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Primal and peri-menopause

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  • Primal and peri-menopause

    Hi all,

    I've been on Primal since the end of January and have lost nearly 20 pounds, experienced great increases in energy, and gotten into my "skinny pants" for the first time in over a year! Very happy, love the food, find the guidelines easy to follow. Looking forward to continuing on to see just how much fat my body wants to shed.

    HOWEVER, almost exactly after a month of being on the plan (and giving up soy, which I consumed daily, most often in the form of soymilk in my coffee), I noticed that my periods became extremely irregular. At age 45, this is surely perimenopause at work, but it was such a sudden change that I can only chalk it up to the removal of soy from my diet.

    I would like to know from other women who have experienced this which non-prescription herbs or supplements you have found to be the most effective to take the place of the soy estrogen? I already use progesterone yam cream topically (using it for about 2.5 weeks a month for the past several years), though if I'm going to have a period every 2 weeks now, it's hard to schedule even that correctly.

    And PLEASE PLEASE don't tell me that I should just "roll with it" and accept the changes or manage without estrogen. I can accept everything except not knowing when I'm going to bleed. It makes trying to have any kind of sex life impossible, and I KNOW that Primal folks wouldn't want to discourage that!

    With apologies if this has already been dealt with at length,


  • #2
    Are you sure the irregular periods aren't simply due to the stress of changing your diet and losing weight? I'm perimenopausal but I had a hysterectomy a few years ago. I still have my ovaries. I do not know what my period is doing anymore. I haven't really noticed any change to indicate that menopause is on its way. I did get a lot of hot flashes at first on this diet but I honestly believe it was due to giving my body nutrients it had been starved for and having it respond with a flash of hotness. These hot flashes were similar to the hot flashes I got after my hysterectomy. My post-surgery hot flashes went away after a few weeks. I think the stress of surgery caused them. I at first got hot flashes just eating sweet potatoes. Then I would get them from other things like certain supplements that were new. They've subsided and I don't get them anymore. It could just be stress and I wouldn't try to force anything until there are symptoms that are causing serious quality of life issues.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


    • #3
      Just roll with it, my periods are irregular; I am 41. If you want to keep your period you need to look in to something like The Wiley Protocol:

      The Wiley Protocol - Bio-identical Hormones (BHRT Therapy)


      • #4
        I am the same age and started at about 80% primal in January as well. I was not a regular consumer of soy at all - occasional tofu and edamame - maybe once every couple of weeks at most. However, I am experiencing the same symptoms, so I too am interested in what might be the cause. I have never been irregular in my life. I was wondering if it could be fish oil or coconut oil. I am not trying to hijack , just wanted to say I am in the same boat and am very curious about what could be the cause.


        • #5
          To put your mind at ease get a FSH test. FSH is the hormone that tells the ovary to get cracking on egg release. There is a feedback loop in place where the pituitary gets info on the number of and condition of follicles, and when it does not hear that feedback it sends a more urgent Hey Let's Go. If there are no eggs left, there is no feedback. FSH goes up. On a lab that translates to perimenopause. By checking this lab value you can determine if you are experiencing misses periods due to menopause or steer you to look for other causes, like not enough calories, or too low carbs, or too low carb too fast. You can become hypothyroid from too low to fast and for some women that tells the reprodipuctive system to go on hiatus. Losing too much weight does the same thing. Body realizes it does not have enough in the bank to make a baby so it makes it impossible to get pregnant.

          As for phytoestrogens, it may be that as your body clears them, they are binding to receptors tenaciously.

          I can only look at this from the perspective of an RN NOT as one who experienced it. I had one last period one day in 1997 and never had another. Was regular right up to that date. I did experience a lot of large clots in the last few months, and my FSH went sky high so I knew with each one it could be the last. My doc back then told me be prepared just in case, and to protect against conception for 6 months to a year.

          Not to be too indelicate here, but not many women experience gushing menses out of the blue without some sort of early signs, such as tender breasts, bloating and the ever annoying spotting. I am sure you can enjoy a happy spontaneous sex life, just do a quick spot check in case you need to let you partner know that you are not receptive.

          I won't tell you to just deal with it. I think you need to do two things. First see an OB GYN who will check your hormones, and who can prescribe bioidentical hormones if that is what you two agree upon. The second thing is to have a little heart to heart with your partner. I think your partner needs to know that your reticence is due to unexpected menstruation and not something he did. If he is a she, mores the better for getting an empathetic response. But avoiding sex is not good for the relationship and not talking about why seems to always make the partner doubt himself, feel hurt, rejected etc.
          Last edited by Snauzoo; 03-25-2012, 03:26 PM.


          • #6
            First, I'm not a doctor or in any way an expert in the field of medicine. I can only tell you my experience, and I would HIGHLY suggest you see a doctor because you're a woman and there's just a whole lot of reasons why you should and hardly any why you shouldn't.

            Okay, now that I've got that out of the way...

