Getting Healthy: Part 1

This is one of those awkward, girl-talk type posts so guy readers, feel free to skip this one!

I think making resolutions for myself this year was a good thing. I’ve actually been motivated to tackle most of them, and so far, I’ve been pretty successful. I’ve been applying to at least 3 jobs per week most weeks, I’ve been drinking plenty of water every day and been feeling better for it AND I’ve been eating mostly raw since the beginning of this month.

I’m finally getting around to addressing my fourth resolution on the list…taking control of my health. As I mentioned in this post from a few months ago, I went off hormonal BC in May of 2013. I was getting more headaches than usual and having some skin and digestive issues, so I decided to stop taking the pill after 3 years of being on it. My doctor was fine with me going off BC, and told me to come back in to see her if in 6 months I hadn’t had a period.

Now it’s been 9 months without a period. While it’s nice not to have to worry about all that not-so-fun girl stuff, it’sΒ not healthyΒ to go that long without a period. I was worried, so I made an appointment to check in with my doctor.

My appointment was this past Friday. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was in for, but I knew I needed to face this issue head-on. The nurse and my doctor both seemed very surprised that I hadn’t had a period in that long, or even any spotting. My doctor ran down some of the potential underlying issues with me, one of them being my weight. She knows a little bit of my ED history, but not all of it so I had to explain some of the background behind it. Basically, she said my weight’s been stable since she’s been my doctor for the past 2 years but she was a little concerned that it might be too low for me.

My BMI is currently just below the healthy range, and I’m basically at my highest weight ever. I explained this to her, and said that even before my ED issues, I was a good 10 pounds lighter than I am now. I understand that for a lot of people, being at a weight that’s too low for them could be a reason why they can’t get their period naturally, but I don’t think that’s the case for me. I’ve been slightly underweight my entire life, always petite and short for my age, and I just don’t think that’s my issue.

I’m going in sometime this week or next to get fasted blood work done and I’m pretty anxious for the results. I didn’t really leave the appointment with any conclusive answers, but I’m hoping something comes out of the blood work. My doctor mentioned that I may be referred to an endocrinologist depending on the results, so I’m really concerned and anxious and ready for some concrete answers.

This whole thing is really scary for me, but I know I needed to be more proactive and take control of my health. I don’t want my ED to dictate the rest of my life, so I need to figure out what’s going wrong in my body and do what it takes to fix it.

I know a lot of women blow off not getting their period because they don’t care about having children or whatever. Honestly, I don’t think I want to ever be pregnant or have biological children (I’m leaning towards adoption) but not getting your period ISN’T healthy. It can lead to cancer, among other health issues. That’s why I’m bringing light to this issue–because it’s so important for women and girls out there to realize that they need to take control of their health so they can lead happy, healthy lives. I know it’s hard to admit you need support and advice, but it’s so worth it to be healthy.

Has there ever been a health issue in your life that you needed to face?

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21 thoughts on “Getting Healthy: Part 1

  1. Honestly, I know you’ve been very petite all your life but that doesn’t mean that you should be, so I wouldn’t discredit the weight thing not giving you your period so soon. It could also do with exercise. I have to see my doctor soon because even on the pill my period has been a little wacky and I think it’s because of my exercise level.

    • Exercise is a big consideration. My doctor and I didn’t really get into it too much but I did tell her I workout every single day. It doesn’t feel like over exercise to me but maybe it is and it’s something I’ll bring up again.

      • My cousin was a horseback rider and her period was never regular because of that. My workouts seem to be bothering my cycle and I’m on the pill. Not a doctor obviously so I’m not saying that’s what it is, just not to discredit it yet.

  2. You can deny it all you like that it’s not due to your eating habits, but EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I have read a blog relating to not having a period after an ED, they started eating a bit more and TADA, period came back.
    I can also vouch for it in my own case, having had no period for four years – yes, I was back at a healthy weight, even borderline overweight but I didn’t have it back. As soon as I started eating more (and actually lost some of that weight) my period came back within a month.
    So not necessarily to do with your weight per se but how much you’re actually eating. Your period is not going to come back if it doesn’t think your body is getting enough nutrients to feed you and a possible baby, too. Just have a think about how much you’re really eating, seriously, and if it’s really enough.

    Doctors often have no idea about this kind of stuff because it’s not that prevalent.

    • To be honest, I’ve been thinking for awhile that I’m probably under eating. I workout every day for 1 hour+ and am generally active so I know I should be able to eat more but I just never felt comfortable doing so. I’m considering seeing a dietitian who specializes in plant based eating so I know what and how much I should be eating to be at my healthiest. Thanks for bringing this up!

  3. I think it’s awesome how you’re taking responsibility for your health and following up with your doctor. I know some things that can contribute to not getting your period are stress, exercise, and diet so be sure you’re not overly stressed out, exercising too much and that your diet includes all the food groups especially things like avocado, nuts/nut butters, hummus, flax seed, cheese, and olive oil. Best of luck to you, I hope you find an answer soon. In the mean time you might want to make sure you’re taking vitamin D and Calcium because not getting your period is also bad for your bones.

