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Does strict primal lead to a shorter, lighter period?

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  • Does strict primal lead to a shorter, lighter period?

    So for the past month Iíve been strictly primal. The only exception was about 3 days before my period when my cravings kicked in and I threw some cashews and dates in the food processor and formed little truffles out of them. But even then I didnít go overboard. Prior to the past month Iíd say I was Primal about 75% of the time...(usually Iíd splurge on the weekend with something like ice cream or chocolate).

    I noticed this time that in addition to having practically no cramps leading up to my period (I usually get pretty bad cramps) my period was 2 days shorter, and somewhat lighter. For as long as I can remember my period would last 7 days with an extra day of very light spotting. This time I was exactly 5 days which is extremely unusual for me.

    Could eating this way be influencing my period? Just as background, I have Type II diabetes so am highly insulin resistant but have no history of PCOS (I have been examined for it and my ovaries are normal).

    Iím slightly concerned b/c weíve just started trying to conceive (which is why Iíve gotten super strict) and my husband worries that a shorter period means the lining of my uterus is not normal. I think heís wrong - itís not as if Iíve skipped my period. But Iím interested in hearing if other women have experienced similar changes when going Primal.

  • #2
    Since going primal my cycle went from every 34 days to every 28 days. I also went from having a period for 7 days (3 days heavy, then gradually getting lighter for the last 4) to 5 days (with only one heavy day, and almost non-existent for the last three). I also don't have a full week of severe cramping like I used to. Just a day or two now. I have no idea if that would affect conceiving, but I don't think it would. I'm not diabetic or insulin resistant, so that can't be a reason. At least for me.


    • #3
      For me, primal has meant no period (well, two in the past year). And I've done a lot of ridiculous diets -- raw, fruitarian, vegan, veggie and have always been an endurance runner in the meantime -- but my (heavy) period always stuck around in perfect cycles until primal eating. And I don't know why. Its gone away with both low carb primal and high carb primal.

      However, I still get the same PMS symptoms (but lighter cramping), so ovulation may still be occurring. I've read that if your lining is light enough, the body may just re-absorb it and that lack of period (or little period) isn't necessarily a sign of loss of fertility. It sounds like this lightening may be a side-effect of the whole foods diet... ??

      ...If I had health insurance, I would get hormonal tests done -- perhaps you should consider getting them just to make sure you can conceive... Hmmm: have you thought of picking up those ovulation tests they sell in drug stores? I think they are in the preg test section. Maybe I'll get one!


      • #4
        So many things can affect your cycles. I would be happy with a slightly shorter, less painful month and would not be concerned at this point. Like you said, it's not as if you are missing it.

        Orchid, If you are dropping body fat, it's not unusual to miss cycles. It is common in female athletes. My daughter for example would be heavy four to five day cycles very consistently every month, but when she was playing competitive soccer and even now that she's been running some and leaned out, she only has a cycle once every three or four months.


        • #5
          Primal definitely balances and changes hormone production, so yeah, it's bound to have some effect, but I wouldn't think it would effect your fertility negatively- especially once things balance out.
          I went from bleeding like I might die for 8 days, with cramping, severe anemia and witchiness that made me want to die, to almost no cramping, a couple of emotional days and 5 days of bleeding (only 2 bleed-like-I-might-die days), with a good amount of energy (no anemia!). I've only had 2 primal periods, so we'll see how things develop.
          You don't have to be sick to get better.
          Female, 31 years old, 5'8"
          Primal start: 1/2/2012
          My Primal Journal
          Living, loving and learning.


          • #6
            My cycle was all over the place before primal, it was 24 days with 7-8 of bleeding, it was driving me crazy. Now I'm somewhere around the 29 day mark with 4-5 of bleeding, no PMS, no cramping and it is much lighter than it was.


            • #7
              This is all just a sign of your hormones improving. This should actually increase your fertility. The norm for grokettes would have been very light and short periods. Now I bleed only 1-2 T. of blood over 1-2 days.

              This could help you even more:
              PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal


              • #8
                Hi ladies, thanks so much for your responses. I'm feeling better since it sounds as if my experience is consistent with yours regarding shorter, lighter periods when going primal.

                Orchid, sorry to hear about your period going away. I agree that either gaining too much weight or suddenly losing weight could make you stop having your period. Back in the day when I was in high school and training hard for track and field I stopped having my period for two months. And about 6 years ago I had suddenly gained weight and I skipped a month. I went to see my OB who told me that a sudden increase in body fat could make that happen. Aside from those episodes I've always had very regular periods.

                Good luck to you and thanks for the suggesting the ovulation tests. I'm not sure of how they work but it's an excellent idea that I'm going to look into.


