2

votes

Hack my amenorrhea/Why is it bad?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 28, 2012 at 10:57 PM

First off, I apologize if this question isn't specifically about the Paleo diet.

I'm a 20 year old female, 109 lbs at 5'1. I've had amennorhea for the past three-ish years, with an intermittent period or two thrown in. I eat low-carb paleo, with no fruit and moderate limitation of starchy vegetables. I'm allergic to gluten and dairy, but I've only recently cut out fruit since this past August.

I've had labs run this past August, and everything came back normal. I don't over-exercise.

I'm currently a college student, double-majoring and taking a lot of credits, which makes stress my main guess at the culprit.

However, I can't find much online about the health effects of amenorrhea. Is it really something that needs to be fixed, as I'm not planning on having children anytime soon?

Thank you very much for your help!

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on November 30, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Did your obgyn perform a vaginal ultrasound to see if you have any of the telltale "cysts"? It's not something that's easy to clearly diagnose as I have been told by physicians that it can come and go. At 20 years old I believe I was just starting to see the real signs appear so I wouldn't dismiss the possibility completely just yet. Many women don't exhibit symptoms other than the irregular periods so it's entirely possible that it's still the cause. Also, you may want to have your thyroid checked out. Have a full workup. Your period is controlled by your hormones so something is not right.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:52 AM

Hmm! Yeah, seems we have similar problems. I had the same "cross that bridge when I come to it" attitude, but now I wonder if I should be worrying about osteoporosis and possible buildup of the uterine lining... thanks for your reply! Good luck!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:51 AM

Hmm! Yeah, seems we have similar problems. I had the same "cross that bridge when I come to it" attitude, but now I wonder if I should be worrying about osteoporosis and possible buildup of the uterine lining...

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:50 AM

Thanks for the reply! I actually don't have access to my TSH results, but I know that at least TSH, T3 and T4 were tested and all were within the normal range. My TSH was actually on the low side. I'll ask my doctor for the additional tests when I'm able to go. : ) Interesting information about PCOS! I didn't know it could be tested that way- I'll have to check that out too. Thanks so much for the information!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Yeah, I've been wondering the same. It seems that the biggest issue is early osteoporosis from lack of estrogen.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Thanks for the reply, Luisa! I'll try to make another appointment with my doctor when I go home.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:15 PM

Invisible Ink- Thanks for your reply! As for PCOS, my doctor checked for it and I seem to be in the clear, thank goodness! I don't have any of the other symptoms- what makes you think that my amenorrhea is caused by it? I'm impressed that you managed to fix yours naturally! CoconutBliss- Yes, I think this also might be the problem. I started menstruating early, and at a higher weight than I am now. I'd like to avoid gaining weight, though! Thanks for the reply.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on November 29, 2012
at 06:08 AM

Well, amennorhea isn't a problem if you're a-ok with having full-blown osteoporosis by the time you're forty.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:21 AM

+1 for finding our what's wrong. So important to understand the underlying reason. Your body is trying to say something to you.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:08 AM

Another thing to think about is body fat as this controls leptin which regulates your hormones. Do note, however, this varies so much from person to person and something I think that is predetermined, if not largely influenced then, by your body composition during your pubescent years (although I haven't been able to find much research looking into the validity of this theory). So some women may need a higher body fat percentage simply for their body to function optimally for reproduction. Genes play a role in this too no doubt

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Something I would like to understand more is if a girl experiences secondary amenorrhea during puberty based on reasons explored in the female athlete's triad, then how this affects them later on in life. Since the body is vulnerable at this stage of development, how does it compromise a normal functioning reproductive system in future? Did that make any sense?? >_<

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:02 AM

good point. body fat has a large influence on the female reproductive cycle as it controls leptin which regulates your hormones. It varies so much from person to person though. Something I would like to understand more is if a girl experiences secondary amenorrhea during puberty based on reasons explored in the female athlete's triad, then how this affects them later on in life. Since the body is vulnerable at this stage of development, how does it compromise a normal functioning reproductive system in future? Did that make any sense?? >_<

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on November 29, 2012
at 02:04 AM

It really sounds like PCOS to me. A low carb diet is recommended for PCOS so you're definitely on the right track. I would say to give the diet at least six months before you can expect to see any improvements. Also I would recommend if you're not already supplementing to definitely take Vitamin D3 and magnesium. I have naturally gotten my period back after years of it being irregular just through diet and supplements. I take a few others you might consider too - calcium d-glucarate and gelatinized maca and nettle root extract.

F299706618ad5d2c014130cb35d07dcf

(628)

on November 29, 2012
at 01:40 AM

I sure will! The article posted below looks helpful. I had this problem before I started eating paleo too. It could definitely be a body weight issue...

