I’ve read all over that estrogen is stored in fat cells and released during weight loss, and that is the cause of disrupted periods. Unfortunately, I have not come across a single scientific reference to back this up. It’s just repeated so often that it’s accepted as fact.
And maybe that does happen. But all the studies I’ve looked at show that estrogen DECREASES both during and after weight loss.
My first period after starting low-carbing at the beginning of February was absolutely brutal. I didn’t associate it with my diet at the time. But it was so bad that I asked my doctor for a high dose of progesterone (300mg Prometrium) to get it under control and give me a chance to recover from mild anemia.
The progesterone worked as planned, and I didn’t have a period for two months. But then, while still on progesterone (continuously, not cyclically), I had a period, and it was just as bad as the previous one. My doctor couldn’t believe I would have a period while taking that much progesterone. Next month, same story. Then two weeks later, I had a bonus period (something that I had never experienced before).
People keep saying, “You’ll get back to normal after a few months.” But after more than five months, I’m still waiting.
I’ve low-carbed many times, but I don’t recall this happening before, so I don’t know what is different this time, except that this is the first time I’ve introduced intermittent fasting.
Unfortunately, women are usually given short shrift in scientific research, so this is quite likely a problem that does not currently have a real answer (only speculation and anecdotes). Even when experts talk about it, they are only expressing a moderately (at best) informed opinion. There just hasn’t been a study on it (that I’m aware of), so all we get are “truthy” explanations.
It’s my general impression that most women do not have this issue when low-carbing (and may, in fact, actually have their periods normalized by it). But there are tons of threads here and in other low-carb forums about the topic, so it’s definitely not an isolated problem.
I’m ketoing (and fasting) on because the health benefits have been phenomenal, and since I have the support and participation of my husband this time, it really feels sustainable. On the whole, I’ve got to think this is good for me, but I do have to wonder about the physiology that causes heavy/prolonged/irregular periods for so many women.