                • #9
                  It's so nice to read that I am not the only one who has a lighter period since going primal. Pre-primal I used to take water pills and advil every 6 hours like clockwork for the first 3 days and my period would last about 7 days. Now it's barely 4 and I only have cramps on day one and they are mild at best. Also, I made the switch to the Instead Softcup because it seemed more primal than using a tampon and I have to say I'm never going back to tampons again, I think the bleach in tampons contributes to cramping, at least for me it did.


                  • #10
                    Went from 40/45+ day cycle (and often skipped months) to 30/32 day cycle.
                    Went from 5 days of menses (3 heavy, 2 medium, plus a light trail for a few days after) to 5 days of menses (1 heavy, 4 very light).

                    From what I learned on Taking Charge of Your Fertility book, I could tell before (too much detail to go into, but if you read the book, you will understand) that my body would try to ovulate for a looooong time but it would eventually give up.

                    Now, my body ovulates just fine, just how the book describes.
                    I think (but I'm not sure) that ovulation tests only "guess", or they tell you after your egg has already died. If you read the book I mentioned above (ask for it at your library, that's what I do :-P ) you will know when you're about to ovulate, and you can even try for a boy or a girl depending on what you wish for.

                    I am much healthier now, and it reflects on my menstrual cycle.
                    What your husband says makes no sense, it's not relevant at all.
                    Last edited by abstractpersona; 02-23-2012, 12:35 PM.
                    My smartphone makes me about $100 per month
                    Updating my journal again after a 2 year break.


                    • #11
                      I've just started my first Primal cycle, so I really can't speak to that point yet, but wanted to pass on some anecdotal data.

                      A few years ago, I skipped 3 cycles for no reason (no weight loss/gain, unusual activity) and pregnancy tests came up repeatedly negative. I went into my OB who said that it isn't uncommon (particularly as we age, though I was 28 at the time) to skip your period due to stress. He couldn't find anything unusual and told me not to worry about it. I was annoyed because we were also trying to conceive and I wasn't thrilled at the idea of waiting around for my body to decide to ovulate. The next month, a week before my period was due, I took a pregnancy test on a whim and it came up positive. I had a happy, healthy girl at the end of a full year of no periods. So even a skipped period (or three) isn't a clear sign that something is "wrong".

                      Good luck to you and your husband!


                      • #12
                        I'm SO glad I found this discussion! I'm bleeding like crazy myself (just 'flooded' my bed ) for 7-8 days per month and I find it quite annoying - I can't exercise for a few days (except for a light strall) and sometimes I feel like 90 year old gandma due to back pains. I don't take any pills, don't want to, so I'm very happy I found out I can regulate my period with changing not just my eating habits but whole life style. I'm a newbie here, so I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I finally found a life style that suits me (after trying different diets and corresponding phylosophies).
                        I have a question, though. How do you cope with pre-period cravings. Like woman that started this topic, I see pictures of chocolate and baked goods in my mind approx. 3 days before periode and, of course, indulge in stuff. I feel like crap aterwards, but it seems unstoppable. On the day my period starts, cravings stop and I have no desire to indulge anymore. Does any of you have some sort of 'solution' or advice on how to cope with this?


                        • #13
                          Mine actually got lighter and far more regular a few years ago, when I went failsafe. So not that I wasn't eating sugar or wheat (cos I most certainly was) but that I was no longer eating any artificials - flavours, colours, preservatives etc etc.


                          • #14
                            After going primal, my periods definitely lightened a bit. I'd have to change tampons every 2-3 hours and use heavy absorbency tampons for the first two days. After primal, I could use regular tampons throughout my period. (Then I discovered menstrual cups which honestly changed my life. So much cheaper than buying tampons every month, and I think a silicon cup is a lot more primal-friendly than pesticide-laden cotton tampons!)

                            My periods also went from 6-7 days down to 5 days. I've been primal for a year now and the effect has persisted. I'm pretty happy about it! Although, I'm now considering getting a copper IUD which is supposed to make periods heavier and longer
                            My food blog, with many PB-friendly recipes


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by masage View Post
                              I have a question, though. How do you cope with pre-period cravings. Like woman that started this topic, I see pictures of chocolate and baked goods in my mind approx. 3 days before periode and, of course, indulge in stuff. I feel like crap aterwards, but it seems unstoppable. On the day my period starts, cravings stop and I have no desire to indulge anymore. Does any of you have some sort of 'solution' or advice on how to cope with this?
                              I still do this as well, the chocolate and ice cream are still getting eaten 2 days a month. I wish I could control it!! Sorry I can't help, lol! Wish I knew the answer. Even though I feel like crap afterwards, I don't feel too bad about it because it is only 2 days out of the month. If it was happening every day I would be a bit more concerned.