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Regaining Menstrual Health: How to Get My Period Back as an Endurance Athlete

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As a female endurance athlete, menstrual health is as critical as your physical training. Yet, you may be facing a silent issue-amenorrhea (loss of your period or menstrual cycle)-and asking yourself, “How to get my period back?”

Not just a matter of reproductive health, the loss of a regular menstrual cycle can impact your long-term bone health, cardiovascular function, and overall well-being. Understanding why this happens and how to address it is key to sustaining both your endurance performance and health.

Hi! As a sports dietitian and female endurance athlete I have also asked myself how to get my period back. Unfortunately, this is something I suffered while I was in college in my early adult years before I knew about the impact nutrition had on my menstrual health.

In this blog, you will learn about:

  • Understanding causes of amenorrhea
  • The role of nutrition in menstrual health
  • Lifestyle & training adjustments to support menstrual health
  • When to seek professional help

First, let’s make sure you have an understanding of the major causes of why you may have stopped having your period.

Understanding Causes of Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea in endurance athletes is often a sign that you may have an underlying health issue rather than a standalone condition. The primary causes are usually: 

  • Energy deficiency where the body does not have enough fuel as calories to support your bodily processes. (1)
  • Psychological and physical stress from intense training schedules and possibly inadequate recovery. (1)
  • Hormonal imbalances that disrupt the menstrual cycle. (1)

Loss of your period and the causes mentioned above may also indicate that you could be experiencing the female athlete triad or relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S). (2)

The Female Athlete Triad

The female athlete triad encompasses energy deficiency, menstrual disturbances, and bone density loss. These highlight serious implications if ignored and addressing these factors is the first step to getting your period back. (2)

RED-S is similar to the female athlete triad, but there are some differences.

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S)

RED-S is similar to the female athlete triad but is a condition found in both male and female athletes. It extends beyond menstrual disturbances and bone health to include broader physiological functions like metabolism, cardiovascular health, and psychological well-being, further emphasizing the need for comprehensive health strategies. (2)

If you want to learn more about RED-S, you may want to read Finding Your Sweet Spot: How to Avoid RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) by Optimizing Your Energy Balance by Rebecca McConville who is also a registered dietitian nutritionist.

As an athlete, you may have thought about how nutrition affects your endurance. However, nutrition is also important for your menstrual health as well. Next, we will discuss the role of nutrition in menstrual health.

The Role of Nutrition in Menstrual Health

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in your menstrual health. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients helps in regulating hormonal functions and supporting your menstrual cycle. (3

Key dietary changes that can help you get your period back include:

  • Increasing overall caloric intake.
  • Ensuring a balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
  • Consuming enough vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium.

These diet changes can support the hormonal environment needed for the return of regular menstrual cycles. As you fine-tune your diet, it’s just as important to consider how your lifestyle and training routines can be adjusted to complement these nutritional efforts.

Next, we will discuss some changes to your lifestyle and training that you may want to consider to help you get your period back.

Lifestyle & Training Adjustments to Support Menstrual Health 

Lifestyle and training need to harmonize with your body’s needs. To restore menstrual function, it may be necessary to adjust your training routine to reduce physiological stress and ensure enough time for rest and recovery. (4) Two strategies include periodized training and adjusting your total training load.

Periodized Training

Periodized training includes lighter training phases between progressively loaded training phases. This can help give your body the break it needs to restore hormonal balance and menstrual regularity. 

Reduced Total Training Load

If reducing your overall training load does not result in a return of your period, you may need to stop training until a regular cycle is restored. Adjusting your training load can be challenging both physically and mentally, especially if you are training for an event. 

If this is true for you and if you have not been able to get your period back, it may be time to seek professional help. Finally, we will discuss when you should seek professional help and what type of professionals may be good resources.

When to Seek Professional Help

While lifestyle and nutritional adjustments can be significantly helpful, professional guidance is essential, especially for conditions like amenorrhea. Consulting with a healthcare provider or sports dietitian can provide tailored advice and interventions. If you are struggling with how to get your period back, remember, seeking professional help is a sign of strength and commitment to your health.

In conclusion, regaining your menstrual cycle requires a combined approach that respects your body’s limits and provides it with the necessary nutrients for health and recovery. 

  • Prioritize total calorie intake to meet your training demands. 
  • Include a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat in your diet.
  • Adjust your training strategy or training load.
  • Seek professional help.

Remember, long-term performance is built on the foundation of good health. If you’re looking for individualized guidance on how to get your period back, schedule a consultation and take a step towards balancing your health with your athletic ambitions.


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Meet Jena Brown

Jena founded Victorem Performance Nutrition to help endurance athletes define and achieve their own brand of victory. Over the course of 15 years, she has partnered with hundreds of athletes by leveraging data-informed custom nutrition plans and non-restrictive nutritional counseling.

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