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Understanding Secondary Amenorrhea

November 23, 2016
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Fertility is a hot topic nowadays, especially as infertility is becoming increasingly common (especially among men). Women are now choosing to have children later in life to satisfy career and personal goals. They are also likely taking birth control whether it be the pill or an IUD to as a form of contraception, to postpone their family plans. Oftentimes, when a woman comes off her birth control her period may not return to normal, or it may not return at all. This is is known as secondary amenorrhea.

Secondary Amenorrhea

Secondary amenorrhea is defined as the absence of menstrual bleeding in a woman who has previously menstruated. It needs to occur for more than 3 months in the absence of pregnancy, lactation, hormonal contraception or menopause.

It may be influenced by toxins, estrogen deficiency, or premature aging. While the latter two may require more investigating by a licensed healthcare professional, there is a lot we can do to decrease our toxic exposure.

Decreasing Toxic Load

Women use at least 9 personal care products each day, and are therefore exposed to more than 120 chemicals! Some of them safe, but most of them likely not. Most of our food is packaged in plastic or cans containing BPA (even if it says BPA free!), and what we’re breathing in is not always high-quality air (especially in urban areas).

How to decrease your toxic exposure

  1. Assess your cosmetics: I love the Environmental Working Group’s website SkinDeep. While some Canadian products are not on the database, it will give you a good idea of bad cosmetic ingredients to look out for and avoid.

  2. Ditch your plastics: If they don’t contain BPA, they may contain the alternative BPS or even phthalates! These are known endocrine disruptors and have no redeemable qualities. Stick to glass or stainless steel when it comes to food and beverage storage.

  3. Avoid the Dirty Dozen: I get it, going organic can be pricey. That’s why I’ve started growing my own fruit and vegetables. But when I’m unable to do so (thank you Canadian winter!), I shop organic when for produce on the Dirty Dozen list.

  4. Add a plant: I live in Toronto, so it can be tough avoiding pollution. However, you can clean up your airspace by adding a couple of air-purifying plants in your home. I currently have a giant aloe plant to help get the job done.

Next Steps

You don’t need to go through secondary amenorrhea alone! It’s time to start talking about our hormonal health so not only we can normalize the conversation, but we can take action and get the help we need! If you have yet to experience a period since coming off hormonal birth control or are noticing irregular periods, be sure to implement these tips and book an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor to learn about how Naturopathic Medicine can help! And the next time you’re on Instagram, proudly snap a picture of that vibrant aloe plant or organic lipstick!

PS. Now that you have a solid plan, please sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for more informative and useful content like this! I want to make sure that you have a good flow!

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