good to go for a 2nd opinion. I had many irregularity issues and was advised to try a healthier (homeopathy) supplement such as Dr. Reckeweg. Discuss with your doctor about this alternative.

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96 Natalie October 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

This is such an important thing to talk about, and I’m glad to see your post! One thing that jumps out at me is the comparison of your diet and running to other people’s. Since we’re all different, what works for Kara Goucher will likely not work for many other people. And perhaps there’s something more going on than what you eat and how far you run, as others have suggested.

From an outsider’s perspective it looks like you’ve done a lot of talking and seeking answers from several sources, and that a good next step would be to follow up on one or more of the plans that the experts have recommended. Just like training for the marathon, setting a plan and sticking to it for the right amount of time will get you farther than a more scattered plan. The RD will be really helpful in really analyzing what you’re eating and how well that may be fueling you. And getting a second opinion from another gyno would also be useful.

Good luck – you’ve got lots of people rooting for you!

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97 ida October 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I agree with others, you need to get a second opinion. Not having a period can mean loss of bone density, and that is the last thing you want as a runner. I don’t think you run too much, 30 miles a week really isn’t that taxing on the body with proper nutrition. Hopefully some other experts can give you good advice and sort this mess out.
As for Kara and Paula, they both drastically cut their milage and intensity to get pregnant, and they probably had medical help too. Also they have been running for years and you really can’t compare yourself to them at all.

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98 Anna @ Doing Good & Living Well October 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Meghann,
Many thanks for your honesty and candor about ALL of your life. The courage to share this sort of thing is amazing. I hope you find a doc that can give you some answers soon — but it is good that you’re being responsible and following up with blood tests, etc. Kudos to you!

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99 Molly October 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I had a similar problem. When I was 19 a relationship ended and my period went away. I didn’t get my period for 3 years. I went to doctors, no one was too concerned. I had an ultrasound and I too had very low estrogen but no problems anyone could see. I worked with a health counselor for 6 months when I moved to NY and spent time focusing on myself. I was already a healthy eater but I had some emotional eating problems and was stressed. Anyway, at the end of the 6 months, it came back! I don’t know why, I wish I could give you some tips. But I don’t know why it went away or why it returned. I’ve had it ever since. I wonder if this is a common problem among women our age. Good luck!

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100 Caroline October 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Thanks for the post! I’m sorry you can’t seem to find any answers. My instinct would definitely be to get a second opinion. I switched to an IUD just as my mileage was going up in half marathon training and when I hit my lowest weight since… probably middle school, I had no way to tell if losing my period was due to one or the other (since it’s really common for women to lose theirs on an IUD). While I love not having one and have gained some weight back, I kind of regret not having that ‘check’ on my health.

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101 Kim October 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. That took A LOT of guts. I thought it was well written and honest. I also don’t think you run too much – you’re normal, you’re an athlete, you’re training. But at least to me it doesn’t seem like you overdo it or are overtaxing you body. If you were, I think other symptoms would show up – you’d be overtired, injured, struggling in races. I hope you can get it figured out without having to take more pills. Thanks for being open with all of us and sharing this!

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102 Jen October 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Lurker here (but I love your blog)- so glad you shared. I suffer from the opposite problem – bleeding all the time. The story is similar though, doctors don’t know whats wrong and keep giving me more hormones which I have tried and come to the conclusion that they aren’t for me because of the side effects. Listen to your gut, maybe get a fresh perspective from another doctor. No right or wrong answer, sometimes just have to roll with it :) PS I think you are lucky to have no period! (I kid, I know its bad, but I just want mine to go away!)
Good luck!

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103 Jess October 20, 2010 at 1:26 pm

hi Meghann,
I initially had to start taking a BC pill because I lost so much blood every month, my body couldn’t keep up. I was only 14 back then. I also switched to Nuvaring for convenience reasons for a couple of years. 3 years ago, my then-boyfriend and I wanted to start a family, so I quit my Nuvaring. I was expecting to lose a lot of blood like I did before, but my period barely ever came. Each month, I thought I was pregnant, but as it turns out; I just didn’t really ovulate, so there was no need in getting my period either. Note that I was barely running back then, about 10 miles each weak on average.

After a year of trying to conceive; we split up (had nothing to do with not conceiving). As I started a new relationship a few months later, I also started taking my Nuvaring again. The first time I got my period, I lost blood for 2 weeks straight! I had to rush to the toilets every hour! I went to my gyn, because I wanted to know how I could NOT get a period when I wasn’t on any BC and get massive bloos loss when I was on the Nuvaring. She then found out I have PCOS (cysts on my ovaries) and would not have a normal ovulation without any medical help. Apart from that, I also don’t absorb iron; not from food, not from medication, so I had to take a new pill that’s suitable for taking non-stop, to make sure I never lost any blood.

I’m really hoping to have kids with my new partner in a few years and can only hope that the medical world will have an answer for me, you and all other women out there!!!

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104 Joey October 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Weren’t you ever worried that you were pregnant? How can you ever know if you are if you aren’t getting a period… That would drive me CRAZy!!! Thanks for sharing and hope you keep us posted along the way…

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105 Mellissa October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Going to echo others and say- go to another doctor. You body is telling you something is off and has stopped your period. That has to be cause for concern, and it could be diet, exercise, hormonal factors or a combo of those things.

Comparing to other runners who had babies is not an equal comparison and what could be fine for them could be too hard on someone else’s body. Go find a good doctor who listens to you and tries to figure out what the reason is. Putting you back on the pill is not the right answer!

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106 Kristen October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! Although I have never had a problem with my period, I am planning on going off the pill in the next few months in order to try to get pregnant. I am praying that this does not happen to me, but I guess I will find out soon enough.

Everyone’s body is different. Just because you don’t run as many miles or weigh as little as someone else doesn’t mean your body won’t respond the same way. Maybe 40+ miles is too much for your body, but not someone elses. I am by no means an expert, but I know my body responds different to running more miles (i.e. keeping on extra weight to ward off things like what you are going through). I agree with the 1st poster though… I would get a second opinion. Again, thank you so much for sharing your story!

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107 Elizabeth October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Hey Meghann! Thanks for posting this. I have been struggling with the same issue for years. It makes me feel a lot better that I am not alone, because no one I talk to really understands. I only got my period once, when I was 16 (I’m 19 now) and am scared about future effects, including bone loss. I checked with my doctor, and she wanted me to go on birth control & Provera, too, but I decided against it. I want mine to come back naturally too. I have also tried gaining more weight and increasing fat intake, and stopping exercise (although I have never been super active!) Good luck, I hope it comes back for you!!!

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108 Megan October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Meghann– thanks so much for sharing your story. After losing about 80 pounds and starting to run, I haven’t had a period since 2006. When I started weight loss, I went off the pill that I always hated being on anyway. My OB-gyn did an ultrasound to ensure that I could ovulate, and concluded my body is just not menstruating. According to her, that means I can get pregnant when I want, it just means my body isn’t releasing the same way it did (I had my period since I was 10 years old, and I’m now 27).

Again, thank you for taking the time to share. Our bodies are unique machines and have complex processes. I think doctors and professionals sometimes forget just how unique each one of us is. We’re best off, I think, when we listen to our bodies, respond, and feel good about the choices we make as individuals.

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109 Erin October 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I have been experiencing almost the same exact thing. For awhile, I sort of ignored it. I mean, periods are no fun, right? But now that I want to have a baby, it is an even bigger issue for me. I do not want to go back on BC because of the harmful side effects and want to opt for a more natural solution. Through much research, I found that taking wild yam supplements can regulate hormones and cure ammenorhea (lack of period). I’ve only been taking them for a few days, so I cannot promise that they actually work firsthand. However, at $5/bottle it is worth a shot!

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110 Laure Renee October 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Hey girly, I totally understand what u are going through. I didn’t get a period for 3 years and it really tore me apart emotionally. However, I still run and everything and I just got it back in August. My cycles are a little long but they are back thank god. Long story short, I did have to gain some weight. I had been eating enough all along but my body was thinner than it wanted to be. Its just a natural mechanism. Body can’t support you, and a little one= body shuts down cycle to protect you. Once it feels it has adequate fat stores, and doesn’t sense its in danger (which it can when u are running alot) you will get your periods back. I probably only run about 15 miles a week now, but I am also very active in other areas, (waitress, etc). I really hope things work out for you and it is so frusterating with the doctors. You can spend so much money and get pretty much nothing out of it. All the Birth control does is mask a problem. (low estrogen). It doesn’t correct and may further aggravate the hormone imbalance. Taking B/C however will protect your bones from osteoporosis associated with loss estrogen. Please email me with any questions. I would love to answer and help u out.

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111 Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries October 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Wow – I never stopped to think about how I just take mine for granted. I know that sounds weird, but seriously. As women, it’s almost like we’re trained to complain about it and dream for your situation. But in actuality, none of us want to worry about our bodies. I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be for you. The only advice I have is to seek another opinion from a doctor AND see an RD. If you truly chronicle what you eat, the answer could be hidden in there. You may eat enough calories, but are missing a key nutrient. It doesn’t hurt to try, ya know?

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112 Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers October 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm

i had the same reaction to this post. i totally take it for granted that mine comes regularly. i think this post is definitely on that will resonate with a lot of people in a lot of different ways.

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113 trailmomma October 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I lost my period for quite a few years as well. I know you’re seeking answers and researching all options. I’ll only throw out what I know.

First of all, you probably know you can’t compare yourself to anyone when it comes to “too much” running . . . Kara Goucher and such are different beings and you cannot possibly relate or compare. Same with just the girl next store. Each person is made up of different things and what may be too much running for you may not be for someone else.

Second, I discovered I had an auto-immune disease. Celiac. Apparently all of my nutrients and vitamins that I was eating in foods was actually not being absorbed into my system thus my body stopped producing a period. Perhaps something to look into? Not all celiacs have symptoms so keep that in mind but perhaps another autoimmune disease?

Finally I had the same experience with ALL birth controls pills like you did with that high estrogen one. I went through tons before I just called it quits. I eventually got the shot but even stopped that after some spotting occurred.

Don’t give up hope. I have an awesome 2.5 year old now and when I was in my early 20s I was convinced that I’d never have a child due to a missing period. Life works in mysterious ways.

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114 Therese October 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I didn’t get a chance to read through all the comments, so I’m sorry if someone said this already, but what doesn’t seem like “running too much” to one person can be completely different than another. Yes there are other runners out there who run the same amount of miles as you and eat the same number of calories as you, and still get their TOM like clockwork, but it doesn’t mean that YOUR body can handle it in the same way. Everyone is different. The amount of physical stress put on MY body through exercise that would cause me to lose my period is totally different than yours.

The only reason I mention this is because it seems your problems originated with the onslaught of long distance running and weight loss.

I do wish you luck though! I know something like that can be completely frustrating and I hope you can figure our your solution :)

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115 Kara October 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Can I just add that Kara Goucher went for a 35 min run 10 DAYS after giving birth?? She is NOT like the rest of us. 10 days after giving birth, I was mincing down my street for a painful walk and counting down the hours till my next pain pill. She is some sort of running machine. Also, most docs would advise against going for a run that soon!

Note: I know she went for a run that soon because it was on her facebook page :)

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116 Silvia October 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Hi Meghann,
I agree with Devon (61) that putting the body in a state of high stress (whether it be emotionally with anxiety or physically) it has the effect to not get a period. I would think that marathon-level training definitely falls in the physical stress state, and you also say that it started for you when you were running 40-45Mi/week.

The question is — do you worry about it because you question if you can get your period at all and want to be assured, or would you like to be in a state of ‘normal’ (getting regular periods)?

You could cut back on running for the winter to see what happens. If things go back to normal you know at least what the reason is, and don’t have to worry about it in the future.

Personally, I am a very moderate runner, but I had stressful work situations during I also lost my period. But things went back to normal as soon as the situation went away.

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117 sarah October 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

great post. i went through the same thing myself, starting about 4 years ago, when i started running (only about 10-15 MPW) and lost about 30 pounds. didn’t get my period for over a year and a half, and only started again once i went on BC. went through marathon training while getting my period on the pill, and i’m still on it – i have a boyfriend, so i’m not really willing to go off it and use condoms to find out if i can get it on my own again. i have, however, significantly reduced my MPW since running the marathon, back down to 15-20 MPW, so it’s possible. this a VERY common story, i’ve talked to at least five other women in the last few years with the same issue.

i would get another opinion, and possibly an ultrasound, like the commmenter a few back. i was also told that i could still get pregnant, and that the main problem was that my body may not be getting enough calcium without it, so i should take calcium supplements.

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118 Holly October 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Meghann,

don’t hesitate for one minute. Get a second opinion!

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119 Jocelyn October 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

it took me 3 YEARS to get my period back after going off the PILL!!! I totally get it!! I learned that the pill is NOT for me.

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120 Alexandra October 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Me either! Worst decision I ever made!

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121 Caitlin (EatFeats) October 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I was an elite athlete back in the day and while I had no problem getting my period WAY too often (maybe my body’s response to training and not sleeping?), most of my friends lost their periods. I think it is normal, though perhaps not recommended, when you train SO much and don’t always get a lot of rest.

