Dr. Nisha Khanna is exactly who I want to go to when I’m having irregular periods. She is an expert in hormones and the female cycle.
Nisha is a medical doctor who specializes in Ayurveda. (See her website here.) Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic practices in the world that originated in India. It is based on the belief that true health is when your mind, body, and spirit are in balance. They have a lot of very specific practices.
I wanted to ask Nisha about a common problem amongst women (myself included) and that is…
What to do when our cycles are irregular. Because it’s a BITCH right?! Stresses me out soooo much.
Thankfully, with a little education and practice, there are things we can do.
Let’s get right into her tips- they are SO DANG GOOD.
Tip 1: Get on a ROUTINE. The menstrual cycle is your monthly report card. It will tell you how you did all month…. with your routine.
One thing you should be doing is getting in routine when it comes to sleeping, waking, and eating.
We should fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day. We must train our nervous system to be on a routine. Our bodies CRAVE routine. Even babies like routine- it is innate in us to want and need that. Find times that work for you and stick to it.
Try to also eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day.
Breakfast might be 10:30-11. Could be fruit first and then a protein shake a half-hour later. Lunch might be 3pm- a bunch of vegetables, maybe some lentils. Dinner could be at 6:30.
If you stuck to that- you would also be operating in an intermitted fasted state at the beginning of the 24 hour day.
Bottom line– routine helps our monthly cycle stay regular.
2. It’s important to have in-depth thyroid testing.
This includes: reverse T3 and free thyroid hormone levels. Most doctors won’t test this. Most will only look for TSH. So ask for it!
High reverse T3 is common amongst women who don’t get their period enough. Leaky gut, inflammation, and stress can cause a high reverse T3. To work on this we need consistent adrenal support and liver detox.
Your reverse T3 should be less than half of your Free T3 x 10.
Optimal levels would be: TSH should be 2.5 or less. Free T4 should be 1.5 or more. Free T3 should be 3.5 or more.
Hypothyroidism (which has to do with all these levels) is one of the primary causes of the lengthened menstrual cycle.
High reverse T3 will make your body behave effectively like you are hypothyroid, even if your free levels are within a normal range.
TLDR: Tell your Doctor to test your reverse T3s. Also consider that hypothyroidism is often the primary cause of a lengthened menstrual cycle.
3. Make sure you’re actually ovulating.
Get test strips or check your basal body temperature. One of the main reasons for not ovulating is estrogen dominance.
One thing that causes estrogen dominance is dysbiosis. Dysbiosis (a microbial imbalance) is something you don’t want. It means you could be reabsorbing estrogen that was meant to be excreted.
What to do? Feed the good bacteria that will support probiotic growth. Dysbiosis loves processed simple sugars so limit those or completely cut them out. Eat prebiotics such as celery and artichokes to feed your probiotics, which will crowd out dysbiosis.
One of the worst offenders for dysbiosis is antibiotics.
Something you can do to check for dysbiosis is get an in-depth functional stool analysis. (Standard stool samples give very little info)
4. Look out for endocrine disrupters like Xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens contribute to estrogen dominance (which we don’t want)- they mimic estrogen and are endocrine disruptors. (Endocrine = our chemical messaging system that has to do with hormones.)
Xenoestrogens are toxic, non-human estrogens that get into the body from the environment.
Some things to look out for?
-Consistent use of water bottles- especially those that have been laying around in the heat for quite some time. (Drink out of glass when you can.)
-Storing food in plastic– try to store food in glass and also, if we DO use plastic, we should never heat food in plastic. Anything with coating in it has plastic– just a tip. The use of plastic is not a good thing when it comes to our hormones.
-Be mindful of hormones coming in from food- especially meat and dairy. Those hormones put into factory-farmed animals that we eat are a hyper-concentrated dose. If you choose a meat, go for organic and also consider that leaner meats help reduce toxicity because hormones are stored in fat. More fat = more hormones.
If you’re not ovulating… get tested for PCOS.
5. Be careful about excess body fat
Excess weight = estrogen dominance. This is because fat makes estrogen. Estrogen dominance = often irregular, heavy or longer menstrual cycles.
6. Try taking a supplement with DIM in it
DIM can help modulate the impact of estrogen. DIM is an aromatase inhibitor- that means it can prevent the conversion of testosterone into estrogen (which occurs primarily in fat cells).
DIM is also GREAT for the liver, FYI.
7. Cruciferous veggies help with estrogen dominance. So get some in every day! They can help prevent it.
By the way, cruciferous veggies are a precursor to DIM (yay!) Cruciferous veggies include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, brussel sprouts, and kale. Crucifers are a great source of fiber which helps to eliminate estrogen. The longer estrogen stays around in the intestines, the more likely it will be reabsorbed. So eat fiber to flush it out.
8. Stored emotional trauma (or sexual trauma) can create a holding in our reproductive area.
Consider where you are at emotionally and with your sexual history. Is there trauma that still remains? If so, now is the time to address this and release it. It can definitely impact our periods (and of course, much more than that.)
9. Look at your adrenal health. Your circadian rhythm comes into play here. You need deep restorative sleep. High quality sleep helps your adrenals! If your circadian rhythm is off (meaning you aren’t sleeping and waking at the same time or your quality of sleep is poor), it will influence your monthly report card. However, you don’t want to overdo your adrenal support. Work on stress and sleep first, healthy adrenals make more progesterone, which decreases estrogen dominance.
10. Look into alternative nostril breathing. This is big in Ayurveda and if you do this 10-20 minutes once or twice a day (twice is best) you can help reset your hormones. Alternative nostril breathing is balancing to your nervous system. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system– which is what we want.
11. When in doubt… talk to a doctor!
Do you know the saying- test don’t guess? If this goes on for three or more periods, call a doctor and see WHAZ UP. Your health is more important than anything!
Be sure to follow Nisha on Instagram HERE and see her website HERE. Her lifestyle is pure inspiration and knowledge for those who follow along.
THANK YOU, NISHA!!
Written by your home girls at The Violet Fog