Running and Periods.

May 4, 2011

Time to be 100% honest mkay and it is probably way too much information but I think it is something we need to talk about because I can’t tell you how many emails I have gotten from woman experiencing the exact same problem!!!  This is a topic that is never really discussed in the blogging/running/fitness world but I think we need to!

So brothers, dad and ANY students that have found my blog somehow…..time to push that big red X in the top left hand corner of the window okay:)

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When you run a lot.  You can lose your period.  If your body fat percentage is too low.  You lose your period.

When I started training for my first marathon I lost about 4 lbs but the fact that I was running like a cheetah (give or take 30 mph slower) I lost my period.

(I am that creepy girl that tries to be funny as she is running and do the robot for Billy at the same time. 7 a.m. is a little early to open your eyes, it wasn’t until mile 12 that I finally woke up.)

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It was 14 months ago that it went bye bye and believe me I may have taken at least 12 pregnancy tests but it was gone because of increasing my mileage.  At first, I thought…..awesome…..free birth control and no awful side effects of cramps, acne, bloating.  Okay, so only the cramps disappeared but anyways, I know I am a health teacher and I know better than that but remember that little human emotion called denial….yeah, I had that big time.

‘But the elite athletes don’t have any body fat and they must have their periods right?!?!’ Actually, I have NO idea what is going on with those ladies (next time I see Kara I will make sure to ask her:) but I know for me I WANT BABIES (don’t worry not for a while) because I am going to be a rockin’ mom and I can’t wait for a little WIlly Jr.

6 months of no period and I called my bro that is an emergency room doctor (okay, I guess he can read this because he already knows the details).

His advice- Run less and Eat more.  I think you all know that I eat more than a football team at Chuck-a-rama but I was not willing to run less.

Side effects of no period:  Bone Loss.  Crap.   Evil eye below.

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The reproductive system is the FIRST system to shut down when your body is under too much stress.  WARNING. WARNING. Something isn’t right….either too much exercise or too little calories or BOTH.  Our bodies crying plea to slow down a little.

So, what am I doing now?  Working with my doctor, gaining some poundage (another topic I can’t wait to discuss), taking estrogen and we shall see what happens. I know that was way too many details but you do have the choice to exit out whenever you start to feel awkward which is probably 97% of my posts.

I am turning my femur crackage into a blessing in disguise.  Kind of like a wake-up call.  Time to get these bones strong and my body at a healthy place so that I can run forever!

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Any experience with these things???? (Please make me feel not alone and if you don’t I just may have to delete this post because I will be too embarrassed:)

What did you/are you doing to solve the problem?

What are some other side effects that your body has had when you are running a lot?

-Tired, tired oh yeah and exhausted:)

Do you think birth control messes with your running performance?  What are some of the side effects that you have from birth control or estrogen?

-I have very little experience here (I wasn’t really running that much when I used to be on it) so please fill me.  I do know that it makes me even crazier than normal.  Poor Billy.

Devon May 5, 2011 at 5:00 am

Hi janae- I have been reading your blog for a while (and love it!!)…I haven't commented before, but had to about this post:). I have been a runner for over 15 yrs and lost my period from it. I'm not sure exactly when I did because I was on the pill. However, I got married and went off the pill and no period….for months!! We wanted to have kids, so I went to see a reproductive endocrinologist who diagnosed me with hypothalamic amenorrhea, basically loss of period due to exercise (or could be from weight loss, stress etc) I joined a fertility board with tons of others with this same condition so I could learn as much as possible about the condition. I really slowed down on the running and gained some weight, this seems to be the best answer for "curing" the condition. I was too impatient to wait for my period to come back and ended up doing fertility treatments – I now have two year old twins and a two mos old!! I still keep up with the fertility board and have learned soooo much from all the other girls on it!! Good luck with everything and feel free to contact me with any questions!!!

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MT Runner March 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Devon – Thanks for sharing your experience, I am in the exact same boat as you were and recently met w/ an RE – starting FSH injections after a half marathon in six weeks. So enlightening to hear a success story!

