HALEY JAMES

How The Oura Ring Helped Me Get My Period Back After Almost A Decade Of Not Having It

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How The Oura Ring Helped Me Get My Period Back After Almost A Decade Of Not Having It

If you’ve been following me or my health journey, you probably know that for the last decade, I’ve been struggling with nutrition due to my stomach, intestines, and esophagus becoming suddenly paralyzed my senior year of college. (That is a whole different story you can read more about here).

I spent the first five years of this decade-long battle not knowing what was wrong and being told everything was in my head. This left me eating one to two “safe” foods every day for years. When I say safe foods, I mean the foods that caused me the least amount of symptoms, which changed depending on the year. Some of the staples during those years had been sweet potatoes, sorbet, popsicles, and avocados. It’s safe to say this diet was not well-rounded. Not to mention, I could only have a tiny bit, making my daily intake anywhere from 200 to 600 calories. I was severely malnourished and underweight.

As you probably know, when a woman is malnourished or underweight, she will most likely lose her period so that her body can save its energy to stay alive. So when I lost my period all those years ago, I knew why and wasn’t overly concerned because – well, I had bigger issues like how am I going to survive today.

I thought I would get answers, medicine and better a lot quicker than what happened. It took 5 years until I was finally diagnosed with Gastroparesis, Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction, Intestinal Dysmotility and Esophageal Dysmotility – all due to a rare condition called Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy. 

Did I lose you yet? Yeah, I know those are big words you may not have heard of so let’s briefly break them down: 

 

Gastroparesis: A rare condition where the stomach takes too long to empty its contents into the small intestine, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. (AKA Stomach Paralysis)

Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction: A rare condition where the muscles and nerves in the intestines don’t work properly, which can cause symptoms similar to a bowel obstruction. (AKA Intestinal Paralysis & Pseudo-Obstructions)

Intestinal Dysmotility: A rare condition where the muscles and nerves in the intestines aren’t working properly, which can cause symptoms such as constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain. (AKA Intestinal Paralysis)

Esophageal Dysmotility: A condition where the muscles in the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) don’t work properly, which can cause difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and regurgitation of food.

Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy: A rare autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the autonomic ganglia (a group of nerves that control automatic bodily functions), which can cause symptoms such as low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, gastrointestinal issues and basically all automatic body functions to not work properly.

When I was diagnosed with these conditions, it was made clear that I was going to need to get a feeding tube so that I could get adequate nutrition to survive.

I thought that after getting the feeding tube,  I would get my nutrition, menstrual cycle and ultimately my life back to some form of “normal”, whatever that actually means.

However, that’s not what happened. I had so many issues – from the formulas not working to infection after infection after infection – that malabsorption and malnutrition became constant companions I didn’t want and could not get rid of. Now, again, two big words, so let’s take a second to define them.

Malabsorption: a condition where the body is not able to properly absorb nutrients from the food that is eaten, which can lead to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.

Malnutrition: a condition that results from a lack of proper nutrition, which can occur due to inadequate food intake, malabsorption, or other factors. It can lead to a range of health problems, including weakness, fatigue, and compromised immune function.

Despite working really hard to get my health back on track and going through many painful, tear-filled days to get all my nutrition in, I still didn’t get my menstrual cycle back.

I waited and waited, but after a couple of months, I still couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting my period.

The reason why I was so concerned about getting my period back was that, as you probably know, having your period is a sign that your body is ready to and can procreate. This means that it is not feeling like it needs to shut down to stay alive – which basically means that, at least for me and my specific situation, getting my period back was a sign that my health was coming back too.

So when I was not getting it – I became concerned. 

I had been diagnosed with amenorrhea years ago but was told it would most likely come back with my nutrition. Yeah – let’s pause and define this one because it’s important.

Amenorrhea: a medical term used to describe the absence of menstrual periods in women who are of reproductive age. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, hormonal imbalances, certain medications, and certain medical conditions.

I knew that getting my period back would be an important part of my journey to getting my health and life back on track. So when I wasn’t getting it, even after being really intentional to make sure I was getting everything I nutritionally needed, I investigated further with labs.

My labs were not indicating any reason why I wouldn’t be getting it. I was so confused and frustrated. 

I had gotten the Oura ring to help me monitor and track my health due to my other conditions and after learning about all the features and insights it offered, I decided to try to use it to help me get my period back and it changed the game people.

So in this blog post, I want to share how I used the Oura Ring to help me get my menstrual cycle back after not having it for almost a decade, so that if you are struggling with getting your period back and can’t figure out why – maybe this can help you too.

NOTE: There are a variety of medical conditions and situations that can cause you to lose your period. This post just chronicles and shares my personal experience after I had done labs, spoken with my doctors etc. If you are trying to get your period back, be sure to speak with your physician so they can make sure that there is not anything underlying going on.

What Is the oura ring?

The Oura ring is a device that tracks various aspects of your health, including sleep patterns, heart rate, body temperature, and activity levels. The ring provides personalized recommendations for improving your overall health and is a useful tool for optimizing your life.”