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:48 AM

Wow, we really are similar! I agree with you on the convenience of not having a period, though, hahaha. Let me know if you figure anything out!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:46 AM

Hi! Thanks for your response. I've never been on the pill, or any medication at all really. I was checked for hormonal imbalances- nothing abnormal, it seems! In response to increased carb intake, my period actually stopped before I started paleo. I ate a huge amount of fruit before, so I'm not sure that carbs are actually the problem. Thanks again!

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6 Answers

4
42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

on November 29, 2012
at 12:18 AM

Are you on the pill or have taken the pill in the last few years? This can throw your cycle out of whack when you come off it... up to 18 months in fact.

The biggest concern in long term amenorrhea is estrogen-deficiency which can result in osteoporosis.

Did you get tested for any sort of hormonal imbalances. Not to freak you out, but amenorrhea is a common symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome.

In the meantime, try increasing your carb intake. No kidding, some people just don't function well off low carb and this is more apparent in females.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:08 AM

Another thing to think about is body fat as this controls leptin which regulates your hormones. Do note, however, this varies so much from person to person and something I think that is predetermined, if not largely influenced then, by your body composition during your pubescent years (although I haven't been able to find much research looking into the validity of this theory). So some women may need a higher body fat percentage simply for their body to function optimally for reproduction. Genes play a role in this too no doubt

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on November 30, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Did your obgyn perform a vaginal ultrasound to see if you have any of the telltale "cysts"? It's not something that's easy to clearly diagnose as I have been told by physicians that it can come and go. At 20 years old I believe I was just starting to see the real signs appear so I wouldn't dismiss the possibility completely just yet. Many women don't exhibit symptoms other than the irregular periods so it's entirely possible that it's still the cause. Also, you may want to have your thyroid checked out. Have a full workup. Your period is controlled by your hormones so something is not right.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:46 AM

Hi! Thanks for your response. I've never been on the pill, or any medication at all really. I was checked for hormonal imbalances- nothing abnormal, it seems! In response to increased carb intake, my period actually stopped before I started paleo. I ate a huge amount of fruit before, so I'm not sure that carbs are actually the problem. Thanks again!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:15 PM

Invisible Ink- Thanks for your reply! As for PCOS, my doctor checked for it and I seem to be in the clear, thank goodness! I don't have any of the other symptoms- what makes you think that my amenorrhea is caused by it? I'm impressed that you managed to fix yours naturally! CoconutBliss- Yes, I think this also might be the problem. I started menstruating early, and at a higher weight than I am now. I'd like to avoid gaining weight, though! Thanks for the reply.

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on November 29, 2012
at 02:04 AM

It really sounds like PCOS to me. A low carb diet is recommended for PCOS so you're definitely on the right track. I would say to give the diet at least six months before you can expect to see any improvements. Also I would recommend if you're not already supplementing to definitely take Vitamin D3 and magnesium. I have naturally gotten my period back after years of it being irregular just through diet and supplements. I take a few others you might consider too - calcium d-glucarate and gelatinized maca and nettle root extract.

3
19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on November 29, 2012
at 03:55 AM

Could be because of different reasons... too fat, too skinny, thyroid problems, poor nutrition, and so on and so on.

You shouldn't be trying to find out what dangers there could be from amenorrhea, you should be trying to find what's wrong with your body that it stopped being able to ovulate!

All I can tell you is that there is definitely something wrong going on otherwise you'd be having your periods, no matter what your doctors and the lab tests say.

So yes, you should definitely find out what's going on or it could get worse like it did for me.

In my case, my body was trying and trying to ovulate, but it couldn't (I could tell because I had egg white cervical fluid for a few months instead of just 2-3 days per month), eventually I managed to ovulate, and had menses, maybe 2-3 times per year. For me it was because of hyperthyroidism / poor nutrition. Light, painless, textbook-perfect 31-32 day cycles as soon as I started a paleo diet rich in animal fats.

When I started having amenorrhea, I was like you, at a healthy weight an no other health issues besides the lack of periods.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:21 AM

+1 for finding our what's wrong. So important to understand the underlying reason. Your body is trying to say something to you.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Thanks for the reply, Luisa! I'll try to make another appointment with my doctor when I go home.

2
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 29, 2012
at 07:53 AM

I'd question whether you have adequate fat intake and how much of what type of exercise you are doing? Also, what is meant when you say your tests were "normal"? For example, a TSH of 5.5 or less may be considered "normal" but over 2.0 indicates that it is not. And TSH is a very poor indicator of thyroid function. A full panel including free T3 and free T4, plus rT3 tells more. If you don't know those values there's not enough info to deem your thyroid "normal" and that's just one of several systems that could be implicated here. Were any adrenal system tests run? Was your insulin metabolism tested (not just blood glucose?).