I also agree with other commenters that it may be a matter of finding what is right for YOU, not just one of being “healthy” by medical standards.

I hope you find answers, but, until then, know that you are not alone!

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122 Amy Leigh October 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Same story only longer version. I’m 28 – I stopped periods completely at 21. I’ve gone through more testing and doctors than anyone should. The answer – nothing. This thing just happens. Six years later, for no reason – Hello, Flo! – and has been 90% regular even since. Since marrying a triathlete, I’m actually more active NOW than even before, so don’t ever blame exercise level (remember those athletes!)

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123 Juliene October 20, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Meghann,

I feel your frustration. I went off the NuvaRing about 3 years ago. I didn’t feel comfortable forcing my body to take a pill or a hormone for any extended period of time. I had no issues until recently. In the last year I have lost over 100 lbs and not once during that whole time did I lose my period until recently. In January I got mine as normal and haven’t had one since. Of course the gyno tested everything they could and like you had no cause for it being gone. I have leveled out at my current weight and been stable for 5 months and eat healthy. The only solution is of course to get on BC which is not in my cards since my hubby and I want to start trying for a baby(which won’t happen if I don’t have a period!!). I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story because people think I’m crazy when I tell them mine. here’s hoping they figure this one out for both of us!

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124 Anne October 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm

You just reminded me to take my BC pill today.

Big TMI question, but do you worry about getting pregnant and not knowing due to the lack of getting your period? I like to use as assurance that I’m taking my medicine correctly. Or do you think that you can’t get pregnant due to all of these issues?

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125 Annalisa October 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Hi Meghann! First, did you know we are not supposed to have a 28 day cycle, biologically speaking? It should be around 3-5 months that a woman ovulates. The 28 day cycle is a very first-world thing. However, I definitely sympathize with the irregular cycle/no cycle thing. I got off BC earlier this year as my husband and I wanted to try for a baby (after 13 years on BC). My cycle was irregular — and I was worried about PCOS, hormone levels, misc. fertility issues as it took us 8 months of trying. For peace of mind, maybe get your hormone levels (like FSH, progesterone, etc) which are additional indicators of fertility. I wouldn’t do it all the time, but you could ask your doc for a month of clomid which forces ovulation and see what happens. You could also try eastern medicine – vitamins (B6 is supposed to be great) acupuncture and even a chiropractor can help align things. The nice thing is you are still young, you realized this early, and I bet it’ll be an easy solution. It took me 8 months (used Take Charge of Your Fertility book for help/insight) to realize I had slightly low progesterone and was easily solved with some diet changes and as of today, I am 10 weeks pregnant. Thank you for being so open and for the daily motivation!

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126 Brie October 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Have you read Taking Charge of your Fertility? Even if you don’t want to TTC, it’s really helpful.

I’d also suggest trying to temp and chart FAM style for awhile–that might give you some hints as far as patterns go.

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127 Sammy October 20, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I think a good thing about posting on this topic is that you’re getting lots of feedback and maybe some new ideas for where to go next. I would definitely also recommend seeking a second opinion. I certainly would want to know why my estrogen levels were low and try to fix it (i read on livestrong that low estrogen in young women might raise your risk of going through early menopause http://www.livestrong.com/article/22600-low-estrogen-symptoms-younger-women/ )

I get really frustrated with the OBGYN docs…I went in to mine several times a few months ago because I was having some random pain and after they ran tests they just kind of scratched their heads and shrugged their shoulders. I am looking for another doctor that will work with me instead of just trying to through birth control at me (which, btw, I’m already on.) Hang in there and don’t give up!

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128 Jessica @ Jessica Balances October 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I just wanted to thank you for publishing such a personal post. I don’t have any advice or comments really – but I have to say, until right now, I never considered that I should think of myself as fortunate to have extremely regular periods. I typically curse my “time of the month” – and here you are wishing you could even have a period. I’m sorry that you’ve been struggling with different doctors/opinions/etc… All I know to say is, I hope you get everything figured out as soon as possible! xoxo

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129 Phoebe October 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Really interesting post Meghann. Thanks for sharing about a personal subject. I was anorexic when I was 17 but even after I got better I didn’t get my period back for some time. I was still quite thin yet my doctor repeatedly reassured me, as yours did you, that I was not unhealthily underweight. Just like you, my doctor prescribed me estrogen pills but also like you I was loathe to take them because of the side effects! Soon before I turned 20 I gained some more weight and when I was at a more average weight I got my period back. I hate having my period so not having it actually made me quite happy but I did worry a little about not being able to have kids some day – it was a mixed bag.

I know sharing my own story isn’t intrinsically helpful, but I also wanted to say that back in the day I read quite a few eating disorder communities (incidentally, of the support/experience-sharing rather than pro-anorexia variety) and from the personal anecdotes girls posted on there, it seemed to me that it’s very variable whether you lose your period or not when you are underweight (which you don’t even seem to be). Some people lose their period very rapidly with just a little weight loss, and in fact some people lose their period when they’re experiencing great stress yet are at a totally normal weight. But some girls said they were totally emaciated and even hospitalized yet still got their period.

I hope you find the answers/solution you are looking for! But in the mean time, thank you for starting this compelling discussion.

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130 Laura October 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Hey Meghann!
I am so happy you posted about this. Thanks for sharing your story with the blog community. I haven’t had time to read everyone else’s comments yet because I was so anxious to post my own, but I assume we’re not the only ones with this problem!
I haven’t had my period in over a year and a half. I was off and on (currently on) birth control during this time. I’ve trained for two marathons and also completely slacked (and gained weight) during this time. None of it really matters–no matter what I do, I still have not gotten my period to come back. My friends assume this is an awesome thing, but I really hate it. It makes me feel like I’m less of a woman somehow–does that make sense? Like I am abnormal or missing something. A regular period–in my opinion–is a sign of a healthy body!
I’ve asked a number of doctors about this (including my bf’s mom, who is a gyno) and I’ve never gotten an answer. So unfortunately I have nothing earth shattering to say here, other than: I feel you, sister, and thanks for sharing. Hearing your story makes me feel a lot more normal.

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131 Lauren October 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm

WOW, can I relate to this!! Haven’t gotten my period in oh, 4 years? 4 and a half years maybe? Ive lost track…It’s ridiculous! Been to soooooo many doctors and NO ONE has any answers! Stress, exercise, do you eat enough, yadda, yadda, yadda. I don’t even know what to think anymore. All, I can say is that estrogen is so important in terms of bone health, so you should be taking a calcium-magnesium-viamin D supplement and getting bone density scans done every 1-2 years (or whatever your doctor says). I learned this the hard way and had a transient case of what looked like osteopenia on my bone scan, which was thankfully reversed due to the introduction of a cal-mag-D supplement!! I would also recommend getting the 25-hyroxy D blood test to test your levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a precursor to many hormones and the test showed I was deficient in it (after already taking 1500 IU/day!). I now take 4000-5000 IU/day, as recommended by my doctor. I do feel better, which I think is related to the vitamin D levels increasing, so once I reach optimal levels I am hoping that my period will come back!! Good luck!! I so know what you’re going through!!

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132 Sarah-Mae @ Eat, Run, Knit October 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

This was like reading my own story in your words. Only the doctors kept prescribing me B/C for acne purposes as well.
It’s been almost 6 months off of Birth Control now and I still have not had a period… the worst part? My mother had a hard time conceiving me and had to undergo countless fertility treatments, so now that my boyfriend and I are starting to consider trying for babies I’m at a complete loss. The doctor’s words? Wait it out.

I haven’t had a ‘natural’ period since my first one, when I was 15. It’s hard to not feel ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ despite leading such a HEALTHY lifestyle!

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133 Rachel Sanchez October 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Hey Meghann. I also suffer from being irregular (especially when I am running a ton), but with being on B.C. I was able to have in controlled. My husband and I were planning on babies soon, so when my gyno knew I ran a lot, she told me to not run. I was so disappointed and couldn’t imagine my life w/ not running for 9-months. I mean, I understood if I were high risk, but I was just looking to run to stay healthy while being preggers. Anyway, after consulting w/ so many of my running friends, my one friend recommend her gyno. I met with her two weeks ago and am in love with her. She was so opposite of my prior gyno (who I had for over 11 years). She was all about continuing on with running and in fact, she ran the Boston Marathon while she was pregnant with her son. I found a keeper!

I agree w/ everyone else. Get a second opinion, preferably one that runs.

Good Luck!

Rachel

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134 Brenna (fabuleuxdestin) October 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Don’t give up hope! I have a similar problem and it makes me crazy worrying (except I don’t run nearly as much as you). Just listen to your body, that is the best advice I can give you. Do what feels right in your gut for your health!

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135 Michelle October 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I just started reading this blog (this week oddly enough) and normally I’m more of a blog lurker, but I also went through something like this about 5 years ago. I went off the pill (Loestren) after taking it for 6 years because my husband and I were talking about starting a family (plus it made me crazy) — and my period never returned. Like you, I got the run around and NO ANSWERS. I went to my PCP and my GYN. They thought I had PCOS (I didn’t). I had several tests and ultrasounds done (oh the joy) and everything came back relatively normal. My estrogen was on the low side – but they didn’t think that was it. I asked about exercise and diet and they didn’t think that was it either (I had started running, but it wasn’t a crazy amount). After a year of this game (for several months given estridol and provera to simulate having a period) I finally told my GYN that I REALLY wanted to have a baby so we needed to get serious. They did more tests (I have no idea what, but they took a lot blood). Still no answers. I was given Clomid — which DID make me ovluate, although after 3 unsuccessful cycles my Dr. decided to take me off because it can start having an adverse effect. Then I started taking Femara – which I think hyperstimulated my system. After that fail my Dr. finally diagnosed me with “unexplained infertility” (sigh) and referred me to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist). At that point in my life (I was 27), my hubby and I decided to hold off. We were building a house and my insurance didn’t cover anything after an official diagnosis of infertility. Surprisingly enough though, I got pregnant the next month. Apparently, the Femara “jump started” my system. I guess all it needed was one big shock. I’ve since had 2 babies and my body is probably more normal than it ever has been in my LIFE! My Dr. wanted me to go back on the pill after having my 1st child and I said HELL NO.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to go on fertility drugs – but you might want to consider going to an RE for a consult. Not having my period made me quite anemic and I’m sure that my bone density was extremely low those 2 years I was without it. Your body is definitely being deprived of important hormones that regulate other systems of your body.

The Dr. my GYN recommended was Dr. Mark Trolice (I’m also in Orlando) and he comes highly recommended by several of my friends. Honestly, after all I went through with my GYN (who was also my OB and I love) I wish I would have skipped going to my regular Dr. and started off seeing the specialist. I feel like a lot more would have been accomplished those 2 years I was seeking answers.

Good luck with withever you decide/happens — and as a new blog reader congrats on all that you have accomplished the past few years!

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136 Holly October 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

That’s a nice response Michelle and it makes a lot of sense.

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137 Alexandra October 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I have been through all of this! They thought I had PCOS as well and have not found any other reason other then the fact that my body is messed up from the pill! I’ve had the ultrasounds and been prescribed Provera as well. I am hesitant to take it, did it make you crazy like the BCP? I do not want to deal with this by throwing more hormones at an unexplained problem. Sigh…

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138 Michelle October 20, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Provera didn’t make me crazy (neither did the Estridol I took before the Provera to build up my uterine lining). Clomid did though — that is a HELL of a drug. I think I got to experience what menopause feels like for 3 months and wow I am not looking forward to it.

I should have posted this earlier – but I also recommend reading Jillian Michael’s book Mastering Your Metabolism. Part of the book is about her personal struggle with her body/weight. She talks A LOT about how the chemicals in today’s processed foods (including energy bars and other diet foods that are considered “healthy” – and ANYTHING with high fructose corn syrup) change impact your hormone levels. It’s pretty shocking.

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139 Dori October 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Meghann, I definitely think you should give that doctor a call. Keep me updated.

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140 Kiran October 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Just a small favor – can anyone in Orlando recommend a gynae? I’ve been going for my annual check-ups back in my homeland (Malaysia) but never once in US. Perhaps I am apprehensive/uncomfortable to switch from my regular gynae to a new one. But I need to do it now before it’s too late. DM me at my twitter account (http://twitter.com/kiran_)

Meghann,
Apologies for hogging this space :)

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141 Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers October 20, 2010 at 4:59 pm

i really like mine! i go here: http://womencaring.com/default.aspx

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142 Britton October 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I appreciate this post so much. I have had similar problems and have seen all sorts of doctors and still have no answers. It can be very frustrating and lonely. It is oddly comforting to know that someone else has struggled as well.

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143 Debbie~ October 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Have you heard of or tried natural progesterone cream? It has worked wonders to manage my symptoms due to a hormonal imbalance. It’s inexpensive and worth researching….good luck to you:)

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144 Alexandra October 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm

This is for if you have low progesterone not estrogen. You should see a Naturopath or Doctor of Chinese Medicine.

