6 things that can mess with your cycle

I’ve rarely come across a woman of any age who hasn’t had a problem with her hormones or menstrual cycle at some time during her reproductive life.

Did you know from puberty to menopause, the average reproductive lifespan for women is 36 years.  During this time it’s estimated that a woman will experience over 400 menstruations.

This is a stark contrast to the estimated 40-160 that women experienced during the nineteenth century.  The large shift means an increased exposure to oestrogen driven health concerns, as well as a greater susceptibility to general reproductive disorders.

Reproductive health is a modern day concern for every woman.

If you’re asking yourself:

  • why has my cycle changed?
  • how come I have so much pain with my period?
  • is this level of bleeding normal?
  • when can I expect my next period?
  • why am I so cranky and tired before my period?
  • are breakouts at my age normal?
  • where’s all this bloating coming from?
  • why can’t I fall pregnant?
  • is this peri-menopause?

then, it’s time to dig a little deeper and find out what the heck is going on.

First, what are hormones?

Did you know, hormones have a role in your body for reasons other than reproduction?

They are chemical messengers made in your body and used to communicate with your organs.   These messengers are talking to the organs that control not only sleep, mood, energy, digestion, metabolism, and blood sugar but also your menstrual cycle and fertility.

It’s more common for women to know about their menstrual cycle hormones because when they’re not working well, symptoms are usually quite obvious and disruptive.

When to investigate

It’s not unusual for changes to occur with your cycle over your reproductive life, because hormonal changes naturally occur at different life stages as your body ages and changes.  Think about how different puberty is to peri-menopause.

Consider if the symptoms you’re experiencing are unusual for you or if you can relate the symptoms to something else happening in your body.  Knowing what’s normal for you and when to investigate is important.

Ask yourself:

  • where am I in my reproductive life stage?
  • are the changes I’m experiencing considered normal for my age?
  • are my symptoms impacting the quality of my life?

Trusting your intuition is a good guide.  If you feel that your symptoms are not usual or normal for you, then investigate.  And, the 7 common things that can mess with your cycle is a good place to start.

Everyday things in your life and environment can directly impact your body’s ability to keep hormones in balance.

6 things that can mess with your cycle:

1.  Stress

Your body makes the stress hormone cortisol in a similar way to other hormones.  Everything ticks along nicely until you’re under a lot of stress that doesn’t go away.  Then your body will take the building blocks for making sex hormones and make cortisol instead.  Leaving you with high cortisol and an imbalance in sex hormones.

What you can control:

Some stressors in your life are out of your control, but you can work on resilience and managing your stress response.  Use yoga, meditation, journaling, exercise and rest.  Seek help if stress is getting the better of you.   Learn more about how stress can affect your body here – 9 signs your body may be the victim of stress

2.  Blood glucose control

Uncontrolled blood glucose levels over time inevitably leads to weight gain and increased deposits of fat, known as adipose tissue.  This creates inflammation in your body, which can switch on oestrogen producing enzymes.

What you can control:

Modify your diet by eating only wholefoods and make sure you include plenty of protein and healthy fats on every plate.  If weight gain is troubling you learn about the Metabolic Balance personalised nutrition program here.

3.  Hormone detoxification

Hormones are broken down and excreted via the liver.  With poor digestion, food intolerances, excess alcohol, smoking and medications your liver’s ability to detox is impaired.  When the liver gets overloaded, hormones cannot be excreted efficiently.  They go back into circulation, causing hormone excess and imbalances.

What you can control:

Help your liver by ensuring the detoxification pathways are working well.  Read here about 9 simple ways to naturally detox

4.  Thyroid

Low thyroid function means low progesterone and increased oestrogen.  All contributing to PMS and other cycle irregularities.  Also, low thyroid function impacts the liver’s ability to detox oestrogen and progesterone.

What you can control:

Ask your health care practitioner to test your thyroid function.

5.  Medications

Common hormone medications like the Pill, Mirena or other devices are synthetic hormones down regulating your body’s production of hormones. There are side effects to these medications that impact how your own hormones function and make you feel.  And remember, it takes time for your cycle to normalise when you stop taking them.

What you can control:

Even if you’re on the pill or using a contraceptive device, you can still support your liver and eat well to ensure your own body’s hormones are healthy.  

6.  Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)

EDCs are found in plastics, pesticides, household cleaning products, food additives and cosmetic products.  They are linked to altered hormone function by mimicking the role of your real hormones in your cells.

What you can control:

Wash all fresh produce before eating it, use stainless steel, ceramic or cast-iron cookware, don’t use teflon coated cookware, use glass food storage containers, use natural personal care products, use natural household cleaning products, avoid dry cleaning your clothes and try not to handle thermal printout receipts

Action steps

  • Go through the above checklist and see what may be affecting your hormones.
  • Make any changes.
  • Seek clarification and support from a qualified practitioner if needed.
  • Ask questions so you are in control of your cycle and your body.

I can help with stress management and building resilience for better health.  Here’s how:

  1. Book in for a consultation (in Clinic, Zoom or over the phone) to really drill down on what’s causing your hormone issues – Click here
  2. Eating the right foods for your body can help balance hormones and your metabolism – Click here
  3. Grab a copy of my Rebuild Your Life Journal for 5 simple daily journal prompts to ground you and get those habits and routines down pat – it’s your daily reset button – Click here
  4. Not sure what you need?  Book in for a 20 minute FREE discovery call chat with me – Click here
  5. Sign up for my Newsletter for more tips – Click here

With your health in mind,

Catherine x

If you're looking for more energy, better mood, and motivation to reboot your health, I'll show you how. I love working with motivated women like you, women struggling with fatigue, moods, hormones and staying on track with everything that makes us women. I listen, investigate and then work with you step-by-step to get your energy and health back on track so you can be busy, focused and energetic. As a Naturopath, Herbalist, Certified Consistent Habits Coach and Clinical Aromatherapist I can help you to Reboot Your Energy and Rebuild Your Life.

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