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Guatemalan runner July 29, 2014 at 6:25 am

SUCCESS!!! After hearing that elite marathoner Paula Radcliffe always got her period and attributed it to getting a high percentage of her calories from fat, I decided to up my healthy fat intake. After only 2.5 days, my period returned after 6 months without it!! I’ve always eaten embarrassingly more than anyone I’ve ever met and have 22% body fat, so I doubted I needed to increase my calories… but here’s what I did

This is all I had to do, fat-wise:
-Eat a Guatemalan sized (like twice as big as in the US) avocado every day
-Eat 1 pound of cashews
-Eat 1/2 pound of macadamias
-Eat 1/2 pound of almonds
-Eat 6 servings of sardines
-Eat eggs and yogurt as usual

Also my training friend told me this tip yesterday that supposedly helps with period irregularities: boil water with the pit of an avocado and drink it. I also took a big bite out of the boiled seed, since apparently it’s super healthy, but didn’t finish it since it was gross!

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kristensfitnessnook May 5, 2011 at 6:37 am

I think it was very smart of you to address this issue. I went on the pill to regulate my period bc I stopped getting mine too. Luckily I had no problems getting pregnant! Phew. A lot of people though do need to rethink their priorities when you involve babies. Thanks for addressing this topic.

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Jill @ Run for the Hills May 5, 2011 at 7:28 am

Janae, I'm glad you're working on it! The only time I lost my period was during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
I HOPE you can take care of it nutritionally!

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Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman May 5, 2011 at 11:33 am

Obviously, I've never had an issue with that, but I still find it intensely interesting. I certainly know that the female body stops having its period after dropping below a certain body fat percentage for reasons of resource retention (your period takes a lot of energy and resources to go through).

I hadn't known about the side effects of lower estrogen and decreased bone mass. Those are interesting!

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Kelly May 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm

oh boy, not being able to get pregnant when you want is one of the worst feelings in the world. Trust me. Because of my health issues, we "tried" for over 2 years, took pills, had shots, tests, yadda yadda….. Im glad your trying to figure out whats goin on so some day you can have kids (which hopefully is soon cuz its the best and totally amazing and wonderful) but do exactly what the doctor says. Take care of yourself. Not for you but for your future family.

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RunningOnCoffee May 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm

As always, I appreciate your honesty! My first bc (pill) made me super moody back in college. I switched to the shot, which stopped my period (a known side effect). I didn't run prior to BC, so I can't say how it's changed my running. And I've never run with my period (aside from soccer in HS). So I'm really not of any use in this conversation… haha. I'm a little nervous to know what running will be like whenever I stop the shot, who knows if the running would help the crampiness or if the crampiness would take away my motivation to run.

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Colleen May 6, 2011 at 7:47 am

My doctor said that the only BAD side effect of training as much as I do is the fact that I could lose my period. Luckily I haven't (if it's truly based on BF, then I have a ton of that still so I'm good to go!). She checks with me throughout the year to make sure that I'm still "normal" in that regard.

I'm glad to hear that you are working with your doctor. And you are going to make the best mommy… someday! :)

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agable May 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

So glad you posted this. I recently lost too much weight too, not from running but from nursing my baby, exercising (walks in the sand while holding a 20 pound bundle of joy = major workout!), and too little sleep. I am now trying to get my periods back, but no luck yet.

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Texas Runner May 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

I have lost my 'monthly' (sorry I hate that other word) for 2 years this coming June. I run 50 miles per week and I hate the idea of running less- not an option! haha I have been trying to eat more, about 5 times a day, and it is all clean food; but I can't shake the guilt… I am happier when I am smaller and I cannot come to terms with gaining weight just to get my monthly. Luckily I have not gotten hurt, but it looks like I'm heading toward birth control, which I do not want.
Thanks for addressing this because it has been on my mind a lot.