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145 Kelly October 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Hi Meghann,

I lost my period when I stopped taking BC due to stress, exercise and weight loss (I lost over 20 lbs in a year). The doctors tried this “jumpstart” pill that helps your body stimulate a period. It didn’t work for me, which was an anomaly apparently, but they say it always works. I just went back on birth control and have tried changing around to figure out which one makes me less of an emotional, crazy bloated mess each month. I’d look into the jumpstart because it won’t require you to go back on the pill full-time.

Good luck!

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146 Katy October 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I’m so glad that you put up this post. I am currently training for a half- marathon in January and I am about a week late on my period this month. Like you, I have been pretty regular, but for some reason, I haven’t had one this month. I will admit, I am a little worried. I’m at a good weight, I’m eating, and I’m running- but not a LARGE amount each day. I have lost around 15 pounds since July but I’m maintaining now. I am at a loss, but I am glad that I am not the only person to have this issue/ worry. This post made me feel better, because I have been stressing! :)

Love the blog! So inspirational for me as I train. :)

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147 Amanda October 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

You are so brave to post your story. You have lots of support and similar stories! I can relate to hating how you feel when you are on the pill. I went off the pill for the reason that I hated the “artificial hormonal ickiness.”

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148 ashley October 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I definitely suggest 2 things:

1) see a endocrinologist – a hormone specialist. This should be covered by your insurance and they have much more knowledge about your hormones, fertility, etc than your gyno.
2) read Taking Charge of your Fertility

Sorry to hear about your struggles. From someone that has PCOS and has already been warned of my potential infertility issues by several doctors, I understand your frustration. Though you may be a years away from having children, it it definitely something I would attack NOW and not later…if having children is a desire of yours. Only being 26, my doctors have informed me that I should not wait much longer to try and have children. Waiting until our 30s to have children is not as easy as one may think.

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149 KimEatandBe October 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Thank you so much for writing about this! I am going through the EXACT same thing (minus birth control pills).
All had been normal for my periods for the past 5 years, whereas in the last year, my period kept getting further and further apart (50, 70 and 90 days with no period). I have been wanting to try to get pregnant but with no periods (and perhaps no ovulation, that hasn’t exactly worked itself out). Anyway, I have also been experiencing intense abdominal pain (possible ovulation/ruptured cyst pains) once every month or so, as well as I am hypothyroid (but that has been under control on medication for 6+ years). So…that’s my history.
A few months ago I found out that my estrogen levels are “pre-pubescent” as well! Eek. Well now, that explains why I hadn’t been getting my period (estrogen is necessary for that womanly act), but what to do? Although I have a normal BMI (around 20), my doctor suggested that I try to gain 5-10 pounds. I am quite active (exercise everyday for at least 60 minutes, tennis, Zumba, power yoga, etc.) and eat very healthily. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to hear that adding 5-10 pounds was the best method to try, but I have gained about 6 pounds AND have been going to accupuncture (and taking Chinese herbs). Guess what? My period came back within a month. Now…was it the accupuncture? Was it the weight gain? Was it the fact that I cut back on intense exercise? I don’t know. The REAL test will be if it comes again now in 30 days which would mean it is becoming regular (scheduled for Nov. 5).
Please keep sharing your journey with us as I think it is so important for us women to unite!
Best of luck.

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150 Hangry Pants October 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

So obviosuly we’ve talked about this lots before, but I just wanted to share the three things that I think really helped me with this.

(1) Breaking my foot: this forced me to just stop running. I had no choice. And along with that … lots of yoga.
(2) Increasing my fat intake – olive oil, peanut butter, avocados. I think this really helped me.
(3) Mentally truly accepting that I might need to weigh 10 pounds more than I would like to (more than I could) in order to be a truly healthy person. I could say it, but I really had to believe it. This sounds weird, but I feel like this mental part was the missing piece. This might be harder for you than for me because I didn’t come from a place of intentional weight loss.

Good luck my dear.

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151 Sana October 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Not getting medical answers is something that I am familiar with, you just have to keep hoping!

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152 April B October 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

What a well written post. Thank you for sharing your story (although for the record, I hate that it was brought to light publicly the way it was) as I feel this type of info is helpful to others. I hope that you are able to get the answers you need at some point!

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153 molly October 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I’m no expert, but I haven’t had a natural period in 3 years, and as a competitive runner, I’m going to say that no, 45 miles/week of running, given your healthy weight, isn’t enough to make you lose it. Hormonal issues happen for no reason- they happened to me after a couple years of heavy periods. I would recommend dr. Courtney ridley in dallas (phone consultation)- she’s anti pill but full of other better solutions. (she used to be a he, so she knoows hormones.)

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154 RunningOnCoffee October 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

hehe… I know it’s a serious subject, but by HE you mean hormone endocrinologist? Your parentheses statement reads like the Dr. had a sex change :-p

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155 RunningOnCoffee October 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm

wait, maybe that is what you mean! ha.

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156 Alexandra October 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Hi! Thanks for sharing this. I am going through the same thing. It could be as well that it takes time for your body to return to a normal state after being on artifical hormones for so many years. I’ve been off the pill for 8 months and have only had 2 periods during that time… I really highly recommend going back to the Chinese Medicine. I have been doing accupuncture and think that it is helping. Your estrogen could be naturally low as well and not a result of your physcial activity. I think doctors often provide this as an excuse when they do not know what to say! They told me I am too active when I currently go to the gym once a week! Please continue to share through this struggle. I really relate to it. Thanks again. I’ve been taking some natural supplements as well which seem to be helping!

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157 mary October 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm

When I was talking to my GYN about my period over my annual appt. this past february, My period, on the pill would last for 9-10 days at at time, and would be HEAV-YYY the whole time! She told me that there is no medical reason for you to have a period.
I was in awe.
when you’re on the pill, it prevents you from ovulating. when you take the placebo pills at the end of the month, your body is not shedding the uterine lining because it has an egg that needs to go, but because you’re having estrogen withdrawal.

I am so sorry that you havent had a period in over a year. But I think you should consider yourself lucky haha! I wish I didnt have my period ever.

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158 Cody October 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I just have to mention one thing:
It’s Kara GOUCHER.
Not Kara GROUCH. She’s not married to Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street.
She’s married to Adam GOUCHER.

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159 Caitlin October 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Major LOLs

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160 RunningOnCoffee October 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm

hehe

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161 janetha g. @ meals & moves October 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I think our bodies are just a little twacked out every now and then. I didn’t have my period for almost 8 months. The doc had no idea why, they ran tons of tests. Then BAM, I get it ON MY WEDDING NIGHT and had it for 10 days. Yep, the whole time I was on my honeymoon. Go figure. You are right, you’re healthy in all aspects of your life. I am sure there is nothing wrong.. our bodies just have a mind of their own.

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162 Stephanie October 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I think it is so brave that you are willing to share your story publically. In my opinion, I think people really need to jump off the “it’s because you run too much” bandwagon. I run 60-75 mpw and have a very similar build to you, 16% body fat, and have no period issues with or without the pill, comes like clock-work, so I don’t think it’s fair to blame high-mileage running, and its certainly not anything to do with putting to much stress on your body, you are an amazing runner!
As your doctors said initially you have low estrogen levels, that is the culprit right there, end of story. Taking the pill certainly can and should jump start it, but I agree with many other that a 2nd opinion is a good idea. You already know you estrogen levels are low, and I think the best place to get answers is honestly somewhere like a reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist) because if you are not ovulating then it is a fertility issue. Most people probably wouldn’t think of it that way unless they were trying to concieve, but you can have fertility problems without wanting to conceive, and to me that seems like the most obvious answer. It’s not anything to be too concerned about unless you are trying to conceive, so I would see what happens naturally and if another year goes by, then maybe look into it again. No matter what you should do what makes you comfortable whether other people think its the healthiest or not, you define your own standards, and no one know your own body like you do!

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163 Hangry Pants October 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Building off what Stephanie said, I wanted to add (about myself) that I agree it’s not just running. I think it’s a matter of body fat percentage and hormone levels. For me, running along with not properly fueling, not just in amount, but in what I was eating (not enough fat, probably) that caused me to stop getting my period.

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164 kathleen October 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

i am not an RD or an MD, just a person who’s read way too much about nutrition.

MD’s like to give birth control to everyone that has a period problem honestly i think it’s because they really have no idea how to fix it and they need you out of their office. anyway, i haven’t read all of your comments. sorry if someone has already said this but have you tried upping your fat intake in your diet? estrogen is made from cholesterol in the body. maybe try eating more fatty fish like salmon and sardines. nuts, seeds, eggs (so much goodness), coconut oil, pastured butter, full fat dairy, avocados, etc. etc.

i got my period for the first time at 16 while i was a gymnast. i know, athletes aren’t supposed to get it right. anyway, my period comes every 30 days like clockwork come training as a gymnast 4 hours a night 5 nights a week, to training for half-marathons and marathons. even after a miscarriage. 30 days. damn thing! i contribute it to the fact that 30% (sometimes more) of my calories a day come from fat. maybe it’s worth a try?

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165 Kelly October 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

This is my story only I am 50 lbs overweight, only run about 10 miles a week (when I can) and I am still on the pill. No Dr has ever cared. I have seen about 5 different ones and they all say, “sometimes it is normal for women on the pill not to have their period.” No reason as to why. Is it my weight? Maybe. Is my pill dose too low? Maybe. No one blinked any until I saw an endocrinologist this summer. He blinked. I got diagnosed with Insulin Resistance and he put me on meds and said that not only should I lose weight (still I have been struggling with for over a year) but I should get my period back. So far he has been wrong on both counts but I see him again next month and hopefully he has more answers for you.

Good luck in finding answers and if you do, please share. I am always looking into theories and answers.

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166 Flora October 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Hi, I am a doctor, a marathoner and a mother of 3. I’m in my mid 30s and from England. I’ve been a reader for a while and have been desperate to comment but have felt that it is not really my place. Anyway, having read the ‘period post’ I feel I have to. I compete in 1 marathon (last one in 3:18), 1 Olympic triathlon and at least one other event each year (100 mile bike this year) and I would say that I eat approx 3 times what you do and I am tiny. I cannot for the life of me imagine why you eat low fat and many bulky foods (as you would expect a dieter to) when you are training as an athlete. Your body is an amazing machine which needs fuel for it to work. Yes, you can survive on less but at what cost? I predict that if you eat more your periods will come back fine (under eating affects your hormone balance) and you will probably loose weight too (under eating affects your osmotic balance which leads to water retention) and you will notice a significant improvement in your performance. Yesterday you had carrot sticks and nut butter for lunch. I would die on that amount, just an example. I am not intending to be unkind or judgmental but if you were my patient I would tell you to significantly increase your calorie intake. Surely its worth a try?

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167 Kara October 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm

This comment says what I’ve been thinking too. Don’t just brush this off or get defensive.

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168 Ellen October 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

ditto.

when you are so insanely active, you NEED to eat calorie dense foods. filling up on bulky vegetables is doing your body a huge disservice.

i eat twice the calories you do on a daily basis, am no where near as active, and i would say we have similar body types. also, fat is hugely important for fertility. whole fat dairy, especially.

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169 D October 20, 2010 at 3:53 pm

i already commented, but i have to sort of agree here and say that whether or not they are right, you should *try* and see if this works. and you have to try for longer than a month. like i said before in my comment, i gained 10-15 pounds after a year without a period, and it’s been another FULL YEAR with this weight on and i am JUST seeing signs of a period. it’s worth a shot, and if it’s not the reason, then hey, lose the weight if you don’t like it and know for sure it’s not affecting your health

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170 Aimee October 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I completely agree. There is no way that the amount and types of foods you’re consuming (as you said, we see the vast majority of what goes in your body each day) is adequately fueling your body given the amount of exercise you do on a daily basis.
Up your calories (especially fat calories) significantly, and I anticipate your issues will lessen if not cease entirely.

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171 Flora October 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Sorry to butt in again. What I was trying to say is that I train hard (like you) and I have never had any issue with my periods. I have had many patients who have, however, and in almost all of them it has been as a result of calorie deficit. It is a fairly common phenomena in young women, I’m afraid. I forwarded your blog to a few of my friends for their opinions and they all commented on how regimented and restricted your diet is (compared to ours). When I am training hard I find my body needs 3000+calories a day. I am very interested in the way nutrition effects performance and have experimented lots over the years. I would be happy to give you a sample of my days intake as a comparison. You would be surprised! I think it is very brave of you to be open about this and wish you every success in finding a solution.

172 breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 October 20, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I agree. Not trying to gang up on you, Meghann, but I look at what you eat and I’m going over what I eat in my head…and I too am a similar build, don’t exercise nearly as hard as you do, yet I still eat more than you do. I’d try increasing your calorie intake.

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173 Heather October 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I couldn’t agree more with Flora! I think you need to drastically increase your calories at meal times! Try eating REAL bread with every meal, doubling your nut butter consumption, eating cheese, etc, etc etc.

