My journey to recover from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
If you have been following me on social media, you will have noticed there has been quite a few changes, physically and emotionally!
After returning from my Europe trip in July, earlier this year it was clear to me that a new chapter was awaiting for me.
I feel it is my duty as a health professional to be open and honest about my own health struggles, not just the successes. For some it may not come as such a surprise as they understand my passion in this area.
I have not had a natural period in almost 7 years. Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a result of perceived stress in the body. It is defined as a loss of mensural cycle for greater than 3 months. The result is the switching off of the communications between the hypothalamus (the master control centre of the brain) to the ovaries.
After a general consensus from general practitioners, a gynaecologist, endocrinologist and fertility specialist that “there is a chance it will never come back, sometimes it is like a permanent switch. You could try and put some weight on but it still might not come back, you will probably have to put a lot of weight on. You can try ovulation induction and IVF if you want to have children. You don’t need to have your period. You need to take HRT for the rest of your life to protect your bones through”. I had already “cut back” my exercise and gained “some” weight and it didn’t work. With no certainty, you know which way I chose.
As I have quoted before “Giving 99% is hard work, giving 100% is easy”.
With a great appreciation for and regular mediation and yoga practice of late I have been able to gain great clarity. I finally stopped and looked within. Had I really gave it my all?
After my own further extensive research I came to learn that if I gained a lot more weight, kept in a positive energy balance, cut out all intensive training and lowered overall stress it is actually highly likely that things may switch on again. Really there is no reason if I do all of these things it won’t. I have had every scan and test under the sun to show I am otherwise healthy. My body has done it before. It was designed to reproduce.
Intellectually you know I know how to gain weight but making these changes challenged routines, things I enjoy, the way I manage stress and most of all my perceived identity or ego. How can I be a trainer and not exercise? How can I be a dietitian and eat ice cream every day and “get fat”? I didn’t know who I was without all these labels and to be honest it scared me!
If you know me I am one determined woman. The thing I fear most in life, is regret.
On July 20th I went “all in” with committing to my Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery and I have not looked back!
Old friend has not yet returned but along with the Kg’s, body fat and new wardrobe, I have gained so much more energy, confidence, freedom and happiness. “Letting go” of identities, behaviours and materials that no longer serve me, being open, honest, courageous and trusting my intuition has helped me to really find myself again, after wandering off track. This has been the most challenging journey in my life to date but equally as rewarding and liberating.
Thanks to those who have supported me with your encouragement and support. I hope by sharing my story I can help raise awareness of this complex issue, prevent and help people in the same boat overcome the challenges, find strength and support.