5

votes

Multiple ovarian cysts while eating a low-carb paleo diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 14, 2012 at 9:03 PM

I've been absent from the paleohacks community for a little while, but this is something that I haven't been able to wrap my head around and wanted to throw it out there to you guys.

Some background: I am 22, 5'9" and 135lbs. I have been eating a low-carb paleo for 6 months (with butter, and cream in my coffee). For a couple of years prior, I was following a loosely low-carb diet. I have never had ovulation pain, or bad menstrual cramps in my entire life. My periods have always been very regular, varying at most 27-31 days. I usually work out 2-3x/week.

About a week after my last period, I started having intense lower abdominal pain near my ovaries. Sometimes unilaterally, sometimes bilaterally, but it never went away. After 5 days I started getting shooting pains and feeling dizzy and very nauseous. Upon going to my gyno, the ultrasound he performed showed that I had multiple ovarian cysts. He said it wasn't enough to be PCOS just yet, but told me that I should go on birth control immediately to prevent the condition from getting worse, so I wouldn't develop the symptoms of PCOS, so I'd be able to have kids more easily in the future, etc.

And here is where my question lies: I've read tons of info online and elsewhere about low-carb helping women with PCOS get off of birth control and hormones, help them lose weight and help leptin sensitivity, etc. I do Not, not not want to start taking exogenous hormones, and I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with a condition like this While they were already eating a paleo/low-carb diet? If so, did your condition improve as you continued to eat this way? Should I continue to eat low-carb/low-sugar and see if it helps improve the condition? If I've had this condition for a long time, why would it be rearing its ugly head Now after I have been eating so cleanly? Did you or did you not start taking hormones, and what was the result? Any information you guys could give me would be appreciated :)

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:02 PM

Make sure you get plenty of selenium too, as it activates the thyroid hormones. 200ug is best.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:58 PM

Yeah, I think I am going to ask to get a complete blood panel done and see what's up. Thanks for your input!

C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

(3225)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Holy cow, Priscilla, I've been having this issue, too and it's been freaking me out. (I'm 39, post childbearing, so I'm freaking for totally different reasons.) Anyway, I've recently re-started the CLO again, too. Wow. Thank you, Priscilla, for asking this question, and thank you Melissa, for your experience!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:11 PM

Your blood D level is more important than whether or not you supplement. You could be supplementing and still be deficient. Best to test.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:10 PM

I've read about iodine too. I have always struggled with cold hands and feet. I think I am going to ask my doctor for a complete metabolic panel and see if any of these deficiencies ring true for me.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:09 PM

True true. I do supplement with D, but not enough zinc. I think I do a pretty good job with keep toxins out of the home and body, but I will work more on it.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:08 PM

That's good to know about the dairy. I am slowly phasing dairy out of my diet (using ghee instead of butter, but like you I will still spoon some cream in my coffee!) He told me I had 4 to 5 cysts, which was making my ovaries almost twice their normal size. I think you need at least 8 for it to be considered polycystic?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 14, 2012
at 10:19 PM

I don't know if fish oil could be an issue. I know CLO has a lot of retinol, which I don't think fish oil does. However, I take a pretty dim view of supplements, particularly after this incident. Why not just eat some fish?

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 14, 2012
at 10:05 PM

Could you elaborate a little more on that? I've read that fish oil is supposed to help women with PCOS.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 14, 2012
at 09:42 PM

I talked a little with paul jaminent about it and he said that it may have been the retinol in the CLO that was causing it. I know my own body doesn't synthesize retinol particularly well, but because I didn't want to have PCOS I was willing to lower my consumption of it and instead get lots of beta carotene. It's a frustrating issue and it really freaked me out when it happened, so I hope yours resolves too.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 14, 2012
at 09:39 PM

I had this issue last year and it seemed the only new thing I had been doing since the intense cramps/nausea/pain during my period was taking CLO. I discontinued taking it and it seems to have resolved over the past four months without doing much else. But, maybe it was something else I had been doing? I don't know, but as long as it's gone, I'm pretty happy because it was some of the worst pain I'd ever experienced.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 14, 2012
at 09:26 PM

I take Barleans fish oil, usually 4-6 pills per day. I also supplement with vitamin D, magnesium and calcium occasionally.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 14, 2012
at 09:16 PM

Are you taking any supplements? Cod liver oil?

