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Low carb + amenorrhoea?

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by catapillar, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. catapillar

    catapillar Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    In March/April I decided to try to reduce my carb intake a bit - before thinking about reducing it, standard carb intake was probably 150 - 250 a day.

    So I've tried to find lower carb alternatives. I wouldn't say I'm especially low carb. Usually around 100 per day, but anything from 70 - 130.

    Low carbing hasn't especially changed my diabetic control to be honest.

    I've lost about half a stone - I'm 5 ft 1, my weight is now fluctuating between 7 st 10 and 8st. BMI is about 21 - bang in the middle of a healthy range.

    I try to work out at least 5 times a week. But that's not a change on before.

    Nb) I'm very single - seriously, there's no chance I'm pregnant.

    I've not had a period since end of April. I've had a couple of occasions when my blood sugars been doing funny things, and I've felt a bit premenstrual. But no actual period. I'm a little bit irregular by a couple weeks here or there. But is not standard for me to just not have anything for so long.

    Do any ladies have any experience on whether this is a low carb thing? And if so, whether that's inherently a bad thing, if I'm not especially fussed about fertility?
     
  2. sally and james

    sally and james Family member · Well-Known Member

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    I'll start by admitting that, when I began low carb, I was well beyond the age of being concerned about menstruation, but at least my comments will bump up your post.
    As you say, you are not particularly low carb, at least not compared with the less than 30g a day crowd and, in all the reading I have done on the subject I have never come across anything suggesting our periods are influenced by the amount of chips/spuds/bread or pasta that we choose to eat. However, as I'm sure many women will confirm, stress, excess physical challenges, changing circumstances, rapid or extreme weight loss can all have their effects. And then there is the cause, which I must raise as diplomatically as possible, AGE. You don't give your age and the average age for menopause is, I think, something in a woman's 50's, but this is an average. I had a much earlier menopause, all gone by 40. Nothing the matter with me (I'm not diabetic), just the way I'm made and now, roughly a quarter of a century on, I'm fit and active and people often take me for younger. Could this be the road which your body is travelling? No harm in asking your doctor.
    Sally
     
  3. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Guru

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    I have heard of many different causes of amenorrhoea (pcos, being underweight or over-fit, plus various other wimmins stuff and hormone stuff), but I've never heard of LC as being on the list. So I am very interested if it should be! I had no periods for 20+ years, due to a prolactinoma and PCOS. Happy days. But obviously, if it is due to a health issue, then it isn't ideal! I'm currently lower carb than you and in ketosis, and the dratted things turn up like clockwork.

    Just off the top of my head, i would speculate that IF LC were going to affect periods, it would be ketosis, not the 70-130 range - but that is mere speculation, and obviously not the case for me.

    I'd get thee to a doc for a checkup, with some hormone investigation.
    Hope everything is OK, and please let us know how you get on?
     
  4. AndBreathe

    AndBreathe I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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    Catapillar, like others on here, due to both age and the fact I had a sub-total hysterectomy some years ago, I can say with confidence I have not, personally, experienced any interruption in menstrual cycle.

    When you say you've reduced carb, and give their ranges, the 100gr you cite a day. How variable is that, on a day to day basis?

    My only stab in the dark would be to look back on my food diary, assuming you do one and see how often you go to either limit. Perhaps (pure speculative thought) your body is a bit befuddled and going into some form of protective mode.

    You say you've lost around 7lb; are you currently stable (accepting your 3lbs might be your healthy day to day variances), or are you still losing, or pretty steady? Are you surprised by how much weight you dropped or didn't drop?

    In the past, did your weight vary much through each cycle, maybe peaking in the pre-menstrual days and tapering off when the big event occurs?

    Sorry, I "do" questions.
     
  5. catapillar

    catapillar Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks @sally and james I'm 30 and no other menopausal symptoms.

