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As for periods, I consider myself lucky – mine appears every month like clockwork; no need to follow apps or a flag on my G-cal. But a few months ago, my usual programming is darkened. I've reviewed the possible reasons for the ghost: pregnant? No chance. Birth control? Used each time. Meds? Nothing new there. Then it hit me: the only change was my diet.
I was testing the ketogenic diet – the overly restrictive yet fashionable diet that encourages people to burn fat by severely restricting carbohydrates to high-fat, high-fat foods. By limiting carbohydrates, you drain the main fuel source of your body, forcing it to use fuel from fat, or ketones, as a source of surrogate energy, says Ariane Hundt, clinical nutritionist. At New York.
Radical change can produce crazy results: I lost 11 pounds and 3% body fat in a month. This is not necessarily a dangerous amount of weight to lose, but it's certainly more than the recommended 1 to 2 pounds a week, and that alone could explain why I skipped my rules, explains Rekha Kumar, MD, endocrinologist specializing in weight control at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. When you lose weight quickly, your body records the loss as a threat and any system deemed unnecessary for survival begins to stop to preserve resources. For women, the baby machine is usually the first to be used.
But this is not the only way for quick weight loss to affect your periods. "If you do an extreme thing for your body, there are probably other downstream effects on important hormones," says Dr. Kumar. Rapid weight loss creates a state of stress in your body, which can cause your adrenal glands to emit more cortisol, also known as stress hormone. A cortisol supplement in your system can lead to changes in libido and menstruation, or even inhibit ovarian function, if the levels become too high. The potential end result: a period of disappearance.
Skipping a period is not necessarily a big deal – it's normal for your cycle to fluctuate from time to time, says Dr. Kumar – but when it's linked to a dietary change, it could be more risky for your health if your periods last a long time. -term. In this case, you need to worry about the same issues as postmenopausal women, says Zandra Palma, MD, a functional medicine physician at Parsley Health in New York. Think about: loss of muscle mass and bone mineral density. If you miss Aunt Flo too long, you can also risk later fertility problems – ovulation difficulties are the reason why about a quarter of infertile couples can not conceive, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It is not known how many women under Keto had their menses gone. Forums like Reddit are filled with stories like mine, but it's hard to pin down the exact stats. And many patients may not talk to a doctor because, like me, a month or two of irregular cycle may be enough to scare them, according to their balanced diet. As soon as this happens, the body begins to recover. (Dr. Palma said that the return to normal of your periods and the rest of your body could take up to three months.)
Even if your body will bounce back once you have regained a balanced diet, doctors say that it's important to recognize how extreme diets can affect your body beyond the number indicated on the scale. "It is unfortunate that some young women have insisted so much on being skinny that they would be sacrificing their health in the long run," said Dr. Kumar.