What is Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and why you NEED your period back

If you’re reading this post you most likely are experiencing a loss of period or you want to understand what Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is and why it is important to get your period back. You can check out my video below or read on to hear about HA.

What is Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea or HA for short is a type of secondary amenorrhea. The definition of HA is 3 months absence of menstruation. This means at some point you had your period and have lost it. This looks different for everyone. You may have been on birth control pills and tried coming off and never got your period back or you may have just started having really light periods or maybe the duration between periods started to increase more and more until you no longer have a mentrual cycle. In actuality the absence of periods is merely the absence of ovulation in most situations although you can have annovulatory cycles. The bleeding is shedding your lining because pregnancy didn’t occur. I have a lot of experience with this and the science behind it because I went through multiple IVFs ( 5 for my son and 1 for my daughter).

Either way you are probably starting to get concerned with what is going on. Where the hell is my period? What’s going on? One month passes and it seems like no big deal, one less thing to worry about and then more and more time passes and you begin to get nervous. Or maybe your are thinking no big deal it’s so much easier not having a period. For some, it could be a few months, a few years or even for some decades. The good thing is you are looking into trying to recover and that is the first step.

How is it diagnosed and reasons you may have it.


From all the research I have done and the doctors that I spoke to, HA is diagnosed by way of elimination. What this means is that they need to rule out any other cause of hypothalamic amenorrhea. They need to rule out a pituitary tumor, thyroid issues, any scarring or obstruction or some other ailment that is stopping menstruation.

The typical protocol for doctors is they will do some blood work, they may do an ultrasound and some may do an MRI if you have higher Prolactin levels to rule out a tumor. I would recommend getting a full blood panel from your Dr. That would include a full thyroid panel, Estrogen, Progesterone, Lutenizing Hormone(LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH ). A lot of times they may only check Estrogen and FSH and without the key indicator of LH you may lose the opportunity to see improvements.

The doctor will probably try around of Provera. Provera will induce a period in woman that have a lining and some women may get a bleed which usually indicates a less severe case of HA. If you don’t get a bleed don’t stress yourself out. I didn’t either when I was first put on it. If you don’t get a bleed it’s also a good indication you have HA which if your blood work aligns with it and if you can relate to some of the trends below. This is a great thing because it means it is most likely reversible

If you have gone to the Dr, you may have suppressed LH, low estrogen but for some these are on the low to borderline normal..


Women with HA seem to have some of the following trends:

  • Disordered eating patterns
  • Have lost a significant amount of weight or been on diets
  • Have history of restriction
  • May be binge eating
  • May have cut out certain food groups or macro nutrients-
  • Fatigued
  • Showing signs of overexercising or working out too much
  • May be an athlete or dancer but not required
  • May extremely active
  • Low body fat
  • High Stress Levels

If any of these sound like you and you haven’t gone to the Dr, I would go to get some blood work done but hear this you need to make sure you are your own advocate. Most likely the Dr. is going to put you on birth control which will actually suppress your hormones. If you go in there and you have done your research prior to the appointment you will feel equipped to ask for what you need.

Why should you recover?

OK so now you may know that you have HA. You’re thinking why do I need to recover? Periods are a pain. Maybe you aren’t trying to get pregnant right now so it’s not a big deal but HA can cause:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • No sex drive
  • Infertility
  • Mental Health Issues (anxiety/depression)
  • Perception of poor quality of life-
  • Exhaustion
  • Skin or hair problems

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns! Proud of you for taking the leap to start recovery!

How to Deal with Weight Gain in Recovery

Have you been gaining weight for recovery? Are you lost and need tips on how to deal with the weight gain?

These tips can be helpful for any weight gain like including HA and ED recovery, when bulking for adding muscle or if you have just been indulging in more food than normal and your pants are getting tight.


I am going to tell you a little bit of my backstory before going into the tips.
When I first found out that I may have to gain weight to get my period back it felt like I lost of piece of myself. I would read blog after blog of recovery stories and I would think “no way.” This is not me. I don’t have to do this.

I was so resistant at first I tried decreasing exercise and when that didn’t work I stopped resisting and made the decision I would gain and be confident in my decision. This part of recovery is by far the most difficult especially since my entire life I had tried to be a certain size and I was finally there. I went into panic mode. I am sure many of you can relate. You may have grown up and always struggled with your weight, have a history of always dieting or overexercising and may have never been satisfied with your body.