    Thanks @Brunneria google does throw up quite a lot of results for low carb causing periods to stop, but to be honest these are mostly from "lifestyle bloggers" - the theory, from them, appears to be that your body establishes a default carb intake for fertility during puberty and if you drop under this, no more periods - something to do with low leptin levels. But, obviously, I'm a bit dubious as to the scientific basis of the lifestyle bloggers theories. I just thought I'd check whether there was any more experience from the forum.

    @AndBreathe I would say 90-110 is my standard daily carb intake. The days of 70 or 130 would definitely be the more unusual days.

    I'm sitting quite stable at or just under 8st, pretty steady. I don't think it's a huge weight loss. It's not an especially noticeable weight loss - I've gone from a 10/12 to an 8/10. It's pretty much what I expected.

    I'd usually sit around 8 st 8 to 8st 12. So, if asked I'd say I weight 8 and a half stone. Yep, the range would go with cycle.
     
  6. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    I've never seriously low carbed for any length of time, but I do,read up a lot about diets hoping to find the magic answer as I'm sure we all do. I also did extra reading when I was pregnant, including reading about optimum carb amounts and Paleo.

    I don't know how true this is or whether studies have been done, but I came across more than one site that said women on Paleo should eat more carbs than men to,preserve their fertility. That site suggested things like sweet potatoes and fruit, and stressed that women's carb intake should be higher than men's.

    That made intuitive sense to me. Periods are a sign of fertility and 'being ready to carry a pregnancy'. I personally believe that that requires a certain level of carbs and a certain level of calories. If your body thinks there's some kind of famine, it's going to make sure you don't get pregnant.

    If it was me, I'd monitor my carbs and eat a consistent amount to,see if that helps. If it doesn't, a trip to the doctors would rule out any hormone issues.

    You could also try slightly cutting down on your workouts. There's nothing at all wrong with exercise but if your body is kind of teetering on the edge of a period, extra rest and extra carbs and calories over a few weeks may help 'reassure' it and start up your cycle again.

    I'd also add - try not to think about it. That's guaranteed to mess things up! I speak from experience!
     
  7. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Guru

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    I thought that 'women need more carbs than men' thing had been thoroughly debunked, but since fertility has never interested me in the slightest, I have never taken much notice.

    I'll tag @Indy51 in case she knows more. Her knowledge of Paleo blogging (and many other subjects) is VAST. :)
     
  8. catapillar

    catapillar Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I've always thought that exercise "brings on" my periods! If I'm a couple of days late and go for a long run, I'll come on the next day (that is probably corraltive rather than causative) and it's a pretty set in standard that I exercise - it keeps me slightly towards this side of sane and makes me happy. They aren't by any stretch hard core workouts - just a 5k run, might do 10k on the odd occasion or a class of some kind.

    Most of my carbs are probably coming from fruit. I cut the bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, but it felt wrong to cut the fruit, so if anything, I upped it!

    Would my body think famine just from reduced carbs? Theres absolutely no chance I'm anywhere near a calorie deficit!

    I'm confident it's nothing to worry about (don't worry, I'll ask my gynae friend to double check). It could just be a weird blip. Just thought it was worth checking if it could be a low carb thing & whether it even really matters. I guess even though I have no particular plans for pregnancy if your body decides you aren't healthy enough for pregnancy does that suggest just plain not healthy?

    Pfft, bodies are far too complicated :rolleyes:
     
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  9. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    The site was pro-Paleo, but just recommended more carbs for women. I've just tried to google it but I'm getting muddled with all the pregnancy stuff I read and can't remember the name of it : (

    As @catapillar has rightly or wrongly connected her issues with a drop in carbs, it makes sense to consider it and is worth a try.
     
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  10. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Guru

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    Absolutely. Everything is worth considering.
     
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  11. Indy51

    Indy51 Type 2 · Expert

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    There seem to be varying schools of thought - even more than carbs, it seems that overall calories and over-exercise are considered to blame. It's a common condition with female athletes apparently. I'm way past the age of having to worry about such things, so haven't really paid all that much attention. You might take a look at Leanne Vogel's Youtube channel - she has a lot about balancing hormones for females - https://www.youtube.com/user/healthfulpursuit
     
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