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Turtle & Hare May 31, 2013 at 9:43 pm

you need to just suck it up and gain weight. excuse me if I sound harsh but the fact that you can’t stand a healthier you with a few more pounds may lead to problems. I did cross country last year and I developed anorexia with extensive running along with malnutrition I lost my period and haven’t had it back in about a year and a half. My heart skipped every other beat and I got two stress fractures from running one on each foot. now that my fractures have healed I only run about a mile a day but my period is still gone and I have gained weight. I am at a 19 bmi finally and I am wondering how long I should quit running all together to get my period back or if there is any serious side effects to hormone pills

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k-baum December 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I agree. I am in the same boat you are only, after two stress fractures in my feet and the want to have children, I have stopped working out for the past month all together. The best part? I’m loving every minute away from it. I have realized that running, for me, is too addictive, and I miss all of the things I enjoyed before I started running. I only feel slightly guilty for not running, but it is time for me and my mental health.

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Reannan May 6, 2011 at 8:48 am

Janae, I loooove how you cover these kinda of topics!!

I have experienced this when I first started running ! Its good to know that I'm not the only one!

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Anonymous May 6, 2011 at 10:24 am

I have NEVER had normal cycles really, I have been on BC for 9 years, and I have always ran! I was always an athletic kid, a 3-season athlete in high school, and a collegiate athlete. I was put on BC when I was 16 because I was getting my period every 2 weeks! The hormones regulated my cycle, but my b boobs became DD boobs. I was having a hard time running (during field hockey and lacrosse) without back pain because of their size. (P.S. I'm short and have maintained a healthy/lowish weight my entire life….but at 16/17 my boobs were ridic for my size) So my OB decided decided we should try some other BC pills/hormone combos. Let's see, one gave me "morning sickness," one made my hair fall out, one made me gain muscle like whoa, one gave me great skin, one gave me horrible skin, on one I gained weight, one made me lose weight…it was insane. Even at my lowest weights (due to intense exercise, not ED) I would still get my period every 2 weeks. My Junior year of college I was so fed up I just stopped taking BC.

I felt like a whole new person. Anything that had been wonky (energy levels, skin, emotions, weight, etc.) all sorted themselves out and I felt great! EXCEPT I didn't get my period…like at all. After 6 months I went back to my OB…she said I really should be getting a period, but I really didn't want to go back on BC. I decided to try the ring, which was the lowest dose of hormones and probably the best I had tried. My cycle was "normal" but it was expensive, and felt like a circus game…if you know what I mean. After I got out of a serious relationship, I went off the ring and again…..felt great, no period. I went 18 months off BC and got my period MAYBE 3 times.

I'm in a serious relationship again and I look at BC as a necessary evil…I'm not trying to take chances, even though my cycle is totally irregular/non-existent. I'm on Yaz, which made my boobs bigger (running + boobs = back pain), makes me wayyy emotional, BUT cleared up my skin and made my cycle "regular" throughout training for 3 marathons in the past 8 months. I have no idea what fertility problems I may/already have since I can't seem to have a "normal" period without BC. I can't seem to figure out how to fix it despite tweaking with my diet, weight, sleep, and exercise (cutting back miles/intensity/cross-training/weight training). I've had a stress fracture in my tibia and pelvis, but they were pretty clear as to why (not taking care of shin splints=fracture, moving a sofabed yourself down a flight of stairs=fracture…this is not a sign of bad bone density).

I highly suggest doing some research and trying/tweaking things yourself (diet/exercise/natural supplements/sleep) BEFORE you hop on the BC train. I feel like I am honestly a bad candidate for BC and it has never "fixed" my problem. I know its frustrating, but clearly from the comments you are not alone. Best of luck with your lady parts!

