I have always been super jealous of people who have regular periods. I know, such a girl problem. But if you're someone who deals with irregular periods, you know how annoying it is to never know when your Aunt Flow will be visiting. You could have it next week or 3 months from now. But if that's the normal for you, you sort of get used to never knowing. It's odd.
From the time I got my period when I was around 14, they were never on time. I could go months without it, get it around the same time for a few months, and then not get it for a couple of months again. The only advice my doctor had was to go on birth control, and I was never down for that. Actually, I tried it for a week in high school and it made me so incredibly nauseous I couldn't go to school. So I stopped. In my opinion, birth control definitely can help with your hormones, but I did not like what it was doing to my body at all. I've also heard too many horror stories to trust birth control, so I made it my goal to figure out what was wrong and to fix my irregular periods. It was definitely a journey, but it taught me so much about my own body.
If you're one of the lucky ones that get their period every 28th day, you probably don't even have an idea of what an irregular period is. An irregular period is when the number of days that your period lasts, or days between your period, varies greatly. See, the average cycle is anywhere from 28 to 35 days, and periods should last from 3 to 7 days. For someone with an irregular period, their period could come every 3 months and last for whenever. To me, irregular periods were normal. They run in my family and I just never really thought anything of it. All the tests I needed to get have come back fine, but it was still super annoying to look at the period app I have on my phone and see 24 days late and think "Oh wow, not that bad this time!"
It really wasn't until last year that I started making huge changes to hopefully see huge changes in my irregular periods. I was genuinely sick of never knowing when I would get my period unless I would have a bad bout of PMS, which would make me anxious, sometimes feeling depressed and a hungry mess a week and a half before. I finally booked a naturopath appointment and he didn't seem to be too concerned about my period. He was more concerned about my diet and my stress levels, which can ultimately mess up your menstrual cycle. I did a food elimination diet to find out which foods I was intolerant to and lowered my stress levels by working out more intensely but giving my body the recovery it needs. A lot of stress came from being at home, and when I moved out I was finally able to get that weight off of my shoulders.
Stress is a huge part of why you aren't getting your period. When you're stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode. That basically means your stress hormones are always overworking, and your body makes sure you're not able to get pregnant. Once you get rid of the stressors in your life, maybe that's by going to therapy to deal with it, or taking yourself away from that situation, you will feel a lot more at ease. For me, I think that was a huge realization that even when you don't think you're stressed, your body knows you better than anyone. It knows exactly what it needs even if you feel relaxed.
After several months of tweaking my diet, getting rid of stress, upping my workouts but also not being afraid of taking a week off, my period became regular. I now get my period every 28 to 35 days without any help from birth control which is something I'm super proud of. I know for some people it's not an option to go off of birth control, which I totally get. But if you do the research and look at holistic options for birth control, you'd be super surprised at what you can find.
Here are the exact ways I got my period to become regular after around 10 years of it being irregular:
Body weight exercises: I used to work out with weights and I sometimes still do, but most of my workouts come from my own body weight. I'm not kidding when I say as soon as I stopped using weights in my workouts, my period started becoming regular. This may be a coincidence but I think my body is less stressed now that it can become stronger without any help!
Diet changes: For as long as I can remember I have been lactose intolerant, but would still eat dairy for some reason. When I went to my naturopath and did the food elimination diet, I found out I was gluten and dairy intolerant, and there were a few other foods that I am intolerant to as well. After months of not eating those foods, my period became regular again and I seriously think it has to do with my body not being stressed about fighting off these foods that I was not supposed to be eating. My energy levels have never been this high!
Listening to my body: I am very in tune with my body. I know when it needs a day of rest or a week of rest from working out. I also know when my body needs to work out and when it doesn't. This has definitely lowered my stress levels and has helped my body see that I know that it can do whatever it wants when it gives me the signs!
Upping my fat and calories: I was always one to be weary of calories. I think subconsciously I was always thinking how if I ate this, I might gain weight over night so I never ate what I wanted. White rice? It's bad for you, don't do it. Carbs after dinner? So bad! However, I now eat carbs at the appropriate time of the day which is any time of the day, and I have upped my fats as well. I listen to what my body is craving and I always make sure to eat a carb before my workout and protein after. Not only have I noticed a huge change in my muscle gain/fat loss, but I have noticed that as soon as I upped my fats in the morning, my period became regular.
This was all trial and error, and of course it will totally be different for everyone. However, if you want to cure your irregular periods without birth control, I highly suggest looking at your diet, your stress levels, your workouts and your protein/fat/carb ratio. Your body thrives off of different things and my body thrives off of a mix of all three of those while yours could thrive off of no fat and a ton of carbs and protein. Try to analyze if you've never tried tweaking something, change it, and see if it helps you! I am all for holistic ways of treating your body, and there is really no harm to any of these. I eat so much now and my body is loving it, so don't be afraid of food and exercise being medicine!