11 Reasons Your Period Is Missing (besides Pregnancy)
iStock/flocu Birth control pills, patches, rings, shots, patches, and IUDs aren't guaranteed to stop your cycle entirely but missed periods are a recognized side effect of hormonal birth control—one many women are quite happy about. This is because hormonal birth control methods are designed to both inhibit ovulation and thin the lining of the uterus, explains Alyssa Dweck, MD, ob-gyn and co-author of V is for Vagina: Your A to Z guide to Periods, Piercings, Pleasures and so much more. No egg to protect and no lining to shed means a lighter or non-existent period. The Mirena IUD and the Depo-Provera shot are the types most known for this side effect, along with pill packs, like Seasonique, that are designed for this express purpose. iStock/mihailomilovanovic The "female athlete triad" refers to a pattern of undereating, amenorrhea (loss of periods), and osteoporosis that stem from an extreme workout routine. But despite the word "athlete" in the name, you don't have to be bound for the Olympics to be at risk. According to a recent study, it can affect women in any shape, form, or weight—not just the stereotypical "ballerina physique"—who are exercising too much. How much is too much? The answer is specific to each woman's body and circumstances, but a good rule of thumb is if your workouts make your period go missing, it's too much for you. Here are other bizarre side effects of exercise. You have PCOS iStock/shironosov Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an increasingly common cause of amenorrhea, says Renée Volny Darko, DO, a board-certified ob-gyn practicing in Pennsylvania. PCOS is the most common hormonal endocrine disorder in women, affecting 5 to 10 percent of all women and is thought to be responsible for up to 70 percent of infertility. The syndrome is Continue reading >>
Absence Of Periods On Low Carb With If
Can a low-carb diet combined with intermittent fasting result in an abscence of periods? And if so, what do you do? Get the answer to this and other questions – could dairy be a problem in PCOS? – in this week’s Q&A with the fertility specialist Dr. Fox: Loss of period Almost five months ago I started LCHF due to insulin resistance and PCOS. I lost about 40 pounds (18 kg), and feeling great. But, after two months of regular periods (31-35 days), I simply lost them. The last was on March 26th. This is now my third missed period. When I look back, it seems to me that perhaps I shouldn’t have done IF, (i didn’t fast first two months, and then I had my periods). Now my doctor has put me on progesterone to induce periods, and gave me cyclo-progynova to restore hormonal balance. What has happened doctor Fox? The last ultrasound showed that my endometrium is very thin (before was great). Though, my right ovary had no cysts. Can these hormonal pills harm my health? I am also taking glucophage xr 1000mg a day. I’ve also noticed increased hair loss… Thanks in advance, P.S Keep up the good work!!! Thanks for every advice, lecture, interview! Ivana Dr. Fox: That overall is a hard question. My best guess and it is a guess, is that you may have an underlying hypothalamic dysfunction, maybe due to prior exercise, or eating disorders, hypoglycemia, sleep apnea etc, that has predisposed you to be very sensitive to physiologic stress. The IF if not done during a time of absolute ketoadaptation, could produce such a stress signal that then could have shut off the signals from the hypothalamus to the pituitary and hence decreased the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) signal to the ovary. This could explain your scenario and would be the most likely thing we would see. Evalua Continue reading >>
For Ladies Only: A Keto Guide
Shark week. Checking into the Red Roof Inn. Surfing the Crimson Wave. Getting a visit from Aunt Flo. The Red Badge of Courage. That time of the month. Whatever euphemism you use for it, women inevitably have to deal with menstruation and all the weird junk that goes along with it. We here at Ketovangelist get a lot of questions about keto and periods. A. Lot. So, at the behest of our coaches- and after much whining on my part- I’ve put together this little “what to expect” guide for women to help a sister out when it gets down to the issue of menstruating. You’re welcome. One thing to keep in mind: Your period is still your period. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a zillion times: keto is not magic. and it isn’t the cause of everything that will happen to you after you start eating this way. For the most part, your period is going to be your normal period while you’re keto. You might have cravings, you might cramp, you might be light or heavy, or early or late. All the same stuff you dealt with during menstruation pre-keto you will probably continue to deal with now that you’ve changed your food lifestyle. That being said, there are a few issues we do see pop up from time to time and I will address them, in no particular order: If you’re hungry, eat A direct quote, if I may, from our lovely coach, Mary Roberts: “Hormone hunger is real hunger.” And she’s right. Right after ovulation the body ramps up production of estrogen and progesterone, both of which can cause your body to feel hunger. The bottom line is that, as we all should know, our menstrual time is a stretch of a few days where hormones are screwy. We might be tired, we might be cranky, and we will probably be hungry. All of that is perfectly normal and you are not expected to sit an Continue reading >>
