Why Is Hormonal Health Important
Unless youre planning on starting a family, infertility and losing your period might seem like no big deal. In fact, it might seem a nice break from the hassle of having periods.
Not so fast.
Remember that your period isnt just about pregnancy. Rather, its a side effect of normal hormonal health.
In other words, losing your period means that something is off hormonally.
Think of your period as a dashboard indicator light. When you lose it, the light starts blinking: Hormonal health alert! And you ought to pay attention.
In the case of hypothalamic amenorrhea, those messages we talked about earlier from the hypothalamus to the pituitary to the ovaries significantly diminish. And that means the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone is dangerously reduced.
Why is that a problem? Your body needs these hormones for bone strength.
In fact, because of the link between estrogen, progesterone, and bone health, many fit young women who lose their periods end up with weaker bones than their eighty year old grandmothers.
And yes, that includes the ones like Maryann, who regularly perform weight-bearing exercise, and whose diets are rich in calcium and vitamins D and K.
Neither strength exercise or proper nutrition is enough to make up for hypothalamic amenorrhea.
How Can I Avoid Gaining Weight As I Get Older
Women usually need fewer calories than men, especially as they age. That’s because women naturally have less muscle, more body fat, and are usually smaller than men. On average, adult women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day. As you age, you need to take in fewer calories to maintain the same weight. You can also keep your weight healthy by increasing how much physical activity you get.
Find out how many calories you need based on your age and level of activity. You can also talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to eat healthy and get enough physical activity.
Snacking And Weight Gain
Hormonal changes can also cause heightened appetite, cause you to feel hungrier than usual and lead to increase in calorie consumption. Additionally, many people eat when they are stressed, irritable, tired or anxious. Because PMS hormones can cause or intensify these feelings, you might eat for emotional reasons more than usual. Binge eating, focusing on unhealthful foods or simply consuming more calories than you burn during this time can cause permanent weight gain.
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Way That You Can Stick To Your Weight Loss Goals Even When You Are On Your Period
Period makes taking the weight off much harder. Here are some ways that you can stick to your weight loss goals even when you are on your period.
How Can I Tell How Much Blood I’m Losing
Now you know how many milliliters and tablespoons you should lose during your period, but how do you actually measure that in real life? It can be difficult to determine exactly how much blood is lost during menstruation. Fortunately, there are several tips that can help you determine the approximate amount of blood youre losing.
Women tend to overestimate the amount of blood their menstrual blood loss. This is where math comes into play. Measuring the amount of blood you lose will depend on the type of hygiene product you use during your period.
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Eating A Healthy Balanced Diet
It may sound simple, but getting in a healthy balanced diet is one of the ways get your period back and maintain a healthy menstrual cycle. Ive written about what to eat on your menstrual cycle here. Especially if youre an active person, getting a healthy balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean sources of protein not only helps your fitness performance but can protect you from other chronic diseases and even lengthen your life!
Weight Loss And Your Menstrual Cycle
This one is for the ladies. Its a pretty predictable pattern youre doing great with weight loss and then all of a sudden, youve got a bad weigh-in Monday and cant figure out what you did wrong. You might be surprised to learn that weight loss and your menstrual cycle are interconnected. It can be a little discouraging to see that youve lost very little, or maybe even gained a pound or two from the last week. Dont panic. Poor weight loss and your menstrual cycle are related, typically affected most around your fourth week.
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Do Women Lose Weight Differently Than Men
Yes and no. Men often lose weight more quickly than women. But, over time, weight loss usually evens out between women and men.
Men may lose weight more quickly because men usually have more muscle, while women may have more fat. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, men may be able to burn more calories at rest than women.
Because men are larger than women on average and have more muscle to support, men can usually eat more calories while still losing weight, compared to women. Portion control may be especially important for women. In one study, women who ate smaller portions of food had lower BMIs than women who limited or avoided a certain type of food.2 This approach seems to work better for women than men.3
Causes Of Pms Weight Gain
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Womens Health, up to 90 percent of women report having premenstrual symptoms of bloating, headaches, and moodiness. Weight gain before your period is also referred to as PMS weight gain. This weight gain is related to hormonal changes that occur in the luteal phase, which is the phase just before you get your period.
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The Relationship Between Weight And Periods
Menses and stomach ache may be the most noticeable effects of the menstrual cycle, but it can also affect your body in a number of other ways, which might not always come into ones attention. In particular, we are going to discuss the various effects of the menstruation cycle on weight. It is also important to note that periods cant only result in increasing your body weight, but decreases in the weight might be observed as well.
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Weight And The Magnesium Level Of Your Body
You can say that periods can result in decreasing the magnesium levels of your body. However, periods are not the actual reason for this drop. Technically, the drop in the magnesium levels takes place prior to your menstruation cycle. Even though the magnesium of your body may not affect your body weight, it can certainly cause your bodys insulin levels to drop .
In a similar way, these lower levels of insulin dont directly affect your body weight either. What really affects it is the need for glucose that results from this lack of insulin. These food cravings can make you go for stuff that has a lot of sugar, thus affecting your body weight. The low levels of magnesium can have psychological effects as well, such as stress . It has now become a well-known fact that a lot of people tend to have more food when they are stressed. Accordingly, the low levels of magnesium can have an impact on your weight in a number of indirect ways.