    • Thanks for sharing some other causes! I will definitely consider those, since I am kinda stressed (currently job hunting), I’m not sure I’m eating enough for my activity levels and I do exercise a lot, possibly too much for my body right now. A lot to think about, but at least there are other potential answers!

  4. This post is pretty similar to what I’m going through right now. I’m 19 this year and I’ve only had one period. I suffered from an ED from the ages of 8-16, however throughout those times I did have phases of recovery. When I first got to a healthy weight nearly a year and a half ago I had a period and it was pretty much the most exciting thing (only people that have suffered with ED’s can comprehend this excitement!), but then it never came back. Last year I gained a bit of weight (I am small framed too, and have always been on the lighter side) which put me at a BMI of just over 19 and still nothing came. I have since lost a bit of weight as I believe that was too much for my frame (but only a few vanity pounds) but nothing. I am now at the same weight I was when it first came. I’ve been to three doctors and had no answers. One lady doctor even tried to convince me that before the pill was invented it was normal for women to menstruate three times a year so I shouldn’t worry (total BS). I have never been on the pill. Like you, I don’t want it back so I can have kids, etc. but more from a health perspective. I’ve heard you can get osteoporosis from lack of periods. I hope you get it all sorted soon! x

    • That’s so hard, especially when a doctor tries to convince you of something that isn’t true. Your story sounds very similar to mine, and I hope we both get the answers we need to fix this!

  5. I currently have the same health issue. I have not had a period in over a decade.
    Let me ask — what if maybe it WAS that you were not at a weight that is right for you? Would you be willing to try to gain? Even if it wasn’t a last resort?

    The reason why I ask is to kind of get you thinking — because I can relate to you a lot. For me, I know in my heart of hearts that I am not at that place of doing “whatever it takes” or, in other words, gain weight. Nope. I’m paralyzed by that right now.
    I have hope though, and I do fight. But… I have to come down to that one point of honesty.
    The feelings are so strong – SO STRONG – that I just … I don’t believe ANYTHING anyone has top say, really, because “my weight is fine” — but I have the logical sense to know that I am kind of flawed when it comes to that.

    Sorry to get all emo — but hey, that’s what girl talk is all about, huh?

    • Honestly…I don’t think I could choose to gain weight even if I was told that was part of the problem. Maybe I’m just vain, or maybe I just want to reassure myself that my weight is “fine” but yeah, I’m not at that point either. Plus I know that weight isn’t always a factor–my mom got her period at 12 when she was about the same size as me, as did my sister at 14–so part of me feels like there’s just something else. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking…

      • See, I get that.
        At least we are honest with where we are at — I don’t think it’s vain at all. It’s more mental than that. I like all the comments on this post — thank you so much for opening yourself up like this. We all care about you!

  6. So happy you realize the seriousness of not getting your period naturally! Menstrating is so important for so many other body functions besides getting pregnant. The hormones help keep your heart, bones, and adrenal glands safe plus it regulates your body and stops you from going in to menopause prematurely. Lord knows you wouldn’t want hot flashes at 25 LOL! Wishing you the best of luck with your blood work and your upcoming appointments! Try to stay open minded with what they think is best to regain your health. Even if it means putting on some weight! Try to stay positive and know that you have all of us to support and encourage you through the process. You can do this Ash!

    • Thanks for all your support! I’ll be keeping everyone up to date if I find anything out and hopefully I can have the courage to make any lifestyle changes that I may need to in order to solve this.

  7. Angela says:

    I had my period when I was at my lowest weight .. I don’t think weight is the all-or-nothing contributor to periods.. what was differently then (since I son’t have my period now even at a higher weight) is that I had a high libido back then, I was dating someone and it was stimulating down there lol to say the least

    • That’s true, I really don’t think weight is a huge factor because I know a lot of girls that still get their period at the worst of their EDs so I’m guessing it’s something else like stress.

  8. You should try taking just one rest day from working out each week. Another vegan blogger I read starting seed cycling to help with hormonal balance. Here’s a link to the post I’m talking: about http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2013/01/facing-failing-health-on-a-vegan-diet/ It can’t hurt to look into it.

    I’ve never had an ED, but I run a lot. I started running cross country in high school, I only had a period once every 3-6 months or more before I started taking the pill, this was also the case before I started running. (I didn’t really keep track, but it was not very often at all often.) I’ve been on BC for several years and usually take 2-3 months in a row and still have very light periods. So sometimes it’s related to exercise, but 9 months is a very long time.

    • Interesting about the seed cycling–I’ll have to look more into that.

      I’m starting to suspect exercise is a key player in my lack of a period. It was always consistent while I was on BC but I honestly never thought going off the pill would throw my hormones that out of whack and I’ve heard that for some people, cutting back on exercise really helped them. I’m not sure I’m at that point where I’d feel comfortable doing that though.

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