What affects a menstrual cycle Non Gyno factors

What Affects a Menstrual Cycle – Part 1 (Non Gynaecological Factors)

After my post on “What a Proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like”, I always have 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.

  1. 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
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 ☺
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

If you would like to book in a consultation with me, please call my friendly staff, or using the automated emails system on the website.

There are options for online consultation for those that are interstate, not local, or those that live overseas. My friendly staff will be able to sort this out for you.

Next I will talk about the gynaecological conditions which can causes issues with your cycle. Stay tuned 🙂

Take care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-“Leaving No Stone Unturned”

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-The Endometriosis and PCOS Experts

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What a Proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like

I have travelled around this country presenting to both healthcare practitioners and as part of women’s health work shops and I am still amazed that many healthcare practitioners and the general public alike, still do not know what a proper menstrual cycle should be like.

So many women still believe that many of the abnormal symptoms they put up with daily are actually normal and believe that they just have to put up with them. There are many healthcare providers reinforcing this too.

OMG, if the healthcare providers have no idea, then how to we expect everyone else to know. This is why we are seeing so many women put up with gynaecological conditions such as Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, PCOS and many other symptoms they face on daily basis.

Every day I  get emails and Facebook messages from women, or see them in clinic, asking me “What Should a Proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like?”

I also get asked if PMS, menstrual irregularities and period pain is normal and I have to tell them it is not. To put it bluntly, PMS, severe PMS (known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder-PMDD), irregular cycles and period pain IS NOT normal.

Women should not experience pain during their menstrual flow, and they shouldn’t have to put up with all the horrible symptoms leading up to their menstrual cycle either.

A slight bit of discomfort may be considered normal, but pain and having to take pain killers for that pain, is not normal at all.

The fact is that only 20-25% of women actually get menstrual pain and severe symptoms of PMS. Once there are a greater number of people with a condition, medically the condition is then classed as normal, meaning that a portion of the population get it.

But the problem is menstrual pain and irregularities are not normal and these are signs of problems in the body that need to be checked out by a gynaecologist, reproductive medicine, or a women’s health specialist.

The sad thing is even then, some women are being missed, or offered the supposed quick fix, or patch, that will not fix their issues. The worse things is, in my line of work is that when these things are missed and masked and left for too long, women wake up one day and want babies, and can’t have them, or struggle to have them.

Once again menstrual pain and irregularities are not normal and no matter what mum, your best friend, or you GP says, women should not have to put up with these issues. Period pain and menstrual irregularities are not normal.

Going on the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) will not fix the cause of the issue either. Sure, it can offer some symptomatic relief for some, but it usually just masks a condition and this is why women need to see a gynaecologist or a women’s health specialist for any gynaecology issue.

Masking an issue over the long term can not only make a condition becomes worse, it can also have an impact on future fertility and chances of conception, and this is what many seem to be forgetting. Masking symptoms is not the answer and women need to be informed of all their choices and the consequences of masking a gynaecological issue.

I also need women to know that the contraceptive pill does not regulate a normal menstrual cycle. It causes a withdrawal bleed and does not regulate a normal menstrual bleed. That is a fact. The withdrawal of hormones causes the bleed. The is not a normal period by any means.

So, I am going to tell you what a proper a menstrual cycle should be like and I’m going list what it should be like below. So that way if you are wondering why your menstrual cycle has gone crazy and you cant get enough Ibuprofen, or naprogesics, into your body when you get your cycle, then please remember the list below.

It is so important that I tell everyone what a proper menstrual cycle should be like. If it isn’t like the one I describe you better book in to see me soon.

But, for those who may be trying to have babies, or think that all is OK, don’t be fooled into think that you don’t have a gynaecological issue because you don’t have pain, or irregularities either.

A significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (Meaning no symptoms). Many women with PCOS also have regular cycles and all body types can have this disease, not just overweight women.

It is so important for all women to get regular gynaecological check ups by a gynaecologist, a women’s health specialist, or a reproductive medicine specialist, especially if you are trying to have babies and nothing is happening.

What a proper menstrual cycle should be like

  • A proper menstrual cycle should be 26 –32 days in it’s length.
  • It should be 4 days flow, 5 at the most. Any shorter than 4 days is too short and any longer than 5 days is too long. This isn’t good.
  • You”Should Not” get any pain at all. Maybe a slight bit of discomfort is normal, but pain is not normal.
  • You “Should Not” get clotting, spotting, etc.
  • You “Should Not” get severe breast tenderness, lots of bloating, increased fluid retention, erratic changes to the moods, such as lots of tears or irritability.

These are all signs of irregularities and need to be addressed and many of the causes are above.

Just remember that if you do get bad period pain, or your periods are irregular there is a good chance you may have a gynaecological condition and this need to be investigated.

Don’t let people keep fobbing you off, or keep telling you that the contraceptive pill will “fix” these issues, because that is not entirely true. If there is pain, or irregularities, it means that something is wrong, or out of balance, and it needs to be investigated and managed properly.