There were many many years I didn’t treat my body well. Not only through diet but the words I would use to talk about it. I always thought I could hate myself thin. I felt I wasn’t enough. I wanted to look in the mirror and be comfortable. I wanted to be able to buy any clothes and not worry that maybe they were too tight around my stomach or that my arms looked big in it.

It was ironic that when I was finally at a comfortable place that I needed to gain in order to improve my health. Once I decided to gain I made the decision to love and accept myself at all sizes. I am now bigger than I have ever been and I am a little uncomfortable because I have had to overshoot to get my body to a place that it is happy but make sure I am compassionate with myself. So now to provide you some tips and some actionable things you can do to deal with weight gain

Tip 1#: Commit to Loving Yourself No Matter What

My biggest tip is make the decision to commit to loving yourself no matter what happens. No matter what size you get to, if you get more cellulite or if you no longer fit in your favorite dress make sure that you are kind and caring to yourself. Negative self talk will get you nowhere and only increase your stress.

Tip #2: Create a Compelling Reason

I started recovery knowing I needed to get my period back for my health. It was not because I wanted to have kids. Initially my reason was that the sooner I start the sooner I can get back to lifting and my normal life again. Then I found out I had osteoporosis and that was the fire that really pushed me. Remind yourself that everything is temporary. This angst and stress and is not going to last forever.

Tip #3: Change Your Mindset

The key to dealing with weight gain is to change your mindset. Do this by changing your thoughts about it and your body. If you like mantras try creating some post its and leave them on the mirror and your fridge and start using these to change them. I would say you must look at these post daily if not a couple times a day in order to start changing those negative thoughts. I use “this is my recovering body” a lot and while you may not think that is very positive I personally couldn’t jump to I love my body and went with a more neutral thought. I have also been using thoughts like “I love this choice I made to improve my health” which is a true statement and I can feel good about it. I can use that thought because it truly makes me proud of myself and I do love that I am doing this for myself.

A few to try:

  • This is my recovering body
  • This is my body (more neutral)
  • I love my new curves
  • I love that I made this choice to improve my health
  • This is exactly what my body needs
  • I am doing this because….(fill in reason here)

Tip #4 Buy New Clothes and Stop Weighing Yourself

Buy New Clothes. Stop trying to squeeze into those old clothes. Donate your old ones and purchase new ones. Find clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable. Don’t weigh yourself it if it’s going to make you feel worse about yourself. The number on the scale does not matter!

Tip 5# Create a List of Reasons

Create a list of reasons why you are doing this. These are your reasons for recovery or weight gain. Do you want to have children, do you want your health back, do you want to live long and strong for your children, do you want to gain muscle? Do you want to get back to working out? Record all of these down and look at them on a daily basis.

Remember Weight Gain is NOT easy so don’t be hard on yourself!

You check out my YouTube Video on Dealing with Weight Gain which covers the tips above:

My Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Symptoms (Can You Relate?)

I have had a number of symptoms when I was at the peak of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA) before I started recovery. At the time, I thought there was just something wrong with me. I thought that my body changed after kids and this was the new normal. Month after month I started to think maybe this isn’t normal.

Now everyone is different so don’t judge whether or not you have HA, by my symptoms but what I do think it is good to hear someone else’s symptoms to know that this isn’t normal and that maybe you do have HA..

The first big flag for me was how cold I was. I have always been cold but not to the extend that I was experiencing. Another big symptom I had was Digestive issues Issues and elevated Liver Enzymes. This goes without saying but libido seriously takes a hit when hormones are off. Sleep and Insomnia was another issue that would not go away. I was exhausted both mentally and physically because of the insomnia and because my body was crying out. I had body pains and recurring injuries that wouldn’t heal.
My brain was so foggy that some days I could’t think of words.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? Watch the video I made where I go into detail on each one of my physical symptoms.

Leave a comment if you shared some of these same symptoms and if and when they started to go away.


5 Tips to Start Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery

Hi Everyone!  It’s been a long time I have posted and 3 .5 years after my last baby was born I am dealing with a new type of infertility.  Hypothalamic Amenorrhea!  The irony of never wanting my period to arrive and now I am praying to get it back.

I am currently working on recovering from HA (4 months all in) and I wanted to provide some tips if you are just starting your recovery journey from HA or your periods are starting to get sporadic.

