I was an underweight vegan for several years and lost my period. Surprise. I am now a healthy weight and started to eat meat. My question is has anyone here suffered from and recovered from amenorrhoea? Found paleo has helped?
asked byTahinilove (20)
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on February 28, 2013
at 11:51 AM
Yes, I had amenorrhea for 12 years (yes I did not have my period for that long) and was able to reverse it with a paleo/WAPF style diet. I made sure to emphasize fats, foods high in cholesterol and important fat soluble vitamins (including FCLO/BO blend). However recovery from amenorrhea involves more then just food choices. You have to significantly decrease any high intensity exercise (stick to walking, light jogging, light lifting and yoga) and maintain stress levels. Stress for me seems to be the limiting factor. Even if my nutrition is in line, if I am under a lot of stress I will not get my period.
Make sure you are getting enough of the fat soluble vitamins (especially K2, grass fed butter will be your best friend here) because a lot of people suffer from bone loss due to amenorrhea. I developed osteoporosis from my condition.
Hope this helps! -Liz
on February 28, 2013
at 01:16 PM
I started a WAPF style diet in June 2012. I started to see signs of my period coming in August (hormonal acne, cramps, PMS). I started the paleo diet (with WAPF principals) in October and my period arrived in November. I have been on the diet since then and I have gotten my period each month. I probably should have stated that I was a vegan for a year before that and my health significantly declined (bone loss) during that time period. I did not start seeing changes until I started adding the demonized saturated fats into my diet.
I do not weigh myself, but I am guessing I weigh around 150 at 6ft (most people would call me thin). I have been this weight before and had no period. The thing that changed the most was my BF percentage, I am now somewhere in the 20s compared to being in the teens for most of my life. All my clothes still fit and I probably only gained 3 lbs.
I tend to vary my meals, so each week is different. I emphasize local grass fed meats (I eat a lot of beef), fatty fish, fermented foods, eggs, butter, coconut oil and animal fats. I still eat plenty of vegetables I just make sure I slather them in butter! I would say I eat about 50% of kcal from fat (probably anywhere from 45-70 on a given day). By the way I do not eat LC. I make sure to have about 1 good source of paleo carbs each day.
I will write more later but I am off to school. I am a soon to be RD in nutrition (masters) so I know a fair amount about this. However I am still trying to put a lot of the pieces together so my advice tends to be a bit disorganized.
on February 28, 2013
at 09:54 PM
Dairy probably can be of benefit because of the types of fats found in grass fed dairy. Grass fed dairy also has some of the highest concentrations of vitamin K2. Personally I do not consume a lot of dairy (besides butter) because it gives me headaches and makes me constipated. However if you can find a grass fed (ideally raw) whole fat dairy product, go for it. It could probably be of great benefit to your recovery process. Just make sure you are able to digest it properly.
I would be concerned about the focus on calorie counting. As I said before amenorrhea and stress can go hand and hand. In my experience a more relaxed way of eating and less of a focus on specific macronutrient ratios (or some other nutritional focus) is helpful. I think most people would probably do well on a 80/20 approach to this diet. The stress from trying to maintain a certain diet can hinder your recovery. So stress management is key.
It is relatively easy to add more fats but it depends on how you usually cook your meals. If you have a sweet potato, add a TBSP (or 2) of butter. Sauté veggies in coconut oil. Mix in cream or coconut milk to soups. Add butter to steamed veggies. Drizzle salads with EVOO. My favorite is to make smoothies with full fat coconut milk, coconut oil and raw pastured egg yolks.
If you are adding in fats you should be getting enough kcals. It is important to listen to your own body and determine if you are feeding it enough. In my experience my metabolism sped up during the recovery process and I was eating many more calories than normal.
I am also very interested in learning the link between fertility problems and poor digestion. I have made sure to supply my body with adequate probiotics, gelatin and gut healing foods. I suspect that I have some form of leaky gut and that it could have played a factor in my condition. Since you are only as good as the food you digest, it is important to also work on gut health. My gut was destroyed after many years of a plant based vegetarian diet. I have made a drastic improvement since switching up my diet.
Feel free to ask more questions. If I do not know the answer I will be happy to look it up for you or ask someone.