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Exercise and menstruation

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  1. #1
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    Exercise and menstruation

    Hey all!

    I just joined! I have been reading on this forum for a little while though! I love the threads!

    Can anyone give some personal experience on exercise and not having periods? Is there a way to exercise and still menstruate? I have heard too many stories of woman losing there periods from exercise (I have personal experience too). I have reserearched Amenorrhea a lot, and still find myself wondering what the heck is going on! I don't want to take medications to get my cycle back. I just want to exercise and eat healthy and have a period!

    When I lost it I was doing dancing (cardio) 7x per week fo 30 minutes, along with stretching and ab work. My body fat % was not too low. I was eating lots of salad, some meat, lots LOTS of healthy fats like nuts, salad dressing, and some cereal and soy.

    That was when I lost it, and then I started working out harder (after I lost it), now I work out like this: Cardio (walking), 30 min 3-5x per wk, moderate weight traing 4x per wk for 30-40 min, and streching. I am 5"8, 130 lbs, and when I last got my BF % checked I was 15.7 body fat %.

    I only got 2 light periods, and that was when I think I took a break from exercise. Other then that, havne't had one in 1 1/2-2 years.

    Please share your story's and give feedback!

    Thank you for your kindness!

    cocolove

  2. #2
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    Women's menstral cycles will stop at a lower body fat percentage.

    The rule of thumb is that 10-14% bodyfat is essential for women, and under this level it will stop.

    Mine stop at about 10% bodyfat, and I missed about three months.

    How old are you?

    Would you post up a typical days diet?

    I would also consider having some blood work done, check with your GP if you will need a day 3 or day 21 progesterone, oestrogen, LH/FSH, testosterone and a thyroid function test, ferritin, B12, folate and a full/complete blood count, Urea and electrolytes or BUN and a fasting glucose.

    Are you also taking birth control pills? If so are they the progesterone only?

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  3. #3
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    Post

    Thank you!

    Okay, here is 1 day of food intake:

    Before Breakfast:
    7:00 a.m.
    2 oz NingXia Red superfood drink
    2 small apples
    1 small pear
    4 leaves romaine lettuce
    1 Tb. agave nectar (dark blue)
    cinnamon
    (^ this is kind of like a pre-breakfast meal)

    9:00 a.m.
    Breakfast:
    3/4 cup oats
    1/2 avocado
    1-2 tbsp agave nectar
    1 Tb. Hemp seeds
    2 Tb. flax seeds (ground)
    1 tsp. bee pollen
    4 3/4-3/4 inch homemade chocolate balls


    12:00 p.m.
    Lunch:
    2 cups mixed greens and veggies salad
    1 cup rice or other grain
    1 Tb. coconut butter
    agave, mustard and apple cider vinager for dressing
    4 olives

    3:00 p.m.
    Snack:
    avocado, oats flax seed and agave
    or hemp protein shake w/ agave, avocado, carob

    6:30 p.m.
    Dinner:
    2 cups salad and sprouts
    1 chicken hot dog
    1 Tb. olive oil
    2 Tb. Nutristional yeast (protein)
    agave, mustard and ACV for dressing

    Usually go to bed at 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

    I am 18. I don't take birth control, never have. Never been on medication.
    I got really skinny and my weight went down fast before. Sometimes 1 lb a day. I started at 138 lb before. Then got to 105 lb. This was before. Like 2 yrs ago. Now I weigh 130 lb. I lost my period around 130's before. Body fat wasn't too low.

    I have heard of woman with 11% body fat have to take medication to keep there cycle. Why is that? And why would I lose it when my BF% was good?

    Thank you for your kindness!

    cocolove

  4. #4
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    This is off topic, but related to you.

    How tall are you? 105 seems really low to me. I have nothing but respect for your hard work, but I hope you aren't falling prey to the barbie doll, must be as skinny as possible syndrome. I really hate that so many women drive themselves through total hell to achieve a look that is not natural, because of a warped view of what society expects from women.

    I'm a dude, and I know very little about the specifics of women issues while training, so I can't offer any help.


    Also, welcome to IM!
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  5. #5
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    I thought that because the body was working more the menstruation would be more strong.

    Also can it happen all of a sudden? Like in the middle of an exercise because of the intensity?

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    KelJu, thank you! I don't weigh 105 lb anymore! I realized that 105 was way too low! Now I weigh 130 lb at 5'8. I was falling pray to the celebrity stick look BEFORE. Now I totally agree that it is unrealistic and unhealthy! I am so glad I moved right out of that thinking pattern fast! I focus on health now!

    On the same subject as the post, but looking at it from a different angle; I know a lot of woman who really don't eat that much at all, and are on the thin side and still have there monthly cycle. One woman sometimes doesn't eat hardly anything all day. It seems like when you exercise though, something else happens or something. Maybe because your body might think it is running from something and it doesn't need to keep menstruating, it needs to keep you alive?

    Thank you all!

    cocolove

  7. #7
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    I'm not expert on the menstruation cycle, but it's my understanding that a lot of female athletes loose their period.

    I did a search just now and there is a term, "Female Athlete Triad". It's a guideline for women to remain healthy while training. Here's one page that discusses it. Near the bottom it briefly mentions that not taking care of yourself properly, mostly in regards to eating habits, will lead to a loss of your menstrual cycle.

    Do keep in mind that there are many reasons why your cycle is gone. Don't just assume it's because of your (previously) poor eating habits. Keep an open mind.


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    DOMS, thank you! I am and will keep an open mind! Thank you for reminding me and for information on the Female Athlete Traid!

    If anybody didn't understand what I said above; I weigh 130 lbs at 5 ft 8 inches.

    Thank you all!