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Ketogenic Diet And Menopause
Menopause can be very difficult on a number of levels. Although each woman's experience is different, many find that they gain fat, lose muscle tone, and struggle with hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings during this time. In this article, I'll discuss how a low-carb or keto diet combined with other lifestyle strategies may help you manage some of the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of menopause. What is the Menopause Transition? Although a woman technically reaches menopause when she has gone 12 months without a menstrual period, symptoms related to perimenopause – the time where hormonal changes begin - can start much earlier. In addition, they may last for several years after this point, and new symptoms may develop within the first few years after menopause. The average age of onset for perimenopause is 46, and it typically lasts about 7 years. However, a woman may start perimenopause anytime between her mid-30s and mid-50s, and the transition can last from 4 to 14 years (1). The day after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period, she is considered postmenopausal. During and after the menopause transition, as many as 34 symptoms may occur. The most common ones include: Hot flashes and night sweats Weight gain, especially around the middle Insomnia Vaginal dryness Mood swings Fatigue Poor memory, ie, “brain fog” Interestingly, while some women find that their symptoms are more severe during perimenopause, others report that their symptoms intensify after they are postmenopausal. Hormone Fluctuations and Insulin Resistance During Menopause During a woman's reproductive years, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) causes the release of an egg from one of her ovaries approximately every 28 days and stimulates ovarian production of estrogen. Af Continue reading >>
The Keto Diet Podcast Ep. #042: Optimizing Your Menstrual Cycle On Keto
Interview with Alisa Vitti, a functional nutritionist, women’s hormone expert, best-selling author and founder of floliving.com, chatting about how to adjust the ketogenic diet to compliment your menstrual cycle, heal your hormones, and boost energy and vitality… every day. For podcast transcript, scroll down. SHOW NOTES + LINKS TIMESTAMPS Fats that cause PMS (14:34) FREE hormone testing from the comfort of your home (33:43) Eating to support your cycle (50:56) PARTNERS OF THE KETO DIET PODCAST 100% grass-fed & finished FERMENTED beef sticks with 1 billion naturally-occurring, gut-healing probiotics! Go to Paleovalley.com for 20% off. The podcast is partnered with Wolfe Clinic Royal Flora, my choice in soil-based probiotics. Get 20% off your soil-based probiotics with the coupon code GUT at checkout. Use the coupon code HEALTHFUL all in caps, no spaces, for 15% off your first Perfect Keto order at perfectketo.com/hp. Once you’ve loaded up your cart, use HEALTHFUL for 15% off your first order. Again that’s HEALTHFUL at perfectketo.com/hp for 15% off your first order. TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 42 of the Keto Diet Podcast. Today, we’re chatting about fats that cause PMS, free hormone testing from the comfort of your own home, and eating to support your cycle. So, stayed tuned. Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com, and this is the Keto Diet Podcast, where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar-burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everyt Continue reading >>
Symptoms Of Ketosis:
If you are considering the ketogenic diet or have already started down this carb-free road, you may wonder what you can expect. Here’s the thing. Ketosis looks different for everyone, but I will share many of the most common symptoms with you today. If something other than what’s listed here is happening to you, just do a quick Google search for that symptom and keto. You should be able to find what you’re looking for! The Early Signs: The early signs of ketosis vary from person to person. The biggest impact on how quickly you notice the symptoms of ketosis will have a lot to do with how you ate before you started the diet. If your diet was very high carb, you might get hit pretty quickly and furiously with what we like to call the “Keto Flu.” This can last anywhere from 3 days to a week or more. Once your body has adapted to burning ketones for energy instead of glucose, you’ll be golden so don’t give up! Here’s what you can expect within the first 2-3 days of starting the Ketogenic Diet: Fatigue & Weakness (lack of concentration) Headaches Metallic taste or sweet taste in your mouth (I experienced this, and it tasted like blood in my mouth) Lightheaded / Dizzy upon standing Heightened Thirst Hunger / Sweet or Carb Cravings Dry Mouth possibly paired with “Keto Breath.” Stomach Discomfort / Mild Nausea / Cramping Trouble Sleeping or Staying Asleep (early waking) Water weight loss (perhaps an excessive loss of weight within the first two weeks) Frequent Urination Allergies or cold like symptoms may flair up For the ladies: Period issues: You may experience a longer, shorter, earlier, later period because of Keto. Seriously it causes all of that. Each woman is different, and I have experienced every one of those issues with my period since starting ket Continue reading >>
Does A Ketogenic Diet Affect Women’s Hormones?
