-I've had amenorrhea for about... 3 1/2 years.
-I did in fact have a ED for a couple of those years. (eh...)
-I'm at a recovered weight (5.1" ... maybe 5.2" - 113lbs - muscular build/medium build - 17 years old).
-Started eating "my paleo" (includes greek yogurt, organic fruits, organic potatoes, a little organic basmati white rice, raw macadamias, occasional almond/coconut flour baked good), but otherwise, have stuck to the meat (mostly grass fed), organic veggies, organic greens, organic Japanese sweet potatoes, omega-3 sources of fat, salmon, tuna, sardines, chicken, coconut milk/unsweetened-flakes/butter... what have you. etc etc.
-I exercise about 3ish times a week, sometimes less. Not much cardio, more "muscle training".
-I think I may be in Ketosis (regardless of my carb intake... even though those "odd" starches I listed are in my diet, I do not "over consume" them).
-I never started my period in between now and... well 3 1/2 years ago, and am afraid Ketosis might be hindering it further.
-Is there a certain amount of calories that also induces Amenorrhea, or is it fat/carb percentages?
Plain and simple: I want my period, what the heck do I have to do to get it back.
asked byJen_36 (65)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on February 09, 2013
at 02:43 PM
Eat more carbs, or eat more calories, or both
I went low cal VLC paleo and lost my period for more than a year. I was on 1200 cals/day, 30g-40g carbs/day. I was gave myself hypothyroidism and my god it was miserable!
I added both more cals and more carbs and my period came back a month later. I gained about 2lbs. I eat about 70g a day now, and my diet looks quite like yours without the rice or potatoes (I eat root veggies and berries) I've not gone back to VLC but higher calories so don't know how well that would work. (Although I also lost my period at 17 for 3 months after I lost a bunch of weight, I was eating high carb at that time)
If you can, get your hormones checked - they will probably show low leptin, low active T3 and highish T4, along with low oestrogen. If this is the case then leptin or aT3 should bring your periods back.
From what I understand, increasing calories alone might not be enough. A lot of the girls on the ketogenic epilepsy diet studies had menstrual problems. The way I understand it, being VLC means that you never spike your insulin, so you never spike your leptin, so your body doesn't know that you're getting enough food, so you get hypothyroidism. You could add more carbs every day or do small carb refeeds every couple of days, I guess.
It's really important for your bone density that you get those periods back! (Although I have to confess that I did not miss mine a jot!) I had to gain a few pounds to get mine back but being healthy is more important than being skinny
low leptin can be caused BOTH by low body fat (e.g. in althetes and anorexics) and consistently low insulin/no spikes. I think a lot of girls have a 'set point' of bf below which they will stop having periods (mine will stop at about 1000-105lbs on high carb and 110 on low carb)
some argue that glucose deficiency inhibits the conversion of t4->t3 in the liver. So technically there might be two mechanisms (low leptin and poor t4->t3 conversion) that contribute to hypothyroidism
on February 09, 2013
at 10:43 AM
If you are getting enough calories, ketosis shouldn't be an issue, but certainly there is no need for you to limit carbs. The body needs to know that there is sufficient food available, so over-eating for a few months may be sufficient.
If you are eating enough calories, it may be that your body is simply lacking in some micronutrients that are needed to jump start your period.
Get your D3 level tested & sun/supplement to 60-80 ng/ml. D3 is a building block for all of your hormones. Supplement Magnesium chelate, too, since most of us are deficient and it is a co-factor for D3.
Eat nutrient-dense foods (if tolerated) like liver pat??, bone broth, eggs, and hard cheese (like gouda for K2) Full-fat dairy from grassfed sources is especially good for fertility.
Here's a blog post I wrote that may be helpful: http://www.sondrarose.com/optimum-fertility-nutrition
And be patient! Hormones can take months, not weeks to shift.
on February 10, 2013
at 11:42 PM
I had the EXACT same problem for almost 4 years (no period). I FINALLY am getting mine back now after gaining up from my lowest 110 (ED years) to 127-130ish. (I'm 5'7). I gained the weight after being vegetarian, vegan, raw food, then VLC, etc. etc. etc. diets by eating tons of junk food (your body needs CALORIES) and also stopped exercising completely. No weights, no running, short walks, etc. (This was one of the hardest parts). I gained a ton of water weight, bloated up real nice, and just chilled for about 2 months. I gave my body everything I craved during my ED and then one day it hit me that I needed to eat healthier. I switched to a Paleo diet, but made sure I kept sweet potatoes, bananas, pumpkin, squash, and other starchy veggies and fruits in my diet so I wouldn't be tempted to be VLC again. When your period stops, it's basically your body telling you 1. too little food 2. too much exercise 3. too much stress in general. Give yourself a break, gain some weight, eat lots of fats and carbs and make your goal to get it back, bc the longer you put it off the harder it gets to do it and the worst your body gets (bone density, fertility issues, sex drive, hair loss, etc.) Do this for yourself! One site that really helped me was youreatopia.com. It's not paleo, per say, but it has a lot of good tips on biting the bullet and get your body the energy and rest it needs to heal properly.
on February 09, 2013
at 09:13 AM
You may be under eating, especially carbs and protein, to meet with all your bodies requirements.
From a survival perspective, being able to become pregnant is low on the priority list.
Start with reading the article linked below, which is a bit of a summary, with links off to more detailed articles.
Ignore the titles mention of 'very low-carb dieting', the post & the articles linked mention all the nutrients, calorie restriction and the 'Athlete Triad' (& probably a lot more).
best of luck
btw, you do not need to be an athlete to have Athlete Triad symptoms.
In case you have never heard of the athlete triad before,
The athlete triad appears most commonly (but not exclusively) in athletes who undereat and overtrain. Symptoms include low energy, amenorrhea in women and low testosterone in men, osteoporosis, reduced cognitive ability, and impaired immune function. The syndrome is surprisingly common, especially in female athletes.
Source: excerpt from post linked above
on February 09, 2013
at 08:24 AM
I would give it some time. Keep doing what you're doing, continue to choose foods that have low GI levels, eat more veggies, and avoid dairy. This should help balance out your hormones. I don't think you're going through Ketosis, a lot of the foods you mentioned are healthy carbohydrates. I would avoid the potatoes as they have a very high GI. Google a GI chart for reference.