Today on the podcast:

Kathryn Stewart aka edible_evidence on Instagram is a Hypothalamic Amenorrhoea (HA) and Fertility Dietitian.

She specialises in helping active females with HA to regain their period and optimise fertility through balanced nutrition and movement.

Today’s podcast is a little more niche than normal, but an absolute must listen for those who need it so please pass it along to anyone you think it may help.

Episode Outline

  • 06:30 What is HA
  • 09:27 Causes, diagnosis, and treatment
  • 14:55 Her personal story with HA and why she feels so passionate about helping active females with HA
  • 18:57 Misconceptions around HA – pill bleeds and feeling you are fitter than you actually are etc
  • 23:08 Anchoring your “Why” and focusing on small wins as you make food or exercise changes
  • 35:32 Common age groups who tend to struggle with HA
  • 27:38 Yellow flags that may lead to HA
  • 29:48 Period irregularities to pay attention to
  • 32:10 Do most GPs today lack awareness of the severity of HA as with PCOS?
  • 33:29 The DO and DO NOT list for HA
  • 38:10 How to get enough carbs and fat into your diet
  • 42:17 The role supplements play (or don’t play)

Key Points

  • PCOS is often misdiagnosed as HA and vice versa. Kathryn encourages what she terms “HA as a diagnosis of exclusion”. If pregnancy, irregular periods, and excess prolactin leading to suppressed ovulation are all ruled out, HA is much more likely than PCOS. HA often occurs due to a mismatch between energy-in and energy-out, often caused by big exercise or dietary changes all at once. 60% of the time, undereating is the culprit, but never overlook any particularly stressful period in one’s life as an athlete as the seed for HA.
  • Feeling cold constantly is the number one yellow flag that HA may be on the horizon. Your circulation is slower because the body is shutting down in an attempt to conserve energy. Gut issues are another sign, from bloating to constipation. Waking up regularly at night is another sign. In severe, but rare, cases, hair loss may occur.
  • If you’re suffering from HA, the number one thing to do is to eat every two-to-three hours in order to counter that chronic, low-energy state. Eat within the first hour of waking and consider pushing exercise to later on in the day, especially if you plan on doing high-impact exercise. If you have HA, never do exercise of any kind first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Nutrition-wise, eat more carbohydrates and fats to increase your energy rather than focusing solely on protein and fiber to stay full.

Powerful Quotes by Kathryn

  • You have the option to tweak things now, or you get an injury and the carpet gets pulled out from under you.
  • The first line of treatment for HA is dietary and lifestyle changes.

Guest Info

Kathryn Stewart

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