Does a ketogenic diet affect women’s hormones? Yes—you can count on your nutrition to affect your hormones. Does it ruin or destroy your hormones? No. The unfortunate part is that if women rely on hearsay and don’t source better information about ketosis and their hormones, they lose out on the benefits of ketosis, especially those who suffer from PCOS, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Women with these conditions can benefit significantly from the ketogenic diet.  In this post we’ll discuss the ketogenic diet’s impact on your thyroid and the HPA axis, then look at ways to evaluate your hormones, how you feel, and what adjustments to make. The Ketogenic Diet and Your Thyroid Is ketosis bad for your thyroid? No. Let’s break it down: It’s true that low-carb diets (like the ketogenic diet) and calorie restriction lowers T3, the thyroid marker hormone.   T3 make your cells use more energy. Because of its function, scientists have hypothesized that “a reduction in T3 hormone may increase lifespan by conserving energy and reducing free-radical production.”  Together with T4, these hormones regulate your metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. Most of T3 binds to protein and some free T3 circulates in your blood. But a lowered T3 doesn’t mean you get thyroid dysfunction or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is often a case of high levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and low levels of free T4. The pituitary gland tries to get your thyroid gland to produce T4: high levels of TSH. But the thyroid isn’t responding: low levels of T4. When T3 is reduced, the thyroid is called “euthyroid.” A normal thyroid. For a more in-depth look at what a low-carb diet does to T3, T4 and TSH levels, read Dr. Anthony’s article on ketosis and women Continue reading >>
Much Ado About Ketosis: Are The Adverse Effects Really That Adverse?
I recently read a blog post decrying anyone that would recommend a low carbohydrate / ketogenic diet to their patients. What?! In fact, this particular blog outlined a number of “adverse reactions” to a ketogenic diet, and based upon these perceived reactions, the writer advised severe caution with its use in just about anyone. It is important to note at the outset that most of the data this blogger quotes are from older studies completed in children for the treatment of epilepsy with specific liquid ketogenic dietary meal replacements. (Not what you’d expect in a low-carb / ketogenic diet for the average obese adult today.) Thanks to recent misinformation by a number of medical professionals, including the person writing the blog referenced above, a poor understanding of fatty acid metabolism by the general community, and a distinct lack of understanding of human adaptability recorded over the last 5,000-6,000 years, there is still significant confusion about ketogenic diets. It is important to recognize the crucial fact that the human body is designed to function quite well when supplied any of three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins or fats. It does so through an amazing series of enzymatic reactions referred to as the Krebs (tricarboxylic acid) cycle, producing needed ATP (adenosine triphosphate) required for our muscles to contract, our heart to beat and our diaphragm to expand our lungs. What’s even more amazing that that the body was designed to recognize the season we are in based up on the food we eat. That is, until we invented refrigerators in 1913. (Now our bodies think it’s year round summer time . . . wait . . . I live in Arizona where it is year round summer time.) No, this is not a post about unplugging your refrigerator, living on solar, Continue reading >>
Ketosis And Menstrual Function: A Canary In The Mine?
In the 1920’s, researchers at the Mayo Clinic used a ketogenic diet to treat adults with ideopathic epilepsy. In 1930, Dr. Clifford Barborka published a paper detailing their findings with their first 100 patients. Among other findings, Barborka notes that 20% of the women involved in the study experienced complete cessation of menstruation during treatment, which didn’t return until a normal diet was resumed. He only reported on menstrual cessation, but given more contemporary research on the subject we can reasonably speculate that many more women experienced menstrual irregularities that stopped short of complete cessation. Subjects were eating appropriate calories to maintain their weight, so weight loss was not a confounder here. He speculates that it may have been related to a vitamin B or E deficiency, but has no clear explanation. (Note that this was many decades before the discovery of Leptin and it’s role in hormonal regulation.) In 2003, researchers published their retrospective study of 45 adolescents aged 12-19 treated for epilpsy with a ketogenic diet over 8 years. They noted that 45% of the girls involved in the study reported menstrual irregularities, most (2/3) of whom experienced complete cessation of menstruation (the other 1/3 were reported as experiencing delayed puberty or menstrual irregularity). Most resumed menstruation after ending the diet. 2 were treated with hormone therapy to induce and regulate menstruation. A majority of the girls did not lose weight on the diet, so again, weight loss was not a confounder in most cases. Researchers speculated that: “The diet may mimic the menstrual side effects seen in starvation and certain female athletes.” In 1999, a group of researchers published a review of a small group (9 women, 2 men) of Continue reading >>
Does Low-carb Prolong Your Period?
