I have always struggled with irregular periods.
Since I got my first period in the sixth grade, I always tried to maintain a calendar to keep track of my cycle. For the first few years, my period was fairly regular.
When I came to college, however, many of my habits changed. My mom’s health, home-cooked meals were replaced by fast food and cafeteria dinners. My stress levels exponentially increased with a packed class schedule, exams, essays and my own side hustle.
Without even noticing it, I became used to waiting 2 to 3 months until my next period. While this should have set off some kind of red-flag, I figured it was due to schedule changes. I put it on my to-do list to go see a doctor, but I never got around to it.
I found myself worried this summer, though, when I couldn’t even remember the time that had lapsed since my last period. The detail that pushed me to get help was finally doing the math — it’d been over six months since my last period.
When I went to my appointment, my doctor pointed out that high stress levels and an unhealthy diet can sometimes make your period irregular. While hearing this was overwhelming, I knew I had to make changes in my habits. I talked to my friends and family, and I decided to inform my campus doctor about the situation.
With the support of friends and family, I created a plan for the next year. I started eating healthier, exercising more often, regulating stress, and getting more sleep. Changing these habits not only made a major difference in my overall health, but it also helped regulate my cycle. For the first time in months, I had a regular cycle.
Now, the challenge is keeping my cycle regular. When stress levels are high, I often struggle with maintaining my overall health. I realize that I have to actively schedule time for preparing healthy meals and exercising. I have to sleep the most I can, even with a busy schedule. More than that, though, I have to pay attention to my cycle and be aware of my body.
Communication is key. Since this experience, I have learned a lot about communicating with my doctor. I let her know when I’m struggling with an irregular cycle, and use her advice to do what I can to help regulate my period.
For me, it’s not always simple. Through this experience I have learned more about my body, and I continue to do what I can to maintain my health. At the end of the day, I have learned to invest in my well-being, even when it’s easier not to. Actively caring for and listening to my body is one of the best things I have learned to do for me and my overall health.