I don't menstruate-- went off birth control June 2009. Had one period in September, nothing since then. I am 24. Had been on birth control on and off since i was a teenager, maybe 15, because i stopped having periods and the doctor prescribed it. Up until February, I ate an very low fat diet and exercised, well, a lot. When I was a teenager I restricted my calories and also at a very low fat diet.
I got some blood test results today. My estradiol is 21 pg/mL, which is lower than it should be for a woman who has not gone through menopause. FSH and everything else tested was in the normal range.
I have been eating paleo since February. I suspect my hormones are off-balance because of the years of eating extremely low fat, high sugar. I am also quite tall and thin, 5 foot 8 and less than or around 120 pounds, I lost maybe 4 or 5 pounds since I went paleo but don't restrict calories. I don't know my percent body fat.
Also have low blood pressure, don't know if that's relevant, just thought I'd include all the info I could.
My question is, how can I raise my estrogen levels, to start a normal cycle and be able to get pregnant? Will my hormones eventually work themselves out now that I'm eating well? I am quite skeptical of taking more synthetic hormones (clomid, progesterone), but I also want to be able to have a child! Is there anything else I can do? Do I just need to be patient?
asked byHeather_1 (796)
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on June 01, 2010
at 06:14 PM
N-thing talking to a doctor. I would wonder if the low blood pressure is a factor. I was struggling with that for awhile and the solution I worked out was to 1. Increase iodine intake 2. Increase calorie and carb intake. Increasing calories was HARD for me. I had to count calories in order to get more. 3. Gain a little weight 4. Exercise, but low intensity- walking instead of running for example 5. Increase the ratio of fat to protein in your diet.
"Women menstruate in order to release that toxin out of our bodies, and it is essential that we do so for optimal health." I would check out Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives. Hunter-gatherers do menstruate, but it has nothing to do with "toxins."
on June 01, 2010
at 05:15 PM
Firstly I will assume you have talked to your doctor about this and they do not think there is any medical reason for the amenorrhea (lack of menstruation). I am not a doctor, this is just advice:
The most likely reason is to much exercise and not enough calories, which you state is the case in the past. If you weigh 120 lbs at 5 foot 8 inches you are quite skinny and most likely have a low level of body fat. Also this can be seen from your picture. Your body mass index is only 18, meaning you are slightly underweight. http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx There are drawbacks with the BMI calculation but it can be a useful guide.
You say that you have lost 5 pounds since changing the way you eat. This indicates that you have reduced your calorie intake further, even if unintentionally. Paleo foods can be filling especially if you are used to eating a low calorie diet for years.
The simplest thing to try is eating more. Do not restrict the foods you are eating and do not limit the times you are eating, such as intermittent fasting. Increase your calorie intake until you begin gaining some weight. Eat a good variety of foods. Fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Moderate your exercise, there is no reason to stop altogether.
If you increase the calories you eat and gain some weight over time it is possible that you will fix the problem.
on June 01, 2010
at 06:09 PM
i had the same problems after going off the pill i had about 2 years of irregular cycles(like once i went 10 months with out a period) I think one of the most helpful thing i did, besides eating a high fat diet, was using medicianl herbs to make teas. i really like a combo of dong qui, fo-ti, licorice root, saspharella, and resihi mushroom. the licorice and the saspharella are pretty tasty and i usually like to add cinnamon bark. ever since i starting using these herbs regulary my cycle started to regulate. first every 3 months then every other month and now i'm on pretty perfect 28 day cylce. now i rarely use them, usually only around my period for extra hormonal support.
Mounatin Rose Herbs has all of these and really good prices. check it out, it worked for me.
i also used to be a vegan and i definatly think eating paleo helps, fertile bodies need animal fat!!! so the more fat the better.
on June 01, 2010
at 02:53 PM
I think Stephanie is right, you should consult your doctor. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to find a doctor who is interested in finding a real solution that will make you healthier, rather than just dosing you with a prescription that will make your symptoms go away.
