12 Ways To Help Regulate Your Period + Get Your Hormones Back On Track

12 Ways To Cure Hormone Imbalance

For most women, your menstrual cycle is something that happens on a monthly basis without much thought. However, in my telehealth functional medicine clinic, I often see women struggling with irregular periods, not understanding why they don’t have a regular cycle and dealing with the side effects.

In fact, irregular periods can be inconvenient, painful, contribute to infertility, and are often a sign of another underlying health problem brewing beneath the surface. Instead of brushing aside this all too common women’s health problem, my goal in functional medicine is to get to the root cause of why you have irregular periods so that you can take back control of your health.

So let’s first take a look at what a healthy menstrual cycle looks like so we can understand how to get your period faster naturally and ultimately get your hormones during the menstrual cycle back on track.

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How does the menstrual cycle work?

Your menstrual cycle is the monthly hormone cycle your body goes through in order to prepare you for pregnancy. A normal menstrual cycle starts from the first day of your period - clinically referred to as menstruation - all the way until the first day of your next period.

Up until your period, your uterus lining is being built up to prepare a healthy environment for facilitating pregnancy. However, if you don’t get pregnant your hormones progesterone and estrogen start to drop - triggering your body to start your period. Since your body didn’t end up using all that extra uterine lining, your period is your body’s way of discarding that buildup.

Here is a timeline of what a healthy menstrual cycle should look like:

Days 1-5: Menstruation

This is when you are bleeding and shedding the lining of your uterine.

Days 6-14: Follicular phase

Estrogen levels begin to rise to prepare for ovulation and your egg to be released.

Day 14: Ovulation

At this point, you are halfway through your cycle. Estrogen levels peak, and your egg is released.

Days 15-28: Luteal phase

This is the time right after ovulation and before your next period where your body is preparing for a possible pregnancy

Typically, a healthy menstrual cycle should last anywhere between 21 to 35 days.

Reasons why your period might be delayed

Irregular periods - where your menstrual cycle lasts shorter or longer than the typical 21 to 35 days - is actually quite common amongst women. In fact, anywhere between 14% to 25% of women have irregular periods that can manifest in a few different ways: (1)

  • Amenorrhea: this occurs when a women doesn’t have her period for at least 3 months without being pregnant
  • Oligomenorrhea: this is when periods happen infrequently, often more than 35 days apart
  • Prolonged menstrual bleeding: Bleeding usually lasts 5-7 days, but in this case bleeding lasts longer than 8 days each period

Ultimately, irregular periods and longer than normal cycles can often be traced back to one of the following:

  • Stress
  • Weight fluctuations (body weight too high or low)
  • Thyroid problems
  • Chronic autoimmune issues
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause

When to see a doctor

If you are diagnosed with any of these health problems, or suspect that you might be struggling from one of these, it is important to seek out help from a trusted medical professional. In functional medicine, we aim to address the root cause of why you are experiencing irregular periods through treating these underlying health problems with diet, natural remedies, and other lifestyle changes.

How to cure hormonal imbalance in menstruation

When looking at how to get your period faster, the goal should be to regulate your longer than normal cycle, not to induce a period for convenience sake. Doing that on a regular basis - even through natural remedies - is not going to be healthy for your body in the long run and will affect your menstrual cycle hormones.

  1. Address any hormone imbalances

In functional medicine, the absolute first step in regulating your period is by restoring any hormone imbalances. Your hormone levels are the driving force behind a healthy cycle that relies on a perfect balance and set ebb and flow of certain hormones.

Hormone labs will be able to give insight into your hormone levels and help your doctor to determine the best course of action to get your hormones back on track.

  1. Change your diet

Food is foundational to your overall well being. Everything from too much sugar, processed foods, and underlying food intolerances can play a role in chronic inflammation and throw your hormones out of whack.

Eating a diet composed of mainly clean, whole foods sources is a great starting point followed by further recommendations from a functional medicine practitioner on what foods will further nourish your hormones and what foods are best to avoid for your particular health case.

  1. Limit sugar

On that note, too much sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance, and other hormonal imbalances. Studies have found that too much sugar can actually turn off genes responsible for regulating testosterone and estrogen in both men and women leading to imbalances of these important sex hormones. (2) Choose your sweeteners wisely and check out my article to learn more about the best sweeteners to use.

  1. Alleviate stress

Your body’s main stress hormone, cortisol, should be high in the morning to help you wake up and low in the evening to get you ready to sleep. But when you are chronically stressed, cortisol is constantly high contributing to adrenal fatigue and other cascading hormonal imbalances in insulin, progesterone, and estrogen. Therefore it’s vital to find ways to manage stress in your daily life like breathwork, meditation, and other mindfulness practices like journaling.

  1. Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries as a powerful tool in alleviating upset stomachs and aiding in digestive health, and is recently gaining traction as a next-level remedy for treating irregular periods. 

While more studies need to be done to determine its effectiveness on regulating menstrual cycles, studies have shown that daily ginger supplements can help reduce the amount of blood loss in women who have heavy periods. (3)

  1. Parsley

Although additional studies need to be done to confirm its effectiveness, there has been strong anecdotal evidence on parsley’s ability to help regulate cycles. This could be due to the fact that it contains the compounds apiole and myristicin that can help balance hormones and stimulate estrogen production. (4) Parsley is also believed to be an emmenagogue - a substance that stimulates menstruation. (5) Parsley tea is a popular way to get all of these benefits of this herb.

  1. Cinnamon

In women with PCOS, research has shown that cinnamon can help regulate hormones during a menstrual cycle as well as alleviate heavy bleeding and menstrual pain. (6) This could be due to the fact that cinnamon plays a role in healthy blood sugar balance which can be a major contributing factor in PCOS. 

