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Menstruation flow and duration increased after being paleo for a while?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 11, 2012 at 2:28 AM

I'm sorry for the bit of tmi coming up, but I've noticed that my period has started two days earlier than normal, increased in duration, and I've had a much heavier menstruation since going paleo.

Has anyone else noticed this? I'm also on birth control to prevent heavy periods due to fairly severe cramps, and I'm worried that this could mean that my intense cramps could come back. Thank you!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 30, 2012
at 11:43 PM

They are prescribed by my herbal doctor - Chinese medicine (the doctor is American and a licensed specialist).

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 30, 2012
at 08:36 PM

Which herbs do you take? I still deal with cramps, but they're significantly better with magnesium and zinc supplementation. Anything to help, really. (I'm not on BC either.)

Dbd1e8fad5d4b47409d84bd6610020d5

(368)

on May 11, 2012
at 04:19 AM

Yes, my cramps don't seem to be noticeably worse, but my flow is going crazy! It's rather odd.

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11 Answers

1
Cca93695446513d42e376fd80e5bf5a4

on May 30, 2012
at 08:27 PM

there are two reasons (probably a lot more!) I come up with:

  1. easy: where you on hypocaloric regimen before? if now, on paleo, you're eating properly (enough), it is possible you're experiencing menstruations differencies in quality/quantity.

  2. Adrenal adjustments/sensitivity: switching to low carb/more proteins can increase your adrenal activity and secretion. This is particularly true if you overexercise, if you've higher sensitivity to stress or if you avoid snacking (making it simple, if you resist to hunger...). The ultimate effect is an increase in progesteron (in this case, mood swings and breast tenderness are increased too) and "increased"/longer periods could ensue.

food adjustments and radical changes lead to hormonal changes and these former to menstrual changes.

1
1e9164a5a54003ac247d49c574dc7bfc

on May 30, 2012
at 06:01 PM

Thanks for being open about this.

Gonna relay this info to my girlfriend.

1
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on May 25, 2012
at 06:49 AM

My period was always very heavy and painful, and after I went Paleo it became a bit better, but not super-better (I became more regular). I only saw real changes though when I went Paleo-ketogenic (up to 50 gr of carbs daily), AND started taking pomegranate/grapeseed/trans-veratrol (single pill) extract, green tea extract, and curcumin extract (on top of D3 and other vitamins). Then, my period went from 7-8 days to 5, with no pain or heaviness. And I expect this to get better. The specific extracts I mention lower estrogen, which seems to be the reason why my period was always so heavy (also correlated by the fact that I have a fibroid and big boobs -- excess estrogen).

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 11, 2012
at 05:26 AM

Just wanted to share my experience:

  1. I am NOT on birth control, but I have been on it for 5 years in the past.

  2. My periods have always been horrible (except for when I was on birth control) - heavy bleeding, severe pain the very first day, I was so sick, I would vomit - I had to save pills with codeine to take for my first day. I used to buy Always maxi overnight extra heavy flow and change them every hour.

  3. Since going Paleo, my flow became lighter, although still heavy and less painful. No more throwing up.

  4. Since starting herbs, my cycle shifted to 28 days (it used to be 30), no pain whatsoever, no PMS, my period is lighter and it became shorter (5 days instead of 7).

My guess: on Paleo your body feels more normal and birth control that you are taking is interfering with your body's natural hormone production.

I could be wrong, though - I am not a doctor.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 30, 2012
at 11:43 PM

They are prescribed by my herbal doctor - Chinese medicine (the doctor is American and a licensed specialist).

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 30, 2012
at 08:36 PM

Which herbs do you take? I still deal with cramps, but they're significantly better with magnesium and zinc supplementation. Anything to help, really. (I'm not on BC either.)

1
B4b56fcc5ebad76ed8e1709dedf01f86

on May 11, 2012
at 02:54 AM

What a bummer! I've looked into this a bit, and it seems women have a real variety of experiences. My cramps were terrible for years, but they have been almost completely eliminated since starting paleo, along with all related bloating. No change in duration or timing so far, but I'm only 5 months in.

