You & Your Period | Why Have I Lost My Period?

As women we all know what a period is, that they can hurt and that we usually get one every month for the majority of your life- but do we know much more than that?

As per usual please remember that I am not a professional anything, merely a girl who like to do some research and report back to you all. If you have any concerns about your body please seek professional medical help.

I've been thinking about periods a little bit lately- a weird topic of thought I know but I have my reasoning. This is bound to be a bit of a TMI post- but this is the best way to get the information I have been learning about out there- by sharing my own experiences. So should you be in the same situation as me you can be comforted by the fact that this isn't just you and your body. The things I do for informative content these days.

A few weeks ago, after a few months of a very light period, I finally went to the doctor because of said light period. Let me give you some back ground information- my period was once upon a time three to four days long and I would have one heavy day on day two, a moderate day on day three and day one and four were pretty light. I've been on the pill for six-odd years and because of that my period has always been like clockwork, which it still is. My worries were lying in the fact that I was having a period that lasted barely two days and the amount that I was bleeding had decreased dramatically. (Yes TMI I know but what can ya do). I now didn't have three different types of days- the heavy, moderate and light, instead I now just had light days.

So this got me thinking about periods and how much we don't really get told about them. Like when you're twelve and thrown into Sex Ed in school for the first time they basically just tell you that you're going to bleed for a few days each month and if you don't get one you could be pregnant. At least that was what I was given, it might be different these days- I haven't had to do sex ed in a while. This is where I come in, I did the research on things we don't usually get told about our periods, things that effect your period and all that jazz, you are welcome.

Lets firstly talk about things that can have an effect on your period. Obviously we know that if you've gotten pregnant during the course of your cycle, thats going to effect you period and that is usually the first place your mind goes if your period is late or non existent. I'm sure the at home pregnancy test industry is constantly booming because of women that are just constantly worried when their period is late. I know that before I went to the doctor I brought a few pregnancy tests looking for an answer to my very light period.

Birth control. There are so many forms of birth control these days- I mean you can get a shot, you can take a pill, you can get something in your arm, something in your uterus or you can just not have sex at all. Your chosen form of birth control can have a really big effect on your period and it can be so different for different women. So I asked around with some of the women that I know about what they use and what happened to their period while they've been using said birth control.
The implanon is one form of birth control that quite a few of the women I know use. It is a rod that is implanted under the skin of the upper arm and contains hormones that are time released into the body. I've heard stories from women who have used the Implanon in their arm and they haven't got their periods for months on end, some have had very irregular period while its in their arm, and I have actually heard of one women who had almost constant spotting for the first few months. I looked in to getting the implanon as my form of birth control but it was the side effects that really put me off, so if this is something you are thinking about I would suggest doing your research to make sure it is right for you.
The intrauterine device (IUD) is another form of birth control that came up in conversation often, its a t shaped piece of flexible plastic that is inserted into the uterus and effects the way the sperm moves (essentially the sperm cannot meet up with the egg). Its inexpensive, it lasts quite a long time and it is known to make your periods shorter and lighter. One women that I talked to told me her periods had gone from being five to six days long to being nowhere to four days long.
I think the pill is quite a popular choice for birth control, I know quite a few women who use the pill, including myself. I know women who have lost their period completely since being on the pill, some that just had their period shortened and lighter, some that just had less painful periods and even one who managed to get pregnant while on the pill. If you have been on the pill for a while your period can become very light, or disappear all together. This is because the endometrial lining doesn't build up as much, therefore there is less to shed. If you have also just come off the pill it is normal for your body to be in a bit of shock and you to not have your period for a few months post coming off the pill.
So obviously your choice of birth control is going to have an effect on your period. I know there are lots of other forms of birth control than the three that I am mentioned above, but they are just the three that I've talked to other women about and came up most often, or had experience with.

I think a lot of women, myself included don't realise that your diet and exercise regime can really have an effect on you period. Should your body fat percentage drop below 8-12% you will more than likely loose you period. This happens because one third of your oestrogen levels come from the fat cells in your body and if your body doesn't have that oestrogen, it cannot menstruate. Over exercising and not eating enough, rapid weight loss or suffering from an eating disorder will really have an effect on your period.

Another factor that could be weighing on the loss of your period could be thyroid issues. The thyroid gland is responsible for a number of things in the body including controlling the temperature of your body, regulating your metabolism and the production of hormones among other things. Should your thyroid become over active, or under-active it could stop the ovulation process, resulting in an irregular period.

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS can cause your period to become irregular or infrequent and affects around 18% of women who are at the age of being able to reproduce. While it effects your period it also has other effects on the body including acne, scalp hair loss, weight gain, fertility issues and increased anxiety and depression. The only way to find out of you have PCOS is to obviously see your doctor and tell them your concerns.

Stress and anxiety can also be a reason that you've missed a period. We all know that being stressed can cause some headaches, tummy troubles, chest pain and insomnia, but it can also lead to late or missed periods. Stress can have a huge effects on your hormone levels, which in turn has an effect on your period.

All right so I've given you some of the factors that can have an effect on your period- now let me tell you some of the interesting things that I found out while doing this research, things that you may not know about the time of the month.
  • In the days leading up to your period your body is mimicking pregnancy. The sore breasts, the fluid retention, the bloating, the acne, the mood swings- its all your body reacting to the falling of oestrogen and progesterone levels. 
  • Having your period often can lead to iron deficiency. Due to the fact we don't usually get enough iron in our day-to-day diet the amount of blood lost with our periods can lead to iron deficiency. 
  • You aren't just loosing blood from your vagina- you are also loosing the lining of your uterus and blood vessels. 
  • Back pain during your period can be a sign of high oestrogen. 
  • Insomnia during your period can mean you have low levels of progesterone, which is the hormone that helps women sleep. 
  • If you're having cramping pain in the stomach, you could have high levels of oestrogen or that you ate too much sugar which brings on the inflammatory response. 
  • Women lose on average 4 to 12 tablespoons of blood per period. 
  • Having an irregular period can mean that you can get pregnant while on your period. While you're bleeding you could still be ovulating. 
To conclude, I want to tell you about the app I use to track my period- its called Flo. Its an app that not only tracks your period and tells you when you are ovulating, it provides you with the information you need to make informed decisions with its insights. From health insights on why you have a headache today or why you're feeling bloated, to community generated recommendations and interactive surveys. I am obsessed with this app! You can find it in all the usual app stores. 

Obviously there is a ridiculous amount of information that is available on periods and this is just some knowledge- there is is realms more. I hope you learned at least one thing from this post.