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Overtraining, amenorrhea and overall health

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  • Overtraining, amenorrhea and overall health

    So I've searched a lot on the Internet about amenorrhea considering I'm going on 3 years now. I know it's happening because I still overtrain (I know I shouldn't but its a tough cycle to break when it's given me results in the past). I'm just wondering how bad it is for overall health. I can say with complete honesty I'm not worried about being infertile, props to moms everywhere but it's just not something I want to do in my life. Anyways, amenorrhea has kind of been nice for me. I used to get such severe cramps I would pass out Sibiu can't say I miss getting my period. I've read that osteoporosis is often a complication but if I eat right and maybe take a calcium/vitamin d supplement maybe I could ward that off. Just wondering if there are any other long term health problems to amenorrhea. I know I know, I should ask my doctor but I hate being scolded by someone who doesn't know what I'm going through. Any help would be really helpful. Thanks!

  • #2
    I can share a few thoughts from my experiences. I too haven't had a cycle since August 2007. Likely due to a major life trauma, overtraining and under-eating (but not starving in any way). I also used to suffer terribly with PMS, mood swings and extreme pain caused by endometriosis and would be out for almost a week each month with crippling cramps. I agree with you, it is nice to feel "functional" every day of the month! My past symptoms are a big reason why I have really only given rather half assed attempts at restoring my cycle. Here's a list of potential issues.

    -Osteo Get a bone scan every 3 yrs to be sure you have good reserves. Recent research has shown Calcium to be totally ineffective in increasing bone density so don't waste your $. Vit D, on the other hand is important to take. Recommended dosages are 4000IU/day.

    - Take good care of your skin. Low estrogen for prolonged periods of time can cause lack of elasticity, premature aging ect. I take gelatin everyday and use good amounts of sunscreen on my face, neck and chest.

    - Vaginal atrophy may also occur as tissues dry out and get less elastic. This can cause pain and frequent UTI's. Lack of libido may also occur in combination.

    - Brain fog and fatigue. Caused by low hormone levels. In the long term (happened to me year 5) your body actually makes it almost impossible to train at high levels because it just conks out.

    Take care of your body. While, your right, cycling isn't the be all and end all of womanhood, it is important to make sure you have the hormones that will sustain you for a happy, healthy long life.

    I hope this helps. I too, would love to hear from others with similar stories.

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    • #3
      Thanks so much for all the info! It has been nice not having to have my body detract from training but maybe I'll try to go back to a normal hormonal balance. If that doesn't happen I will definitely put your suggestions in place. Also, it's good to know other people are in the same state of mind and struggle with the same question. Thanks again!

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      • #4
        If you have done a significant amount of reading on it, then you surely do understand that there are a number of significant health risks and likely many more that have not been directly associated with the condition.

        Therefore it is merely a question if you can accept the long term risks vs the short term rewards of maintaining your current behaviour, contrary to popular belief elite atheletes are not particularly healthy, they have gone beyond good health and into severe bodily stress to achieve specific atheletic outcomes, their outward appearance is not reflective of their inner health.

        So really at the end of the day the choice is yours, as the saying goes "nothing is free", there's always a trade off.
        "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

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        • #5
          In case you haven't done much reading yet: amenorrhea exercise - PubMed - NCBI

          BT;DT re uncomfortable TOM, but a paleo-primal diet/lifestyle has really helped - probably the much reduced sugar and dairy and more sleep.

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          • #6
            I had high hopes for a paleo diet/ lifestyle to help my ammenhorea but I've been eating a paleo diet ( dairy free ) for three years now and living a primal lifestyle for about two ( eliminating chronic cardio, sprinting, low level aerobic activity ). I still do trail run in the summer because it makes me happy but I up my carbs when I run most of the time and never log more than 80kms/wk at the most. I'm seeing a special gyn who specializes in natural hormonal health this week after being on her waiting list for a year! I'll keep you posted to just what she recommends.

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            • #7
              Runnermuddergirl what is this overtraining you are doing? I imagine you are probably running way too much. You might be interested reading some of Mark's stuff about cardio. A Case Against Cardio (from a former mileage king) | Mark's Daily Apple
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

              Comment


              • #8
                Premature amenorrhea not caused by structural defects could be a signal for premature aging. (Early menopause)

                It is similar to a natural spring or water well "drying up". Overwork, overstress, over training could all lead to internal "rusting"/oxidation without adequate time for the body to catch up.