If you need help with a women’s health issue, please call my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to assist you.

Take Care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Master of Women’s Health

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned

-The Endometriosis and PCOS Experts

 

ovulation

You May Ovulater

The traditional theory that women have the potential to ovulate at one time in the month (being around day 14) is actually been proven to be wrong and is something many have known for a long time

This research was first published back in 2000 in the British medical journal and then research, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2003(2003;80: 116-22 [PubMed]) could explain why the “rhythm” method of contraception is so unreliable and why women who take hormonal contraceptives sometimes become pregnant.

Researchers from these studies did daily ultrasound scans on women who apparently had normal menstrual cycles. Some were nulliparous; others had had up to three children. They found that all of the women produced at least two and sometimes 3 major waves of follicular development.

The existing theory held that at the beginning of each menstrual cycle, 15 to 20 follicles begin to grow in the ovaries and that one of them develops into a mature egg at roughly the middle of the cycle. The research showed that 40% of the subjects had the clear biological potential to produce more than one egg in a single month. Moreover, they could be fertile at any time of the month.

“These studies have actually caused the rewriting of the human reproduction textbooks” The leading researchers have explained. “It explains why natural family planning often doesn’t work, why hormonal contraception sometimes fails, and why we see fraternal twins with different conception dates.” The studies have also helped to improve assisted reproduction success rates too and why we see some women ovulate again (as part of their natural cycle) after hormone induced ovulation.

Research published back in 2000 that was published in the British medical Journal also showed that “Ovulation – Fertile days are unpredictable”

The timing of the fertile window is highly variable and to assume that ovulation occurs on day 14 or between day 10 and day 17 is based on outdated information.

Fertile days are unpredictable, and can fall anytime during the menstrual cycle-even for those women with regular Cycles. There is only a 10% probability of being fertile in the fertile window (day 10-17) as identified by Clinical guidelines and more than 70% are in the fertile window before day 10 or after day 17 of their cycle.

There is also a 1-6 % chance of being fertile during a menstrual phase of the cycle. (British medical Journal 2000 321:1259-1292)

This is why couples need to be having regular sex in a cycle, if they want to conceive and that they need to stop just trying in the so called old school thinking of the “Fertility Window” as identified as day 14, or between day 10 to day 17 of the cycle.

Like anything in life, if something isn’t working, then you need to change what you are doing. If that doesn’t help, then you need to get help from a professional.

I have helped over 12,500 babies into the world and this is part of what I teach my couples and part of my multimodality fertility program.

If you are having trouble having a baby, then call my staff and find out more about my fertility program and how we may be able to assist you in having your little miracle.

Take care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women & Men’s Health Crusader

-The International Fertility Experts

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Rust Never Sleeps And Neither Does Endometriosis

Rust never sleeps and neither does endometriosis. When rust gets into a piece of metal, it starts to slowly eat away and corrode its unsuspecting host. Nobody really knows where it will pop up next. At first the tiny implants of rust cannot be seen, but underneath the layer of metal, the rust is at work, slowly devouring and eating away at the core of this metal piece.

It is like a weed. You can cut it out, poison it, and do what ever you can to prevent its return, but once it is there and those minute little seeds have shed and spread, not matter what you seem to do, it seems to just keep popping up everywhere. I have explained this in another post called “Weeding Out Endometriosis”

It is silent and can often take years to take full affect and be visualised, but once it is there and it full swing, it causes weakness, corrosion, toxicity and all manner of havoc for the piece of metal it has now invaded. Just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean it is not there either. It is the master of stealth, but eventually is will rear its ugly head everywhere, all the while it is has been working its way underneath the surface and its endless tentacles and teeth reaching out and eating at the very core of its host. As the famous musician Neil Young once said “Rust Never Sleeps”. It is perfect assassin for it needs no sleep, and it has a mission of destruction and chaos to anyone who stands in its way.

While rust may never sleep, neither does Endometriosis. Endometriosis is just like rust. It is also like a pesky weed, with a never-ending lifecycle. It spreads; it drops seeds (implants) everywhere it goes. It causes pain, it can be silent and with stealth and at the same time, spreading without causing a single ounce of pain for a significant portion of the population. All the while it is causing havoc in other parts of the body, creating the illusion that there must be something else there.

It is the master of illusion. It makes many think it is something else (IBS, Bladder issues, UTI etc). It invades without a trace and can even be the master of disguise, evading even the most notable physician, but all the while it is feasting and causing chaos under the surface, just as rust does.

Just like rust, sometimes you can cut out a small piece of it and get every single minute part of it at the same time. Other times you can cut it out, and then underneath the microscopic, undetectable implants just pop up somewhere else and starts its vicious lifecycle in another location. Some times it can hide altogether, yet still be there under the surface causing havoc. Other times it will present itself to be seen everywhere and scatter itself so far and wide, you will never ever catch up with all of it.

While sometimes the smallest amount of it can cause immeasurable pain, sometimes the largest amounts of it will go undetected and cause no pain at all.