I created a YouTube video on this topic if you would prefer to watch it here!

The first tip I have for your is to do your research:

I highly recommend Nicola Rinaldi’s book No Period Now what. The link to her site is here.  This book is the HA bible. There is no one more passionate with helping women get their cycles back than Nikola. She has a YouTube channel where she has a few videos and she has been on multiple podcasts. She has dedicated her life’s work to assisting and supporting women to get the periods back. I would be cautious with information overload when first diagnosed. It’s important to know that there is a lot of information out there that can be misleading or even damaging if you aren’t careful. Pay attention to the source of this information and make sure they are qualified to speak to it. I know that I turn to Dr. Google often but it can be slippery slope and you can end up spending hours obsessively looking for an answer or a quick fix.
Tip #2 Understand the Cause(s)
The second tip to start with recovery is to understand why you lost your period and when it happened. If you don’t know why you lost your period then it’s going to be really difficult to change the lifestyle behaviors to get it back or to understand the areas you need to work on. As I mentioned I don’t want to go into super detail in this video but the underlying cause will be some type of stress on your body. This stress is most likely related to an energy deficit caused by restriction on purpose or accidentally, it could be overexercise where your not fueling body and/or extreme stress added to the mix.
Tip #3  Don’t Compare
The third tip I have for you to start your recovery is DO NOT compare! This one is a non negotiable. I do think it is helpful to read stories about others that have gone through the same thing and got to the other side but I would be cautious because you can begin to hyper focus on how long it took others to recover, weight they put on to recover, how much they had to eat or if they could exercise to get it back. If you compare you are going to set yourself up for failure. You will look at those woman that only took 3 weeks to get it back that didn’t have to cut out exercise and only had to put on 2 lbs and you are going to beat yourself up when it takes you a lot longer or when you have to put on more weight and have to cut out all forms of exercise.
Tip #4 Find Support
The fourth tip I have for you is to find support. Support can look different for many people depending on your personality and where you are in life but I would recommend starting out with the HA support group that Nicola created.  If groups are triggering for you then drop out of it and consider some one on one support. If you need more you help on an individual basis you can sign up for coaching through Nicola and others like Kersten Kimura who I worked with.  There are also dietitians and counselors that can help you.
Tip #5 Create a Timeline for Going All In
I want you to create mini goals for yourself if you aren’t ready for the all at once approach. It may not be for everyone but I do think it can be helpful if you aren’t ready to jump all in or you are like most of us where the unknown of when you will get your period back will drive you crazy. What this is is if you aren’t ready to cut out exercise then give yourself a date when you will try to recover or slowly drop out days until your are “all in.
If you like these tips and would like more on HA or anything related make sure to sign up for updates.   What steps are you taking to recover?  Are there any other tips you have for newbies in this journey?  Good Luck.

Alana: 3 Month Update

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I’m really late on this one.  Alana will be four months in a week!

Alana: 3 Month Update

This month consisted of lot’s more smiles, night wakings and me going back to work!

DSC_0168Height: Not sure.  I did not measure her!.

Weight: I’m not positive but I would bet around from 13.5 -14 pounds

Likes: She loves smiling, sucking on her hands and having us make funny noises.

Dislikes: She’s not a huge fan of car rides or being overtired.  Naps are still up there on her dislikes. She fights almost EVERY SINGLE NAP.

Firsts: First time away from Mommy for a full day and first time home with Daddy for a full day.  We had a few date nights and had a my mom, sister or sister in law watch her for a few hours.

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Sleep:  We had a few sleep through the nights…like after her shots but that’s about it.  She seems to sleep worse now then she did her during her second month!  She is up anywhere from 1-3 times a night!  She is now full time in the Rock -n-Play for naps and night sleep.  She naps anywhere from 3-5 times a day. Typically is ready to go down by 7:3opm and we wake her at 6:15am.

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Eating: She is still eating at about every 2-3 hours.  She got much better at the bottle the closer she got to me going back to work. She drinks about 3.5-4 oz bottles while I am away.

Diapers:  We have moved on to size twos and but totally lost count! I would say we went through around 150.  We are using size 3s for nights.

Clothes:  She is in 3-6 month clothes and I had to go out to buy some long sleeved onesies. All we had was lot’s of short sleeved ones.