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174 Liz October 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Agree with this. You just don’t eat enough for the amount of exercise you do, period.

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175 Amy October 21, 2010 at 1:32 am

I hesitate to add another comment here, but I agree! As a daily reader, this is what I think everyday: not.enough.calories. I like your blog because I’m a runner too — running a marathon in 10 days! But most nights, I am thinking, gurrrrrlll, where is your protein?!?
However, I don’t think your period loss is absolutely tied to diet/weight, but certainly affected by it. I am fascinated by all of this because I never had regular periods until sometime within the last year. And this was a problem before I became a runner. I had low estrogen levels as a teenager and then in college, a few traumatic injuries left my body in a constant state of stress. I was healthy as far as any tests showed, but my period stayed erratic. Fast forward to several years after college, and despite mostly healthy eating, job stress contributed to me gaining 10-15 pesky extra pounds. But guess what? My period now comes every month, on schedule. Yes, sometimes I want to try to lose the pesky stress weight, but it’s also nice at age 26 to finally feel like a normal woman. At the very least, I’d say more calories, more protein, more fat, in that order.

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176 Jamie October 21, 2010 at 12:39 am

Absolutely agree. I have had the same struggles. I’m an athlete yet I do maybe half of the amount of activity you do and I struggle to understand how a serving of ice cream with a few sprinkles of granola is a suitable dessert for someone who runs marathons, or a small handful of nuts as an afternoon snack.
Don’t be afraid of eating three or four snacks throughout the day, eat fat, eat protein, FUEL your amazing, strong, beautiful body carefully and plentifully. If your body burns 300-600 cals a day, unless you want to become very thin, which you don’t need to beause you look AWESOME, than you should include a couple hundred cals of pure protien/fat everyday. Bulk up your meals with olive oil…roasted veggies on their own may taste fine but for an athlete like yourself you need and deserve that extra fat. I really hope this doesn’t seem like a “compare my diet to yours” comment because I really just hope to help put these things in perspective for you. 3,000 + cals a day is OKAY and good for you when you regularly run and include long runs of 10+ miles every week.

You’re on the right track and I firmly believe you are passionate about health and fitness…just remember life is short to not use olive oil and eat full fat ice cream ;)

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177 MelanieF October 21, 2010 at 10:51 am

Ditto! I agree. You don’t eat enough calories, fat and protein.

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178 Ellen October 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

have you had your pituitary function checked? after nearly two years sans periods, and a gynecologist that insisted i just had low estrogen and needed BC, i found out that i had elevated prolactin levels. high prolactin levels cause very low hormone levels, but since i didn’t have any telltale symptoms, it would have gone unnoticed if i hadn’t pushed for answers. i also found out that i have celiac. i feel better than i ever have.

don’t buy the bit about how “if you don’t want to have kids, you’re fine.” they don’t know that; they just don’t have a solution. not getting your period is a sign that your body is totally off!

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179 Leigh October 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I also have elevated prolactin, and didn’t find out about it until I was tested to figure out why I wasn’t getting my period. In fact, before they figured out what the problem was they kept asking if I was SURE I was not pregnant! Long story short, I saw an endocrinologist for the elevated prolactin levels and have a small pituitary tumor. Luckily there aren’t really any other symptoms – however, he has told me that I can’t get pregnant until my prolactin levels are regulated via medication or surgery.

Not saying this is what you have (what do I know), but just wanted to give you more info to make sure your doctor has ruled out elevated prolactin as well. Good luck!!!

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180 Jen October 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I had a similar problem and I think it might have to do with our food. Most of our food is so nutritionally empty now-a-days. Because of over-farming and whatnot, our food no longer contains the nutrients that it did in the past. Our bodies need those nutrients. I started taking a ton of vitamins and my period is almost completely regular. I take my temp every morning so I can track my cycle. I work out a ton also (just completed the Madison Ironman) and my period remained normal throughout the year of training. Basically, I started the training and the suppliments at the same time and my period became regular. Before – less training and no suppliments = irregular period. I think we are nutritionally “starving” our bodies even when we think we are eating “right”

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181 Shanna, Like Banana October 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm

This is so great of you to have a forum to discuss these matters with other women. Often we are too shy and we can learn so much.

I had been on the pill for 12 years until recently (as in 2 months ago) and my period is all over the place…I still get it..sorta, but it’s very spotty. I’m 5’4.5″ and 115lbs and certainly not too skinny or too fat. I think it’s Stress!

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182 Devon October 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Regarding running, i know some people’s bodies are more sensitive than others. Running seems to be harder on your body than other forms of exercise. At my peak, i was running around 60 miles a week and i never had my period. The people that I know that have recovered from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA), had to pretty much cut out running and gain some weight and most regained their period over a period of time.
However, i have many friends that ran like me that didnt lose their period. Some bodies are just more susceptible than others to it.
Again, i would highly recommend a Reproductive Endocrinologist that knows about HA.

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183 Heather October 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

great post!! Thank you so much fro sharing such a personal story. I am sorry you have had people question how or why this happened to you, its none of their business anyway! I hope you can eventually get some answers!

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184 Allisn October 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

When my period was really, really late, my doctor gave me a perscription for medroxyprogersterone to jump start my period (you just take it for 10 days….it is not the pill). I never took it as I got my period about a week later on my own. I am surprised that your doctor hasn’t suggested anything other than the pill to deal with this. It seems like you might want to get another opinion.

I would also agree that you don’t eat much for someone who exercises as much as you do and that could certainly play a role.

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185 Devon October 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Also, there is another reason to be concerned about not having a period besides trying to conceive. It means your estrogen levels are supressed and estrogen impacts your bone density. Estrogen helps keep your bones strong and without it you can have density issues.

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186 Shelly October 20, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Hi Meghann!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I hope you get some answers soon! I don’t mean to pry, but do you and Derek use another form of protection as I’m assuming you’re not hoping to get pregnant right now? How are you preventing it?

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187 Tina October 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm

This is a really great post, Meghann. Thanks for writing it.

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188 lauren October 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm

great post meghann! your blog is my favourite and i love how open and honest you are! It seems like a lot of people have period issues based on some of the replies to this post. I lost my period due to my ED at the age of 15 and at the start of this year, after finding out i have osteoporosis ( im only 20) i went on the pill ( a low dose one) to try and protect my bones from further damage..i did get my period (although my oestogen levels are still too low ) and have done like clockwork since march but i know its just an artifical period. I’d be much happier off the pill trying to get my period back naturally, but unfortunatly thats not an option for me right now. I think its such a complex thing to try figure out, because everyones bodies seem to respond differently to different lifestlye/personal factors. But I really hope you figure out your period problems! and keep an eye on your calcium levels, because lack of oestrogen is never good for the bones!

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189 Nikky October 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm

So brave of you to tell this story knowing people are going to be judging, especially after that whole article situation. That’s why you’re my favorite. Anyway I have a friend who doesn’t get her period naturally so her doctor gives her estrogen pills just so she can get her period. Just a suggestion to look into. Good luck!!

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190 Sarah October 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Wow, it’s amazing how people can have similar experiences and have no idea. I’ve had a very similar experience. Glad you’ve checked the thyroid angle, I was going to suggest that. I have family thyroid history, and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 12. I’ve been taking replacement since then. I lost a lot of weight in the past three years (I had really low body fat until recently), and went off birth control 2 years ago to get pregnant. Discovered I had no period shortly thereafter, and it took us more than a year plus some medical pushing to get pregnant. So very happy now 1 month out from the arrival of baby, but we’re still not quite sure what caused my period to disappear- the weight loss, my thryoid condition, the birth control, or a combination of them all. My estrogen levels were whacko too, seriously low. I’m inclined to think it was a combination of factors, and your cycle is an elaborate system all linked up with hormones and it’s tough to restart when something gets thrown in its gears. I’m not sure how or when my cycle will return postpartum, but I’ll cross that when I come to it.

You aren’t trying to get pregnant now I don’t think? So you don’t have to worry too much immediately, but you and your doctors are on top of your lack of period and that’s the very best you can do! Perhaps even seeing an endocrinologist who can better examine your thyroid than your OB might help later if you are still seeking a solution.

Long, but my two cents :) your post resonated with me.

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191 Sarah October 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Forgot to mention that I tell my own story briefly on my baby blog http://waitforgrace.blogspot.com, at the very beginning.

I know other women who have had similar lack of period for a time, it’s certainly not rare.

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192 Maddie October 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Megan, I am so glad you wrote about this. A few summers ago I started running just about every day and drastically changed my diet– too much. I thought I was trying to be healthy, but then my attempt at “healthy” went from eating a balanced diet to eating very little, plus running during the day. I lost quite a bit of weight, even though I wasn’t overweight before, and subsequently lost my period for about 6 months. I went to the doctor and they told my I had a mild case of polycystic ovary syndrome and that it could be fixed with birth control. Well, the birth control made it come back, but it was crazy irregular (from getting my period every two weeks to skipping months at a time). I even gained weight back to try to regulate it, etc, and nothing helped. So, like you, they’ve put me on all different kinds of birth control ranging in hormone levels. Let’s just say that my case is similar to yours in that its been an emotionally exhausting and frustrating ordeal. I’m glad that you’ve shared your story because I can really relate. Its nice to see that someone else knows the frustration I feel when everyone else around me (friends, doctors, etc.) don’t really understand or know what’s going on. Thanks Megan! Love your blog : )

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193 Lauren October 20, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Hi Meghann!

I lost my period for about 7 months two years ago. I ran about 35 miles a week ( I still do), but I was not eating enough, even though I felt like I was. I think as runners we sometimes do not realize how many calories our bodies need. Now that I have gained about 15 pounds I am like clockwork every month. Weight gain is the only thing that worked for my body and any time I dip below 127 I lose my period. Just wanted to share my story! I hope that you figure out what your body needs!

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194 Tricia October 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm

No 2 cents here, just wanted to say kudos to you BRAVE GIRL for sharing such a personal story!!!!
:o)

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195 Lee October 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I think your courage in posting this is inspiring

I’m going to touch the third rail here and point to diet. OK I said it. DIET Estrogen has as its precursor cholesterol (aka fat) and as I look over your diet its tends to be

1 It’s pretty low in fat and the fats pretty much revolve around things like almond butter and a little shot of ice cream once in a while

2 It’s pretty low in protein

3 It’s a pretty high carb diet

Be very clear I am not being critical of you, as diet to me is not a political thing but rather a matter of how I fuel my body But I notice the major theme of these responses revolve around getting a new doctor or changing to a different class of doctor or lowering your miles or gaining some weight etc etc No one has really said boo about the composition of what you eat. Woman does not live by pumpkin alone even though it tastes good.

You might consider changing the mix of what you eat, decreasing the carbs, increasing the protein and fat to a different ratio. First you need to be in a positive nitrogen balance all the time in order to be anabolic. Carbs do not necessarily make you anabolic. Alcoholics consume virtually nothing but liters and liters of carbs yet they are one and all in a terrible state of catabolism

Protein makes you anabolic. If you are peeing out nitrogen then you are taking in enough protein and your body will not try and consume itself. If you cut back on the carbs a little you can increase the protein in a virtual 1:1 ration and keep the calorie count the same. This means if you subtract 10gm of carb you can add 10gm of protein and maintain essentially the same caloric load. The most likely reason people loose their periods is because they are more in a state of catabolism (as was pointed out in the “stress” comments above) “Stress” is a catabolic state. I don’t think you are in a state of stress, but if your body is consuming itself biochemically its the same thing. I think stress is the wrong word which is why I choose catabolism. If you look up the Wiki defs of these words catabolism and anabolism they actually give a pretty good perspective. If your body is chewing itself up for energy its not going to be in a hormonal metabolic state for pregnancy which is like the ultimate state of anabolism.

Second I think you need enough estrogen precursor around (fat especially omega 3 fat and cholesterol) to make estrogen. The post that referred to primrose oil was interesting, the main thing that comes from primrose oil is Omega 6 fats. Omega 3′s are probably a little better choice for reasons I won’t go into here but I won’t kick on an increase in some or all of this. My guess is the changes you need are subtle that is you don’t have to drastically CHANGE EVERYTHING In fact I would counsel against it. I would start a little food log using fitday.com or looseit.com and see what your macronutrient ratios and calorie content are for what you presently eat. Add a little protein subtract a little carbs maybe drink a glass of milk before you run and then drink one after you run (1% milk is like the perfect food 3 cups gives you 6 grams of essential amino acids fat and carbs I drink 1.5 cups pre-workout and 1.5 cups post workout if your on the go you can get milk at the 7-11) You may have to give up a granola bar or two to keep the cals in balance but that’s the point of science!! Experiment!!

Just my opinion, but my opinion is well educated. So rather than spend a bunch of money on new pills and new doctors, screw around a little with the meals and see what happens. This is called meals and miles after all so thinking about the meals part in a little more disciplined way might be all you need to do the trick

Best

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196 Kelly October 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Oh wow great comment. VERY interesting perspective. This would be very simple and definitely worth a try. (Except the whole milk thing…because I know you hate milk.)