  1. Exercise

Exercise is important for more than just physical appearance. When it comes to hormone health, physical activity like strength training and cardio have been shown to increase (7) insulin sensitivity to help maintain a healthy weight which plays a role in maintaining regular cycles. (8) Exercise is also important for healthy thyroid hormones (9) and cortisol (10) that impacts your stress levels. Just remember not to overdo it on exercise, as intense physical activity has been shown to actually throw off your menstrual cycle. (11)

  1. Chasteberry

Chaste tree berry, also known as vitex, is a tree that grows in the Mediterranean that has long been used for its health benefits, including aiding in PMS symptoms and regulating your periods. Researchers aren’t entirely sure how it works, but it may be due to it’s ability to correct female sex hormone deficiencies. (12) You can find chasteberry in capsules or tincture form.

  1. Sex

Not that you need more reasons to have sex, but regular sex can lower inflammation in chronic inflammatory conditions impacting your menstrual cycles in addition to inducing your period. (13) If you are already close to the start of your period, orgasming from sex causes your cirvix to dilate, stimulating your period to start sooner.

  1. Avoid endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are toxins that throw the endocrine system out of whack by increasing or decreasing the production of certain hormones, interfering with hormone signaling, or binding to essential hormones. These chemicals are ones we come in contact with every day and are hiding in common items such as cleaning products, plastic packaging, cosmetics, and even our water. You can find a list of the 12 worst endocrine disruptors from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) along with where they are found so you can avoid them as much as possible. (14)

  1. Cruciferous vegetables

Estrogen dominance is a common cause behind irregular periods. Estrogen imbalance occurs when there is too much estrogen in the body, which can occur because of issues metabolizing and secreting estrogen. 

The good news is that certain plant compounds, like diindolylmethane (also known as DIM) can help the body metabolize the constant onslaught of estrogen in our world. DIM is found naturally in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cabbage and helps the liver break down estrogen as well as inhibits aromatase, which is the enzyme that helps convert testosterone into estrogen.

Next Steps

If you are struggling with irregular periods on a consistent basis and wondering how to cure hormonal imbalance in menstruation, the most important thing to do is to get your hormones back on track. Since every person’s health case and biochemistry is unique, working with a functional medicine practitioner can help you pinpoint the specific underlying factors that are contributing to your menstrual irregularity.

No two people are the same and the same goes for treatment. In my telehealth functional medicine clinic, we determine the best course of action for you while taking into consideration your lifestyle and lab work.

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References:

  1. What are menstrual irregularities? March 2022. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menstruation/conditioninfo/irregularities 
  2. Child & Family Research Institute. "Too Much Sugar Turns Off Gene That Controls Effects Of Sex Steroids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109171610.htm>.
  3. Kashefi, F., Khajehei, M., Alavinia, M., Golmakani, E., and Asili, J. (2015) Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) on Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial, Phytother. Res., 29, 114– 119, doi: 10.1002/ptr.5235.
  4. Awe, Emmanuel Olorunju, and S Olatunbosun Banjoko. “Biochemical and haematological assessment of toxic effects of the leaf ethanol extract of Petroselinum crispum (Mill) Nyman ex A.W. Hill (Parsley) in rats.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine vol. 13 75. 4 Apr. 2013, doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-75
  5. Mahmood, Sidra et al. “Critique of medicinal conspicuousness of Parsley(Petroselinum crispum): a culinary herb of Mediterranean region.” Pakistan journal of pharmaceutical sciences vol. 27,1 (2014): 193-202.
  6. Kort DH, Lobo RA. Preliminary evidence that cinnamon improves menstrual cyclicity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;211:487.e1-6.
  7. Borghouts, L B, and H A Keizer. “Exercise and insulin sensitivity: a review.” International journal of sports medicine vol. 21,1 (2000): 1-12. doi:10.1055/s-2000-8847
  8. Body Weight Changes in Obese Women and Menstruation Endocrinol Metab. 2017;32(2):219-220.   Published online June 23, 2017DOI: https://doi.org/10.3803/EnM.2017.32.2.219
  9. Kocahan, Sayad, and Aykut Dundar. “Effects of different exercise loads on the thyroid hormone levels and serum lipid profile in swimmers.” Hormone molecular biology and clinical investigation vol. 38,1 10.1515/hmbci-2018-0025. 14 Nov. 2018, doi:10.1515/hmbci-2018-0025
  10. Beserra, Ana Heloisa Nascimento et al. “Can physical exercise modulate cortisol level in subjects with depression? A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Trends in psychiatry and psychotherapy vol. 40,4 (2018): 360-368. doi:10.1590/2237-6089-2017-0155
  11.  Loucks, A B. “Effects of exercise training on the menstrual cycle: existence and mechanisms.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise vol. 22,3 (1990): 275-80.
  12. Ahangarpour, Akram et al. “Effects of Vitex agnus-castus fruit on sex hormones and antioxidant indices in a d-galactose-induced aging female mouse model.” Journal of the Chinese Medical Association : JCMA vol. 79,11 (2016): 589-596. doi:10.1016/j.jcma.2016.05.006
  13. Poutahidis T, Kearney SM, Levkovich T, Qi P, Varian BJ, et al. (2013) Microbial Symbionts Accelerate Wound Healing via the Neuropeptide Hormone Oxytocin. PLOS ONE 8(10): e78898. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0078898
  14. 12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them EWG OCTOBER 28, 2013. https://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0dzCzMOP2QIV2A-BCh1eawecEAAYASAAEgKmmPD_BwE#.Wq_cS1nwYfF–

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BY DR. WILL COLE

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Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

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