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How to talk to your friend who suffers from amenorrhea

The woman in your life who has lost her period is in need of support. How can you best provide that?

Tina Muir is a British elite runner living in the U.S. who made headlines earlier this year when she went public about her struggles with amenorrhea. Amenorrhea is when a woman loses her menstrual cycle. In many cases that’s a result of a woman’s body weight dropping too low however it can also be caused by travel, stress or disruptions in sleep among other factors. A large number of women in distance running suffer from amenorrhea at least once during their careers. Muir, being one of them, has used her social media and online presence to help women who have had similar experiences to her own. 

Catch our in-depth conversation with Muir on Monday’s episode of The Shakeout podcast. In the meantime, below are some helpful tips from Muir on how to talk to the woman in your life who is currently dealing with this situation. 

RELATED: British athlete writes incredibly honest post about experience with amenorrhea

DO: Use words like beautiful and radiant. The goal is to encourage your friend, wife, sister or whoever it is that you’re speaking to. Ask yourself if the words you choose are uplifting and conducive to building a positive self image. 

DON’T: Use words that could trigger negative self image. While calling someone healthy or strong might sound like a compliment, someone who has struggled with eating disorders or body image issues may read that very differently.

DO: Give compliments that suggest something positive about the whole person – not her physical being. For example, point out of your friend seems happier, more confident or more energetic. 

DON’T: Talk about weight gain. Getting to a healthier weight and the process of getting a period back can be incredibly emotional for many women. Don’t ask about the number on the scale. Definitely don’t tell her she’s gaining weight either unless, of course, she brings the conversation there first. Remember, even the best intentions have been known to flop.  

DON’T: Constantly check in for updates. If a woman’s period has been absent for some time, focusing on its return can be stressful – and that’s not helping matters. 

DO: Ask how you can be of support. Ask which questions or topics she’d prefer not to talk about. Ask if there’s anything she needs that’s not being done. Some people just don’t want to ask. Make it easier for that person. 

DO: Take her out! Not everything has to be body focused. During this difficult time, bring her for coffee or out for a movie – whatever she likes to do.