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Erika May 6, 2011 at 10:51 am

Hi Janae! I just stumbled upon your blog and am now totally hooked. Thanks for being so open, honest and funny. It's really refreshing :) Thank you for also bringing this issue to light as I feel a lot of women keep it hidden whether because they're in denial or just plain embarrassed to discuss it with anyone else. I have always been pretty irregular with my periods but when I started running and exercising a lot more these past couple years, they too stopped completely. It wasn't until my 8th consecutive month of no bleed-age that I finally talked to my sister-in-law (an OB/Gyn) to get her opinion. Her answer: "duh, Erika, you don't weigh enough. Gain some weight" Ding-ding-ding! Easier said than done. It's been a struggle and unfortunately I did have to go on birth control but the fear of bone loss and possibly never being able to procreate with my hottie of a hubbie, I've increased my fat mass a bit and hopefully gotten to the point where if I did get off the pill, the old period would return to normal. I hope you and other women out there know they're definitely not alone in this and hopefully topics like this can be discussed more often.
Thanks again and good luck!

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mechaeng May 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm

As far as I am aware there is no short-term problems with cycle disruptions or even the loss of periods. Obviously there is a link to osteoporosis with the lack of periods but again it's my understanding that this is mainly an issue if you have a loss of periods during adolescence ( i.e. due to an eating disorder ) when the main bone-building is done.

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Anonymous May 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Mechaeng- that is completely untrue. If you lose your period due to overexercising/undereating, you will lose bone density no matter how old you are. It is a bigger issue during adolescence, but you can and will lose bone density and likely become infertile if you lose your period at any age.

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Adrianna May 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm

ugh! i wrote an entire comment on this, and it erased it :(
basically, yes i know this is a few days late, but had to comment bc i'm so happy you are talking about this. so important.

i had lost my period years ago when i really went crazy w/ exercise and diet…bc i was 'getting healthy.' loved the comments from ppl, and how i was looking, but then it got extreme, and i saw nothing wrong. anywho, it took awhile, but i was able to turn exercise into fun again, start eating much better and more healthy, and realizing i needed to eat for strength and sweat for mental health, not to be skinny. but still, no period.
i finally went to a doc to get a physical when i got insurance, and she suggested taking the pill to get estrogen into my body again. other than making me a little crazy and very bloated for 1.5wks every month, i dont think its done much. in fact, i feel more exhausted and my muscles feel more tired than they did before. it could possibly be my increase in mileage and cross-training, but still…i contemplate each month whether i should refill or not…

great topic; so glad you are open and honest, and thats why your blog is so awesome :)

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Anonymous May 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Please get psychological help regarding your disordered eating, in addition to the medical/nutritional help you are now getting. You talk often of recovering from it, but you've gone this long convincing yourself that it's normal to not have a period?? I second the comments about female athlete triad, and the comments about how sad it is that SO MANY women on this thread have had the same issue. Eat more and exercise less! It is simply not normal to lose your period for years. Your body is clearly stressed and operating under far too low of a body fat percentage.

I desperately wish that the people around you and your husband would step in and have the courage to tell you that you have replaced your eating disorder with an exercise obsession. You might think I'm some crazy stranger on the internet, and that's fine, but it's shocking to me that so many of the comments above are all "oh, me TOO girlfriend! totes understand where you're coming from!". I agree with an above commenter- just because it's common does NOT mean it's normal, and I'm so happy you are finally addressing this instead of living in denial of the serious health issues you are giving yourself.

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Lee @ in the pink of condition June 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I disagree with the Anonymous comment above. I have never had an eating disorder, but I have had amenorrhea before from too much running and also from other factors. I am an athlete, but also very petite and have a history of osteoporosis in the family. Additionally, this condition not only affects people who are more prone to osteoporosis or serious athletes (many olympic gymnasts, for example, lose their periods or have late onset of puberty, so do you criticize them too?), but it can also have other medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction or polycystic ovarian syndrome. It can also happen to people who are under serious life stressors. Anonymous: You should make sure you know what you are talking about before giving medical advice or accusing someone of having an eating disorder.

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Jing March 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

-Lee @ in the pink of condition-

Citations please before you critize Anonymous!!!!

It seems to me this girl definitly has some common traits of a person who is “Compulsive Excerciser” (http://teens.webmd.com/compulsive-exercise). If she is untreated it will lead to an eating disorder!

My advice is to – SLOW DOWN! You don’t have to exercise intensely 7 days a week to be at the top of your game.

