Should you fast if you don’t have a cycle? The short answer is yes! In fact, fasting may be the healing tool that energizes your cycle. Fasting has the ability to bring the body into homeostasis and balance, allowing to naturally regulate sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The key is understanding how to use fasting to help your cycle.
Women can lose their cycle for a variety of reasons. Women may be on birth control, have had a hysterectomy, are in the perimenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal stage of life, or have a condition such as PCOS.
However, many women aren’t sure why they don’t have a cycle. In these cases, I recommend doing a Dutch Hormone Test. The Dutch Test is helpful at determining where your hormones are at and how fasting can be personalized to support your specific hormonal needs.
For most women, cycle dysregulation results from a breakdown in three areas of the body.
3 Things You Need to Regulate Sex Hormones
- You need to manage insulin. Hormones are intricately connected to insulin, which is why fasting is so effective at regulating hormones, as fasting keeps insulin in check.
- Your HPO axis needs to be working properly. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian axis (HPO) needs to be working properly to ensure your brain and ovaries are communicating properly and making hormones. When these organs are not in sync, often a woman’s cycle will be thrown off.
- Your gut needs to be metabolizing hormones properly. Just because you are making hormones doesn’t mean you are metabolizing them, ie. your body is using them in the way it needs to. To metabolize hormones, the liver and gut need to be working properly, so if a woman has liver stagnation, leaky gut or poor microbiome diversity, this can affect metabolization and the menstrual cycle.
Which Fasts Can Help Fix Your Cycle
Autophagy Fast: My favorite fast for getting the brain to work right is Autophagy Fasting. Autophagy fasting entails 17 hours of fasting, where you break your fast with good fats then wait at least one more hour before opening your eating window. The autophagy window is anything between 17-72 hours of fasting, at which you hit maximum autophagy. This type of fasting can be especially healing to the ovaries and repairing the HOP axis. I like to do these on a weekly or monthly basis.
Gut Reset Fast: In order for hormones to be working properly, you need a healthy gut microbiome, specifically an abundance of estrobolome–the gut bacteria in charge of breaking down estrogen. A gut reset entails 24 hours of fasting and I like to do this about once a week. This style of fasting is able to regenerate intestinal stem cells and reboot your digestive system.
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Hormone Foods: Healthy eating is just as important as fasting. I recommend stepping out of fasting 1-2 days per week, where you lean into hormone building foods that feed healthy hormone production. This is a pivotal part of the fasting lifestyle that often gets overlooked, causing the further depletion of women’s hormones! Hormone building foods include pumpkin, squash, yams, tropical and citrus fruits, raw nuts, seeds and cold pressed seed oils like Andreas Seed Oils.