How eating Keto affects a woman's hormones and her monthly visitor

(J) #203

KCKO. Talk to your doctor if you haven’t had a period in 3 months.

(Ashley Ann Ortiz) #204

Ok, wow lots of comments and great information and experience ladies, thank you! I’m 2 weeks into keto for my second time. Last time I lastedd 2 months but struggling alot with my moods and energy. I have bipolar disorder and since I got the mirena iud I have slowly developed bad acne, weight gain, and like clockwork a week and a half to a week before my period intensifying up til I start my period I get horrible, dark depression. My pychatriast told me awhile ago it could be my our but after my gyno made me feel stupid many times saying it’s hormones are generalized so it doesn’t affect my whole body and so on I stopped trying to get it out because I have 3 children already and really couldn’t afford or handle anymore kids for a few years and was afraid. Now I want to take control of my hormones and my health. I started DIM 3 weeks ago and keto 2 weeks. My moods are pretty bad and irriated but worse yet my energy level is soooo low anss makes my moods worse. I have very limited patience when im its hard to get up in the morning, im cant keep my eyes open hours later and need to nap, and my body is sore, cramping, and in pain. My Marcos are good, I’m supplementing with electrolytes, nutritional yeast, enzymes for my digestion with bile salts, probotics, and some varies herbs for detox, etc. I ate poorly before and I’m 60 lbs overweight and been on bipolar meds on and off for years that I had bad withdrawals from 6 months ago so from reading something Mary’s posts with all that information and about the 100s of chemicals and estrogen being released alot makes sense now. My questions ladies are =1. If i want to get my iud out and possibly not be on birth control with the varying periods we can get on keto is it too varying for me to track my cycle to male sure i dont get pregnant? Im a year and half away from when i want to try for another one and until then its a bad time financially and in our living situation! A child is always a blessing but were trying to make sure we have a good home and my bipolar, health, and hormones managed better for our 3 kids, myself, and a new child before we do that. 1a. If it’s to risky is there even a good low or no hormone birth control that wouldn’t have such a big effect or control of my body and 2. Does anyone with bipolar, a mental disorder, or depression/anxiety have any experience with keto? There is very little research done on it but with the diets use for epilepsy and people with bipolar put on mood stabilizers which are anti-convulsive meds for epilepsy too some think keto may help symptoms of mood disorders. The keto diet flushes high sodium levels in our cells and with alot of other processes in our brain the idea is that the neurons firing in our brain can be less excited so that when channels are opened there isn’t an overload that in turn inhibits pathways (causing depression) or overexcites (causing mania). Interesting stuff and there’s way more science to it then I can remember right now. So if anyone has a testimony with disorders, moods, and birth control and hormones relayed to my experience and questions I’d so appreciate it!!! Struggling with bipolar and horrible depression since 15 has just taken a toll on my spirit and body and I want to push through this diet that just seems like my last hope.

(Rachel Innes) #205

Hi Ashley,

I am an epileptic and have suffered major depression before when I was in my teens and into very early 20’s. I am 26 and have not suffered from mental Illness for 3 years. However I only started keto 4 months ago (so I don’t know how it effects those with mental health problems) but I experienced a lot of symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal, including moodiness. It is normal and can take up to a year for a woman to adapt to the fat burning change sometimes longer. Every woman is different. You need to be patient and try not to stress as this can only make getting into ketosis harder. You need to remember that your whole body and mind is reprogramming itself from carb burning to fat burning. This is stressful on the body as you are literally starving your brain and everything else of its’ main fuel source. It will take time for you to adjust, including your hormone levels. Try meditation or doing a hobby you enjoy to help alleviate stress from the transition and from bipolar symptoms. Every time I stress out, it only makes my epilepsy flare up and makes me feel drained and unhappy and brings about micro seizures. Keep positive, you can do it! There’s no point in stressing, trust me, I know.

  1. Look into a different birth control for starters as it sounds as though the IUD is not helping you psychologically and physically. IUD is not for everyone, I’ve never gone for it because I have heard bad things such as the symptoms you are experiencing at the moment. I recommend the pill, try a few until you find the right one(as goes with everything else in life). It can be annoying in the beginning to try and remember to take it every day, but if you are back on Bipolar medication you’d be taking that everyday anyway, easy peasy. If you are not on medication for bipolar, I recommend going back on that too until you are completely fat adapted and try lowering the dosage to see how you feel(that’s what I did) but under doctor supervision only. If worst comes to worst, simply up the dosage again until you feel better(even in the slightest is a great improvement!) Take both the pill and bipolar medication at the same time every day to ensure the drug levels don’t fluctuate and cause unwanted problems. I take an anti-convulsant called Tegretol (low dose), it contains carbamazepine which can help with depression, although not greatly and comes with a lot of unwanted side effects and so I don’t recommend anti-convulsants as a treatment for bipolar and depression.