In fact, most experts claim that rest is the other half of an athlete’s workout. You work out, and then you rest. You work out again and rest. Rest gives your body time to heal from the stresses put upon it by running, swimming, dancing, wrestling, strength training, or other activity.

Please continue your treatment with the doctor. Hope you get better.

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Lee @ in the pink of condition June 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I had amenorrhea when I was playing lacrosse, soccer, and also taking dance classes in one season when I was in high school. I ended up with a hairline fracture of my ankle, which I’m sure was due to the bone loss associated with amenorrhea. Along with a history of osteoporosis in my family, I knew I had to take more calcium supplements since I am lactose intolerant and can’t get my calcium from milk products. Make sure you take calcium and vitamin D so that you prevent bone loss!

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Olivia August 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I reread this post when you linked back to it and I was wondering about how you said you were trying to “gain some poundage” haha. i also haven’t had my period in over a year and am working with my doctor who wants me to gain weight, which i know i need to do, (and am also taking estrogen) but i was just wondering how you were dealing with gaining weight? even though i know i need to for health reasons, it’s been really hard to want to make myself bigger! could you do a post on that or how it’s affecting you?

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Kate August 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I can’t believe I haven’t read this until now. How could I possibly miss one of your posts?!

Since this is old, how are things now? I think we all need an update on how you’re feeling & doing. We all love you and want to know if you’re doing better. :) Have you gained some of that poundage? How fun to gain weight! Or am I totally wrong?

Thank you for putting this out there! You are brave and I can see where Anonymous is coming from but clearly she/he didn’t notice your attitude in the post. You clearly want to get healthy and gain some weight so your period returns. You aren’t in denial anymore and we can all see that. Kudos to you.

XOXOX

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Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

I lost my period only for one month and panicked. I know it’s really bad for you. If you go longer than 3 months it increases your risk for cervical cancer as well. Thanks for sharing this post!

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Melanie August 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

Hi Janae! I really enjoy reading your blog and it makes me want to start writing my own. I just read this post again about running and periods and I definitely learned this lesson the hard way. When I was 16 years old and running cross country and track in high school, I ran too much and lost my period. I didn’t know any better because I was a teenager and had no experience with this. In addition, I felt pressured from coaches and sometimes parents to perform well. I went to the doctor when I had a pulled groin and they said to take ibuprofen and take a couple weeks off. I returned to running at practices because of all the pressure I felt and I ended up pushing through the pain. I was racing the 1600 and my femur broke during the race. On the last lap of the race my femur broke and I collapsed to the ground. I was taken to the hospital to have a metal rod inserted surgically into my leg to put the bone back together.

Therefore, I am glad you went to the doctor and learned about this before you got to the point I got to. Rest is critical and I’m glad you’re doing that! It is really frustrating and I hate not being able to run but it’s 100% better than getting to the point of breaking your leg. That was eight years ago and I am still running now but I’m definitely careful! And I’m training for the Marine Corps marathon this October :) Thank you for your awesome blog!

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Leah February 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I know I’m really late to comment so I’m not sure if you’ll read this or not, but two years ago I had some issues with disordered eating and was also swimming for my college team and ended up around 9% body fat. I lost my period for a year and half. When I finally put on a bit of weight (due to quitting swimming to study abroad!), I got it again. You know there is something wrong with your attitude when you get your period and panic that it means you are getting fat : ( Now I’m running a lot more than swimming, and I do worry about the after-effects of that time…like maybe I have low bone density and am at higher risk for stress fractures.

You remind me of a few-years-older version of myself…thanks for writing about so many things I can relate to.

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Janae February 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

You are welcome!!! Be careful with your running and eating now! I would go have a bone density scan done and talk to a nutritionist to make sure you are getting proper calcium, vit d and calories! Keep me updated!

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ChristinaAnne @ RegularGirl{Running} March 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

Hi Janae!

I’m a recent (obsessive) reader of your blog, so of course I’ve had to go back and read over past posts …. from years ago.

