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Amy

Effects of Keto diet on menstrual cycle?

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Hey everyone, I wonder if you could please tell me about your experience or knowledge of the effects of keto diet on female hormones? It seems there are people who loses their periods from trying keto diet, and also people who don't. How does keto diet impact your periods? Have you experienced any issues from keto diet and how did you fix them?

I just started experimenting with keto. Day 3, and all is well. I might be eating too much nuts and cheese, but feeling great 🙂

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Without me being a woman nor expert on Keto (even if I myself am on Keto a year running).  So with the risk of doing some mansplaining(?), I shall try to give my answer.

Many ketosians use keto not as a way of healthy food status, bringing also harmony in their insulin and stress hormonal levels; but mainly as a way to reduce their weight.  And so, to be on the safe side, are ALSO reducing much their calorie intake.

And if so done, too few calories, its easy to get disturbances in the menstruation cycle for women.  Double so if the keto diet has also disturbed nutrient status,  too few vitamines, for example.

 

Others are training too hard.  Either because they are into elite sports.  Or have a hard physical work, and not enough of good food.

A typical example for both, are gymnastics girls.  Where super hard training combined with strict low calorie diet are often causing late menstruation or no menstruation.

 

So.  As I understand it.  IF you want to go down, wait with any radical cutting off of the totale calorie intake.  Make sure you get all the nutrients necessary, and even - better them up.  

Also, make sure you are keeping your stress levels down.  Sleep well. Use breathing techniques, etc.  Whatever you find useful.

 

When you are well and good in ketosis, feel well with it, everything is in balance, hormon levels as insulin and cortisol and other stress hormones are on low and nicely steady niveous;  first then you can perhaps begin to cut down the total calorie intake.

 

Dont worry, as you arent eating no candy nor sweets, no wheat, no etc...  Your portions will be anyway automatic  much smaller, and probably the calorie intake will ALSO be somewhat lesser; EVEN as you take much more fats than earlier....

Edited by StefanZ
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Thanks for the insights @StefanZ🙂 Yeah I had a gut feeling that it's the stress level that negatively affects menstrual cycle the most. So far (only 3 days in), I'm actualy gaining a small amount of weight each day 😂  I had a slight headache for the first 1.5 days, but it went away since I started on higher sodium (Thanks to the excellent advice on electrolytes here). I'm feeling surprisingly good in my energy level too 😄 

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Re electrolytes.  As you surely know, you need more electrolytes, especielly  K potasium and Mg magnesium, aside of the usual Na sodium.

 

Here in Sweden we have a very interesting product for us ketosians.  The so called minerale salt.  Where, instead of the usual 99,8 of NaCl,  the Na content is just 50%,  K is 40%,  Mg is 10%, and trace amounts of J...

Exactly what the keto doctor prescribed.    And Im salting with this freely.  Not just some light sprinkling for the taste, but quite heavy.  (yes, I have become accustomed to it, and also, to heavily use black pepper...).    So, not any scientific measurement of  electrolytes, but I think I get enough.  Without using other specialized products...

 

 

Yes, I too get a slight headache, and get somewhat dizzy when Im going into ketose... But I never got the so called Keto flu.  Perhaps because Im heavily using this minerale salt?   Also, I was living at least one year before on a lowered carbo diet.

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51 minutes ago, StefanZ said:

Re electrolytes.  As you surely know, you need more electrolytes, especielly  K potasium and Mg magnesium, aside of the usual Na sodium.

 

Here in Sweden we have a very interesting product for us ketosians.  The so called minerale salt.  Where, instead of the usual 99,8 of NaCl,  the Na content is just 50%,  K is 40%,  Mg is 10%, and trace amounts of J...

Exactly what the keto doctor prescribed.    And Im salting with this freely.  Not just some light sprinkling for the taste, but quite heavy.  (yes, I have become accustomed to it, and also, to heavily use black pepper...).    So, not any scientific measurement of  electrolytes, but I think I get enough.  Without using other specialized products...

 

 

Yes, I too get a slight headache, and get somewhat dizzy when Im going into ketose... But I never got the so called Keto flu.  Perhaps because Im heavily using this minerale salt?   Also, I was living at least one year before on a lowered carbo diet.

Thats's True..

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Hi Amy, my period changed a few times throughout the two+ years I've been eating Keto. At first they just got really, really light and shorter. Then they became a bit irregular. Now they are very regular, both in spacing and in the heaviness or lightness of flow based on the days; very predictable. I never had bad cramps at any point in my life, although I've heard people say their PCOS and cramping was greatly improved by Keto. I have Adenomyasis, which is less common but not all together different in symptoms from Endometriosis. I found that my initial reliance on dairy was exacerbating my gut issues and so I had to cut that out. That's been difficult, but worth it in terms of helping alleviate and in most cases completely get rid of most of those symptoms.

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12 hours ago, StefanZ said:

Re electrolytes.  As you surely know, you need more electrolytes, especielly  K potasium and Mg magnesium, aside of the usual Na sodium.