Body and Mind after Baby #2: Two Months Postpartum

I wrote this one a few weeks ago but forgot to post. Alana will be Three months next week!

Mind:

I am feeling more and more like my old self physically and mentally.  There are days that I don’t get much sleep that I feel more edgy, stressed and sometimes a little down.    It just come with having a newborn though.  Having two definitely changes things and adds more pressure and stress but I am getting a lot of help from my husband and I feel like having two is feeling more like the norm now.  I am dealing with a lot of stress unrelated to baby so I think I am doing the best that I can mentally. My nutrition has been great. I am finally getting a healthy mindset with food and I eat a lot.  I am seeing the scale move and my measurements decrease.  Overall I feel good for the chaos some days are filled with!

Body (Please ignore the cheesy pics):

 

 

I am doing a lot more at home workouts because it is just easier.   I have been working out almost everyday and have been able to maintain a schedule despite not having a schedule if that makes sense. I work out in the mornings when I have the most energy.  I get to the gym 2-3 times a week but will be able to go 5-6 times a week once I go back to work.  I have a gym at work which I go during my lunch hour.  It helps a lot!  I plan to go to the gym probably on Sundays when I am back to work because we don’t have a squat rack at work.  Sundays are my favorite days to go to the gym since it is usually very quiet.

Nutrition-wise I have been consuming anywhere from 1,800-2000 calories a day.  I take a flexible dieting approach or IIFYM and consume mostly whole foods with a sprinkling of treats when I want.  I am small but breastfeeding and I have found these numbers work great for me and my activity and energy levels as well as maintaining a good milk supply.  I am seeing consistent results and will probably have to decrease as my weigh goes down.  I am about 5ish lbs away from my prepregnancy weight and hope to lose another 5lbs after that.  Once I get to my goal weight I do plan on doing a lean bulk to put on some muscle.  I know I can’t get muscle without some fat gain so it will be a challenge mentally but I look forward to reverse dieting and increasing calories.

I entered another competition this time around to help with motivation.  It’s James Wilson’s Body Earned program and I love the intensity and results I get from it.

 

Stats:

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Goals for month 3:  Lift 5-6 days a week and limited cardio…mostly Hiit and tabata.

Alana: Two Month Update

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Alana Update

Little lady is now two months old!  She is such a cutie and is really smiling a lot now.  There was a lot of improvement on the nighttime sleep this past month.  Naps on the other hand went down hill between 6-8 weeks.   Those two weeks were extremely trying as Alana was super fussy.  I remember Coen went through this and I think it was a mix between a wonder week and growth spurt.

Height:  22 3/4 inches

Weight: 13 lbs!

Likes: Singing, baths, talking, eating, cuddling and fighting naps!

Dislikes: Naps!  Being overtired and her car seat….

Firsts: Smile!!!

Sleep:

Nighttime:  Nights have significantly improved…..  We went from 1-2 wakings a night that she was up 1-2 hours to only one waking and she falls back to sleep much easier.  She is sleeping roughly from 9/10-3/3:30 and then once I feed her she sleeps until 6:30 when I wake her.  Over the next few weeks I am going to have to adjust this to 6am so I can get her ready for me to leave for work.

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Naps:

Naps were tough this month.  If she is not in a room that is dark with a sound machine she tends to stay up.  She occasionally falls asleep in the swing.  She takes anywhere from 4-6 naps ranging from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours.  My attempt to get her on a schedule was an epic fail so I think I have given up.  I remember this happening with Coen and he fell into his own schedule around 4 months.

Eating:  Most of this month Alana was eating every 2 hours with an occasional 3 hours in between feedings.  Toward the end of the month it seems like we are getting more 3 hour intervals.  We still cluster feed at night and these are usually 4:30, 6:30 and then her last feeding is around 8:15.  She has a witching hour most nights between 7-8 so some nights I do feed her earlier.  This feeding may change if I start to put her down earlier.

Diapers:  We are using up the last of size 1’s and are moving on to size 2.  We use size 2 already at night because I usual don’t change her.  We went through 180 diapers this month.  I am using a lot less diapers with her than I did with Coen.  Second baby maybe?

Clothes:  She is still fitting in size 3 month clothes but I think she will be moving onto 6 month clothes fairly soon.  Most of our clothes are hand me downs so the onesies are pretty well shrunken.

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