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197 RunningOnCoffee October 20, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Interesting and informative comment from Lee!

I have found TheDailyPlate.com to be helpful for tracking food/food content. I don’t religiously count calories, but from time to time, I will log everything I eat for a couple days just to check in on my carb/protein/fat ratio, and to gauge how much sodium, cholesterol, etc. is typically in my diet.

I’ve read in Runner’s World that you should be getting at least .5 g of protein for every pound that you weight. “…runners should take in about 15 percent of their daily calories from protein, or somewhere between 0.54 to 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight ”

USDA recommends .36g/lb – but the International Society of Sports Nutrition says that’s not enough for athletes: “according to the ISSN, which says endurance athletes like runners need 1.0 to 1.6 grams per kilogram a day (or .45 to .72 grams per pound).”
http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-300–12554-1-1-2,00.html

When I’ve tracked intake during my half marathon training, I was eating anywhere from 50-80g of protein a day for my 122 lb. +/- a couple pounds body. My sources were: cottage cheese, greek yogurt, nuts & nut butters, chicken, fish, milk (esp in lattes!), whole wheat bread & pasta.

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198 caronae October 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Meghann, thank you so much for sharing. That was very brave of you! I have several, unrelated points to make, so I’m just gonna do a numbered list, in no particular order!

1. Some commenters seem to be saying “whatever, don’t worry, not having a period is a blessing.” I FIRMLY disagree with this. Your future fertility IS at stake (not to mention bone density). I saw a reproductive endocrinologist this summer who was kind of mean, but made that (important) point.
2. I agree with the people who have suggested that you might try increasing your overall dietary fat intake and/or calories. I am not saying you undereat or anything — some people just need more fat or calories for their hormones to be at a good, balanced, level.
3. Running (or any type of endurance activity) works differently for everyone. I have been above 40 MPW consistently for several years and just peaked at 68 miles for this training cycle, and I have had my period pretty consistently (maybe 90% of the time?). But I have also been on BC so maybe it was artificial. I don’t know. I just know that the right amount of running/intense activity is literally different for everyone.
4. You may need to see a reproductive endocrinologist or a gynecologist-endocrinologist. Hormones are very complex. You may need to get tested for your FSH/TSH ratio (I had this done recently and it was appx. 1:1 which is BAD).
5. I have PCOS (most likely). If you want to email me about that for more info/my personal experience, I’m always available to chat. :) For most women with PCOS, it is VERY hard to keep their weight in check. I am currently slightly overweight, despite running 40-60 miles a week.
6. I was hospitalized in July with massive pulmonary emboli. Once you have any sort of clotting problem, you can never take BC/hormones again. I stopped the BC suddenly. I didn’t have a period for about three months after that, but got one last month. I was worried I never would get one again and practically cried tears of joy. All of this is to say that it IS possible to get it back naturally, it might just take some time and effort.

Good luck with all this Meghann! Let me know if you need anything. :)

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199 Marianne October 21, 2010 at 11:44 am

Just wanted to point out that it’s FSH:LH ratio not TSH. Follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone and you actually want the ratio to be close to 1:1 at the start of your cycle. LH surges around ovulation. TSH is your thyroid stimulating hormone which you pituitary produces to get your thyroid to start cranking out the thyroid hormones.

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200 Melissa October 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Did your doctor even consider it might be Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

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201 trailmomma October 20, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Hi can you please delete comment 90? I don’t need 20545 responses in my inbox . . . apparently the box was checked at the bottom of my comment to you. Thanks.

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202 Samantha Robertson October 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I have had the exact same problem and I have learned that while there may be people thinner than you that don’t have the problem, or people that work out more than you that don’t have that problem, they don’t have YOUR body, YOUR metabolism, or YOUR system. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that when I cut back on my workouts, and/or increase what I’m eating, I will start to get my period back. Unfortunately, mentally, I find that hard to maintain, and usually start upping my workouts again, and it goes away. You have to experiment to find what works for you.

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203 Kristin October 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Hi Meghann! This is a great post and I’ve never commented before, but feel compelled to do so. I am also a marathoner and lost a significant amount of weight initially about 3 years ago, when I first started running. I went through exactly what you’re going through and lost my period for some time. Everyone had an opinion, and more frequently than not I heard “you’re too skinny”, “you run too much”, “eat a cheeseburger”, etc. My BMI was at a normal level, and my weight was low, but still in the healthy category for my height. It was very frustrating to hear such negative feedback. I think you obviously need to find out what is best for you, because everyone is different, but I did want to tell you what worked for me. I started eating a full fat diet (with healthy fats incorporated in every meal), I cut back on my mileage for about 6 months (think 30 mile weeks down to 5-10 mile weeks), and I made a conscious effort to put on about 7 lbs. My period came back soon after, and I’ve kept on most of the weight. I recently am back into marathon training and have made an effort to really watch my fat intake so I don’t go through the lack of my period again. Again, each situation is different, but this worked for me. I do empathize with what your going through, and hope you find a great solution for YOU. Love your blog girly!

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204 Mary @ Fervent Foodie October 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Thank you for sharing! This is really an interesting topic, and I love these types of open book posts!

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205 Alyssa October 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Have you tried seeing an endocrinologist? I have period issues because my estrogen levels are low. I’ve had problems with my period since I got it when I was 13. It started regular, but then got irregular and disappeared. That was 2-3 years ago and my endocrinologist still doesn’t know what’s up.

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206 Jae October 20, 2010 at 5:48 pm

thank you for this post! I gained so much from the comments alone!

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207 Allie October 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Thanks for sharing this. My story is similar to yours, though I am older than you and went more years without a regular period. To make a looooong story short, I am a small framed woman. Not super skinny. A runner for many years. Over a year ago I had a stress fracture so bad on my hip I now have two titanium pins in my hip. I thought when I was younger that I was invincible. I wasn’t. I really would talk over the bone loss issues with your doc.

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208 Heather October 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Meghann,
I truly believe that if you increase your calories and fat intake that your period WILL come back. It doesn’t seem healthy to me that you didn’t get your period even when you were on the pill. I truly hope that you realize this, because I wouldn’t want it to effect your fertility down the road. Not getting your period in over a year is NOT healthy. Please try to increase your calories. Maybe it would help to post the WAYS that you are increasing your calories!

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209 Angela October 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

The things our periods do to us! I hadn’t realised how irregular mine were until I went onto the pill. I had to wait 7 weeks for one before I could take the first pill. When I’m on BC it is as regular as clockwork though. Every 28 days and I know almost down to the hour when it will start.

Hope you find an answer xx

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210 Liza October 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Wow Meghann, I’m sorry you had to go through that. Birth control pills really mess with your body and going from one to another and then none and so on could be one of the reasons your period hasn’t come back. I think you are smart leaving it to nature now.
I got my period when I was 13 and it was normal until I was 16. I was a competitive athlete and took my sport very seriously, working out many hours a day. My period didn’t return until I was 20. Also, I ate a very healthy diet most of the time and looked muscular not super skinny or anything. Sometimes these things just happen. You are not alone.
Your period will return one day. Just give your body time to acclimate.

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211 Laura October 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I have to run off to pack for a trip, but I wanted to quickly comment and say, first of all, kudos for being brave enough to speak out about it.

I recently got my period back after having lost it for over two years. And to be honest, the only change that I made was to gain five kilograms. Having been adamant that it wasn’t my weight because I wasn’t “skinny skinny” as your boss charmingly put it, :), I gained some weight on a medication (not birth control, and not prescribed for the missing periods) and bam, within two months, my period came back and was as if I’d never lost it. I think sometimes we think we aren’t overly thin, but we *are* too thin for our own body shape. In your case, it may not be that you have to gain much weight, but maybe that you need to up your body fat percentage a bit.

And this is seemingly a very common problem – BUT it only seems to be a common problem in the “healthy living” community. I know a couple of other girls who blog or follow healthy living blogs and have also had issues with their periods, from eating problems or over-exercising in the main. I don’t know anyone else outside of that community who has lost their period for a significant amount of time. I find it a bit concerning and a bit telling, if I’m honest, about how healthy some of the habits are that bloggers subscribe to. (And that’s not a dig at you in particular, Meghann – in your case, I suspect it may just be to do with the marathon training).

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212 Caitlin (EatFeats) October 20, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I agree with every single think said in this comment.

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213 Caitlin (EatFeats) October 20, 2010 at 7:03 pm

thing*!

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214 Hangry Pants October 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I’m not sure if it’s a blogging epidemic per se (my problem started before I even knew what a blog was), but there are certain characteristics associated with healthy blogging and healthy living that overlap and when they get to the point of … not obsession, but something more than average or even above average attention to “health.”

I know I am not much healthier than I ever was then.

And … I know people who are in there early twenties might not see this as important, but it is. When you are 29 and you doctor tells you if you ever want to get pregnant you will need to see a fertility specialist, you will take it seriously.

One more thing (sorry if I am hijacking the comments Meghann), but I think this is an important point – it really takes a lot of time and a mental shift for this to change. It too me several month of trying to adjusting my diet AND really believing that it would work before I got my period back.

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215 Caitlin (EatFeats) October 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Totally. I saw this period-issue A LOT when I was swimming, not because anyone was unhealthy, but because we led an extreme lifestyle–3o hours in the pool each week and like 10 sleeping. I didn’t actually know it existed outside of the pool until recently! But, similar to what you said, the lifestyle choices and personalities in healthy blogland are very much like those in the swimming world, so it makes sense that the issues can be similar as well.

216 Frau October 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm
217 Hangry Pants October 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm

This: I know I am not much healthier than I ever was then. Should say this:

I know I am NOW much healthier than I ever was then.

And yes, Frau, I know the grammatical differences between the three versions of there, their and they’re. No need to be rude. Next time I will carefully edit comments written on my phone.

218 Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances October 21, 2010 at 10:05 am

Frau, welcome to editing Meghann’s comment section. It looks like you have your work cut out for you. I might add you missed quite a bit in the previous 200 comments. Perhaps your editing career is spent better with material other than discussions in the comment sections of blogs.

All the best,
Michelle

219 RunningOnCoffee October 20, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Thank you for sharing your story; it probably wasn’t easy for you to put all this into words and hit publish!

This is an interesting topic, and I have read ALL the comments; it very informative to read everyone’s experiences with this. I am 27 and have not had my period in many years due to being on Depo Provera for birth control. I have appreciated not having one for convenience reasons and more recently because of my running (Recently I thought, how would my running be different if I was still getting my period and was crampy and uncomfortable at that time of the month).

While my husband and I have no immediate plans for babies, I have recently started to wonder “what if it doesn’t come back?” as ovulation usually resumes within 3 months but can take up to 12-18 months after stopping! I have thought about switching back to the pill for smaller doses in my system at a time (depo is once every 11-13 weeks) but when I first started birth control, the pill gave me higher blood pressure and I remember feeling too emotional (high bp was the reason for the switch to depo). I have no negative side effects from depo.

Bone loss has been mentioned as a possible concern with prolonged use of depo (due to no estrogen? no period? I don’t know) but I have been told repeatedly by multiple drs that I should not worry since I get plenty of calcium and vitamin d in my diet, i have no family history of osteoporosis, and I regularly engage in weight-bearing exercise.

Anyway, your post and this discussion raise a lot of important things to think about…diet, periods, birth control, and fertility! Thank you again for sharing your story, and I hope you are able to figure out something that works for you.

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220 kirsten October 20, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I know a few other people have said this, but I would definitely get a second opinion from another gyno. The fact that your Dr keeps pushing bc on you doesn’t seem right.

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221 Courtney October 20, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I exercised a lot (3-6 miles running + 2 hours of ballet) per day and didn’t eat enough, so obviously my period stopped. I was super happy (I was only 14) because my periods had always been bad, but when I turned 16 my doctor put me on BC to get it back. She started me on a low pill, then progressed to a higher one. Now I take Seasonique, so I get my period every 3 months plus lots of spotting =( maybe Seasonique or another 4-a-year BC pill would work? Have you tried them?

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222 Lisa October 20, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Hi Meghann…I have been reading for awhile and love your blog, first time commenting though! My period has also been irregular forever, I got it at 17 and then honestly had about three more periods over the next five years and to cut a long story short, after years of being told by doctors I should eat meat and stop exercising so much, it was eventually a chiropractor who found my period! I have a spondylolisthesis which is basically a fracture in my L6 (I have an extra vertebra, I know, weird) that puts pressure on my sacrum and it was compressing the nerves from my reproductive system down on the right hand side of my body. I never really experienced pain in my back and had only ever had the usual running related injuries shin splints etc when I was younger but I fell off a moped while travelling in Europe and noticed a numbness in my right leg that was still there a few months later when I got home to Australia. My sister convinced me it may be a pinched nerve and to see the chiro. After two weeks of treatment I had a normal period, and they continued to be normal up until I moved to Portland, OR for a year…travelling=no money=no chiropractic=no period. I have since had two children, my period comes and goes depending on whether I make time to get to the chiropractor and if I neglect my core strength training, SO IMPORTANT!
We are all different, I’d try some other avenues if I were you. I hope you figure it out.
BTW your Chicago recap inspired me to sign up for my first half marathon. Seven weeks to go, I can’t wait!

