Do you experience irregular periods? Is your period unpredictable, does it last too long, or is it too short? Do you have an irregular menstrual cycle with no pattern as to when they happen? If so, don’t worry–you are not alone! In this blog post, we will explore 10 ways you can help regulate periods and get them back on track.
We will talk about how lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, and stress management can impact hormone-related problems such as PCOS. And you’ll also learn about the influence of foods on irregular periods and how integrative medicine supports healthy hormonal balance in women who have irregular periods.
What regulates your menstrual cycle?
There are a few main factors that play a role in helping to regulate menstrual periods. These include:
- Your stress levels and how you manage them on a daily basis
- The foods you eat, including your intake of certain vegetables, sugar, and caffeine
- Hormonal imbalances related to ovulation, PCOS, or birth control pills
This blog post will explore these factors in more detail. We’ll share some tips on how irregular menstrual cycles can be regulated, and you’ll learn what natural vitamin or herbal supplements help with irregular periods.
10 Ways To Help You Regulate Your Period
Healthy Cycles with Integrative Medicine
Evening primrose oil
Evening primrose oil (EPO) has been shown to increase levels of glutathione specifically in women with PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome (1). Glutathione reduces oxidative stress and inflammation which may play a role in treating irregular periods (2).
If you have very light menstrual bleeding, this may be a sign of low estrogen, and evening primrose oil can support a healthy menstrual flow. Dosages for evening primrose oil are usually 2-4 grams daily (3).
Increase cellular glutathione with IV therapy>>
Make sure you get enough fats
Adequate intake of healthy fats is important for hormone function and menstrual regularity. In fact, abnormal bleeding can be a sign of low fat intake (4).
Including some healthy fats in your diet is an easy way to improve irregular menstrual period symptoms and regulate irregular cycles. Some examples include avocados, coconuts, seeds (such as pumpkin or sunflower), nuts (like almonds or pecans), extra virgin olive oil, and nut butters (such as almond or peanut butter).
Read more: The Truth About Fats
Reduce sugar intake
Sugar is a known trigger for irregular periods in many women with PCOS. Consuming high amounts of sugars can worsen insulin resistance which can lead to period problems and other hormonal changes.
The best way to reduce your sugar intake is to eliminate processed foods from your diet. Refined sugars are often hidden in many food products you wouldn’t expect including breads, pasta sauce, and salad dressings.
Skip the low-carb diet
Super low-carb eating can disrupt thyroid function, which impacts menstrual cycles. Low-carb diets are sometimes recommended to help with weight loss, which may help regulate menstrual cycles; however, they’re not the ideal treatment for everyone.
You should aim to eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates including vegetables and fruit as well as healthy fats like nuts, seeds and olive oil. If weight loss is your goal, learn more about the best approach for your individual needs.
Many women experience irregular or infrequent menstruation because of their high levels of stress. Stress has a direct impact upon the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPO), which can lead to menstrual irregularities.
The stress hormone cortisol is intricately linked to estrogen and progesterone, which can impact ovulation (5).
Without ovulation, progesterone levels may be low, leading to painful periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fertility troubles.
Incorporate cruciferous vegetables into your meals.
Cruciferous vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, and most dark green vegetables have a component called DIM that helps to metabolize excess estrogen and balance hormones. Studies have shown that DIM in these veggies supports a healthy menstrual cycle and may reduce the risk of some estrogen-sensitive cancers (6).
Related: Estrogen and Perimenopause
Inositol is another nutrient closely related to the B vitamin family. Inositol has been shown to be especially helpful in addressing menstrual irregularities especially in those with PCOS.
Inositol supports the hormone insulin, which impacts ovarian health, and other important hormones including FSH and LH, which are important for ovary function and therefore a healthy menstrual cycle. Inositol has shown the benefit of improving ovulation rates in women with PCOS (7).
You’ll find 1.5 grams of myo-inositol in The EastWest® Ways Hormone Helper.
Get off of birth control
After you stop taking hormonal birth control, it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months for your period to return. You can support this process by replenishing nutrients birth control pills may deplete (such as zinc and B vitamins), and by eating a hormone-healthy diet to restore your menstrual cycle.
If your cycle has not returned after 6 months, it’s important to speak with your integrative medicine doctor about ways to restore your cycle.
Get into a regular sleep, exercise, and stress management routine
Irregular cycles can often be traced back to lifestyle factors that promote hormonal imbalance. Hormone imbalance frequently results in irregular or missing menstrual periods.
A regular workout can help manage your mental health and improve your sleep quality, in addition to reducing the effects of daily stress. Getting consistent and adequate sleep also supports hormone balance and can help balance blood sugar and cortisol levels.
Make sure your diet includes fermented foods
Fermented foods such as kimchi and kefir stimulate beneficial bacterial growth in the gut. A healthy gut helps metabolize excess hormones, which supports hormone balance and a healthy cycle.
A healthy gut may help resolve cycle irregularities such as a heavy flow or painful PMS.
Supplements Helpful for Regulating Menstrual Cycles
In addition to integrative medicine and lifestyle changes, there are a few supplements that may help improve cycle irregularities either through their impact on hormone balance, inflammation, or nutrient status.
- Black cohosh
- Vitex (chaste tree berry)
Browse these and other women’s health supplements in the CentreSpringMD shop.
How long does it take for a period to regulate?
Young women just starting their period and those stopping hormonal birth control often find irregular periods can take up to six months or even longer to regulate. It’s common to experience a little uncertainty during this time.
If you feel you need extra support, contact a qualified integrative women’s health doctor to evaluate your individual cycle.
Do birth control pills regulate my period?
Contrary to popular belief, hormonal birth control pills do not regulate your period, but rather suppress ovulation by shutting down hormone production at the level of the brain.
Hormonal birth control pills do have a profound impact on the reproductive system and it may take a period of time for your cycles to return after stopping them.
If you are taking hormonal birth control pills to try to regulate your period, be aware that once you come off of them, you’ll likely still need to address the underlying cause of your irregularity.
Read more: Why You Should See a Holistic OB/GYN
Can I have a regular period if I have PCOS?
If you have PCOS, you may experience missing or irregular periods. It’s also not uncommon to have long cycles (more than 35 days), or very light bleeding when you do have a period.
Despite this, it IS possible to address the underlying causes of PCOS to help regulate your cycle.
Visiting an Integrative or Functional Women’s Health Doctor
Irregular menstrual cycles are common. If you’ve ever had to deal with not knowing when your period is coming or dealing with pain and discomfort during it, there may be a solution for you. Changes in diet, such as increased veggies and fermented foods support overall hormone balance, while stress management may restore ovulation to regular your cycle. Natural treatment can restore a regular cycle and ovulation without the use of medication. If you need more support to regulate your body’s natural cycle, a qualified integrative or functional women’s health doctor might be able to help!
We’re ready with any questions you might have about women’s health and hormone balance. Contact us today! Fill out the form here.