  9. #9
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    Hey hun,

    Your diet is full of great wholesome foods (I use bee pollen post workout).

    When are you training in the day?

    I would try to get a bit more protein, and also check the calcium levels in your diet. Sesame seeds (tahini butter), brocolli and some other foods that I can't remember right now are CHOC full of calcium.

    I gather you are into whole food diet, so some sea vegetables/sea weed would also be really beneficial. You can get kemp/arame 'shakers' that you can sprinkle on food, great on rice, especially with toasted sesame seed oil and a bit of shoyu.

    When did you first get your period?

    Just to be cautious, I would still get some blood work done.

    One of my concerns for women is oseoporosis, and young athletes often have disturbed menstral cycles because of low body fat. Low body fat also affects oestrogen levels, low oestrogen, you don't lay down as much bone, and you are at a time in your life that you are doing just that.

    Exercise (load bearing exercise) does help with the formation and maintainance of bone.

    It is a double edged sword this oestrogen thing, too much, breast cancer, too little, osteoporosis.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOMS View Post
    I'm not expert on the menstruation cycle, but it's my understanding that a lot of female athletes loose their period.

    I did a search just now and there is a term, "Female Athlete Triad". It's a guideline for women to remain healthy while training. Here's one page that discusses it. Near the bottom it briefly mentions that not taking care of yourself properly, mostly in regards to eating habits, will lead to a loss of your menstrual cycle.

    Do keep in mind that there are many reasons why your cycle is gone. Don't just assume it's because of your (previously) poor eating habits. Keep an open mind.
    Read that after I posted! That is great info. I think I may put that link of a few other female BBing boards.

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  11. #11
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    Tatyana, thank you! I usually train around 1:00 p.m., it can also be 3:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., but it has NOT been in the morning. (Is morning training better, good, etc.?) Does the time of day when you train make a difference in this? Oh, and the days I usually train are; Monday (Cardio, walking, 30 min. Upper Body and ab's, 40 min w/ stretchs), Tuesday (Cardio-same. Lower body, 40 min w/ stretches), Wednesday (rest), Thursday (Cardio, ab's and streches or rest), Friday (same as Monday), Saturday (same as Tuesday + ab work), Sunday (Rest). Except now (meaning this week) I am taking it down to just 3x per wk of cardio. So, I would just warm up for 5 min before weight training if I didn't do cardio that day.

    When did I first get my period? Do you mean the first one I ever ever had? If so, at 14. Never lost it until I got into a strict routine of off foods, and no skipping exercise.

    Thank you for the advice on the foods! I love sesame seeds! I love the black sesame seeds too! I do eat dulse sometimes too (I actually cut down on the intake because I didn't want to overdo).

    Any ideas for more protein? As you can see, I don't really like to eat a lot of meat.

    My BF % seems like its at a great level, do you think so?

    Thank you for your kindness!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocolove View Post
    Tatyana, thank you! I usually train around 1:00 p.m., it can also be 3:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., but it has NOT been in the morning. (Is morning training better, good, etc.?) Does the time of day when you train make a difference in this? Oh, and the days I usually train are; Monday (Cardio, walking, 30 min. Upper Body and ab's, 40 min w/ stretchs), Tuesday (Cardio-same. Lower body, 40 min w/ stretches), Wednesday (rest), Thursday (Cardio, ab's and streches or rest), Friday (same as Monday), Saturday (same as Tuesday + ab work), Sunday (Rest). Except now (meaning this week) I am taking it down to just 3x per wk of cardio. So, I would just warm up for 5 min before weight training if I didn't do cardio that day.

    When did I first get my period? Do you mean the first one I ever ever had? If so, at 14. Never lost it until I got into a strict routine of off foods, and no skipping exercise.

    Thank you for the advice on the foods! I love sesame seeds! I love the black sesame seeds too! I do eat dulse sometimes too (I actually cut down on the intake because I didn't want to overdo).

    Any ideas for more protein? As you can see, I don't really like to eat a lot of meat.

    My BF % seems like its at a great level, do you think so?

    Thank you for your kindness!

    Post training your body is hungry for food, so I would eat a bigger meal then.

    As for protein, the combination of beans and a whole grain

    Beans: aduki, red and green lentils, chick peas/garbanzo beans, kidney beans, butter beans, pinto beans, black eye peas...........

    Grains: brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, barley, spelt, amaranth

    Throw some sea weed into both when cooking, good way to get your sea veggies in.

    I don't think you can overdo the sea veggie thing

    Other sources of protein: raw nuts, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds (buy raw and toast them yourself), good quality tofu, seitan, tempeh

    There is this fantatic cook I think you would love, and I know you can still get it on Amazon, The Self-Healing Cookbook, macrobiotic primer by Kristina Turner (I think).

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  13. #13
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    Your body fat is a bit below average in the 'lean' domain.

    It does take a few years for the menstral cycle to regulate itself, I would still get some blood tests.

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    T

  14. #14
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    Tatyana, thank you so much! Okay, after a workout, make that meal the biggest meal of the day? I have read to eat carbs and I have read to eat protein after a workout. So maybe both or one or the other. Are you suggesting that my body fat % is good? Do you have a regular cycle without taking medication? Okay, I will just be patient and get some things checked out! Thank you! Thank you for the name of the book!

  15. #15
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    When I am dieted down for competition, and my body fat is around 10%, my menstral cycle stops.

    Otherwise, yes, it is regular with exercise.

    Everyone is different though hun, it is thought that the 'essential' bodyfat for women to menstrate is around 12-14%. You may be different.

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  16. #16
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    Tatyana, thank you for all of your help! Why would I want to roast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds?

    Thank you for your kindness!

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