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223 Shane October 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Alright…I’ve been thinking all day about whether I want to comment or not, because I think you seem really awesome and relatable and like you would be a great person to know in real life. However, here’s the deal: I think it’s kind of disingenuous to call yourself a healthy living blogger before you have 100% ruled out that your diet or general lifestyle is the reason why you don’t have your period. Because of your prominent position in the blogging community, there are a lot of girls and women who read your blog who really take to heart what you have to say; as such, fairly or unfairly, you have been vested with a huge amount of social responsibility. Until you can say with more proof that your diet does not contribute to this problem, or you at least get a second opinion (srsly, what are you waiting for?), I’m honestly kind of surprised and a little disappointed that you or anyone else could think of you as a voice for the healthy living community.

I’m sorry you’ve been put in this position, and I’m sorry for what you’ve been going through–I know I would be kind of panicked if this happened to me. And I’m sorry if this comment seemed harsh. But as one of the “Big Six” (haha), I just think you have to remember that with great power comes great responsibility.

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224 Briana October 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I had the same issue when I was in college. I lost around 20 lbs and ran 5 miles (no more or less) everyday. I stopped getting my period. I was never super skinny so I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting it either. Every single gyno I ever went to see wanted to put me on BC. Of course that worked but as soon as I went off the BC, my period went away. This continued for about 10 YEARS. Finally, I stopped exercising as much and put on 10lbs. This did not make me chubby in the least, but still heavier than what I would like. Apparently that is the only way for me to get a period because I did get it back, although my cycle was about 60-70 days…I never could get on a super regular schedule. I was afraid the lack of a regular cycle would create problems for me getting pregnant, but it did not. I got pregnant back in April on the first try! Unfortunately I think some women’s bodies just like to have more body fat in order to have a period. It sucks but I was willing to do it in order to get a period back and have a baby.

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225 Megan October 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Hi Meghann! First off, I want to say that I love your blog. I am a student and it is my #1 source of procrastination!! Love it. I think you are incredibly courageous to put this topic out there, especially KNOWING that you will receive all kinds of advice, and comments from people who – like you said – do NOT know what is best for you, necessarily. I would expect that this is incredibly overwhelming, having all these ideas (some probably great ones) thrown at you from all sides. Seriously girl, remember that ultimately it is YOUR life, and that means you can do with it what you please. I totally acknowledge that I have no credentials or whatever, but of course I do have an opinion. I hope you aren’t offended by people who talk about your diet – I thought the comment that explained it is more about fuel than a personal judgment issue put it quite nicely. I also know that I should be running more and eating less, so perhaps my opinion is completely useless!! I do have to say though, I have noticed how light most of your meals. I just want to give you a few examples that I notice, as an outsider. For instance, when you come back from a long or intense run and for your meal eat a smoothie – that seems a little bit on the calorie and macronutrient low side, don’t you think? Of course the fruit and veg are fantastic, but you really gotta give your body something to use after exercise like that! Fruit and some yogurt might not cut it, you know? Same with a dinner that is mainly vegetables and barbeque sauce – I always think a nice hunk of some thick, delicious bread would be delicious for mopping up the leftovers :) Or, for your snacks, what about just making them a little more substantial? You clearly consume enough fruit and veg at your meals, so live a little! (I totally understand that right now it’s just preference – I love my melon, berries and greens too!!) What about dark chocolate and a FEW handfulls nuts as a mid-morning treat? Or a nice bowl of some delicious granola with 2% milk? Maybe some delicious bread instead of (or alongside) the sample packs? I feel like it would be simple to kind of “up-the-ante” without really trying or giving up the things you love. Things would still be healthy…and what’s the worst that can happen? You enjoy even more delicious snacks for a while!! Just my opinion. Sorry to write a novel. I don’t know if you’ll even have the time/mental energy to get through all these comments, but if you read this I hope you know that I have faith in you and find incredible inspiration in all of your stories and experiences.

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226 melissaroby October 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Your story sounds exactly like mine…I have PCOS…..

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227 melissaroby October 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I have also always been thin or average weight….a runner……it has nothing to do with what you eat…how much…go to your OBGYN and ask if she or he can run some tests….goodluck girl!!

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228 Sammy October 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm

To me this whole discussion is troubling. It seems like some of the people on here saying they have experienced “the same thing” also had an eating disorder or were experiencing some form of disordered eating at the time. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I do not think this is “normal”, nor should it be labeled as much. I think this discussion is a great example of the “healthy” blog community reinforcing behaviors that are anything but. This makes me upset, as I enjoy reading healthy living blogs, but not when they reinforce behaviors I would be concerned about if I saw in a friend or loved one.

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229 hiplip October 20, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I also noticed a correlation in the comments. I hope you are able to figure it out, Meghann. Definitely get a second, third, or tenth opinion until you get answers.

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230 Lauren @ Running Examiner October 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Yes…I noticed this too. I agree that it is *not* normal or ideal to suffer from amenorrhea. When I suffered from it, my doctors were seriously concerned about my health, and helped me take all the necessary steps to ensure I eventually recovered my cycle.

I did have an eating disorder. For years. I also read food blogs on a regular basis (something I actually never did while suffering from my ED). In my case, healthy living blogs played an integral role in helping me overcome my ED. I have no interest in reading blogs that espouse, consiciously or unconsciously, deprivation or other unhealthy behaviors with respect to eating, exercise, etc. I’m pretty confident that many people share stories similar to mine.

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231 Sammy October 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm

* as such.

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232 Melissa October 20, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Meghann,

Thank you for sharing your story! I love your blog and have had some of the same issues. I am 20 but suffered an ED in High School. Doctors thought I would get my period back but I never really got it back even when I gained alot of weight. I went to a gyno this summer and found out that I have a light case of Polycistic Ovary Syndrome and I know others have suggested this but you should deffinitley look this up because it helped me solve alot of the issues regarding running/body weight/periods.

Also, it is so ridiculous that Marie Claire was going to include that. That is your personal life and should not be posted for the public.

Thank your for your sincerity- I love your blog!

-Melissa

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233 Jen October 20, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Hey Meghann, thanks for posting your period story. I really enjoyed reading the comments – I feel like I learned a lot. I’m glad you had this topic on your blog. Acupuncture has worked for me in the past.

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234 Cailin @ Stir Crazy October 20, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for putting this all out there and sharing your story! Like many others here, I also didn’t get my period after coming off the pill almost almost 4 years ago now. After a year of not getting my period (I came off the pill to get pregnant), my doctor suggested I try to gain weight since my BMI was low. I gained 10 pounds, but still no period. At that point, I decided to resort to fertility treatments….I went through 6 months and now have a healthy 14-month old boy! BUT, even after I stopped breastfeeding, still no period… again. I worked hard to get back in shape again after having the baby and now my BMI is low again. I’m not sure if that’s my problem, but it’s frustrating… I understand your confusion. I’m not a long-distance runner, but I do workout consistently. All my blood work has come back with normal levels and no signs of any other issues. I’d like to get pregnant again and it looks like I’ll be taking the same route with fertility treatments. I hope you’ll write follow-up posts because there are so many of us who are dealing with similar issues (but don’t have the guts to write about it!!) :)

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235 Cindy October 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hi, I am sure you are getting LOTS of advice (211 comments worth!). You may have already heard this, but my story was very similar to yours. Runner, been on the Pill forever, went off, lost a bunch of weight, and along with that, lost Auntie Flo. Went to the doctor, who put me on progesterone to get a period, nothing. Back on the Pill, and I got one. But it got me thinking…if I have to be on the Pill to get a period, how will I ever get pregnant? So she did further tests, including an ultrasound. Turns out I had a bunch of cysts on my ovaries, something about the egg not dropping, but instead, forming a cyst on the ovary, hence no period. PCOS. That was around 2005.

BUT to make you feel better…I stayed on the Pill until we decided we were close to being ready to make a baby. Went off in October 2007, got periods (5 weeks apart like clockwork), started trying (and I use that loosely, we really just looked at a calendar and guessed) in April 2008, and guess what? I got pregnant in April 2008. And again in November 2009. And I have 2 healthy boys at home to show for it.

And to make you feel even better, another friend has the same syndrome, and in order to conceive she has to take glucophage (the med they give to diabetics). Unfortunately, she went through a lot of fertility docs to even learn she has PCOS.

Good luck to you, and thanks for sharing your story!

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236 jessica October 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Meghann, I really admire you for having the courage to write this post. But, honestly, if you were that concerned you would follow up with any of the doctors you mentioned whether its another gyno, an RD, a doctor of oriental medicine, etc. You haven’t followed through with any of them. You ask for advice and then don’t follow it all the way – of course it’s not going to work. You can’t expect your period to come back the day after you receive advice. Get a second opinion or see an RD and follow through.

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237 Alison (Fueling for Fitness) October 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm

It’s kind of scary because I felt like I was reading my story. I went to see a naturopathic doctor and she had me taking my temperature and told me to add 1 T of flax to my breakfast every day. In the past year, the only times I’ve gotten my period are when I went on a detox (the flood gates opened) and then when I started eating a lot of meat — but it was so light that I’d hardly call it a period.

sigh.

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238 Lee October 20, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Interesting

Flax has Omega 6 and meat brings you into positive nitrogen balance as well as adds some cholesterol

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239 Jill B October 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Not having a period is a symptom of the real problem- the low estrogen levels. Hormones affect the whole body and so not having enough estrogen can affect the heart, blood vessels, blood pressure, bone production, fertility, cancer, and more. It is probably better to take the hormone than to prveent all of teh above with supplements. Sometimes, the body doesn’t make enough hormones on its own (especially with all the pesticides and chemicals that interfere with our hormones out there). If your estrogen levels are low, finding ways to take in more estrogen will bring you back into balance- just like people with diabetes take insulin and people with hyporthyroidism take thyroid hormone. The pill contains estrogen, so it is a great supplement. Estrogen is made from cholesterol, so increasing your fat intake may help. You also may want to look into bioidentical hormones like people in menopause take to boost their estrogen levels. And don’t soy products contain estrogen like compounds? Also, make sure you recheck your thyroid hormone levels after six months- sometimes it can turn out normal on its way from switching from overproduction of thyroid hormone to exhaustion/low levels of thyroid hormone. It may take awhile to see changes in hormone levels, because so much of the hormone production process needs to be restarted. Getting your period requires a delicate balance of many hormones. Give it time- at least a few months. I am not a doctor (but I did go to med school), so check with your doctor about these ideas.

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240 Jill B October 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm

PS- Good luck figuring this out! Thank you for sharing so openly!

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241 Jill B October 20, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Also, try doing more yoga- especially inversions. They can balance out hormone levels through the manipulation of blood flow. Shoulderstand is particularly therapeutic for thyroid problems. Learn inversions froma yoga teacher.

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242 Bria October 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Meghann, my sister has the EXACT same problem (for a similar duration). She is in medical school, and even had an MRI of her head this summer because the doc wanted to rule out pituitary tumour.

She has similar circumstances; runs, lost ~30 lbs, changed her diet.

My bf is a medical doctor, and I have a nutrition degree. We concur that she does not eat enough fat for her body to manufacture the enzymes needed in fat metabolism. She reacted like you; “But I’m a healthy weight! But I eat a lot!” etc, etc. The think is, every person and every body is different.

I’m not a doctor, I’m just a girl with a nutrition degree and some common sense. The glaring issue is over exercise and low fat diet. I hesitate to use those words, because we have all interpreted them in the most extreme sense, but perhaps there is not much extreme about it… maybe “normal” levels of dietary fat for one woman are “restrictively low” for another, nutritionally.

Those are the comments I have shared with my sis (who still has no period), and so I leave them with you too. Nice post – congrats on bringing awareness to an issue that many others are likely dealing with.
xo.

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243 Lee October 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm

In the weight lifting world a common diet is 1 to 1.5 gm protein per pound body weight per day and fat and carbs to equal 33%P 33%F 33%C based on calories. Protein is from Chix Turkey Fish Dairy, some eggs. Fat is from nuts and fish and fish oil mostly (not big hunks of beef) Not recommending this as a runners diet but it gives some contrast to the Runner’s world and FDA diet.

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244 J October 20, 2010 at 9:57 pm

(I posted this on Tina’s blog because I went though the same thing.)

Posting anonymously because I am not as open about these issues as you brave ladies are (but you’ll see by my e-mail that I’m a regular commenter).

My cycle used to be really regular, once every 28-32 days like clockwork. Then sometime in my second year of college, I started restricting, recording my food and trying to stay under 1200, sometimes 1000 calories a day. I lost about five pounds and looked great IMO, but then my period didn’t come. Now, there could have been other reasons for this — I was stressed in school big time, and I wasn’t exactly happy with my social life.