The Oura Ring is a wearable device that is designed to help track and monitor different aspects of your health such as sleep, activity, recovery, and of course temperature to track your menstrual cycle. It’s a small ring that you wear on your finger and it looks pretty sleek and stylish, if I do say so myself. One of the things I like about it is that it’s not bulky or obtrusive like some other health tracking devices, which can feel like you’re wearing a mini computer on your wrist. The Oura Ring is discreet and comfortable, and you can wear it all day and all night without feeling like it’s weighing you down.

But let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what the Oura Ring can actually do. First and foremost, it’s a sleep tracker. It uses advanced sensors and algorithms to measure your sleep quality and duration, as well as your heart rate variability and body temperature. This means that you can get a really detailed picture of your sleep patterns and how they’re affecting your overall health and well-being. For example, if you notice that you’re not getting enough deep sleep or REM sleep, you might be able to adjust your bedtime routine or sleep environment to improve your sleep quality.

The Oura Ring also tracks your activity levels throughout the day. It measures your steps, calories burned, and active time, and gives you an overall score for your daily activity level. This can be helpful if you’re trying to increase your physical activity or simply stay more active throughout the day. Plus, the Oura Ring can sync with other fitness apps like Apple Health or Google Fit, so you can get a more comprehensive view of your activity levels and progress over time.

Finally, the Oura Ring tracks your recovery, which includes things like your resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and body temperature. This is important because it can give you insights into how well you’re recovering from physical or mental stressors. For example, if you notice that your resting heart rate is higher than usual, it could be a sign that you’re not recovering as well as you could be. This might prompt you to take a rest day or engage in some relaxation techniques to help your body recover more effectively.

In terms of how the Oura Ring stacks up against other health tracking devices, I think it’s definitely one of the more comprehensive and accurate options out there. While there are certainly other devices that can track individual aspects of your health like sleep or activity, the Oura Ring offers a more holistic view of your overall health and well-being. Plus, because it’s worn on your finger, it’s able to measure things like body temperature and heart rate variability more accurately than devices that are worn on the wrist.

Tracking your menstrual cycle with the Oura Ring

The Oura Ring is pretty smart when it comes to tracking your menstrual cycle. It uses its advanced sensors and algorithms to keep tabs on various indicators, such as your body temperature. This is an important one, as your temperature tends to rise and fall throughout your cycle. When you’re approaching ovulation, your temperature usually goes up, and then it falls again as you near the end of your cycle. By analyzing these patterns in your temperature data, the Oura Ring can predict when you’re likely to ovulate and when your period is likely to occur.

But the Oura Ring doesn’t stop there. It also looks at other physiological signals, like your heart rate variability and sleep patterns. These signals can give you even more insights into your menstrual cycle and overall health. For example, changes in heart rate variability can indicate changes in stress levels or recovery, which can impact your menstrual cycle.

When it comes to letting you know that your period is on the way, the Oura Ring has got your back. You can receive various alerts or signs, like a notification on your phone that your period is expected to start soon. And if you want more detailed information, just open up the Oura app, which provides all sorts of data on your menstrual cycle and other health metrics.

How I used the Oura Ring to regain My menstrual cycle

Well, regaining my menstrual cycle using the Oura Ring was quite a journey. When I first started looking at all the data, I discovered that my body temperature was pretty much always somewhere in (or close to) its baseline state, which indicated that my period was not coming anytime soon. So I did some research and found out that there are a lot of things that can impact your menstrual cycle, like stress, chronic conditions, and even too much exercise. Since I had some underlying health issues, it was hard to figure out what was causing my period to disappear, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

Months 1 & 2

The first two months that I attempted to do this, I had gone through the various data points that the Oura ring had collected and tried to see if there was anything that could help point me in the direction of what needed to be fixed to get my period back. 

One thing that stuck out to me was that the amount of calories burned on my Oura app was far greater than my watch and what I thought I had been burning. So, I focused on trying to get enough nutrition to meet my activity level. I really thought this was why I wasn’t getting my period.

I spent two months tracking my calorie intake vs. calorie burned levels and worked to try to get them closer together. I thought for sure this would bring my period back, but unfortunately, no, nothing changed.

Month 3

I knew I was missing something, so I went back to the app and started looking at all of the other data points to see if there was anything else going on that could be preventing me from getting my period. 

I noticed that some of the things I had not been as intentional about, such as staying in range with my sleep and overall rest levels, were often out of the optimal range, with some being as low as 48.

After doing some research, I realized that that too could be a contributing factor. So, a week before my period was set to begin, I was really diligent about getting enough rest, sleep, nutrition, and activity so that I would get my period (as you can see from the photos above). Unfortunately, I did not get it. I was starting to get really worried. It should be back now.

That’s when I decided I would spend the next month working really hard to try and stay in range with my activity, nutrition, sleep and overall wellness levels (all according to the Oura app) and see if I would get my period. 