  2. I have experienced mental stability, clarity of mind and concentration since being keto adapted and got on the keto bandwagon for my condition, I used to have problems with these areas before, so stick at it and remember, Keto is a lifestyle not a simple diet that can be used for a purpose and then quit. Keto is a strict Low Carb (5% 20g Net maximum), Moderate Protein (20%), High Fat (75-80%) diet. In order to get the neurological and physiological benefits, you have to continue a strict regime for the rest of your life if you want life long benefits. Otherwise all the benefits go away. Electrolytes are very important when going through the transitioning phase(I have them when I fast or don’t eat enough veggies), but you need to make sure you are consuming carb free electrolytes as many of them contain some form of sugar, which will prevent you from entering ketosis or kick you out. I recommend Ultima Electrolytes which you can buy from iHerb, they are sweetened with stevia, flavours are from natural sources and contain 0g carbs. Bone or vegetable broth is a great way (and possibly a better way than Ultima) to get electrolytes into your system while transitioning. It helps lessen the severity of the keto flu symptoms and may even shorten the time you have said symptoms. Make a huge batch of bone broth to drink and have 1 cup every day until you have entered Ketosis. Freeze the rest for later use.

  3. Eat plenty of fat(at least 75%), salads, vegetables, meat and other healthy foods. Take the time to prep big batches of food and freeze for later so you don’t get bored with the diet and loose the drive to stick at it. It is hard when you live a busy life with having children and jobs, but you can still eat very healthy and yummy food and make these meals quickly. A piece of seasoned lamb or steak with a green salad and homemade vinaigrette(olive oil, apple cider, salt, pepper and herbs) is easy. Make cauliflower mash in bulk and freeze it. So long as you eat healthy, and add plenty of veggies and dairy to your diet, there will be no need for supplements. Be careful of supplements and vitamins as these are generally composed from synthetic sources and many of them have not been scientifically proven to work, where as simple food with no additives are all natural and you can look up the contents of each item (from a trusted internet source) to see what you are putting into your body such as vitamins and minerals and Macros.

  4. Get Chronometer (phone application) it is a health and fitness app to keep track of your macros, and amount of carbs you are consuming.

Bottom line:
1.Try the Pill
2. Get rid of the IUD
3. Take bipolar medication
4. Eat healthy and strictly with 75-80% Fat, 20% Protein (1g protein per 1kg body weight) and 5% Net carbs with a maximum of 20g Net Carbs a Day. DO NOT GO OVER THESE LIMITS. The less carbs you consume, the quicker you will enter Ketosis.
5. Bone/Vegetable broth 1 cup per day to help alleviate keto flu and other symptoms.
6. Keto is a lifestyle, not just a diet, don’t quit until you truly feel the benefits of it.
7. Install Chronometer to help you keep track of your Macros and calorie consumption.

Sorry this was long!! I hope it helps you though :relaxed:

(Rachel Innes) #206

Hi Tora,

I hope the diet is going well for you and the problems are going away! I highly doubt keto is causing health problems as keto does the opposite and is supposed to heal your body and make you feel healthy and lively.

Keep an eye on the ovarian cysts, this can cause unwanted symptoms and they can turn cancerous. Do you have a family history of breast cancer or reproductive cancers or conditions? Sometimes women can get reproductive conditions even when there is no family history though, so keep an eye on this.

If you don’t have a health and fitness app, I highly recommend you install one on your phone. I recommend Chronometer. Keep track of your macros on this app to ensure you are feeding your brain and body enough fat to maintain energy levels.

Good on your hubby! A lack of fat can definitely make you crash and make you hungry. Having a really high amount of fat will make you feel fuller for longer and give you plenty of energy. Invest in MCT oil if you haven’t already. Regular coconut oil contains a lot of Lauric acid which not converted into instant energy for the brain and contains less of the the more beneficial MCTs. Find coconut oil that contains mostly Caprylic and Capric acid as these chains are better brain food. It costs more (not much more) but is better fuel for you brain and will give you more energy. Keep having BPC, I have 1Tbsp MCT, 1Tbsp of ghee and almond milk with my coffee and it is so yummy! It fills me up for hours and I can even go without lunch.

Also, it takes time for hormones to balance out, so be patient and you’ll get there! Go to your doctor for regular checkups :+1:

(J) #207

Use caution with these 3.

You are far more likely to suffer mood changes with birth control pills than an IUD. And many bipolar meds interact with birth control pills. If you don’t like your IUD and you and your partner are done with kids, ask him to get a vasectomy. It’s a minor in-office procedure. You’ve had 3 kids… it’s his turn to step up. Otherwise, you could talk to your OB/GYN about skyla or Kyleena which have a significantly lower dose. Do be aware that hormonal IUDs have an initial hormonal spike that comes down over time (usually about 3 months), and often the acne clears up in a few months. Also bipolar meds can cause skin changes too. It wasn’t clear to me whether or not you were on meds for your bipolar, but this is definitely a conversation to have with your psychiatrist if you are struggling.

Best of luck to you.