At first I assumed the reduction in cramps was due to reduced omega-6s, but with a little experimenting I'm starting to think it's actually wheat (or gluten) related.

How long have you been doing paleo? Maybe you are still adjusting? I wouldn't worry too much about the shorter cycle thing, but noticeably longer periods are no picnic.

1
72e4ce9d7631434c2b908b31bda4386c

(10)

on May 11, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Actually I've had the opposite. Mine has always been heavy but now I get it for 1 day and barely even have it. It's great but a little worrisome because it's nothing I've experienced before. My OBGYN has no answers and I've had no luck with researching online. A couple of other girls at CrossFit are experiencing the same thing but have concerns.

1
5d59f9f515bc1cf0f36e1535505481f4

on May 11, 2012
at 02:37 AM

Yes...I have experienced this also. It sucks! I've been paleo for 5 months and definately noticed a difference :(

1
5dabc07bbde16f1cd3b56ea77929c56b

on May 11, 2012
at 02:36 AM

my friend and I were talking about this recently. Mine has literally doubled, but my cramps have been way less. I have no idea why or anything like that, but I am right there with you!!!

Dbd1e8fad5d4b47409d84bd6610020d5

(368)

on May 11, 2012
at 04:19 AM

Yes, my cramps don't seem to be noticeably worse, but my flow is going crazy! It's rather odd.

0
2173ea7cdc26ad5635fc15c1b393bed7

on June 29, 2013
at 01:27 AM

Thanks everyone for lending your experiences. I started a fitness routine similar to crossfit and a paleo-type diet. I noticed that I dropped 2-5 lbs each week during weeks 1&2 and then the third week was painfully offset by menstrual hormones. I was lightyears weaker than I was on week 1 & 2, gained 4 lbs (which luckily I dropped 6 the following week, for a net loss of two lbs for both week 3 & 4, which was extremely frustrating), and I felt like I never exercised before. I was eating oatmeal in the morning and possibly 1/4 rice with dinner but other than that, being gluten free, most carbs had already been out of the pictures and I was supplementing meals with whey protein sweetened by Stevia. I was very concerned with the pain, duration, and intensity of my last cycle and now, during week 5 of this fitness routine I'm ovulating and I've now gained 2 lbs, I'm so frustrated!!!!! To date, I've lost 8 lbs in the past 30 days but I feel like my hormones are definitely affecting my full potential. I don't know how to approach this with my male training director so really appreciate everyone's posts here. Going to research progestero effects now...

0
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on September 19, 2012
at 05:16 AM

Well, my changes didn't happen with a paleo diet. Last year I was diagnosed with PCOS with high estrogen, high DHEA (normal testosterone), low 17-OH progesterone, and low cortisol. My doc suggested my problems were probably in my adrenals, with them trying compensate for low cortisol with high DHEA, and then, high estrogen and low progesterone. A combination of lowering carbs, increasing fat+protein, cutting gluten, and exercise made my normally mildly irregular cycles (anywhere between 29 and 49 days) a solid 28 day cycle with ovulation happening squarely on day 15 every month. During that time I had very few menstrual symptoms. Though I had sore, swollen breasts throughout my entire luteal phase. But it was consistent, so I was okay with it.

However, after four months of this, I decided to experiment with a low carb paleo protocol, and my cycle flipped. Within two weeks of the diet, instead of ovulating, I started heavily spotting old blood for two weeks. Then I still didn't get my period for two more weeks on top of that (making for a 40-day anovulatory cycle). Low carb (less than 100g/day) apparently stressed out my body. Since then my body has been trying to get back to that "perfect" pattern of cycles, and it's getting there. In defense of the diet, at least, I was going through some emotional distress with personal issues at that same time, so changing my diet and exercise program ON TOP of being stressed out didn't help anything.

0
27ffd647e66423c27de848f2bedc3645

on September 19, 2012
at 04:39 AM

I have used an IUD for 3 yrs with little to no periods for most of it. Now 2 weeks in I have had 2 heavy periods. I have also lost 10 lbs ( I'm probably 75 lbs overweight). I've read about being estrogen dominant which I think is what is happening but I hope it settles down soon.

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