 

Here in Sweden we have a very interesting product for us ketosians.  The so called minerale salt.  Where, instead of the usual 99,8 of NaCl,  the Na content is just 50%,  K is 40%,  Mg is 10%, and trace amounts of J...

Exactly what the keto doctor prescribed.    And Im salting with this freely.  Not just some light sprinkling for the taste, but quite heavy.  (yes, I have become accustomed to it, and also, to heavily use black pepper...).    So, not any scientific measurement of  electrolytes, but I think I get enough.  Without using other specialized products...

 

 

Yes, I too get a slight headache, and get somewhat dizzy when Im going into ketose... But I never got the so called Keto flu.  Perhaps because Im heavily using this minerale salt?   Also, I was living at least one year before on a lowered carbo diet.

Wow awesome! I found a reduced sodium salt here in New Zealand too, seems to be a similar mix to yours.. going to get some 😄  https://mrsrogers.co.nz/product/iodised-low-sodium-salt-mix/ Interesting to know that you get the headache too!..I was wondering if it was to do with my hormones..  how long did it take to go away? did you have headaches when you switch back into keto even after you became fat-adapted?

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38 minutes ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Hi Amy, my period changed a few times throughout the two+ years I've been eating Keto. At first they just got really, really light and shorter. Then they became a bit irregular. Now they are very regular, both in spacing and in the heaviness or lightness of flow based on the days; very predictable. I never had bad cramps at any point in my life, although I've heard people say their PCOS and cramping was greatly improved by Keto. I have Adenomyasis, which is less common but not all together different in symptoms from Endometriosis. I found that my initial reliance on dairy was exacerbating my gut issues and so I had to cut that out. That's been difficult, but worth it in terms of helping alleviate and in most cases completely get rid of most of those symptoms.

Hey Sylvie, thanks for replying and sharing the experience! That's a relief to hear! Do you remember around how long it took to become regular?

Wow I haven't heard of Adenomyasis.. I've had serious cramps that'd make me pass out before I started Muay Thai. The doctor suspected it was Endometriosis, but I never had the surgery to be sure of it. Later, a couple months after I started training 5~6 times a week, the pain went away! I have a theory that the blood circulation + slamming the abs with the pads somehow massaged it away.. so I was a bit worried that changing to keto might shake it up unfavourably. It's good to know what other people experienced so I can adjust my expectations 🙂

Interesting point about dairy too.. must have been difficult to cut it out 😞  I will keep it in mind and might experiment with it one day 🙂 

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If you do have Endometriosis, cutting out dairy, gluten, caffeine and alcohol are all the THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE things they tell you make symptoms worse. I still drink coffee every day but everything else is gone. 

I don't recall how long it was that my periods were sorting themselves out, but I'd guess it was maybe 4-6 cycles. There was a distinct "what the f*** is this?" for at least 2 or 3, haha. But it's all about your homones rebalancing and regulating themselves, so that's going to take a while. But if you're consistent, they will become consistent. There are lots of podcasts and blogs about keto for women and they all talk about menstruation because that's why women aren't ever included in major scientific studies, there's just so much data due to menstruation. You can just look up menstruation and keto and find a lot of info that may help guide you.

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38 minutes ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

If you do have Endometriosis, cutting out dairy, gluten, caffeine and alcohol are all the THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE things they tell you make symptoms worse. I still drink coffee every day but everything else is gone. 

I don't recall how long it was that my periods were sorting themselves out, but I'd guess it was maybe 4-6 cycles. There was a distinct "what the f*** is this?" for at least 2 or 3, haha. But it's all about your homones rebalancing and regulating themselves, so that's going to take a while. But if you're consistent, they will become consistent. There are lots of podcasts and blogs about keto for women and they all talk about menstruation because that's why women aren't ever included in major scientific studies, there's just so much data due to menstruation. You can just look up menstruation and keto and find a lot of info that may help guide you.

I see, thanks! 😄 research time. This is crazy...I didn't know food affected so many things

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2 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

...cutting out dairy, gluten, caffeine and alcohol are all the THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE things they tell you make symptoms worse. I still drink coffee every day but everything else is gone. 

Re dairy... Yes,  I know some experts advice from dairy, endometriosis or not.

  Had you noticed or heard, if there is any difference between goats milk and cow milk?

I think goats milk is easier to manage and digest by some whom are badly managing cow milk.  Also, its goats milk which may be used as an emergency mother milk replacement by almost all mammals; be it kittens, puppies, squirrels, deers - and human babies.  

