After my post on “What a Proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like”, I have had lots of people asking what the cause of their menstrual irregularities are. Most of the causes can be broken into two causes being:
- Non Gynaecological Factors– Meaning things you do, or may have done to exacerbate current conditions, or throw your cycles out of balance
- Gynaecological Factors– Disease states such as Endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroids, Polyps, Adenomyosis, Cancers and other causes.
I’ll talk about the factors (Non-Gynaecological Factors) in people’s control so that they may be able to identify some of those things they may be doing on a daily basis to exacerbate current underlying issues, or just interfere with their hormones and lead to problems with their menstrual cycle.
These ones you can work on and be aware of in case your cycle isn’t regular, or your pain is worse in a month. This way you can look back and go “Oh….. Now I know why my cycles wasn’t so good this month”
I’ll talk about the Gynaecological Causes of irregular, or painful cycles in my next post. For now here are the Non-Gynaecological causes.
What Affects a Menstrual Cycle- Non-Gynaecological Factors.
- Poor diet – Foods such as high sugars and junk foods all cause inflammation in the body and lead to hormonal irregularities and can exacerbate, or cause pain with the menses
- Alcohol – Most alcohols contain high sugars and they also cause inflammation in the body. It also interferes with your hormones and affects the liver too. In Traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed the Liver governs the menstrual cycle and the Live also controls the emotions. Excess alcohol leads to SOL ( Shit on Liver) and thus the moods and cycle get affected.
- Poor Sleep– Sleep deprivation leads to reduction in hormones such as melatonin, which is a precursor to serotonin and then effect the moods etc. Lack of sleep also interferes with the other hormones in our body too. Lack of sleep also stops the body from repairing and can lead to other health issues. We know that shift works do have a lot more disturbances with their cycles and also have lower fertility rates.
- Trauma – Things such as surgery, a virus, cold/flu etc, or where the body has to repair, can lead to menstrual irregularities. The body shuts down the menses so that it can repair itself first. Emotional trauma can also cause the menses to shut down, or become irregular too.
- Weight gain, or weight loss– It is a well known fact that many athletes do not get a menstrual cycle because of lack of body fat. The same goes for people who are over-weight too. Eating disorders can also cause irregularities and infertility. Too much or too little body fat interferes with your fertility. All your hormones are made from fats and protein.
- Emotional Issues– Bottled up emotions such as anger & frustration cause blockages in the system & then cause pain. Emotional issues also cause problems with hormones. Emotions and stress are a major cause of menstrual irregularities. Bottled up emotions can cause SOL too ☺
- Drugs/Hormones– Both pharmaceutical and recreational drugs can also cause menstrual irregularities and can stop the menses completely. Recreational drugs can also lead to permanent infertility.
- Travel– Travelling over time lines and even just interstate can cause issues with your cycle too. The body has to cope with adjusting to different times zones, different foods and water etc and the pressures from flying can also throw the cycle out.
Hope this help explain a little bit more about how our diets and lifestyle can affect your cycles each month too. Next I will talk about the gynaecological conditions which can causes issues with your cycle. Stay tuned 🙂
Dr Andrew Orr
Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Specialist
-“Leaving No Stone Unturned”
“The International Baby Maker” & “Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader”