Archive | October, 2012

Could Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Be Genetic?

22 Oct

Yesterday, David asked me if all runners deal with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I wasn’t sure what to respond back with as I know some do have cycle issues during track season for example, but why do some have to deal with HA and some continue on running at a low weight and it never affects their body? Is it something in their genes that predispose them to this? Is it my type-A personality?

When my Dr. first diagnosed me with hypothalamic amenorrhea her exact words were “I hate diagnosing this because it’s so hard to pinpoint what the cause is. It’s so vague.”

Looking back, I have come to realize that it’s a mix of all of those things.

The pattern seems to go like this (below is based on my personality and my experience but also what I have seen in others struggling with HA):

A woman, who has always strived for perfection, likes control and a plan set in place, is truthful, impatient, and takes on more than they can handle, are proactive, and obsessed with time management; basically the definition of someone with a Type-A personality.

That type of woman then decides to take control of her health.

With all of those personality traits and a strong willpower towards striving for perfection mixed with the obsession to control and plan, getting healthy and in shape is then taken to the extreme. This is why my running 2-4 miles a few times a week quickly went to 6-8 miles daily.

They get more and more involved in controlling their health and striving for more, they start researching ways to be even healthier, reading about weight-loss and training for marathons. Not just listening to one piece of advice and filtering out the rest, they take ALL of the advice, tips, and recommendations and focus on implementing every single one.

These are just some of the ingredients that start the HA cooking.

The pattern is definitely there that it is one’s personality that sets them up for the perfect recipe for HA but not every marathoner that has a Type-A personality is infertile so I wondered if it was also a genetic matter. I found a study that was done to help answer this exact question.

The study looked at the connection of mutations in four genes that may predispose women to hypothalamic amenorrhea. It took a group of 55 women with hypothalamic amenorrhea (average of 22.4 years old, with an average BMI of 19.4 –just under what my BMI was when I was diagnosed with HA). It also had a control group made up of 422 women with normal cycles for 2 years.

“We speculate that such heterozygous mutations…” researchers wrote, “…could set a lower threshold for functional inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis under adverse hormonal, nutritional, or psychological conditions and thereby lead to hypothalamic amenorrhea” (Caronia LM, N. Engl).

Basically it means that some are destined to have a more sensitive hypothalamus than others and when those who are more sensitive put their bodies into a state of stress, it affects the hypothalamus function resulting in hypothalamic amenorrhea.

“Since patients with mutations resumed regular menses after discontinuing hormone-replacement therapy, the genetic component of hypothalamic amenorrhea predisposes one to, but is not sufficient to cause, GnRH deficiency.” (Caronia LM, N. Engl).

That could be why some can run and be super fertile while others cannot. It all depends on how sensitive their bodies are and how much ‘stress’ they can handle.

So when I’m wondering ‘why me’ and I start blaming myself, I have to remember that my body is just more sensitive and I just had to counter-act that sensitivity to get it working again and now I just have to continue to let it trust me and continue on with my recovery knowing that my body definitely has a set-point.


Color Me Rad

16 Oct

Saturday some friends and I toughed the rainy fall weather and suited up for our first color run at Color Me Rad in Madison. The forecast all week said 90% chance of rain/storms and chillier so we were prepared to face a very messy day.

[thank you to my friend Sarah for taking pictures all day with her camera through a Ziploc baggie 🙂 Otherwise this post would be picture-less as I couldn’t find my small camera before I left Saturday morning…THANKS Sarah! :)]

Color Me Rad is a 5K where they throw, dump, and spray brightly colored corn starch like powder at you while you run. Every 1K or so there’s a line-up of volunteers with color in fists ready to be thrown at you. It’s a run but the best thing about it is you can run, walk, run slow, run fast, take all day, it really doesn’t matter because the point of it is to just have fun, let go, and get colorful! (and what better way to do that then to dance in the rain while you go!)

Now, on a regular, sunny, summery day – this would have been a completely different experience. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast but what you see in pictures of how brightly colorful it is it just looks so much more fun when it’s sunny out and can stop to enjoy it a little bit more.

The rain added in some more fun though as we weren’t only dancing through color but it was wet color on our wet clothes, skin, and hair which ended up being more like tie-died, and very messy!

It was great to just let loose and get messy, dirty, wet, and be goofy.

We were given extra pouches to throw up in the air or to dump on our friends near by which added to the messiness and the fun.

It was definitely an experience I will never forget and made us all feel like carefree kids again.

Even with bleach this didn’t come out!


12 Oct

In August I started really committing to my blog. I get a lot of personal benefits from having this blog, using it as a stress outlet and hopefully, a way to help others at the same time! A lot of health and fitness blogs have a link on their website with an icon for Fitblogger so I checked it out, signed up, and applied to be a Fitblogger Featured Blog. The Fitblogger website is a central community where other healthy and fitness bloggers can get resources about the technical side of blogging as well as the creative side. It also is a great directory of food and fitness blogs in the huge universe of bloggers.

Yesterday I received an email that I got picked to be the Featured Blog on November 2nd!

I am so excited to be able to have a quick 15 seconds of fame to share why I blog and what my blog is all about to people and hopefully expand my audience a little. At the very least, I am excited to bring more attention to the fact that there is such a thing as being “too healthy” and that being healthy is all about balance.

I feel like this opportunity takes me one step closer to my goal of spreading the word and is going to be a great experience!!

It will be up as the spotlight story for just that day but I hope that it can inspire people to make changes where they need to in order to be that much further down the road.

I hope you are all having a fantastic Friday and that you will have the BEST weekend! I am getting my gear ready for a color run tomorrow with 90% (I don’t ever see 90% on a day EVEN if it’s raining at that moment!) chance of rain and storms! The color will probably be coming at us in a liquid rainfall rather than a cloud of color dust but it will still be lots of fun. Stay tuned for an update after the weekend.