While cow milk is less so...  (even if it seems raw cow milk is easier to digest than pasteurized and processed cow milk)

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An update on this, I'm at day 12 now, and finally feel energetic both mentally and physically! I've been eating a lot and careful with electrolytes. I actually managed to gain weight.. (Looks like the gaining has stopped though). My mental energy came back a few days into keto diet, and I've been feeling sharper and calmer than before keto 😄 My physical energy took a bit longer to come back (comparing to my pre-keto level). I did my first keto run 3 days ago, it was the most sluggish run, but after that the energy's been improving quickly every day! Today I had a long run, and it felt great! My period is being delayed, but I guess it can take a while for my body to adjust. I'll be patient 🙂

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ps.  I mentioned  minerale salt  as an useful source of both potassium, and also of natrium.   So this is a very useful tip for many.  A good and solid starting point.

 

But its not enough, especielly not if you by any reason want to have a higher ratio potassium kontra natrium.  

Many groceries and fruits have a very high ratio of potassium.   So, eat aplenty these groceries (and fruits if you arent ketosian).  Tip: unmature, green bananas contain little sugars, but lotsa  of fibers.  So if you happen to be OK with the taste of unmature bananas, green bananas is a good source.

Sylvie as we know, uses happily Cream of Tartar, a very rich source of potassium.

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Yeah thanks. I have been experimenting with how much electrolytes to take. Actually really love having my tea with salt and cream now.. I've been trying to eat whatever I want as long as it's very low carbs, to connect with my body. That's been going well I think 🙂

I found multiple posts online saying keto diet may accentuate menstrual symptoms for the first couple months. For example this one, https://www.ketovangelist.com/ladies-keto-guide/. It's good to read about them and get mentally prepared 

Personally my first keto period was delayed, and for the first 2 days it was 2~3 times as heavy as usual.. I also got really strong mood swings on the first day, which I've never had before..It wasn't bad otherwise. Nothing to be afraid of 🙂

 

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On 10/9/2021 at 2:52 PM, Amy said:

Yeah thanks. I have been experimenting with how much electrolytes to take. Actually really love having my tea with salt and cream now.. I've been trying to eat whatever I want as long as it's very low carbs, to connect with my body. That's been going well I think 🙂

I found multiple posts online saying keto diet may accentuate menstrual symptoms for the first couple months. For example this one, https://www.ketovangelist.com/ladies-keto-guide/. It's good to read about them and get mentally prepared 

Personally my first keto period was delayed, and for the first 2 days it was 2~3 times as heavy as usual.. I also got really strong mood swings on the first day, which I've never had before..It wasn't bad otherwise. Nothing to be afraid of 🙂

 

Mine were wonky for a few months, inconsistent to each other in both length and intensity, but they have become more regular than any other point in my life since then. Since you're new to keto, it might be a good idea (if you don't already) to use some kind of cycle tracking app in tandem so you can keep track of how your electrolytes, diet, bloating, symptoms of all kinds might interact with each other. I use "Clue," which allows you to select which things you wish to track (heaviness, skin, appetite, medicine, mood, digestion... lots to choose from). We have a tendency to correlate where there is less connection than we might think. I was astounded how starting to track my cycle illustrated patterns that I'd otherwise have associated with short-term causation (what I ate, for example, whereas I actually have that symptom EVERY SINGLE cycle on about Day 2, haha).

Some people do well with "carb cycling" and it's something I see discussed more often with women's hormones than with Keto in general. It's not something I've experimented much with and if Keto teaches you anything it's that every body is different and the whole process is about learning about yourself, but if it's something you feel you want to try if your energy is taking a big hit (after you've given time to adapt).

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1 hour ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Mine were wonky for a few months, inconsistent to each other in both length and intensity, but they have become more regular than any other point in my life since then. Since you're new to keto, it might be a good idea (if you don't already) to use some kind of cycle tracking app in tandem so you can keep track of how your electrolytes, diet, bloating, symptoms of all kinds might interact with each other. I use "Clue," which allows you to select which things you wish to track (heaviness, skin, appetite, medicine, mood, digestion... lots to choose from). We have a tendency to correlate where there is less connection than we might think. I was astounded how starting to track my cycle illustrated patterns that I'd otherwise have associated with short-term causation (what I ate, for example, whereas I actually have that symptom EVERY SINGLE cycle on about Day 2, haha).

Some people do well with "carb cycling" and it's something I see discussed more often with women's hormones than with Keto in general. It's not something I've experimented much with and if Keto teaches you anything it's that every body is different and the whole process is about learning about yourself, but if it's something you feel you want to try if your energy is taking a big hit (after you've given time to adapt).

Thanks for the good tips! ❤️ Yeah it is all about learning and experimenting. It's pretty mind-blowing how people can eat so differently and respond differently too. I'll try these and take more notes. For me, it's been an awesome journey so far, and much less scary than I imagined. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂  I feel really good overall, better focus and feel more at peace. Much better relationship with food too, which was the main reason I started with keto. The only thing I struggled with was actually gaining a few kilos (but my training schedule also changed from fight camp to lockdown 😞)  I heard initial weight gain can happen for people who previously on very low fat, but will stablise once the hormones stablise too. I think I'm starting to naturally eat less than when I started, so I'm not too worried 😄 

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