For making yourself insusceptible to weight fluctuation due to the lack of magnesium, you can try going for foods containing sufficient magnesium or magnesium supplements. Nuts, chocolate, and green leafy vegetables are some of the popular foods that contain magnesium, while the optimal magnesium supplements include bisglycinate and magnesium glycinate. As the magnesium levels of your body become balanced, no weight fluctuations or stress will be experienced.
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How To Prevent Period Weight Gain:
Some simple steps can be taken to help you feel less bloated and prevent some period weight gain:
1. Make a point to drink plenty of water:This will ensure you dont retain fluid. The less water you drink, the more the body thinks theres a drought and starts hanging onto every bit of water it can. Drinking plenty will keep things moving smoothly, says Alison.
2. Avoid salty foods: Try not to eat too much salty food or carbohydrates, advises Dr Ellie, as this will lead to dehydration and water retention.
3. Go easy on the coffee and booze:One study found that caffeine can make PMS symptoms like bloating worse. So limit your lattes and cut down on the cappuccinos.
4. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables: The fibre in veg is very helpful for the gut. Try nibbling on dried fruit instead of the biscuits, to provide more helpful fibre and mineral-drenched sweetness, says Alison.
5. Stay active: Exercise is really important throughout your cycle as it will reduce bloating, encourage your digestive system to continue to work as normal and will release endorphins making you feel better too, Dr Ellie tells us.
6. Consider vitamin supplements:One scientific study found that taking 250 milligrams of magnesium a day helped reduce water retention during your period. It also highlighted that a daily dose of vitamin B6 helped with bloating too.
Reduce Bloating And Cravings
Drink plenty of liquids because it keeps your body from retaining water. Ingesting water keeps the water flowing through your system. Eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, to stabilize your urge to eat. Minimize your salt intake, which induces or exacerbates bloating. Avoid alcohol, which slows your metabolism and can increase emotional eating. Sleep eight hours every night, and exercise daily. Exercise can reduce bloating because sweating helps release the extra water your body is retaining. Eating calcium-rich foods or even taking a calcium supplement can ease your cravings and help prevent bloating, according to Brown University. Diuretics can also prevent bloating and water retention.
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Benefits Of Exercise During Period
While it might not burn tons of extra calories, there are other benefits of exercise during your period. Some women become bloated right before their periods begin and at the beginning of their period. Exercising helps to speed up the passage of gas through the digestive tract and minimizes bloating.
This can make it seem like you’re losing weight as any extra water weight goes away, and the stomach flattens out a bit as the gas is removed. Perhaps this effect is responsible for the myth that you burn more calories during your period.
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Do You Burn More Calories On Your Period
Many women wonder:Do you lose more weight if you exercise while on your period?. Although research shows that there are some resting metabolic rate variations throughout the menstrual cycle, they differ on an individual basis . In general, you may burn more calories during period, but there is not enough scientific evidence to state that it is a regular occurrence.
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Fitness Culture On Social Media May Contribute To Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
Webber says some people have a genetic predisposition to FHA, and the women she sees tend to be “type A” people who like to feel in control often it occurs when people are anxious, so the one thing they think they can control is their diet and exercise.
A 2017 study concluded that patients with suspected FHA often had “perfectionism and high need for social approval ambitions and expectations for self and others.” But this overachieving can lead to hypervigilance and stress, which can be dangerous.
Data on the prevalence of FHA is hard to collate because it’s often masked or undiagnosed, but it’s thought that 1.62 million women aged 18-44 in the US have the condition, and 17.4 million women worldwide.
Jackson-Spence told Insider she thinks the bodybuilding industry and fitness culture on social media have normalized being shredded and losing your cycle as a result. “It’s much more common in this sub-group than the general population,” she said.
Along with the rise of the fitness influencer, recent years have seen the soaring popularity of high-intensity interval training, but this means some people are doing too much, putting stress on their bodies, and not giving themselves time to recover.
There Are 3 Key Factors That Cause Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
FHA occurs when the pituitary gland in the brain doesn’t produce the hormones that signal a follicle to grow, meaning you don’t ovulate or have a period.
There are three key stressors that lead to FHA, according to Webber: Being too thin for your natural body, over-exercising, and stress. How much each of these is responsible depends on the individual.
“Think about it from an evolutionary perspective,” she said. “When we were all nomadic, if you were very lean, that usually meant it was a time of famine. If you were doing a lot of exercise, that usually meant you were either having to move a lot to find food or you were running away from a predator. And if you were stressed, it was probably because of these things.”
In each of these situations, the body shuts down all non-essential processes and knows you’re not in a position to reproduce.
Aside from being unable to have children, Webber said when estrogen isn’t stimulated, you’re at much higher risk of osteoporosis and thus many women with FHA break bones through minor injuries.
“I’ve looked after women who have fractured part of their pelvis just getting out of bed,” she said, adding that there’s emerging research suggesting a higher risk of cardiovascular disease too, although it’s thought this can be reversed when the menstrual cycle is regained.
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