                If you do not have a family or are not responsible for someone else, it is easier to decide for yourself what is important to you.

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                • #9
                  Wow, I honestly don't think your judgement is warranted. Just because a woman chooses not to have her own biological children doesn't mean she is selfish or "irresponsible". Speaking for myself, if my own babies aren't in the cards I'd be happy to adopt of simply give back to the universe with the work that I do helping nourish other families grow & thrive.
                  Sometimes a woman's body goes through so much trauma early in life that it can't regain a natural cycle. For me, this may be the case and I honor my body and its constant evolution with compassion and kindness.

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                  • #10
                    Sbhikes I used to run way too much when I was way underweight (about 60 miles/ week plus an hour of hiit training 4ish times per week. I've cut back a lot the past few months since I was developing runners knee. Now I do cardio kickboxing and hiit but for too long. Hr is normally at 75 to 85 percent for 60 to 90 min 5 x a week. I know this isn't what is advised but busting my ass like that has been my only sanctuary during a very stressful time in my life. I know it needs to change but I truly do enjoy it.

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                    • #11
                      Meghanner I would love to hear the info you get from your gyn and I'm right there with you on it not being selfish to not want to give birth. There are plenty of kids on this earth who could use some amazing adoptive parents. Just cause I have the parts doesn't mean I have an obligation to make a mini me.

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                      • #12
                        It's not a question of being selfish or not, each to their own, my partner has a perfectly normal cycle, but she has no inclination to give birth or have children of her own, she loves kids and has a ball with them, she just doesn't have the body clock driver to breed and that's quite fine.

                        The point is, being female, like it or lump it, a healthy menstral cycle is a good indicator of overall body health for pre menapausal women, so IMO if you can find a way to return to normal menstral cycles, then this will be a good indicator of health going forward, if you choose to have a baby or not is still your choice, no guilt, no burdens there, just do what you feel is right for you.
                        "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by runnermuddergirl View Post
                          Meghanner I would love to hear the info you get from your gyn and I'm right there with you on it not being selfish to not want to give birth. There are plenty of kids on this earth who could use some amazing adoptive parents. Just cause I have the parts doesn't mean I have an obligation to make a mini me.
                          When I get home from the cottage I plan to start a stream in the Journal section talking about my journey through hormonal recovery. Look for it in the next few days and I'll keep you posted! I'm hoping to start a supportive helpful little community of women experiencing the same challenges.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by runnermuddergirl View Post
                            Sbhikes I used to run way too much when I was way underweight (about 60 miles/ week plus an hour of hiit training 4ish times per week. I've cut back a lot the past few months since I was developing runners knee. Now I do cardio kickboxing and hiit but for too long. Hr is normally at 75 to 85 percent for 60 to 90 min 5 x a week. I know this isn't what is advised but busting my ass like that has been my only sanctuary during a very stressful time in my life. I know it needs to change but I truly do enjoy it.
                            Please don't take this the wrong way. But I read this as that you have basically chosen to sacrifice your health so that you won't have to be fat.

                            There are probably millions of women just like you walking around. They look really great on the outside and other women feel jealous and wonder why they can't look like that, too. The truth is that they do not know the health impact of looking like that. Meanwhile, those of us who do know the health impact and aren't willing to make that sacrifice have to bear the brunt of the social impact of your decision. We have to live with the consequences that the culture as a whole looks at us healthy yet not so thin people and tsk-tsks us but looks at you with praise and admiration. It's a little unfair that nobody understands what's really going on out there.

                            Please don't take that wrong because you're really just caught up in the same vicious thing that the fat girls are caught in, just from the other side. It would take a lot of courage for you to choose to prioritize your health.



                            (P.S. without having to endure amenorrhea I never had children and never wanted them.)
                            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Meghanner View Post
                              When I get home from the cottage I plan to start a stream in the Journal section talking about my journey through hormonal recovery. Look for it in the next few days and I'll keep you posted! I'm hoping to start a supportive helpful little community of women experiencing the same challenges.
                              Awesome, that is so wonderful. I look forward to reading it and I'm sure so many women will benefit from it. Thank you!

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