How to Support Irregular Cycles and Perimenopause

Not everyone's cycle is as predictable as the weather!

Living in harmony with your body, instead of forcing it to do things it's not ready for, creates a more easeful,  balanced flow of energy throughout the month. This approach can help regulate your cycle, ease PMS symptoms, and introduce you to a whole new way of living and moving. But the key is knowing WHEN those phases occur.

That 28-day standard that's always spoken about is just an average, and certainly not the gold standard of cycle duration. In fact, irregular cycles are just as common as regular ones and can be caused by many differing factors. Let's look at a few…

Stress 

The hormones that govern your menstrual cycle can be sensitive little beings, so how you choose to look after yourself directly impacts their ability to function at their best.

Stress is way more impactful than you might think when it comes to menstrual cycles, but let me put it like this...

Once upon a time, you might have found yourself regularly running from a lion, tiger, or bear (oooh my); your stress hormones would rise to help you deal with that so you could focus and send energy where it was needed until you got to safety.

Then, you would return to your community to shake it off and celebrate, and normal functions would return to your body.

These days we live under constant lion attack, except now it's email, notifications, deadlines, and never-ending to-do lists (ooh my).

When your body feels under constant threat, your stress response is designed to pause functions that it doesn't need whilst under attack, aka, reproduction and digestion. Say bye-bye to clockwork cycles and regular poops!

Illness

Likewise, when you are ill, your body sends all its resources into getting better; any prolonged time of illness can also result in an odd irregular cycle.

You may also be living with a long-term health condition that impacts your hormone regulation. If that's you, do go and ask your GP what adjustments are available to support you and your cycle health.

Not to mention that simply working against your body's natural rhythm can cause tension in the body. Many common PMS symptoms experienced by my clients result from pushing at the wrong time.

Learning how to live in sync with your cycle helps nourish your inner ecosystem by working with your body, not against it. It enables you to utilise your energy more effectively throughout the month.

Think of it as dancing to the beat of your own drum – your uterus is the drum, guiding you to live your best life with more energy and ease so you start to understand and anticipate your energy shifts.

👉 Learn How to Chart Your Cycle Here

Sleep

Lack of sleep can also increase stress levels and cause hormonal imbalances. In an ideal world, your body would be super happy if you lived with your circadian rhythm (your sleep-wake cycle), but modern lives don't always make this possible.

But you can help your body out…. BANISH your phone from the bedroom.

Blue light is a major contributor to disturbed sleep; set boundaries with your phone and put it in another room for the night.

Equally, bin the habit of picking it up first thing in the morning; that first few moments of you waking up do not need to be accompanied by a deluge of cortisol-soaring information, notifications, and emails.

👉  5 Ways to Increase Your Productivity Using Your Circadian Rhythm!

Diet

Your hormones depend on you eating food that supports their production to function at their best. Just like our cycles, our guts are unique and individual, but there are a few adjustments everyone can make to support hormone health. 

My 5 Rules for happier hormones are…

  • Ditch ALL processed foods. 
  • Say cheers to less alcohol
  • Wave goodbye to sugar
  • Increase your fibre
  • Go full fat

👉 Read More About Food Rules for Happier Hormones here.

Hormone Imbalances

Some things you can control and some you can’t, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, fibrosis, and thyroid disorders, can disrupt the regularity of menstrual cycles. But you can still influence the severity of how they affect you by eating, sleeping and moving to support you.

So get charting your cycle and know your 'normal', and for the love of all that is holy, don't be afraid to go to the doctor. Getting the diagnosis is half the battle, which is where I should so loudly over here about menstrual cycles; knowing what's normal for you and what's not is essential in recognising any imbalances you might be experiencing.

But the fact is, the world we live in still shrouds periods in so much shame and taboo that often people are embarrassed, ashamed, or feel awkward to take up space at the doctor's.

👉 Learn how to chart your cycle here

👉 Read 10 Myth-Busting Period Facts here as a guideline.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also cause hormonal imbalances and irregular or even missing periods. Babies come with a very specific stress load and can make self-care a thing of what feels like, a very distant past.

But it will be temporary, and when you are able to put in the right self-care, diet, and lifestyle choices, it will support their return.

Perimenopause

Menopause is not age-related! It is not a sign of being old, nor is it to be dismissed if you are not ‘a woman of a certain age’! Hormones start shifting at about 35; you know that extra coffee or choccy bar you've started to need in the afternoon?

Yup, those are all signs that things are changing in your body.

Menopause, in fact,  is just one day; it's the anniversary of your last period. Perimenopause is the phase before this and is known as ‘second adolescence’.

All the crazy hormonal shifts you experienced in your teens as estrogen came into play in your monthly cycle, you will now experience in reverse as estrogen declines. During perimenopause, your brain will recalibrate to adjust to the loss of both estrogen and, eventually, progesterones as you stop ovulating.

But unlike sat nav, this recalibration takes years. Your cycles will become irregular and sometimes shorter because of the hormonal shifts you experience.

This will make it harder to track and, more importantly, harder to know when those times are to push and times to pause. This is where your charting practice really comes into play, as well as noting all the biomarkers that help you identify ovulation.

And when periods get few and far between, or you are no longer having a period, you still have a cycle of energy. It doesn't suddenly make you a robot capable of pushing yourself indefinitely.

This is where the moon can help, guiding you to push and pause strategically.

Charting Solutions

Whether you're on birth control,  pre or post-menopause or are dealing with conditions like PCOS or endometriosis causing irregularities in your cycle, don't worry. 

For perimenopause, Balance is a great app to track symptoms. However, even the best apps have limits in tracking your energy needs because they can't tell you how you FEEL. 

That's where good ol' pen and paper come in handy! Keeping a charting practice might seem old-fashioned, but it can be a game-changer.

By spending just 3 minutes a day jotting down insights,  you'll soon be able to plan your life around your cycle with ease. 

You can also use the ever-present help of the moon as a compass so even if you no longer have periods or your cycle is too irregular to chart, you can use the lunar cycle instead to bring structure and regularity into your life. 

The moon's 29.5-day cycle mirrors the menstrual cycle perfectly, offering a way to work cyclically during and beyond cycling years.

Our cycles mirror the moon, much like our bodies work with the rise and fall of the sun. While we used to cycle in tandem with the moon's rise and fall, modern life and artificial lighting have altered our connection. Nevertheless, the moon's power remains potent, even if it's not happening inside your body. 

👉 Learn about the seasons of the cycle here.

So, no matter what stage of cycling life you are in, you have a way to work WITH your cyclical energy to make sure you are always living in the kindest way to your body.

And in return, you will find your energy feels less erratic and life will feel more easeful. Who wouldn't want that?

Click to get your FREE Guide and Cycle Charting Tool