It was bound to happen at some point or another. And now it has. I got an e-mail from a fan of my blog and my book (she said she has already read it twice!) a few days ago who wanted to know why her period continues on indefinitely for weeks at a time while she is livin’ la vida low-carb. Uh, heck if I know! Hee hee! As much personal experience I have had with the low-carb lifestyle over the past couple of years, that is DEFINTELY one area I will NEVER have any primary knowledge about (thank you, Jesus! LOL!). But, thanks to some key friends who are all women (WOO HOO!) and experts in the low-carb lifestyle (BONUS!), I am able to assist this reader with some invaluable information and learn some things in the process. Here was her very interesting e-mail dilemma: “I have question that you personally have never had to deal with, but I am hoping you will tap your resources and be able to answer for me. I have lived low-carb and then stopped several times for the same reason. I lose a lot of weight very quickly and then it tapers off to 2-3 pounds a week. I currently weigh about 283 pounds. When I start on the low-carb lifestyle, I lost 15-20 pounds in the first month and then my period started and would not stop. I have had this happen now several times. I spoke with my doctor about this and the answer he gave me I have never seen in a blog or book before. His explanation was as follows: your body fat retains estrogen and when you lose body fat quickly, then your body doesn’t know what to do with the explosion of extra estrogen so it makes your cycle unexpectedly start prematurely. Then the estrogen level stays elevated because of your weight is dropping so your cycle never stops. I have searched many blogs and books and can’t find any mention of this phenomenon. Continue reading >>
16 Ways Keto For Women Is Different + Doesn’t Need To Suck
As a female, we have to tinker the keto diet a little more than our male keto-ers do. For example, during shark week I can’t eat meat or I’ll end up on the couch in agony, with a heating pad, wanting to tear my ovaries out. So, I have to opt for things that are more easily digestible to my puffy, unhappy insides. Keto for women is just different. For one week every month we have brain-consuming cravings, we weigh more, have a hard time digesting, we get headaches and cramps and dammit we just want a blanket, some chocolate and a tub of icecream. end OK, but you get it. We also have other things to think about, like vaginas and boobies. For these two special things, we need to make some alterations too. You can’t just cut out some things. How to make keto for women easier and less grouchy Here are some tips I’ve cooked up over the past year that I’ve been told have been really helpful, enjoy! Eat yogurt. The diet says no, but I SAY YES. Men don’t need to care about the Lactobacillus acidophilus in yogurt, but a good healthy vagina does! Dannon makes a Light & Fit “Diabetic Friendly” vanilla yogurt that’s only 3 carbs per cup. Take cranberry supplements. Additionally, we need cranberry to ward away pesky urinary tract infections if we ever plan on forgetting to pee after sex again. So, take a cranberry supplement every day, and accept the carbs that come with it. Prepare for the lady in red. When the red devil is in town and you “need” sweets, opt for a handful of dark chocolate chocolate chips. The gourmet ones, real dark chocolate ones have the least carbs. The Milk Chocolate Almond Bars from Meleleuca only have 7 carbs for the entire bar, 9 for the DHA-enhanced dark chocolate ones which is also awesome. Remember that meats take more Continue reading >>
The Side Effects Of A Low Carb Diet
Who should go on a low-carb diet? Low-carbohydrate diets — like the ketogenic diet — are effective for weight loss and improving health. They are also especially helpful for anyone who: Is overweight or obese Is sedentary Has epilepsy Has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids or endometriosis Is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes Has a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Has certain forms of cancer Has cardiovascular disease A typical low-carb diet limits the daily intake of carbohydrates to between 60 and 130 grams, while a ketogenic diet tends to stay below 30 grams of carbohydrates. This is done by excluding or limiting most grains, legumes, fruits, bread, sweets, pasta and starchy vegetables from the diet and replacing them with added fats, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. When we eat in this way, our bodies begin to change dramatically — especially for those who habitually eat plenty of carbohydrates with each meal. Not all of these changes, however, are going to be positive. When carbohydrates are restricted, it is stressful for the body because it must find another way to fuel itself. This can cause side effects, like nausea and headaches, that is commonly called the “keto flu”. The lack of carbohydrates will also lead to fluid and mineral loss and hormonal changes that can cause health issues if not addressed. The Most Common Side Effects The most common side effects that are experienced when restricting carbohydrates are: Headache Bad breath Weakness Fatigue Constipation or diarrhea It is important, however, to consider how common these symptoms actually are. In studies that put obese patients on a ketogenic diet for 6 months or longer (up to two years), no side effects or co Continue reading >>