Actually, a significant portion of women affected with Endometriosis will have no pain at all. We only hear of the women with pain and this is totally understandable. But we also need to let people know, many have no pain at all. It isn’t until the person is investigated properly (via a laparoscopy), that they find that they may be riddled with it.

Endometriosis just isn’t in the endometrial lining. It is most outside the uterus, or embedded deep into the endometrium. It can get on your tubes, in your vagina, on your bowel, into your intestines, up into your lung, around your pericardium and heart, into your brain and they have even found it in people’s fingers. It is truly like a weed, like the rust we started talking about. It can spread everywhere and as said before, can evade even the most noted medical mind. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it will try and evade you forever.

But like rust, with the right treatment, Endometriosis can be found, captured, seen for what it is, have its true colour exposed, have its weakness exploited and have its symptoms vanquished to the nether regions of the destructive world it appeared from. Yet, many fail to explore, or implement the right treatment, choosing to mask it, or pretend it has gone, and all the while it is being allowed to inflame, fatigue, cause pain, play with your emotions and basically wish that life as you know it would magically just end. This can be the life of many who unknowingly trust that just cutting out the rust, or trying to mask the symptoms of it, without destroying and preventing the tiny implants of it underneath the surface from appearing and taking hold again.

Like any disease, prevention is the key to treatment. You cannot prevent endometriosis (not yet anyway) but you can prevent the things that can make it flare, or make it grow, or make it worse. Take away the fuel, and the fire can never take hold. The same goes for endometriosis. You need to take away the foods and substances (alcohol, smoking, chemicals is the environment) that are fuelling the endometriosis to grow in the first place.

If the endometriosis has taken hold and is causing issues, you need to then have it cut out and removed. There is a point where no matter what medications etc you take, nothing is going to settle that inflammation and pain down and well and corrective and investigative surgery. The only way you can diagnose endometriosis is through a laparoscopy. Scans and blood test do not diagnose it.

Even sometimes with surgery, endometriosis can be invisible to the naked eye, but make no mistake, it can still be there. This is why biopsies are taken to see if the microscopic implants are there causing pain and havoc, underneath he surface. But even then, it can infiltrate deep into the muscles and around the nerves to remain undetectable, even via a biopsy. But make no mistake, at some stage, it will rear its ugly head to be seen and to be heard. For those that know the symptoms, they will know it is there, when all other measures of investigations fail.

Once the visible disease is found, it needs to be removed and then you need to try and prevent its return. The only way you can do this is suppress the microscopic implants and the very thing they feed off. Never make the mistake of thinking that surgery is where all your treatment ends. It isn’t. This is where the real work begins.

While estrogenic response is a know factor and the main driver, we also know that insulin feeds inflammation and also causes problems with estrogen and hormone metabolism and distribution. If you get the diet under control, reduce the inflammation through lack of insulin and sugars, then you also help regulate the hormones and this will help with the symptoms and growth of endometriosis. You need to eat as clean as possible and this no refined foods at all. Lots of proteins, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, good oils, pre and probiotics and water.

Herbal medicines may assist and also help control with the control of the microscopic implants of endometriosis and also help symptoms. They can also assist and help with hormone regulation and help with insulin resistance and also help with reducing inflammation. This is why the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend women explore the use of herbal medicines and acupuncture and part of the overall treatment plan for the guidelines of treatment of endometriosis.

You also need to look at stress and emotional factors that are driving the inflammation in the first place. Learn some coping skills, learn to relax, find that quiet time, do some yoga, or some form of relaxation. Do whatever it takes to find that stillness in your daily life. You can’t treat and manage a disease without looking at the emotional and lifestyle component of it as well.

So, before you go and try and mask the symptoms of endometriosis and the actual diseases itself, with the pill, mirena, or other current medical approach, ask yourself this. What are you doing to prevent the drivers of the disease in the first place?

Endometriosis requires and multi-modality approach to treat and manage it effectively. If you don’t take this approach, then it will nearly always come back. Yes, you need to surgery, but, you still also need to prevent and treat the actual cause of the disease in the first place. This will then treat the microscopic implants from ever coming to life and causing more misery for everyone concerned.

Having a loved one riddled with endometriosis, I am going to do everything possible I can to help prevent the return of symptoms of this horrible disease for this most cherished and loved individual. A multimodality approach will be used and I hope that one day we can eventually take control and assist in vanquishing the symptoms of this disease into oblivion where they belong, like I have done for so many other people in my years of practice. But, with any disease it also requires compliance of the patient too.

There is no cure for endometriosis, but with proper assistance and the right treatments and health management, women can become asymptomatic (no symptoms) and live a normal life away from the symptoms of this horrible disease.

What are you doing to control your endometriosis?

Do you want to just mask it, or get proper help in managing it?

If so, you need to implement a multimodality approach that I mentioned above and help with having a normal life and hopefully be symptom free. I will mention some of the multimodality treatments in future posts.

Just remember, rust never sleeps and neither does endometriosis.

Take care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader

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