8 ways to regulate menstruation
Problems with periods can take many different forms. Think of symptoms such as very heavy or light bleeding, missed periods, very irregular periods, severe PMS symptoms, weight loss or weight gain, bloating, tiredness or fatigue, mood swings or acne.
Anyone who struggles with problems in this area knows that their quality of life is greatly reduced as a result. Problems with periods also often point to an underlying hormonal imbalance. The good news is that you can do a lot about this with targeted diet and lifestyle strategies. You can basically think of it as a form of biohacking. Biohacking means that we’re using food, lifestyle, exercise and supplements to improve our health. Women should always use biohacking strategies in a way that supports their unique female physiology. In most cases, improvement can be seen within three to six months. Of course, if in doubt, it makes sense to consult a doctor to rule out any medical conditions.
1. Eat like a woman
You can think of it like this: When your hormones change during your cycle, your diet should change too!
Especially if you experience problematic periods, it is extremely important to adjust your diet to your menstrual cycle. Women have unique nutritional and energy needs each week of the month because hormones fluctuate during the cycle. In contrast, men can do well with a diet that is more or less the same (but of course wholesome and balanced) every day. As a woman, you will feel best if you match the foods you eat to your changing hormonal needs during your cycle. To do this, of course, it is first important to know exactly where you are in your cycle. With breathe ilo this is very easy to learn more about your cycle.
2. Sync your exercise programme with your cycle
To really optimize your hormonal health and regulate your periods, it’s also important to sync your exercise programme and workouts with your cycle, just like your diet. Your body needs different types of activity throughout your cycle, just as it needs different foods in each of the four cycle phases. Depending on the phase of your cycle, it is advisable to focus on different types of exercise.
3. Detox? Just do it the right way
Especially when women suffer from hormonal imbalances and period problems, it can be tempting to undergo extreme detox programs. Promises like “Lose 20 pounds overnight!” or “Remove all toxins from your body!” can sound like a dream come true if you have suffered from hormone-related symptoms for a long time. Unfortunately, such programs backfire for the vast majority of women. Strict calorie restriction can put even more strain on the already overworked adrenal and hormonal systems and make hormonal problems much worse. A detox can help, but of course it has to be the right kind of detox. The focus should be on helping the body to get rid of excess estrogen. Excess estrogen in the body (relative to progesterone) contributes to hormonal imbalances, from severe PMS to PCOS. Eating enough fibre is in itself a gentle way to detox, supporting the body’s natural elimination process.
4. Can coffee have a bad effect on hormone health?
Coffee can work well for those who have an efficient caffeine metabolism. However, if a woman experiences problems with her period, chances are she does not metabolize caffeine efficiently. According to many experts in the field of women’s health, caffeine is a no-go for women who want to optimise their hormone health. So if you’re trying to balance your hormones and regulate your periods, it may indeed help to break the habit and find a suitable alternative.
5. Is intermittent fasting really a good idea for women?
Fact is, most studies on intermittent fasting have been conducted on men and/or have shown very mixed results for women. For example, one study found that intermittent fasting improved insulin sensitivity in men but not in women. It’s important to mention that good insulin sensitivity is important for hormone balance. At the same time, the study showed that women’s ability to tolerate glucose actually worsened during intermittent fasting. Other studies show that fasting can have a negative effect on cortisol, insulin, estrogen and progesterone. Studies also suggest that intermittent fasting can be very helpful for women (and men) with compromised cellular health (people with cancer and/or those going through chemotherapy), but for women who are generally healthy and working to balance their hormones and heal hormonally related symptoms, intermittent fasting is not recommended.
6. Is the latest keto diet trend suitable for women?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that currently seems to be all the rage. However, research suggests that a ketogenic diet can affect thyroid function. This is not ideal, of course, because thyroid health is absolutely essential for healthy hormones. This is also where it gets gender-specific: thyroid problems disproportionately affect women. It is estimated that one in five women has a thyroid problem, and many of these cases never actually get diagnosed. If you’re trying to balance your hormones and regulate your period, it’s best to simply eat in line with your cycle and to not avoid restricting macro-nutrients.
7. Ditching sugar for healthy hormones?
We all know that a balanced, whole-food diet is the key to good health. It’s no secret that excessive sugar consumption is bad for hormone health, gut health and therefore bad for overall health. So in terms of hormone health, it makes sense to stay away from highly processed, sugary and high-glycemic foods. A fibre-rich and nutrient-dense whole food diet rich in healthy proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates is recommended and will support healthy hormone levels.
8. Supplements? With pleasure, but tailored to a woman’s needs please
We can only emphasise it again and again: Women have unique nutritional needs, and we cannot reach optimal hormonal health (or optimal overall health) unless we take this fact into account. Even when it comes to supplementation, this should always be kept in mind.
For example, every woman should take B vitamins. But if you suffer from hormonal imbalances, you should pay special attention to adequate intake. Research suggests that the intake of vitamins such as thiamine (vitamin B1) could be linked to endometriosis. Folic acid, on the other hand, is known to be important in the treatment of PCOS.
Magnesium is also a must for women with hormonal imbalances as it improves insulin sensitivity, which has far-reaching effects on the entire hormonal system.
Vitamin D is also an absolute must. More generally, vitamin D acts like a master hormone in the body, which makes it so important for all women.
Probiotics are also recommended: good gut health is extremely important for healthy hormones. One study also found that probiotics helped to significantly reduce endometriosis symptoms in just 12 weeks.
When women find out how their bodies really work, they can start making the right choices for themselves and their health.