Are you struggling with irregular menstrual? Irregular periods are a common problem in women. It is usually a sign of hormonal imbalance. A correct menstrual cycle is about 28 days. If women or girls get their periods on the 29th day, their menstrual cycle is perfect. But if a woman's period cycle is less than 21 days or takes more than 38 days, they have irregular menstruation, and they should see a doctor.
Women with irregular periods may have heavy and extremely low blood flow and the length of their periods changes immensely every month. Now it might be easy to answer you if your period is regular or not. If your periods are irregular, you should check with the doctor to find out what could be the reason behind that. There can be several factors responsible for irregular periods, and thyroid illness is one of them.
Yes, you read it right. Thyroid conditions cause problems with periods. Let's jump in to learn more about the reasons behind Irregular periods and how irregular periods and thyroid disorder are connected.
Why do Irregular periods happen
Did you know around 33% of women in India have the problem of irregular menstrual? For optimal health, it should be between 24 to 35 days. There can be numerous reasons that can cause irregular periods. Here is the list.
Sudden weight gain or loss can also affect the menstrual cycle.
Chronic stress can also disturb the periods. It can cause menstrual abnormalities, late periods, or even shorter or longer cycles.
Thyroid illness can also be the reason for irregular menstrual. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) affect the menstrual cycle.
Intense exercise interferes with your periods. When you do an intense workout, a region in your brain called the hypothalamus stops secreting or slows down the secretion of ovulation hormone (hormones responsible for ovulation). Due to this, you have irregular periods.
Women with PCOS usually have irregular periods, fewer than eight in a year. PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance that stops the egg from developing or releasing properly.
If you have diabetes, you may face issues with your periods. The interaction between hormones and blood sugar levels can cause an irregular menstrual cycle.
Besides this, there can be other responsible factors for irregular periods such as eating disorders, menopause, birth control pills, pregnancy, breastfeeding, hyperprolactinemia, and premature ovarian failure.
The connection between thyroid disorder and Irregular periods
A butterfly-shaped gland produces thyroid hormones. These hormones play crucial roles, from maintaining your metabolic rate to internal temperature. When the thyroid gland doesn't work accurately, it becomes underactive or overactive. An underactive thyroid doesn't make enough thyroid hormones to meet body needs. In the case of being overactive, the thyroid produces too many thyroid hormones that negatively affect the body.
Both thyroid conditions, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism affect the menstrual cycle. Let's discover more about how these disorders impact the normal menstrual cycle.
Hypothyroidism brings drastic hormonal changes in the body that impact your reproductive system and cause irregular menstrual. When the thyroid gland doesn't produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormones, hormone levels drop. Due to this, hormone-releasing glands come under pressure to make more hormones than usual. The hypothalamus starts making extra TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone), and the pituitary gland produces extra TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and prolactin hormone.
High prolactin level is an issue of concern. It deactivates the release of GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) in the hypothalamus. The gonadotropin-releasing hormone induces the pituitary gland to make and release luteinizing hormone (LH) and (FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). These hormones are crucial for the production of estrogen and progesterone and normal ovarian function. But high prolactin levels suppress ovulation. Hence, hypothyroidism imbalances hormone levels and results in heavy, missed, or irregular periods.
Hypothyroidism and PCOS and also interlinked. Yes, it is true. As you have read above, hypothyroidism increases TSH and prolactin levels in women, and prolactin raises LH, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), and FSH. These raised hormone levels lead to cysts in the ovaries. According to the studies, women with hypothyroidism have noticeable PCOS symptoms. Therefore, it can be the reason for menstrual irregularities.
Hyperthyroidism also causes disturbed ovulation and progesterone deficiency. It alters pituitary hormones( FSH, LH, and prolactin), just like hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism increases the coagulation factors in the body, leading to a scanty period.
“Did you know that too much thyroid hormone increases SHBG production, prevents ovulation, and results in light, absent or infrequent periods?”