(Irian) #208

I only got lucky in Germany by looking for an obgyn practice specializing in fertility - found an obgyn also trained as an endocrinologist who looked at my fasting glucose and insulin declared just fine by my GP and went „well if you actually wanted to get pregnant I’d put you on Metformin, but at least you need to be on a low carb diet!“ She was also the only one who found it completely natural that I would want an ultrasound of my ovaries to check. You have to pay out of pocket but best 40€ I ever spent to confirm what Dr Google had made me suspect, the typical string of Pearls. Having a confirmation that it’s not just me being gluttonous and lazy but that really there is something wrong that makes it hard to lose weight is priceless to me.
Not that I actually want children, but I figured if my body is in an optimal fertile state that equals healthy, and these are the only people I found who take this stuff seriously :flushed: so continuing with them.


Ok, didn’t like that I was being sold something there… and there was nothing on the page about keto not being great for women. This site is full of women doing keto successfully and improving their health. So are you selling something, or was there valuable information buried somewhere in there I didn’t have the patience to find?

(rabia) #212

He’s spamming us. It’s his only post. And frankly I don’t trust random guys (ooooh, a personal trainer you say??) to explain anything about the female body to me.

(T Js) #215

Wonderful posts. On my 4th month of keto. Have Mirena IUD for 7+ years with no real periods until my first month of keto. I had moderate flow first month and this has thankfully improved each month since. I also get premenstrual bloating and breast swelling that I previously never had along with 2-3 pound weight gain during beginning of cycle. Cycles have been annoying more than anything (after having no symptoms on Mirena), now mild cramping with daily spotting for 4-5 days requiring pads/tampons. I am hoping my periods go away, but I have so many other positive benefits (weight loss, seasonal allergies almost completely gone, low appetite during menses making it easier to fast, high energy level). I currently do OMAD heavy during menses because easier as I am not hungry, so trying to make best of the unintended visit from Aunt Flow.


Did you get any spotting with starting keto? I have been in menopause 7 years, however, with losing weight, I have started spotting and sometimes lightish flow. Dr says excess estrogen is stored in fat ( of which I have plenty)

(Diane) #217



Yep, you have? I had to go for a pelvic (and more invasive) ultrasound the other day and seeing gynecologist on Tuesday. I’m SO anxious now!!
Im hoping that’s all it is

(Diane) #219

I had gone almost 6 months without a period just prior to starting keto. I’ve had some spotting, some very long, but very light periods, and some normal periods sporadically throughout the 15 months since. I seem to get a period after an extended fast (fasting more than 3 days) which would correspond to“fat” loss.

Also, because people who are eating ketogenically are eating more healthy fats, many people finally have the raw materials their bodies need for metabolic healing, including having their hormones balanced. This can also affect women’s cycles.

I think it’s good you are following up medically. In the meantime, I hope you can take comfort that a lot of women experience these strange fluctuations on a ketogenic diet and try not to worry.

Good luck!


Thank you. The pelvic ultrasound results were through the same afternoon, got a call ftom gynecologist rooms. Told not to worry but need to talk about pelvic ultrasound, of course, you still worry LOL. Im sure if it was serious she wouldn’t say not to worry! Im sure that’s all it will be.

(Mini Eclair) #221

Have your bleeding stop yet? I had been on menopause for 3 years and keto for more than 2 years. I started light bleeding about a month ago and it’s still on. I am wondering if my bleeding for over a month is normal?

(Mini Eclair) #222

I had been on menopause for 3 years and keto for more than 2 years. I started light bleeding about a month ago and it’s still on. I am wondering if my bleeding for over a month is normal?

(Diane) #223

Are you still losing weight? When women burn their body fat, they release other stuff that is also stored in the fat cells too, things like estrogen. If you’ve been losing more weight, the bleeding might be related to estrogen being released back into your body. I also get some light bleeding if I fast more than a couple of days, again I think this is related to fat loss for me.

If not, or if you’re just concerned, it never hurts to check with/see your doctor. Your doctor may recommend some testing. It can help put your mind at ease and rule out anything that might be serious and require follow-up.

Good luck!

(Mini Eclair) #224

@dimorrill Diane Thank you for your reply. No, I am not losing weight. I started Keto because I used to eat all day long without gaining weight. I had damaged my pancreas and liver by non stop eating. Keto and intermittent fasting helped me stop feeling hungry and repair the damages I have done to my liver and pancreas. I eat a lot of fat to stop feeling hungry and I constantly graving for fat. I am wondering if over intake of fat triggered high estrogen. I also have groin pain. I have look these two symptoms together online, it’s pretty scary - ovarian cancer.

(Mini Eclair) #225

@dimorrill Diane Thank you for your reply. No, I am not losing weight. I started Keto because I used to eat all day long without gaining weight. I had damaged my pancreas and liver by non stop eating. Keto and intermittent fasting helped me stop feeling hungry and repair the damages I have done to my liver and pancreas. I eat a lot of fat to stop feeling hungry and I constantly graving for fat. I am wondering if over intake of fat triggered high estrogen. I also have groin pain. I have look these two symptoms together online, it’s pretty scary - ovarian cancer.