Epilepsy And Your Changing Hormones
Women with epilepsy face different issues than men with epilepsy. For some women, the pattern of epileptic seizures is directly affected by the normal hormonal cycles they experience throughout their lives. Two primary sex hormones flow through women's bodies. One is estrogen and the other is progesterone. Most of the time, your body has about the same amount of each. What does that have to do with epilepsy? Doctors have learned that both of these hormones interact with brain cells. Estrogen is an "excitatory" hormone, which means that it makes brain cells give off more of an electrical discharge. Progesterone, on the other hand, is an "inhibitory" hormone, which means that it calms those cells down. When the body is making more estrogen than progesterone, it can make the nervous system "excitable." In other words, you could be at greater risk for seizures. The hormones aren't actually causing the seizures, but they can influence when they happen. Some women with epilepsy have more seizures when their hormones are changing. For example, some young women have their first seizures at puberty. Other women have more seizures around the time of their menstrual periods. This doesn't happen to all women, so doctors are still learning about how hormones and epilepsy interact. Some women have a form of epilepsy called catamenial epilepsy. This refers to seizures that are affected by a woman's menstrual cycle. Doctors aren't completely sure how many women with epilepsy have this, but they think it's about 10% to 12%. The exact cause of these seizures is unknown. However, some women have most of their seizures when there is a lot of estrogen in their body, such as during ovulation. Other women have seizures when progesterone levels tend to drop, such as right before or during thei Continue reading >>
Do Very Low-carb Diets Mess Up Some Women's Hormones?
Studies show that low-carb diets can cause weight loss and improve metabolic health (1). However, even though low-carb diets are great for some people, they may cause problems for others. For example, following a very low-carb diet for a long time may disrupt hormones in some women. This article explores how low-carb diets may affect women's hormones. Your hormones are regulated by three major glands: Hypothalamus: located in the brain Pituitary: located in the brain Adrenals: located at the top of the kidneys All three glands interact in complex ways to keep your hormones in balance. This is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is responsible for regulating your stress levels, mood, emotions, digestion, immune system, sex drive, metabolism, energy levels and more. The glands are sensitive to things like calorie intake, stress and exercise levels. Long-term stress can cause you to overproduce the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, creating an imbalance that increases pressure on the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands (2). This ongoing pressure may eventually lead to HPA axis dysfunction, sometimes controversially referred to as "adrenal fatigue" (3). Symptoms include fatigue, a weakened immune system and greater risk of long-term health problems such as hypothyroidism, inflammation, diabetes and mood disorders. Many sources suggest that a diet too low in calories or carbs can also act as a stressor, causing HPA dysfunction. In addition, some evidence suggests that low-carb diets can cause increased production of cortisol ("the stress hormone"), making the problem worse (4). One study found that, regardless of weight loss, a low-carb diet increased cortisol levels compared to a moderate-fat, moderate-carb diet (5). Eating too fe Continue reading >>
When Not To Be On A Ketogenic Diet
When Not To Be on a Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted or keto adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. It also improves cellular healing and mitochondrial biogenesis which supports stronger and healthier cells. All of this leads to reduced risk of chronic disease as well as improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). Where Ketosis Can Be Extremely Beneficial There are certain cases, where I typically recommend a ketogenic diet as the research appears to support that ketosis significantly improves the functionality of these individuals. Overweight or Obese Neurodegenerative Conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Most Cancers but especially those of the brain, nervous system and blood (leukemia) Chronic Pain Seizure Disorders Non-Elite athletes or individuals looking for higher mental & physical performance The final one is the area that I and many others who have pursued a state of ketosis fall into. At this point in my life, I have no chronic diseases, I feel great 99% of the time, but I am always looking to improve my productivity and performance. I have found being in mild-ketosis to be one of the best ways to improve my energy, mental acuity, creativity, physical strength and overall life performance. There is no one diet that works perfectly for everyone. Ketosis has the potential to benefit everyone, but under unique circumstances it would not be warranted. Here are a list of special cases where long-term st Continue reading >>