Insulin resistance connection with Irregular periods
Thyroid disorder can increase the risk of insulin resistance. Thyroid hormones are responsible for balancing insulin and glucagon to maintain blood glucose by acting as insulin agonistic and antagonistic. But thyroid aliments break this balance and alter glucose metabolism, leading to insulin resistance.
Too much insulin generates inflammation and can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes patients have a high risk of anovulation. It happens when an ovary does not release an egg into the fallopian tube, and you miss your period. However, diabetic people have a higher risk of anovulation, but everyone with diabetes doesn't experience it.
Did you know that insulin resistance can also be the reason for PCOS? Insulin disrupts sexual hormones estrogen and progesterone. People with PCOS have irregular periods due to hormonal imbalances. Estrogen is dominant in the body, so its level is relatively high compared to progesterone.
The doctor suggests taking estrogen pills. It maintains the hormone level in the body, and you get periods. But let me burst the bubble here. It is not a permanent solution. Jeevam health can fix it permanently by repairing the insulin resistance issue. If the insulin-resistant issue is resolved, the hormone level will be balanced and you will get natural periods. Jeevam health Team suggested GTIR (Glucose tolerance insulin resistance ) Test to proceed with the treatment.
Foods to add to your diet plan if you have irregular periods due to thyroid conditions
Knowing the root cause of irregular periods is vital for managing it. If you have an irregular menstrual due to thyroid disorder, you can add the following foods to your diet to manage it.
Fresh fruits and vegetables: Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients. So you can add blueberries, cherries, sweet potatoes, green pepper, broccoli, and cabbage. Most doctors say no to cruciferous vegetables, but you can have them in moderation and in cooked form.
Beverages: You can count on green tea, fresh orange juice, chia lemon water, hibiscus tea, spring water, cinnamon ginger herbal tea, and apple cider vinegar water.
Nuts: Macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts are the best choices to manage irregular periods due to hypothyroidism.
Seaweed: Iodine is a vital nutrient that the thyroid gland needs to perform correctly. You can get it from different seaweeds like Kombu, Nori, Dulse, Wakame, etc.
Gluten-free grains: Gluten-free grains like quinoa, kasha, rice, millet, corn, and buckwheat help relieve the symptoms of Hashimoto's.
Low-iodine foods: You can have iodized salt, unsalted nuts, egg whites, oats, potatoes, and honey.
Cruciferous vegetables: Bamboo shoots, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale are pleasing vegetable choices to have in your diet
Vitamins and minerals: For vitamins and minerals, you can have dried beans, green leafy vegetables, lentils, brazil nuts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chicken, turkey seeds, whole grains, cashews, chickpeas, mushrooms, spinach, kale, etc.
Foods to be avoided
Dairy products: Always avoid dairy products because they can cause inflammation in the thyroid gland.
Gluten-rich foods: Gluten can upset the small intestine and hinder the absorption of the thyroid hormone replacement medication. Hence, it's better not to include them in the diet.
Fried foods: These foods interfere with the ability of the thyroid to produce hormones.
Processed foods: Processed foods like cookies, cheesecake chips, and chocolate, intake can increase thyroid inflammation and worsen thyroid condition.
Alcohol and caffeine: People with a thyroid condition should make a distance from alcohol and caffeine.
When to see a doctor if you have irregular periods
You have to visit a doctor in the following circumstances:
Your menstrual flow is heavy for more than 24 hours.
You get periods even before 21 days (having more frequent periods).
You are getting periods for more than three months (you are not pregnant also)
If you have noticed any of these, you must see a doctor find the root cause and treat it. Thyroid disorder is one possible cause of menstrual irregularities, but there can be different causes also. If left untreated, the thyroid conditions could lead to other complications.
In a nutshell
Numerous factors contribute to menstrual irregularities. The conventional approach concentrates on treating the diseases and even leads to countless side- effects that can annoy the person.
Many women struggle with getting pregnant due to irregular periods. We at Jeevam health believe in finding the root cause of the diseases and treating it.
If thyroid disorders are responsible for your menstrual irregularities, and want personalised treatment, you can reach out to the Jeevam Health team.