Month 4

I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I was a lot better than I had been. I was sleeping, resting, getting my full amount of nutrition, and balancing it with my activity levels as much as I could.

Then it came – the alert that my temperature was slightly elevated. Then it happened again, and again, and again, and again as I continued to near the predicted period start date.

And it didn’t come. I was so disappointed.

Then 2 days later – the surprise that me 10 years ago would’ve hated – I was so grateful to have gotten the surprise of getting my period back!

Month 5

I was so excited when I finally got my period back, I thought everything was going to be smooth sailing from then on!

LOL – I was wrong.

Since I had gotten my period, I thought I was all good to go and that it would just keep coming every month like normal and I would be fine! I didn’t ever have to be this mindful before I had gotten sick – my period had always come. 

So I didn’t really think much about it! I wasn’t as diligent about monitoring my sleep and overall wellness numbers as I had been before. I still managed to keep my activity and nutrition levels in check, but I wasn’t as mindful about the other stuff. As I said, I naively thought that since my period was back, it was here to stay for good and I didn’t need to be as careful with my health. 

But when my temperature became elevated and I began to expect my period would just come like it had before, it went back down and it didn’t come. 

I quickly learned that my body still needed a lot of care and attention, especially since I had struggled with amenorrhea for so long. I realized that it wasn’t going to feel safe and secure enough to have a menstrual cycle, until it had everything it needed to survive, consistently.

Month 6

The next month, I decided to go back and implement everything I had done in the month that I got my period. I became strict about getting enough sleep, rest, activity, and nutrition, and closely monitored my overall readiness scores, trying to keep them in peak optimal ranges. It wasn’t easy by any means, but…

IT. WORKED.

I was so, so happy! I realized that though the reason I had lost my period originally was due to not having enough nutrition and calories to survive, the issue had gone on for so long that my body needed more than just fixing that one problem to make it feel safe and secure enough to allow me to get my period back. So, when I had taken the time to get everything in check, it felt like my body was well and safe enough to allow me to have my period!

If it wasn’t for the Oura ring and the valuable data it provided, I don’t think I would have been able to make the connection that other aspects of my health needed attention too in order to consistently maintain my menstrual cycle. Thanks to the Oura ring’s scores and readings, I was able to identify the areas in my life that needed some extra TLC to ensure my overall well-being and menstrual health!

Final Thoughts

Since getting my Oura ring, I’ve learned so much about my body that even my doctors couldn’t tell me! I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking to improve your health in any way! This little gadget has given me incredible insights into my body, empowered me to take action, and helped me get my period back on track.

I’m so grateful for the positive impact the Oura ring has had on my life. It’s motivated me to develop good habits and get rid of bad ones, and I’m sure it can do the same for you too! Whether you’re trying to get your period back or simply looking to optimize your health, the Oura ring is an amazing tool that can make a real difference!

If you’ve used the Oura ring, I’d love to hear your story! Did it help you get your period back on track? Or did you use it for some other health benefit? Let me know in the comments! And if you’re considering using the Oura ring, go for it! It’s truly been a game-changer for me, and I’m sure it can be for you too!

As always, thank you for being here & taking this journey with me!

 

xx I love you, I mean it

DISCLAIMER

Please note that all content on this page, website, and any affiliated resources is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of treatment from a physician. NO information on this page or website should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. Additionally, please be aware that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through those links.

Hi! I'm Haley James

I’m a California-based purpose-driven, multi-passionate entrepreneur, chronic illness & rare disease advocate, speaker, podcaster, designer, YouTuber, content creator and really, at my core, just a woman who wants to love & help support people in creating lives they love!

How did I get here? Well, after getting really sick in my early 20’s and spending years fighting for my life, I realized I not only was fighting to live, but to live a life I truly loved! 

Now I’m on a journey to creating that life for myself and want to bring you along so you can create a life you love too! I hope you’ll join me!

Hi! I'm Haley James!

I’m a California-based purpose-driven, multi-passionate entrepreneur, chronic illness & rare disease advocate, speaker, podcaster, designer, YouTuber, content creator and really, at my core, just a woman who wants to love & help support people in creating lives they love!

How did I get here? Well, after getting really sick in my early 20’s and spending years fighting for my life, I realized I not only was fighting to live, but to live a life I truly loved! 

Now I’m on a journey to creating that life for myself and want to bring you along so you can create a life you love too! I hope you’ll join me!

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As a welcome gift, you’ll instantly unlock a 10% discount on your first store purchase, gain immediate access to my most popular free guide and of course friendship with me and this community! We can’t wait to have you!

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I love connecting with people in this community! It’s my favorite thing that I get to do and this is one of the places I love to do it!

I only ever want to send you things I truly believe in my heart will serve you, support you, equip you, empower you and make you feel seen, heard & loved! Which to me means 0% spam & 100% all good things!

As a welcome gift, you’ll instantly unlock a 10% discount on your first store purchase, gain immediate access to my most popular free guide and of course friendship with me and this community! We can’t wait to have you!

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