Anyway, I’ve recently missed two monthlies (yeh, whoever said that’s a weird word is quite right) — but the thing is, I’m definitely not underweight/haven’t lost a lot of weight recently (I could actually stand to lose a few! 5’8″, 150+ lbs) AND I really don’t run/exercise any more than usual. When I was training for my marathon I didnt have this issue and my mileage was WAY more!

Any more wisdom to share on this topic now that ( a lot) of time has passed??

Thanks for bringing this up!
-CA

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Happygirl June 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Hey! I just Found your blog and think its really cool! I love how open you are about this topic. I haven’t had my period for a couple years now because I lost a lot of weight(40 pounds!) I’m pretty young– I lost most of the weight running 6 miles a day, but after I joined school swimming then it was gone. I have a heart for adopting children, I’ve never truly wanted children of my own. Selfishness is a really big thing for me, and I feel like I would be making a terrible, selfish, sinful, and just plain mean decision if I had kids. There’s so much suffering in the world and God loves all of his children, so if I could eventually end their suffering, then I think that would be such a blessing. I find my lost period as a blessing in itself. I honestly don’t think I would be happy if I had it. I’ve had a lot of depression issues and am just recovering from them. I HATE the thought of having children. (and I am by NO means insulting anyone else on their life choices, everyone has a right to live how they please). The doctor has told me that I’m fine and that so are my body functions, I’m at a good weight, and I KNOW deep in my heart(and I am definitely not making this up) that God has put me here to change my outlook on things, to eventually adopt and change the life of a child that’s suffering somewhere. Thanks for the cool post, I’ll defity be following the blog from now on!

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Amanda November 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Hey I have a question about this. I turned 14 in October and I still haven’t started my period. I run Cross Country and Track so I run about 16 miles a week. I thought that I would start in August because in July I had heavy spotting (at least I think that it was heavy, I don’t really know). I would have to change my pad every 20 minutes for 2 days and then my spotting got lighter. So I thought that I would start the next month, but then I started running again and getting back in shape for Cross Country, and I haven’t gotten anything since. So do you have any ideas for me? I don’t know if I should be worried or not…

Thanks for reading.

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... September 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

If you had to change your pad every 20 minutes, that’s not spotting — that’s an EXTREMELY heavy period.

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Hiallison January 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Well, for school we have to run the mile. No sitting out, and I am not telling my teacher about this (he’s a guy) Im not used to tampons and we have to run the mile. It is hard walking in these pads just a little and running, would running mess the pad up or what? Please help!!!

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jessie January 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Im not a runner, but i relate to this post… Im on the pill and know exactly when I’ll get my period and when it’ll end. However, when I drop below 133lbs I either spot or get a light version of my period a week early. The way I lose weight is eating dairy and gluten-free meals while keeping my normal workout routines. If I ever go off the pill, I lose 5-10lbs and never get my period, not even spotting. I’ve talked to a few doctors about my fertility being okay, but they say “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” I know my body fat is lower than normal, but I’m not willing to gain fat for the sake of reproduction. I’m hoping its a hormonal imbalance and can be corrected with an estrogen supplement.

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Lindsay R March 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hi! Was googling and found your site- and wondered if you had trouble missing periods when you began training for half marathons. I am a week late on my period, And started my training for a half 7 weeks ago. It seems that most people who have trouble with missed periods are marathon runners and those logging 40+ mpw. Would love any feedback if you have had a similar issue!

Thanks! :)

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Sally N April 14, 2014 at 7:10 am

Hi Lindsay, I too have started training for half marathons about 2 months ago, and my periods had seems to get irregular after that. I also dont run as much as those marathoners (only about 12-15 miles per week). Do you still have the same problem now?

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Marina April 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Hello!! I am horrible but I love to self diagnose when I am the one having health problems. I’m a 38yr old mom and love to run and I occasionally run marathons but I am having the complete opposite I’ve been on my period for about a week and a half. I have started training for an upcoming marathon and I believe this had happened to me before. I am on the IUD with a regular period and see my gyno regularly. I haven’t changed anything other than my workouts and eating habits. Therefore, I am really confused after reading your blog and the other ladies comments. Any suggestions??
Thanks for your time.