Months passed, and I was getting freaked out. I finally confided in my BFF who told me to tell my mother, and I refused due to embarrassment and that she’d tell my dad. But after 7-ish missed cycles, I finally told her because I thought something was seriously wrong. And yes, she told my dad. A few doc appts (ob/gyn and primary) later, nothing unusual appeared in the hormone tests. (My primary ran a preg test on me, even though I was 19 and told him there was no way. He asked me, right in front of my DAD, if I had a boyfriend, which I did not.)

I was put on some kind of 7-day synthetic progesterone to start my period, but that did not work and I got moodier. Finally, I just lied and told my parents my period came back, and it finally did maybe 2 months after I stopped taking it and was pretty regular until I went on bc maybe 2 years later, even when I started running marathons.

So there you have it — just as it mysteriously left, it mysteriously returned as well.

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245 Lara October 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm

I just started reading your blog but I wanted to comment. I have had irregular periods for a really long time, then I lost 60 pounds in about 9 months and it actually REGULATED my period, no birth control needed. I was also on Nuva Ring (loved it!) but got off it because of the effects birth control had on my body. On the other hand, I am estrogen dominant, thus causing me to gain 100 lbs in 10 years. I think your Dr. is right that low estrogen could be to blame, but I really think you should get a 2nd opinion if her only option is birth control. I think birth control is horrible for your body….

And just FYI, yes I am married and no we are not trying to get pregnant. I thought I couldn’t do without birth control….Condoms work just fine :)

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246 BroccoliHut October 20, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Thanks so much for posting this, Meghann. I think a lot of women struggle with menstrual abnormalities but are afraid to talk about it–including me! I have a similar story. My period arrived at age 13, was really irregular, and then I developed anorexia, which stopped it completely for four years. I still haven’t been able to regain it naturally, as I was put on BC to bring it back. I, too, have the hormone levels of a pre-pubescent girl–I have to take estrogen and Synthroid for my hypothyroidism. I hope I can get this problem solved before I decide I want kids!

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247 Holly October 20, 2010 at 10:19 pm

So I’m fairly new to your blog but this seemed like an appropriate time to come out of hiding…I completely understand where you’re coming from!! For years the only solution docs have been giving me is to “go back on the pill”–in my case that was completely counterproductive since we were trying to have kids. There are natural ways to increase your estrogen- and even if you do need a supplement, I would encourage bio-identicals rather than just birth control pills.
We haven’t been successful in our conception attempts (8.5 years and counting), but I’ve also managed to stay off the pill during that time and had pretty normal cycles (until last fall when I did a 1/2 Ironman followed by a marathon 2 months later). For me now, I’m fighting an uphill battle with my body which apparently thinks it’s older than it actually is hence my hormone levels are jacked–lovely!
Keep doing what you’re doing–asking questions, living healthy…the rest will work itself out. :)

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248 Erica October 20, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I too, have had this problem- I had a period somewhat regularly for about three years in high school, and then my senior year, it quit. Eventually I ended up on the pill. The only explanation I have gotten is that there is a possibility that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome- without any of the other symptoms. It is scary to think that I cannot have children, which is what one of my docs told me. I can, however, get a period with a pill, like you. It appears to be the same factor, low estrogen, because all of the blood testing is normal, and I am in a normal BMI range, and eat and exercise healthfully….so that is the only explanation I have ever received!

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249 Laurie October 20, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Meghann,thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to open up about such personal issues. As a woman who struggles with fertility, please please please don’t let this issue go unresolved and take a passive stance. You could be devastatingly affecting your health down the road, especially if you’d like to have children. I’d hate for you to look back with regret on this time in your life. Please seek a second opinion. Medical care is costly, I definitely understand that, but you cannot put a price tag on your health and well being.

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250 Sarah October 21, 2010 at 12:13 am

Hypothalamic ammenorrhea.

It IS the running and malnutrition, unfortunately. I have been researching this for five years. You don’t have to be really thin or starve yourself. For YOU, you are doing too much.

You can regain your period. But you have to really cut down on the exercise and be sure you’re eating enough.

Email me if you want to talk directly. Like I said, I’ve been researching this for years.

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251 Coco October 21, 2010 at 12:40 am

Yup, I didn’t get my period for about three months in a row this summer. The doctor couldn’t explain it. Kind of weird. He switch my birth control pill and I had a period last month but this month, nothing.

This summer, I was working out like a fiend so I think that had something to do with it. But even when I lessened the work outs, it didn’t show. My doctor thought that the estrogen was too low in my pills so switched me to the ones I’m on now. Just a slightly higher dosage. No side effects (except for one slightly sick day) but again, I didn’t get my period last month.

So yeah, I know sort of what you’re going through. Looks like a lot of us are out of wack!

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252 Tabs October 21, 2010 at 1:00 am

Holy cow Meghann, you really touched on a very important topic that is not openly talked about much…thank you. Thanks for your bravery.

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253 Joanne October 21, 2010 at 6:46 am

I basically had the same thing happen to me about three years ago. I lost a lot of weight while on the pill but was having normal periods, then went off it and didn’t get my period back for another year/year and a half. When I lost it I was anorexic and very thin – on the border between underweight and normal weight. However, I really wasn’t running that much at the time. Then, I started gaining weight back and started running more. This was all around January of 2008. After that I focused on recovering and just tried not to think much about it. In June of 2009 I ran my first half marathon. Still no period. In October of 2009, I ran my first marathon. Ironically enough, on the morning of the marathon, I got my period back and it’s been regular ever since. I wasn’t on the pill, I wasn’t even really that much heavier than I was when I lost my period (maybe five pounds). And I was running more than ever. So I would say that waiting a bit longer is maybe not the worst thing to do. I agree with some other commenters that seeing an endocrinologist, or even a rhemuatologist (they’re kind of the people to see when you have no idea what’s going on and everyone else is at a loss) might be a good idea.

My only warning is that I ended up getting two pelvic stress fractures about a month after the marathon that debilitated me for about eight months afterwards and all of my doctors pointed to my lost period as the cause. So I would just be careful. And take loads of calcium. I take citracal, which is really the only calcium supplement that works efficiently. I take four pills a day…two in the morning and two at night.

I’m so sorry you have to go through this meghann and I hope it resolves itself soon!

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254 Kim October 21, 2010 at 6:48 am

I only scrolled through the comments- however similar thing happened to me pre kids- (now I have 3)
but I was OVERWEIGHT not average or normal weight. I am now completely fine…i had PCOS and I am at a perfectly healthy weight today and so is my period finally after 10 years- but my dr said one of my issues was too many carbs.

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255 Cin October 21, 2010 at 7:10 am

I work at a university with athletes and like I have commented before, your protein intake is far too low.

I have cheerleaders and baton twirlers who eat more than you and do far, far less exercise.

I think if you did a 1-2 month trial of incorporating more protein and fats into your diet and reducing your carb intake, you’d be surprised at the results.

Perhaps make a new rule for yourself that you have to have meat at least 2-3 times a week and increase the size of your snack consumption. Nuts are an excellent snack, but you need a portion size twice what you picture here.

If a female athlete reports no period, her estrogen level is one of the first things checked and is almost always the cause. Your ovaries can’t produce an egg without sufficient hormones, and if you go for so long without producing an egg, your ovaries can just shut themselves down and think they are ‘closed for business’ essentially, which can send you into an early menopause. It’s not as rare as you think. Plus, just think about your bones. Even with a calcium supplement, you are risking your bone density and your future health.

I look at it this way, would you rather 10 marathons/races a year OR run a few for the next 20+ years? Because without healthy bones, your day of no more running may come too soon, and then where would you be? Your body can only take so much abuse before the injuries happen and you have to start tapering off.

You are clearly a very intelligent young woman and I hope that you take in some advice from everyone and make a few little changes.

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256 Dori October 21, 2010 at 8:02 am

Now that I’ve read all the comments I can chime in with what I’d do in your situation:

1. Up the protein and fat as you train for your next marathon
2. SERIOUSLY refuel after the marathon (you know I love you but I do think you need to eat more after a big race like that)
3. After the marathon is over, cut back on running and continue to eat more fat, protein, etc.
4. Get another medical opinion, from someone with an excellent reputation

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257 Sarah @ Daily Nibbles October 21, 2010 at 9:18 am

Meghann, thanks for sharing this personal story. I’ve learned a lot from all of the comments as well. I was late getting my period in high school and had to go on BC to jump-start it. It worked….and even going on and off it through the years and running two marathons…I’ve always had a light period. It’s hard finding the right BC or deciding if it is even for you.

Also, I’m not an RD and I remember training for my two marathons thinking, ‘What and how much should I be eating?’ I found myself craving a lot of protein personally. I also drank a lot of chocolate milk as a recovery drink after long runs, adding a little bit of peanut butter and ice and blending it as a smoothie is extra delish. (I wished I ate as many veggies as you do.) I want to run another marathon next year and I think I’d consult and RD to figure out exactly what foods and nutrients I should be getting. I wish you luck in this process!

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258 Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) October 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

You are definitely not alone! I just got my cycle back last month… 1 year after going off the pill. I won’t lie, I was so frustrated and upset by all of this and I will never touch the pill again. I know that everyone says the pill had nothing to do with it, but I was normal before it, and then everything was messed up after it. Don’t stress… give it some time and hopefully your body will fix itself! Good luck!

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259 amanda October 21, 2010 at 9:56 am

My period has been irregular my whole life because, like you, I have low estrogen. I wouldn’t say I’ve “lost” it … but I can go for several months at a time with nothing – then one day BAM I get it for like two weeks straight. It sucks. My doc’s only solution was to put me on birth control as well … I went on it for a few months and then went off of it again because I just didn’t want to do it. I feel like I’ve been responsible in making sure I’m healthy down there and because I am I don’t want to take a pill every day to try and force my cycle. To each their own though! I might just take some of this advice about seeking out a second opinion, though.

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260 Kay October 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

First of all, I have to tell you that I was just thinking yesterday, “I should really check and see if Meghann has posted her “period post” yet. Yes, I have been waiting for you to do so since the whole Marie Claire fiasco. So, it was really strange that the day I think that… you post it!
Anyway, I was waiting because I too have been in similar shoes. I was never technically overweight, but pushing toward – what I felt – was a uncomfortable weight for me. I always had worked out and ate fairly decent, but I stepped it up (increasing the intensity, frequency and duration) with my cardio. I also began eating more healthy. I got a little too strict and “super-healthy” and lost 40 pounds… which was too much.
I had been on the pill when I started my “health makeover.” I went off of the pill during that time… and you guessed it… no period. I’m embarrassed to say that my period went missing for 4 years.
Yes, I went to doctors (gynecologists) and they tried to put me on the pill. But, I was like you and insisted that I stay off of it so I would know when my body was healthy, instead of masking the problem with a fake “period.” They ran tests, tests, and more tests… and like you, everything was fine, EXCEPT for my estrogen levels. They were very low. That, and they actually did an ultrasound to see if I had a big build up of uterine lining from not having my period for so long (I had endometriosis in the past). My lining was THIN.
But, finally, after 4 years (and much time after these tests)… my period DID return. It’s not regular yet… but it’s came almost every month since getting it back.
What did I do?
First of all, I upped my calories around 300 a day (I hate throwing out numbers, but girls, I eat 2,500-3,000 calories a day… I did then to get my period back and I still do now.) I also upped my FAT INTAKE. This was with healthy fats (nuts, nut butters, fish oil, olive oil), AND with saturated fat – full fat milk, full-fat cheese, butter, etc.
I also worked naps into my schedule when I could (which I understand might be hard for you with your work schedule. I had an odd schedule at the time). I think the major thing there was RESTING. I think it helped take my body out of the over-stressed state it was always in… always being worked, always just recovering from working out, etc. So, maybe just more sleep and resting in general would be good for you…
We’re all different. I’ve really learned that in the past 5 years. I thought I was being “so good” and “healthy” by eating 1,600-1,800 calories a day and being such a great exerciser (hardly ever missing a workout, pushing myself every time, etc.). I found out that it was too much for ME. My body needs more fuel, different ratios of fuel (more fat!) and more rest.
I highly recommend you play around with these factors before spending more time/money on doctor visits. Follow-up with that RD. I went to an RD at the beginning of my “wake-up call” that I needed to get better and balance out my uber-healthy lifestyle. She did wonders for me in getting me set on the right calorie-track. Good luck, Meghann. You deserve to be healthy and happy!

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261 Megan October 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Kay, this is really helpful. Your approach is one that I’m starting to follow now (I’m experiencing the same issues as Meghann). Did you continue to exercise when you increased your calories? Did your weight increase, or did it just even out when you started fueling your body with adequate calories? Thanks SO MUCH for your thoughts.

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262 Kay October 26, 2010 at 9:22 am

Hi Megan. Sorry, it took me so long to get back you! I did continue to exercise, but I took more rest days (a.k.a. – I took a rest day… I was working out 7 days a week for quite a while). My weight did increase, but not a huge amount (I went from TOO skinny to slim, if you’re wondering). What fueling my body with adequate calories really did was help me FEEL so much better – more energetic, happy and mentally sharper (and helped my body realize it would be okay to menstruate… and potentially support a life (get pregnant)). How much you dial down on exercise and how much weight you gain/don’t is dependent on your individual body and its needs. Our bodies all have their own energy requirements (how much they can expend/how much they need to take in). Continue fueling it better and letting it rest AND just listen to what it tells you. If you have any more questions, just ask!

