Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA) is a common symptom or outcome of disordered eating and eating disorders.
The hypothalamus is an area of the brain that plays a central role in maintaining the balance of body systems. It receives input from throughout the body in the form of hormones and chemicals. It responds by secreting hormones that affect other organs including those involved in reproduction.
HA is essentially a condition where the Hypothalamus senses stress in the body, mostly due to low energy availability. The causes include insufficient energy intake, over exercise and/or insufficient body fat. In some cases lifestyle stress is also a contributing factor.
It is important to note that HA can occur in any body size and it doesn't only occur in people with diagnosed eating disorders, in athletes or people who do a lot of exercise. The main cause is insufficient energy to meet the body's demands.
In HA the body responds to low energy by switching off or dialing down non essential bodily functions in an effort to conserve energy. One of the most obvious signs in a loss of period. There are many other consequences of low energy availability including poor digestion, weakening of the bones, loss of libido, infertility, poor temperature regulation and exhaustion.
Your body switching into energy saving mode can be likened to the low battery mode of your iPhone. Certain functions or apps are disable and some are dialed down such as screen brightness.
Recovery requires correcting the energy balance, relieving stress such as over exercise to allow the body a chance to heal and in some cases weight gain if fat stores are inadequate for hormone production and for the body to perceive it is safe!
HA recovery is not an easy journey and often requires work with overcoming fears and limiting beliefs around body image and self worth in order to effectively promote healthy behaviour change.
Having my own personal experience in HA and know how stuck, scared and confused you can feel I have become extremely passionate, educated, skilled and dedicated to help other women overcome their fears and roadblocks to help them to recover their period, fertility, set them free and give them the health and life they deserve!
In this episode I talk to fellow HA recovered Britney Motzcuz who I came across on my own journey! When we connected it was amazing how much we had in common and I know you will too!
Britney is also a personal trainer and in this episode we chat about how our innocent love for fitness and pursuit for health went a bit off track to no longer being health enhancing.
We share our struggles with denial, fears of recovery, our motivations for recovery, what recovery taught and gifted us with and words of wisdom we would now give our younger self!
Now being pregnant myself I am even more grateful for what recovery has offered me and here I am not talking about just fertility. Brittany shares her journey through recovery, to pregnancy, postpartum and motherhood!
I hope this episode helps you feel understood, provides you with clarity and inspires you to take action to recovery! I learned that if you want to get somewhere fast, i.e. recovering your period and healing your relationship with food, exercise and body find someone who has travelled that path before you!! This is why I am such a fan of coaches!
More about Britney:
Brittney is a Personal Trainer based out of San Diego, CA. After spending years over-exercising, under-fueling, and losing her fertility because of hypothalamic amenorrhea, she is passionate about being a different voice in the fitness industry. Her focus is helping women redefine health, stepping back from diet culture and fitness fads, and finding what healthy truly looks and feels like to them!
Brit has since recovered from hypothalamic amenorrhea and enjoys a balanced relationship with food and exercise, while ta