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Wiam June 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Hi! I really thank you for your blog because i’m loosing my period since February, and now it’s coming after four months, now it is June. I get my period (I don’t know how) But I think, I reduced the miles. I was running about tow hours a day, or at least one hour a day. Now, I run about half hour a day I got it back, but it is very very very weak, it’s been two days only pink blood. So, I don’t feel that I have a real blood ( I eat chicken occasionally). I’ve been running from six months trying to join the ironman race. I think I will lose my period, if I want to join the marathon. We are loosing a real valuable thing. You educate me girls about this fact.
Hopefully You will get your period. :) XO XO
Thank you very much.

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Jennifer July 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I started running last year to help me get over a messy split from my partner, the running felt great and really helped me clear my mind. Only problem now is I haven’t had a period for a year as I lost a stone very quickly through exercise and limited intake of food and protein. I have now cut my running down to twice a week and gained some weight but still no periods, the doctor told me it would take time to get right, which is very frustrating. I am so annoyed with myself for taking the exercise too far and punishing my body, leaving it damaged, just hope my periods return.

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Kay November 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I am a teen and I do running every other day. I weigh under 7 stone and my periods have been missing for about 6months. I have pressure to do well in my running as I represent my school for county and national events. I know I need to gain weight as I really want a family when I’m older. However I’m stuck in a problem as I don’t want to affect my running performance by gaining weight?? But I do want to have my periods again?? Please help, I’m getting very stressed over it and an worried about both my sporting performance and my future :(

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The Hungry Runner Girl November 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Email me:)

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no name November 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Hi :) I’m fourteen (will be 15 in one month) and started running a couple years ago. I started at like 2 or 3 miles a day then 4 then 5 then 6…7…8…10…12…13…15…. I just did my first half marathon but I haven’t had my period in a whole year!! I’ve talked to my doctors and they all told me the same thing. Gain weight. :( which I have to say bothers me cause I lost over 20 lbs and worked really hard to do that. I feel like gaining any back would be erasing all the hard work I’ve done but I do know that my period stopping so early in my age is probably bad for my long term fertility. I would hate to in twenty years not be able to have children because I chose to overdo myself when I was 14… I like reading this because I don’t feel so weird and alone with this problem. Thank you and I hope my post helps someone too. I’m thinking of starting my own website.

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The Hungry Runner Girl November 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hey!!!! Take care of this now!!!!! I promise it is so worth it!

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Jen December 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Hi,

I just started running last month.. but my problem is that I’m spotting and bleeding. It’s been going on a month, happened when I started running. :(

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That girl :) December 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

Hi! Im 15 almost 16 and I experienced what you had. When i started running, i got so addicted to it that i kept losing weight while increasing my mileage. Finally i got up to 10 miles but i realized it was not worth it. Im almost 16 and no period and i do not know what to do. I havent run for the last 2 months and ive gained about 10 pounds since last year and still no period. My advice to you: if you think the doctors are right, then go with their advice. But if you feel like you are gaining weight and nothing is happening, stop because it certainly didnt work for me!
Im trying to increase my vitamins bc im lactosefree and vegetarian so hopefully it works! Try this if you run out of options!! And please let me know if you have time what worked for you:)
Xoxo
That girl

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runnergirl509 January 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Hello! So I experienced the exact same problem as you.. I am about to be 18 and had always had normal periods until last year… I really started running a lot more than I ever had for cross country and my periods stopped cold turkey in February, and didnt come back until may. Once summer hit though, my mileage and intensity with workouts really increased and I ended up losing about 10 pounds. My period went away all the way until now (today actually!) I saw a doctor about it in June and she said that it was just that I was active and people like us (athletes, more precisely, runners!) are prone to losing their periods. For the longest time I thought something was wrong with me and worried myself crazy and took so many pregnancy tests and everything! But after cross season I then began to gain some weight back, especially over the holiday season, and boom what do you know, my period came back today after 7 months. It’s good to know that was the only problem but I’m afraid it’ll probably happen all over again during this track season running. I’m really happy to read your blog though about your similar problem, thanks for sharing! It’s good to realize we runner girls aren’t alone in this strange health issue. Well, Happy running!