            When I hit 40, my periods started to be a giant mess. Clotting (big ones), very heavy periods (soaking through a super-plus tampon in 20 minutes), periods lasting 7 or 8 days - I just didn't have a life anymore. I went to the doctor who checked to make sure nothing else was wrong (which is why you should go, because things CAN be wrong) and he said I should have an endometrial ablation, which would also involve getting my tubes tied because accidentally getting pregnant would be dangerous. I was VERY leery.

            I scheduled another appointment for the biopsy that is required for the ablation. In the mean time, I started doing some research on my own and found Kokoro, the progesterone cream. I started using a tiny amount every day and found it helped tremendously. When I saw the doctor the next time, I told him about how much it had helped. He talked to another doctor in the practice, and she said that the Mirena progesterone releasing IUD had worked well for a lot of her patients. So we ended up bailing on the ablation (and on tying my tubes) and inserted the Mirena instead.

            I loved it! There was cramping for a couple of days, and I admit that really sucked, but then it's just there for 5 years and you don't have to do anything other than go for your regular checkups. Five years later, I had it removed and another one inserted. When this one's time is up, I'll probably consider just doing without, but in the mean time, I basically have no periods at all and I have a life!


            • #7
              Originally posted by fiercehunter View Post
              Just roll with it, my periods are irregular; I am 41. If you want to keep your period you need to look in to something like The Wiley Protocol:

              The Wiley Protocol - Bio-identical Hormones (BHRT Therapy)
              Whoa! Please avoid this particular protocol like the plague. It's created a lot of problems for some women--largely because the dosages are not physiological. Wiley Watch | Scrutinizing the Wiley Protocol and Its Stakeholders

              Okay, so your hormones are going to start to shift on a Primal diet--especially if you are eating antibiotic & hormone-free meat & dairy. Your body fat loss is going to result in a drop in estrogen which probably affected your cycle, but your remaining body fat will keep producing estrogen, no problem. Most women don't need extra estrogen--usually they are progesterone-deficient, which results in estrogen-dominance symptoms.

              I am 49 and have 26-28 day cycles. Until this year, they were clockwork-regular 28 day cycles. I've been Primal for 17 months, and no longer have any peri-menopausal symptoms except some recent mid-cycle spotting. I've been using physiological dosages (20-40 mg) of Pro-gest cream applied 2 x a day.

              If your yam cream also contains Progesterone, great--if it only contains wild yam, it will not be converted by the body into Progesterone.

              Dr. John Lee's book "What your Doctor May Not tell You about Menopause" has been very helpful to me.
              Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
              Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
              Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
                Dr. John Lee's book "What your Doctor May Not tell You about Menopause" has been very helpful to me.
                Seconding this book. My local library had it, and it was a big help.

                Not as alarmist as the title makes it sound, just good information.


                • #9
                  I am 47 yo, have been Primal for 15 months now, and I am in the throws of Peri-menopause. I just went to my GYN, who took hormone levels. She is going to prescribe a cream for me that is based on my lab values that contains estrogen-progesterone-and that is prepared specifically for me based on my lab values. I am hoping this works, because more so than the annoying heavy periods, missed periods, never knowing when I'm going to have a period,.....the mood swings have got to go. I am generally a very happy, upbeat person with a very positive outlook. I would say that I am not that person right now. I am one who would rather not do hormone replacement therapy, but for the sake of my family and friends, I am going to give this a try.

                  Has anyone heard of this therapy, and does anyone know if it works? Also, I would love to try some herbal remedies. Any ideas?
                  Thank you!


                  • #10
                    I actually kind of don't really have a period anymore- have barely had a flow since my early 30s. I was on the pill for years due to some primal mistakes.


                    • #11
                      Hi grkdiva,

                      I'm 56 and have been peri- for about 10 years now. Every month I wonder (wish), is this the last? To say I can tell what affects all the symptoms would be a lie. To say I know what would be happening if I didn't do xyz would be difficult. But I have had some experience over the years with Black Cohosh and Evening Primrose Oil. I read early on that these are effective herbs and thought it probably wouldn't hurt. I stayed away from HRT and creams. When my PMS and periods were overwhelming, i.e., painful, emotional and messy, I'd take the herbs and experience a "shaving" of the extremes. Since going Paleo a year ago, my body has become more sensitive to whatever I put in it. It's less tolerant of poisons and sings when it gets the good stuff. I was having some particularly strong PMS and periods and remembered about the herbs, which I hadn't taken for quite a while. I started taking them, 500mg of Black Cohosh 2x day and 1 cap of Primrose oil 2x day. I haven't had any pain, headaches, or cramping since I started taking the herbs, but then again, I think I've only had one or two periods since then either. It's so hard to have a control group of one! If I'm truly done (cross your fingers!) I'll probably stop taking them and see what happens. I stay away from the AMA and the pharmoindustrial complex. Still a rebel after all these years. Hope you find this helpful.