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263 Heather October 21, 2010 at 11:57 am

I had a similar situation a couple of years ago. I didn’t have my period for almost a full year. I was lazy and figured it was kind of a blessing :-) and didn’t think there would be any harm in it because I’ve been irregular at times in my life, anyway. Well…I finally got around to going to the doctor and she convinced me NOT having my period was NOT OKAY. Apparently your body NEEDS to shed some “stuff”. She immediately put me on a dosage of Progesterone, which forced a period. I had to take it on and off to “help” things along here and there, but it finally kick started me again.

I don’t think you should just resign yourself to “I don’t know”. Find a new dr!

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264 Lauren @ Running Examiner October 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Great post, Meghann. Thanks for being so candid and straightforward.

I lost my period for 3 years when I was suffering from an ED. (I was also running A LOT — not an ideal mix). I actually didn’t recover my period until a good 2 years into my recovery, despite the fact I’d technically been at a healthy weight just 1 year in. Anyway, my period is now more or less back to ‘normal’ (though a ‘normal period’ is subjective, I guess), but it is always quite light and lasts for no more than 4 days.

I do find that birth control helps to regulate my period. I was also on Nuvaring for awhile (unlike you, I despised it — it never stayed in!!), and have since switched to Ortho Lo, which I took in college. I’ve been on bc for at least a decade now, but never continuously. I found that going on/off/back on bc, coupled with my ED, really affected my period and its regularity. Regarding your current situation — I might consider the possibility that your being on/off bc has something to do with your amenorrhea? I am in NO WAY an expert when it comes to gynelogical issues, but I do know that going on/off/back on bc is less than ideal, and can do all sorts of bizarre, annoying, and confounding things to your cycle.

To echo other posters, I encourage you to get a second professional opinion regarding your amenorrhea. While it isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm, it can indicate that something is amiss, and also has a way of causing stress. Good luck to you!

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265 Lauren @ Running Examiner October 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I meant *gynecological* issues. Sorry!

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266 Lindsay October 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Admittedly, I have never read your blog before — a few friends asked if I’d seen this particular post, so I came to see it.

I’m not here to pass judgments on you, but skipping your period is VERY SERIOUS. Women only skip their period when they are pregnant or something is wrong in the body– something so wrong the body decides it can’t sustain another life and stops menstruating.

As women, our bodies are designed for procreation, so if your body decides it can’t do what it’s meant to do — be very, very concerned.

You are right that every body, every woman is different but what you are doing is clearly *very* wrong for your body. My guess is whether you want to admit it or not, you do not have a healthy relationship with your body, food and exercise.

I hope you get help, or find a way to get your period back (without medication because that’s only masking the real, underlying problem) before you do serious damage to your body. Esp, if you want to have a family someday.

Think about how devastating it could be when you’re married, ready to start a family with your husband but cannot conceive because you spent your 20s destroying your lady parts.

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267 Holly October 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Lik everyone else, I truly commend you for posting on this topic! I know it has to be difficult to speak about something so personal.

I, too, have lost my period a couple of times in my life – once when I was too thin, and another time when I was training for my 3rd marathon. I gained 15 lbs and it came back, and I also got injured and was unable to run. I think it was a combination of this AND introducing healthy fats that I was getting enough of that enabled me to get my period again. Obviously a lot of the commenters above have noted that your diet seems a bit restrictive for someone who is putting in the miles that you are. And even though your body fat might not seem low enough to lose your period, it is truly different for everyone. I have since lost the weight but my period has stayed, so maybe that “jump start” is what you need? Good luck, Meghann!

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268 Celina October 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I had the same problems UNTIL on went to a hormonal doctor and started taking “Herbal Classics” all natural combinations.
Im not on the pill and NO ONE ever should be says the hormonal doctor.
(Could be the reason as to why you lost your period in the first place considering you lead a healthy lifestyle).
Im 100% healthy
No endometriosis (even though my mom has it…so maybe I could develop it down the road!?)
I couldnt be happier:)
DEFINITELY find a hormonal doctor asap and get tested
It is possible to get your period again…Im on mine right now :)

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269 Jaclyn October 21, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Celina, I’d love to hear more about this – where / how did you find them?

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270 Celina October 22, 2010 at 1:28 am

My mom got me in touch with her hormonal doctor. You may have to do a swab test and wait a few weeks for results but I highly recommend it.
The website on the vitamin bottles (I take 3 different supplement combinations for hormonal balance) is:
http://www.globalhealthmall.com (could be a distributer!?)
Company is called: Herbal Classics Inc 1800 617 7407 (made in canada)

Supplements made with all natural herbs (these are not pills)
I hope this helps! Let me know if you/anyone has any other questions!

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271 Tay October 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I know it’s a little late to be commenting, but I’m not sure why I didn’t comment yesterday when I read it! My period disappeared about 4 years ago after I had a 60 lb weight loss. My doctor attributed it to my body adjusting to the weight loss, and said not to worry – it would come back soon enough! It didn’t come back. And she still wasn’t worried months later. Then she said it was probably just my body adjusting to my marathon training. Keep in mind that I wasn’t marathon training when I originally lost my period – just casually running 3-4 miles. After about a year, I finally went to see a gynecologist about it, and she immediately prescribed my birth control pills. I didn’t like the idea of being prescribed a pill to bring it back – I wanted to figure out WHY I lost my period. So I went and saw another gynecologist, she tested my estrogen, and again put me on the pill. Argh. I finally just took it, but I hated how it made me feel – I got the WORST PMS, felt moody bloated, depressed, gained weight, etc. A few months later, I saw another doctor, who prescribed me pills again.

2 years after I lost my period, it randomly came back. I hadn’t changed a thing – I hadn’t gained weight, I was still running like crazy, and I was honestly still underfueling my body. I don’t know what made it come back, but it did.

Now, I wouldn’t suggest just waiting around for you period to come back, because so much bone damage could be going on right now – I’m super worried about what damage I had in 2 years! I would definitely suggest finding another doctor, and working with possibly an RD to see if you can change around your diet to bring yours back the natural way!

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272 Jaclyn October 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I wonder if your sister has experienced the same thing? As a runner, and in your blood line…may be interesting to “compare notes”..

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273 kay October 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm

just found your blog and im not normally a “commenter” but i wanted to say that i had similar problems. im not gonna try to fix your problem. but i wanted to share my story. i run 3-5 miles 6 days a week and i went off BC 2 1/2 years ago. i didnt have a period for a full year. and i FREAKED.

my doc told me to cut back on the running because he said it was a stress thing. that periods can stop/not re-emerge due to stress (the body doesn’t want to reproduce when there is not an ideal environment to hold the fetus or something like that…). well i wasn’t willing to give up running (balances me emotionally) so i tried other “stress relievers” like yoga. acupuncture is similar (although im afraid of needles). meditation, etc. did yoga/meditation for 6 months and it came back but then left for two months and came back and then left again.

i wanted it to be consistent (so as not to scare me and my boyfriend that i was pregnant every other month…even though we use protection) and i was so desperate that a friend suggested something that i NEVER thought i would do. (then again, i never thought i would do yoga either…) and i got a gravity colonic. a week later, it was back. and has been ever since (a year). maybe too gross for you? for me, it was better than needles (acupuncture). but in thinking about it now, they’re all stress relievers/cleansers and i think that’s the moral of my story.

if you don’t want to give up running (which although can be stress-relieving mentally, it is physical stress on the body), try finding stress-relieving options to balance the physical stress that running causes (start with the yoga…or just extra stretching/deep breathing after a workout). hang in there!

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274 Maggie @ Say Yes to Salad October 21, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Similar story here! I was on BC for 3.5 years, during which I lost weight and started exercising more. I never lost my period while I was on the pill. I decided to go off the pill for a number of reasons, and after I went off I didn’t get it on my own. I went back on the pill for a month (after being off it for a year) and then 2 months later I had like a mini period (this was 2-ish months ago) but nothing since. I’m just waiting. I don’t even run or do lots of cardio – I just do yoga, and not every day. Bodies are weird.

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275 @stampylisa October 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Try the book “What’s Up Down There” or check out Dr. Lissa Rankin’s site: http://www.owningpink.com/whats-up-down-there/buy-now

She’s also on Twitter. I hope you find your answers. I know there are foods that can mess up your estrogen levels, but it could be any combo of things. pharmaceuticals are not the answer. perhaps look into the bioidentical hormones. I think the pill messed me up, I was never able to get pregnant by accident or otherwise. i never went further, it wasn’t the right time, but had serious nasty hot flashes in my mid-late twenties, only when I was off the pill during the week of my period. they prescribed mini estrogen for that. I eventually used Black Cohosh and after a few months of that, they went away on their own. i should have not taken the pill for so long though.

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276 Emily October 22, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Ok. Not that you haven’t already gotten a lot of advice Meghann but I had lost my period for about 2 years. I tried a lot of stuff, extra calcium, extra fat, etc… The only thing that worked for me and I know have it back without using anything. I had to gain at least 20-25 pounds although I wasn’t technically underweight. My body was just more comfortable at a higher “average” weight. I went from 5’2″ at 104 to 5’3″ at 127-130.

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277 Caitlin October 23, 2010 at 10:16 am

I’m a little late on this post, but I definitely admire your honesty about this topic!

I actually lost my period for about 6 months and finally ended up going to the doctor about it. I was told that I was not eating enough fat. Since then, I have tried to up my fat intake and my period did come back.

I know everyone is different, but maybe consider seeing a nutritionist to see if you are consuming the right foods as well as the correct amount of foods. Good luck.

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278 Kristine October 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Have you had your iron checked? I lost my period due to an iron deficiency. I know you don’t always eat meat so your iron levels may be low.

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279 Emma October 24, 2010 at 8:56 pm

I didn’t have time to read all the comments, and I’m sure that many people have already said this, but: I had the same problem, with a very similar time frame as to when I went on and off the pill and started losing weight and doing lots of cardio. My mom said from the very beginning that that had happened to her when she was in her 20s because she was running more every week, and when she cut back her running for a few months, it came back. I ignored her because I really didn’t want to let any of my cardio go, but, eventually I tried it. And, yeah, turns out, it was that simple. Don’t know if it would be that way for you, but I suspect it would.

I don’t know enough about it to know if it’s “hurting” your body though, to not get your period. I wasn’t that upset about it when I wasn’t getting it – just mildly concerned that it would be bad for my body. The only thing I was told of concern was that my low estrogen levels could be bad for my bones. That’s what made me try to get it back. But, as I said, that’s the only thing I heard of concern, and I’m not sure I even remember the reliability of the source.

ANYway, my very unprofessional conclusion is: Cutting back on running might bring it back, but, do you really need to do that? I don’t know. If you were trying to have kids, it’d prob be important, but is this the worst thing now? I don’t know. That’s what I would research.

Good luck!

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280 Morgan October 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Aron from Runner’s Rambles pointed me to this post when I approached her on this subject. I too have not had my period… in 3 years. My gyno and other docs say that between my active lifestyle and bc that promised “shorter, lighter periods” it was to be expected with a girl of my size. Lately I’ve really started to wonder how normal it really is. I’ve skimmed the comments and intend to do a thorough read of every single one after work. Thanks for having the courage to write about this, I have thought about posting on this subject myself but it’s so terribly personal that I just couldn’t come to a comfort level with it. (Not to mention the negative comments that were sure to appear) I admire you and hope that you find some answers soon.

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281 Kaitlin With Honey November 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I’m catching up on your blog now after a few weeks of being way behind. So, even though this post has long passed, I still feel compelled to respond. I think this was a wonderful and VERY brave post. You ask all the right questions, you’re honest, and you’re completely open about the possibility that you might have done this to yourself accidentally (though, really, just because there are no answers doesn’t mean that IS the answer). I’m going through a similar struggle, in a sense. I’m not having your issue, but I developed achilles tendonitis because I got so dedicated to running that I kind of ignored the pain and hoped I’d just push past it until it went away. I’m definitely not saying that’s what you did, but my point is that I totally understand the struggle between wanting to dedicate yourself to a high level of fitness and finding that your body ends up rebelling against you.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented on here before, but I’m a longtime reader – you’re actually the first blogger I discovered! I’m sure I’ll meet you in a few days at Foodbuzz. Until then, have a great week!

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282 Marci June 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hi Meaghan, I found a link to this post through another running blog. I wonder if you have ever been tested for polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is hard to diagnose and every women exhibits different symptoms. You may want to inquire about it at your next doctors appointment.

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283 Leeann September 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Hello!
I was so happy to read this just so I can finally have comfort in knowing I’m not alone. Basically my story is yours to a T. Off birthcontrol 2 years ago, still no period! I’m not super skinny, healthy BMI, eat enough fats, yada yada….. Not one doctor can tell me where my period is? After every hormone test, I have no issues on that end. Did you ever get your period back? If so, how? I’m so lost here .

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