PCOS is a possibility often overlooked in thin women, because doctors mistakenly believe that obesity causes PCOS, when it's really the other way around. Obesity is the latent effect of one of the metabolic disorders causing PCOS-- in some it's more latent than in others. An ultrasound only shows ovarian cysts in 50% of people with PCOS, so a "normal" ultrasound is meaningless. A good endocrinologist should look closely at things like insulin metabolism (c-peptide is the preferred test) and adrenocorticosteroid hormone levels.

With amenorrhea you may have excessive buildup of the uterine lining that can become precancerous. Furthermore, your body is built and meant to menstruate and to be fertile. If you are not menstruating it's an indication that something is NOT right. It may seem more convenient now, but fertility is something to be guarded and protected because sometime in the future you'll begin to appreciate how short our fertile time is and if you must spend years trying to restore it when you are emotionally ready to conceive you will regret not doing so now when you're young and can make the most impact on your health.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:50 AM

Thanks for the reply! I actually don't have access to my TSH results, but I know that at least TSH, T3 and T4 were tested and all were within the normal range. My TSH was actually on the low side. I'll ask my doctor for the additional tests when I'm able to go. : ) Interesting information about PCOS! I didn't know it could be tested that way- I'll have to check that out too. Thanks so much for the information!

2
21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:49 AM

You have a BMI of 20, which isn't underweight, but perhaps you need to gain a little more to get your endocrine system going again.

SuppVersity.com has recently published a three-part article on the topic of amenorrhea and related issues, and sees insufficient energy availability as the main culprit. http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-female-athletes-triad-part-iii-how.html

Perhaps some of the other other symptoms mentioned there ring a bell. He also explains why it's so detrimental, bone loss being the biggest issue.

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:02 AM

good point. body fat has a large influence on the female reproductive cycle as it controls leptin which regulates your hormones. It varies so much from person to person though. Something I would like to understand more is if a girl experiences secondary amenorrhea during puberty based on reasons explored in the female athlete's triad, then how this affects them later on in life. Since the body is vulnerable at this stage of development, how does it compromise a normal functioning reproductive system in future? Did that make any sense?? >_<

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Something I would like to understand more is if a girl experiences secondary amenorrhea during puberty based on reasons explored in the female athlete's triad, then how this affects them later on in life. Since the body is vulnerable at this stage of development, how does it compromise a normal functioning reproductive system in future? Did that make any sense?? >_<

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Yeah, I've been wondering the same. It seems that the biggest issue is early osteoporosis from lack of estrogen.

1
60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on November 29, 2012
at 06:37 PM

I have had the same problem going on a year now, but with a twist.

I went my whole life with a period that ran like clockwork and lasted 5 days with horrible cramping on the first day. In Feb of last year it decided to become a sporadic one day period, and I no longer get any cramps etc.

Doc says this means I am no longer ovulating, but my hormone levels are normal (after a dip in testosterone a while back). He suggested overtraining, but that has been dialed way back since August and the issue is still there.

Sorry I can't help, but maybe if you're tested for ovulation, that might offer some solace. Right now, I am kind of enjoying the idea of only having my period one day a month, and worrying about the eggs (I still have em, they just don't come down) when I need to cross that bridge.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:51 AM

Hmm! Yeah, seems we have similar problems. I had the same "cross that bridge when I come to it" attitude, but now I wonder if I should be worrying about osteoporosis and possible buildup of the uterine lining...

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 30, 2012
at 12:52 AM

Hmm! Yeah, seems we have similar problems. I had the same "cross that bridge when I come to it" attitude, but now I wonder if I should be worrying about osteoporosis and possible buildup of the uterine lining... thanks for your reply! Good luck!

1
F299706618ad5d2c014130cb35d07dcf

on November 29, 2012
at 12:41 AM

Hey,

I have the same issue. I'm female, 20 years old, 5'2, 108lbs, and stressed from too many college credits. I also eat low-carb paleo (no dairy) because I'm a type-1 diabetic and it's the best way I can find to regulate blood sugar. I often wonder why amenorrhea is considered so negative to health. I definitely like the convenience of not having a period and I'm not planning on having children anytime soon. Upping my carbs isn't really the healthiest option for me. I guess I have the same question, how worried should we be?

I know this isn't a solution to your question. I just thought it was crazy how similar we sound. It's nice to know I'm not alone in this.

Thanks for posting your question. Good luck figuring it all out!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:48 AM

Wow, we really are similar! I agree with you on the convenience of not having a period, though, hahaha. Let me know if you figure anything out!

F299706618ad5d2c014130cb35d07dcf

(628)

on November 29, 2012
at 01:40 AM

I sure will! The article posted below looks helpful. I had this problem before I started eating paleo too. It could definitely be a body weight issue...

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on November 29, 2012
at 06:08 AM

Well, amennorhea isn't a problem if you're a-ok with having full-blown osteoporosis by the time you're forty.

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