-runnergirl509

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Mma0508 January 15, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Heyyy,

So, I’m 21 and I’ve been running since I was about sixteen. I adore running. But, I was looking for some information about why runners lose their period, and that’s how I found your post:).
Here is the thing, I haven’t lost my period, but it only last about a day or two. It barely feels like I have a period, and it seems like they’ve been getting shorter over time. But, I DO have body fat, heavy muscles, and I don’t have the typical very slender runners body. So, I don’t think the problem is lack of body fat or stress on my body.
Anyways, I was wondering if this can just happen to runners over time either way? And can it prevent you from being fertile?

Any answers would be helpful, thanks!:)

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Korina February 28, 2014 at 10:31 am

So if I hadn’t been running for like two years before and this year I started doing track and I’m not sexually active can my period still get delayed a couple of days??

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Amber Van Sweden June 29, 2014 at 9:06 am

I LOVE that I found this article! Thank you VERY much for taking the time (and nerve) to comment about a topic that we women sometimes are too embarrassed to talk about with our healthcare professional :) I am 33 years old, 5’3″ & weigh between 115-120 depending on the season ;) I have a hard time speaking with MDs because I feel like a lot of the time they have a solution for problems we didn’t know we had & they are often pill-pushers for the pharm companies, which I prefer not to utilize. I was raised on an organic ranch & my dad was a big advocate of chiropractors. As an adult & free to make my own choices, I sill see a chiro somewhat regularly, who recommended that I see an acupuncturist. I have been seeing my chiro much less & my acupuncturist much more. She has been a dream to help me understand how my chi flow needs to work in order for my body to work properly. I too “lost” my period & though I was happy-ish about it, I was a bit worried as this wasn’t “normal” for me. I have always had a heavy one & for it to almost completely diminish, as awesome as it was, didn’t feel normal for me. I talked to my acupuncturist about my “loss” & she suggested cross training, which after research, I found would be beneficial on multiple levels. I have gained tone, lean muscle where I had thin muscle before & my legs have leaned out instead of being to bulky. I have a very light period now, but that is an improvement from heavy to nothing, to now, a little something. I consume a more balanced diet that consists of more than just protein shakes & fish ;) The cramps are very mild & I feel an overall balance in both my body & my soul. We all run for different reasons, but for me, I wanted to be as healthy as possible. Running to the extreme of bodily harm defeated that purpose. I changed my lifestyle a bit & I feel better :) Thanks again for touching on this could-be touchy subject. Far too many women don’t know the lasting effects of “too much of a good thing” :)

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Erin July 13, 2014 at 11:38 pm

I love that someone actually has a blog about this! I’m 17 years old and I run for both xc and track for my high school. I have never had my period. Yes I know this is strange, but I never thought too much about it until people have told me that it can be very dangerous for me. I’ve always been small only 5’4″ and about 115 lbs and very thin (like most competitive runners but no where near anorexic!! I love food :)). I’ve done multiple sports for as long as I can remember and absolutely love running (so I can’t go fewer miles). Anyway I’m worried what jumpstarting my period will do to my running because I’ve heard it messes up some people. I’m planning to run for a top d1 college so I’m worries about it doing something drastic. Will it mess up my running?

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Lalawolf September 2, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I am 15 years old and am nowhere near being a marathon runner, but I run a lot for the fun of it with my dogs. I hardly have any stamina for one sprint, I can’t usually even run over 1/8 of a mile at a time, yet all I need is a very short break of walking or standing and then I can run again, rest, run, etc.
I got my period at 14 years and 9 months and I usually get it every two months or more so far. I was a lot later than my sisters.
Yet if it is dangerous to not have your period often, I don’t really know what to do, because if I don’t run I am bouncing with tons of extra energy.

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