I used to think that as long as you were basically healthy, you would get your period every month. But my own experience didn’t live up to this belief. When I was 15, I started dieting, and before I was even clinically underweight, my period stopped — for over a year. After my dieting turned into a full-blown eating disorder, it remained absent for over a year. Even well into my recovery, it came once every two or three months. The only time it was regular was when I was on birth control. Once I went off it, my period was wildly irregular again, disappearing for three or four months at a time. I probably had an unbalanced diet and wacky sleep cycle to thank for that.
I’d begun to suspect I had PCOS or another hormone disorder. But then, last year, I started talking to functional nutritionist Alisa Vitti, founder of FloLiving and author of WomanCode, who explained that my weird periods could very well be a result of my behavior. Our periods are extremely sensitive to even small issues in our diets, sleep habits, and moods.
So, I made some lifestyle changes, including adjusting my bedtime from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m and starting to take vitamins. Lo and behold, my period is now coming once every two months rather than every three or four.
Whether it’s irregular periods, heavy periods, long periods, PMS, a lot of us deal with some sort of period issue. But these should be seen as issues, Vitti explained to me, because they’re all an indication that something’s out of whack. If you’re having any kind of period issue, these are some possible culprits, according to experts.