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A little follow-up...

Posted Feb 08 2011 11:53pm
Glad to see such a great response from yesterday's post. Thanks for the comments. I seemed to spark interest in the girls regarding menstruation issues in female athletes. It's a lot more common than you think, and, girls, don't feel ashamed and/or ignore amenorrhea or irregular periods if that's happening to you. It's not the easiest topic to be open about, but it's important.

Regarding my menstruation issues, I have to clarify something that may have been misleading. I wrote that I've had my period again and have been regular for the past year, but didn't fully disclose how that happened; looking at how I worded it, I think I was misleading as if I found a magic secret. So here's more of my story....

(Guys, feel free to ignore this blog lol.)

Without going too far back in time, I'll start with summer 2008 when I stopped taking birth control after being on it to keep me regular for three or four years. Not surprisingly, my period didn't come back for the rest of the year. Then I began training harder/more for triathlon (i.e. in prep for my first 70.3), and the period was still MIA in early 2009. I was on the verge of going back on BC just to get my period, but was hesitant because I didn't want to do it "artificially." I wanted my body to get it on its own. I knew the exercise stress was a lot and I was thin, so odds were against me, but surprisingly by mid 2009, I got it!! Who knows, maybe I willed it to happen. The problem, though, it was pretty irregular and sporadic. My doctor at the time still wanted me to go on BC. I was hesitant and wanted more opinions. I sought the advice of a professor at grad school, who is a doctor specializing in sports issues, including the Female Athlete Triad. She wasn't such a fan of the BC idea.

By early 2010 I had been without a period for a while. I don't know what changed in my thinking process, but I was sick of playing the game of "Will I get it?" "If so, when?" "Am I hurting myself, killing my bone density, etc., by not having it?" So I decided to go on BC.

So there you have it... Unfortunately, birth control was keeping me regular up until now, which is not really anything to be "proud" of like I wrote in the last blog. (This is what I get for not editing my own writing before publishing, lol.) What I meant to write: I am proud to say that I got my period back on my own in '09, even though I honestly don't know how I did that midst heavy 70.3 training. But it was irregular, thus I made a judgment call in early 2010. I wanted to avoid any long-term health problems, especially given my track record of amenorrhea back in the early 2000s, so I went back on the pill.

So, I'm sorry to the girls who inquired about my "magical period-starting secret," and sorry if I mislead you in the way I worded that in my last post.

But there's hope. I do have good news...

I quit birth control this year.

I have a new plan, and it's all natural.

I started seeing a wonderful acupuncturist who specializes Ancient Chinese Medicine; she practices out of the same facility where I will be doing the exercise testing. Convenient, eh? I told her my whole period story and she strongly suggested I try Chinese Herbs to regulate menstruation; she would make a custom formula specifically for my issues (nothing off-the-shelf). I fell in love with the idea of trying something that was all natural, but of course, I was also skeptical. Too good to be true perhaps? And it would be slightly more expensive monthly than the birth control.

However, she gave me the low down and even referenced cases in which the herbs helped in girls with situations exactly like mine. The bonus, Chinese Herbs can do a million different good things for the body--so on top of menstruation regulation, we included herbs to promote circulation (we all know this is huge problem I have), help immune system, digestion, energy, sleep, etc. From what I gather, there's no guarantee all this will work, and it's not an overnight fix--for the period thing, it could take a year to get my body on track--but the good news is that there is evidence to say the herbs work, and it's ALL natural.

So that's where I'm at now. About a month into the herbs. We'll see what happens, and of course I'll keep you posted. Let me know if you have any more questions.
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