Primal eating kindasorta messed up my cycle. Why?
I've been eating almost fully primal since the beginning of August to try to correct some health issues. Before I started my period was completely regular, a 28 day cycle with very little variation each month. My period came normally at the end of August, but my September period came 11 days late in the beginning of October, and my November period hasn't come yet. I also got cystic jawline acne right before the late period, and I don't usually get cysts.
Is this normal? I thought eating primally is supposed to make hormones more regular, but it seems to be doing something weird to mine. My weight hasn't really changed, so I don't think that is the cause. I'm not pregnant, either.
I eat eggs, ground beef, lamb chops and neck, chicken, canned salmon and sardines, Kerrygold butter, chard, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, coconut milk and oil, shredded coconut, some baker's chocolate, and berries. I will rarely have a few small Yukon golds or some white rice. Not much else. All of it is organic/free range/grass-fed/whatever. I supplement with 5000 IU of Vit. D, 30mg of zinc, 100 mcg of Selenium, and 400 mg of Magnesium.
Am I doing something wrong here, or am I being paranoid?
A high fat low carb diet can wreck hormonal havoc in some women. Chronic low carb(<100g/day) states can be particularly stressful for some women's bodies.
What is your exercise like? Even though you state that your weight hasn't really changed, your post doesn't specify, but are you eating with weight loss as a goal? In some women, the "stress" alone of dieting thoughts can alter menstruation.
Any increased stress in your life?
Thank you for your reply!
Originally Posted by NDF
I get maybe 20g of carbs from berries and probably another 20-30g from veggies per day. I don't intentionally limit them, that's just how it works out; I'm not sure how I could get more carbs in my belly without eating more potatoes and rice, as the veggies fill me up far too quickly. I'm only 94 lbs at 5'1", so weight GAIN is my goal right now. Why does low carb mess with hormones?
My exercise is a lot of walking; I take public transportation and walk lots to get to bus stops. I also work a fairly active job part time where I'm on my feet all day and lift heavy things at least a few times each shift. Stress is very slightly more than normal, but that hasn't had any real effect on my cycle before. This is puzzling.
When you eat under about 100g of carbs a day, your body enters ketosis. Now there is nothing wrong with ketosis in and of itself. In fact, for some people ketosis is the key to easy weight loss for a variety of reasons. But, for some women, being in ketosis or even just eating low calorie/carb creates an unhappy hypothalamus - which is responsible in part for the hormones responsible for menstruation. Eating low carb can disrupt the thyroid and letpin as well. In addition, in some women(and men) eating low carb with a lot of activity (whether its in the form of formal exercise or general activity) can also cause heightened cortisol levels which can also wreck havoc on hormones over time.
You don't have to eat potatoes and rice to up your carb intake. Winter squash, bananas, apples, cherries, sweet potatoes are all excellent sources of carbs.
Did you lose any weight at all since going Primal? At 5'1" and 94lbs, you are technically underweight and in some women, that can also lead to menstrual disturbance.
You mentioned health issues in your first post - is it possible that the health issue may be effecting your menstrual cycle?
**please notice I say "some people", "some women", "sometimes" because I am not making a blanket statement. There are individual differences in the reaction to the elimination or reduction of carbs in the diet. A diet higher in primal carbs works better for some, the same way a diet higher in fats works better for others.
NDF gave a great answer.
Here's my two cents. The whole point of eating Primally is to change the hormonal responses in our bodies to a healthier pattern right? Most of the time, we're talking about insulin and testosterone and cortisol, but all of our hormonal systems are interconnected.
Give it a couple of months more, see if it settles down. If you don't want to lose weight, you might want to make sure you have more carbs. Look at Mark's carb curve in the book (or online). You're deeply into weight loss territory.
Also, it can be effected if you live with other women. I've never really understood that one, but have witnessed it.
I agree that your carbs may be too low for you. Can you add some dairy? It's my way of adding carbs, but not too many.
Thanks everyone for the help! I've just about doubled my carb intake since this post, and lo and behold, my period came today in all of its crampy glory! Coincidence?
As for health issues effecting the problem, I do have poor thyroid function and most of the symptoms, though my numbers are normal and it hasn't effected my period since it started several months ago. I had the health issues long before I went primal but my cycle was still regular, which is why I'm confused. I haven't lost any weight since starting, either (thankfully!), despite being very low carb.
Also, I wish I could add dairy, but I'm afraid of it making my skin go bonkers. I might try grass-fed yogurt if I can find it. I think too much fruit affects my skin, as well. So I'm sticking with berries, sweet potato and gold potato for carbs at the moment until I can find something else.
I'm not a woman, but I would say that yes, this is probably a coincidence, and you just had a late period.
Originally Posted by QuirkyPixy
I would, however, keep the higher carb intake and see what happens. I'm not trying to be negative, but I doubt that increasing your carbs for three days was the trigger for your body to finally do it's thing.
Obviously, I'm open to somebody smacking that idea right out of my head for after all, I know very little about anatomy especially the inner workings of the female menstrual cycle.
Also, may I suggest squash/yams/sweet potatoes for added carbs? If dairy is of concern. You can have those after a good workout. Berries and non-starchy vegs can lead to being way too low carb. Some are fine on it, others not so much.
Most who've had hormonal irregularities when embarking on primal did eventually normalize. It just takes some time.
+1 on the 'three days of carbs being the 'red herring'. when we get our periods depends typically on a variety of factors that are in play for days and days before hand (unless it's estrogen withdrawal bleeding). I too believe that 3 days is too few to change everything.
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