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4 Answers

1
5fd34f9a735d223510165dab258f0f27

on January 15, 2012
at 12:32 PM

How is your iodine intake? While I have not read too many papers on the topic, there is some evidence that decreased thyroid hormones contribute to ovarian cysts. Dietary iodine is needed to produce the thyroid hormones. One of the problems of a paleo/primal diet is that by cutting out processed foods and choosing sea salt over table salt, people also cut out the iodine that supplements these foods. If you are also experiencing increased sensitivity to cold conditions, dry skin, constipation, weakness, fatigue, etc... besides menstrual problems and ovarian cysts there may be a chance that you have low iodine levels and you should get a TSH, T3 and T4 test done.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:02 PM

Make sure you get plenty of selenium too, as it activates the thyroid hormones. 200ug is best.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:10 PM

I've read about iodine too. I have always struggled with cold hands and feet. I think I am going to ask my doctor for a complete metabolic panel and see if any of these deficiencies ring true for me.

0
13dc59d39632e2a350b6c9e4d17cf99b

on August 07, 2013
at 11:06 PM

Have a look at Dr.Hulda Clark's book "The Cure for all cancers".She has an interesting theory about parasites in one's body and how to get rid of them(some cloves,wormwood and black walnut tincture). I read the testimonies of women(including nurses) who cured their endometriosis after following the Parasites Program.I followed the program myself and it helped me tremendously with a stubborn diarhhea acquired after a trip in Mexico. I fought with it for months,I was even diagnosed with IBS,but now I have a perfectly normal bowel movement. Also,stay away from cosmetics,detergents and anything with parabens,sulfates and formaldehyde(found in cheap clothes,bed linen,matresses etc)The mentioned book will guide in this matter. Good luck!

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 15, 2012
at 08:17 AM

I don't know what your dairy intake was before, but some people are really sensitive to it. I have PCOS and most dietary recommendations I find about dealing with it suggest a dairy-free diet. (Shhh, I still put a spoonful of cream in my coffee and eat some butter too, but maybe that's why I still have all these cysts.)

I'm a little confused about your doc saying that the presence of some cysts could turn into PCOS. There are perfectly normal transient cysts women get in their ovaries that will usually heal on their own over time. The PCOS cysts are quite numerous and tiny. Seems like two very different things to me.

As to the above thread about the Cod Liver Oil, that gave me pause, I added it to my short list of supplements around November. My fingers are crossed that I haven't screwed myself up with that. Another thought occurred to me, I know of some midwives who recommend women stop taking fish oil for a little while right before their due dates because it is a pretty effective blood thinner. I wonder if excess menstrual bleeding because of the blood thinning effects could have been contributing to some of the CLO induced misery.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:08 PM

That's good to know about the dairy. I am slowly phasing dairy out of my diet (using ghee instead of butter, but like you I will still spoon some cream in my coffee!) He told me I had 4 to 5 cysts, which was making my ovaries almost twice their normal size. I think you need at least 8 for it to be considered polycystic?

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:22 AM

More tinkering and patience! Hormones can take some time to sort themselves out.

I would suggest getting your Vitamin D status tested.

Also, supplementing with Zinc or eating oysters twice a week (and adding in more Vitamin E) may be helpful.

And get rid of any xenoestrogens in the house (BPA, beauty aids, cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc.)

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:58 PM

Yeah, I think I am going to ask to get a complete blood panel done and see what's up. Thanks for your input!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:11 PM

Your blood D level is more important than whether or not you supplement. You could be supplementing and still be deficient. Best to test.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on January 15, 2012
at 02:09 PM

True true. I do supplement with D, but not enough zinc. I think I do a pretty good job with keep toxins out of the home and body, but I will work more on it.

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