You may just need to be patient, as it hasn't been all that long since you started eating more fat.
Here are a few factors to keep in mind. If you tell us more about the following, you may get more insightful answers.
- how much exercise you get, and what kind of exercise (lift weights? sprints? long-distance runs?)
- how much sleep you get
- amount of stress in your life
- exactly what you are eating these days (post a food log for 3 straight days; weighing and measuring is not necessary, but a rough estimate can be helpful)
Basically, you might give it more time + less exercise + more sleep + more food (or better food, or more fat, etc.) and see how it goes.
Hopefully some of the more scientifically and medically knowledgeable folks will chime in here and give you specific suggestions, too.
on October 01, 2012
at 11:10 PM
hi, this message is specifically for Heather (or any other lady who has dealt with the same issues)... but, i'm basically currently in the same boat. i'm 5'7 and currently weigh aroud 120 (i'm guessing - i dont weigh myself anymore). i grew up always having normal periods, very active in sports, and eating a well-balanced diet. i gained a lot of weight in college (up to around 180) and over the course of 2-3 years slowly and healthfully got back down to my normal weight of around 128-130 by using portion control and just making smarter choices. at this time i started taking bc because i was about to get married and i had very increasingly painful periods. about 4 years ago my parents got a divorce, i got married, moved to a new state, start working and school (my husband too) and thought it would be cool to be a vegetarian. i cut out fat completely, ate a ton of wheat bran, veggies, fruit, etc. and began running around 3x/week, up to 6 miles each time. i got off bc a few years ago (around this same time) and had about 2-3 inconsistent periods and then they just stopped. since then i've had the same issues with food/exercise, but last year was advised by a holistic doctor to try the maker's diet (whole foods, even wheat, grains, etc.) i did this for 3 months, gained some weight, and used progesterone cream and boom, my period came on the exact day it was supposed to. however, i had an appt with my ob the following week, and she said the prog cream was a scam and holist docs were nuts. she put me on provera/femeara (can't remember which one) bc i wanted to get pregnant. i bled the first round, not the second round, and then she referred me to a rep endocronologist. at the time we didnt have the money to do that so i got super depressed, fell back into exercising, eating unhealthy, and getting really down on myself. i've been labled as "having one foot in the pcos category" (though i have no symptoms of it at all), and the "other foot in the hypothalamic amenorrhea category." i've been on and off paleo for the past 3-4 months, hoping it would bring about my period, but no luck. from my blood work i have very low estrogen, also no sx drive, and constantly focused on food. i've havn't run in almost a month and all i do now is walk and weights 3-4 days a week. i feel like i know the answer to my own problem (gain weight), but i guess i just need some help talking thru it from those who've been there. since the "maker's diet" is about the only thing that worked for me that one time, i've added back in oatmeal, potatoes, sweet pot, lots of bananas, and just trying to look at food from a different angle. i dont want it to control me, i just want to be normal, even if that means not 100% paleo. i would be truly blessed and grateful from any advice, tips, etc. thanks for reading my story.
on June 01, 2010
at 12:16 PM
To be honest with you, since approximately 2007, the same thing has occurred in my end as well. After meeting with a doctor to check things out, he has told me that people who work out hard and lift heavy weights, this could be the result. However, I am not a professional athlete either. Women menstruate in order to release that toxin out of our bodies, and it is essential that we do so for optimal health. I am currently on estrogen pill in order to produce this essential cycle. If I were you, I would highly consider consulting your doctor as soon as possible. I am not on birth control either, and stopped 2 years ago, which could play a huge factor in why this is happening, but my doctor explained to me the importance of our cycle, and in reality, we need to. I took the pills 10days a month, after 2 months, the third cycle came naturally. He is aware that I don't like to put things in my body that are unnecessary and not natural, however, a menstruation is essential, and there are things that I just have to get on track. Please, go consult your doctor.