Because the number of days between menstruation as well as the days spent menstruating can vary widely it can be difficult to gauge whether or not you have irregular periods. But what is sure is that more and more women are looking into natural ways to regulate periods.
A menstrual cycle is usually counted from the first day of a period to the first day of your next with the average menstrual cycle being 28 days. But this not only varies from woman to woman, but it can also vary from month to month.
Occasional changes in premenstrual symptoms, flow, and duration is usually not a cause for concern as diet, exercise, and stress can all affect the glands that regulate your body’s hormone balance and your monthly periods.
But when periods are missed completely, or the time between periods consistently keeps changing with your periods come earlier or later every month, your menstrual cycle is considered as irregular.
Irregular periods are caused by a variety of different reasons, but the main culprit is usually a hormone imbalance. There are several different things you can do to help restore and support hormonal balance and naturally regulate your period. Let’s take a look at some of these.
6 NATURAL WAYS TO REGULATE YOUR PERIOD
1. Avoid Endocrine Disruptors
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are everywhere – shampoos, soaps, makeup and toothpaste to cleaning products, nonstick coatings, and plastics. EDCs have been shown to do exactly what their name suggest – disrupt the body’s endocrine, aka hormone system.
Take xeno-estrogens as an example. This EDC binds to your body’s estrogen receptors, interfering with the fragile balance between the two major female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. And with estrogen being linked to everything from endometriosis to polycystic ovarian syndrome to cancer, it can only be a good idea to remove these estrogen-mimicking chemicals from your life. It is also a powerful first step to getting your hormones back in balance and your periods back on track.
Some easy ways to do this is to switch your usual cosmetics, beauty product and household cleaners for natural or homemade alternatives. Also swap plastic containers and Teflon-coated cookware for glass, stainless steel or copper versions.
2. Eat Your Dairy, Eggs, Meats and Fats
As women who want to stay slim, we tend to focus on calories instead of nutrition. Unfortunately, this more often than not means that we shun nutrient-dense foods like full-fat dairy, eggs, grass-fed meats and healthy fats and oils.
The thing with these kinds of foods is that they keep your blood sugar low and stable. High blood sugar, and more specifically insulin is directly linked with estrogen. And the more stable your blood sugar, the more stable your estrogen levels will be. They’re also high in healthy fats like omega-3s and polyunsaturated fatty acids which support hormone balance and ovulation.
Additionally, by adding these types of foods into your diet you also get a healthy balance between protein, fats and fibre. Too much fibre has been linked to lowered levels of the essential female reproductive hormones progesterone, estrogen, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
It can also be useful to add in some hormone balancing herbs and nutritional supplements like red raspberry leaf, evening primrose oil, magnesium and vitamin B12. For more information about supplements which can help stabilize your hormones, head over to our article “Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones”
3. Support Your Gut Health
Your gut is not only responsible for nutrient absorption and vitamin production but it’s also intimately linked to the metabolism of hormones like estrogen. If there is an imbalance in our gut, it can easily translate into an imbalance in neurotransmitters and hormones.
For instance, gut dysbiosis, the scientific name for a bacterial imbalance in the digestive system, is associated with everything from autoimmune disorders to depression to mood to sleep disorders. Similarly, thyroid health which is essential to hormone production has also been linked to gut health.
4. Learn to Manage Your Stress
Cortisol is the major stress hormone and part of your body’s fight-or-flight response. Considering that survival is like a prime directive, your body prioritizes cortisol production over all of the other steroid hormones of which your sex hormones are also a part of. Steroid hormones are made from cholesterol and when your body diverts all of its resources to producing cortisol, there isn’t enough to go around to make enough of the hormones like estrogen and progesterone which regulates your menstrual cycle.
Incorporate stress busting practices like yoga and meditation into your daily routine. Yoga has the added benefit of having been scientifically proven to regulate hormone profiles in patients with menstrual irregularities. Yoga practice is also helpful in women suffering from the side effects of hormonal imbalances such as painful, heavy, long and/or abnormal periods as well as hypomenorrhea or breakthrough bleeding.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep and a disrupted circadian rhythm (your wake-sleep cycle) is linked to altered secretion of reproductive hormones. In addition, not getting enough sleep also lowers levels of FSH and prolactin, while estradiol levels increase all of which interferes with your menstrual cycle and ovulation.
The best ways to get enough sleep is to get loads of natural sunlight during the day and minimize artificial light after sunset. Also consider installing an app like f.lux to reduce blue light exposure on your phone or laptop. Get your bedroom sleep ready by hanging blackout curtains, keeping the air cool and getting a good mattress.
6. Track Your Periods.
It might sound obvious but tracking your periods can help you regulate your menstrual cycle. When you track things like your cervical fluid, waking temperature (called basal body temperature) and periods you can also track your sex hormone levels.
For instance, an overproduction of cervical fluid indicates a high level of oestrogen while low a low basal body temperature points to low levels of progesterone. Tracking your periods also means that you can gauge how effective the changes you’re making really are as well as where you need to hack and improve your plan.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with a physician if you have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications. A doctor’s advice should always be sought before before embarking on any new treatment.