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I exercised vigorously for two months and then lost my period. How do I get it back? Will caffeine help?

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I exercised vigorously for two months and then lost my period. How do I get it back? Will caffeine help?

Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (FHA) is a hormonal condition where menstruation stops for several months or more due to stressor(s) impacting the hormonal epicenter of the brain: the hypothalamus. FHA can be caused by many stressors but is most often caused by expending too much energy, paired with inadequate caloric intake. Too much exercise puts excessive stress on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and leads to hormonal suppression in conditions such as FHA. The excessive exercise in combination with a low calorie or poor diet can also lead to mineral and/or vitamin deficiencies that can exacerbate the time it takes to get a period back. 

Definitely talk to your doctor about it, but generally speaking when this occurs, the work is to dial back on the exercise and invest in nourishing dietary habits and stress reduction. Caffeine is not the solution as this can put more stress on the body and particularly the hypothalamus. Caffeine can also disrupt sleep patterns and suppress appetite — to help women get their periods back, I am generally trying to help do the opposite. 

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