lack of cycles= vegetarianism - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-10-2006, 09:16 PM
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Hello, I posted a while back about problems related to my menstrual cycle, but I have a few more questions about how vegetarianism relates to menstrual cycles. I'm 16 and have only had two cycles this year. I became a vegetarian last November, and the loss of my cycle seems to have coincided with going vegetarian, although I had seemed to start to get irregular the summer before. It seemed like when I became a vegetarian, though they totally dissapeared and were gone for 6 months. I went to a doctor who put me on a high dosage of vitamin D which she thought would correct my lack of cycles, and I did get 2 periods which were very light. I have been getting periodic bloodwork, and my testosterone keeps going up. I have gained 15 lbs this year. I have not had a period since early August. Yesterday my mom realized that this has been going on too long, and she made me an appointment with a gynocologist. They had an opening for today, and I went in and they examined me and ran more blood work and I am getting an ultrasound next Monday. They are hoping to get to the bottom of this soon. They think it is either an ovarian cyst that will need surgical removal or a hormonal imbalance such as PCOS. I asked them if they thought that this could be related to my diet and they said that they are almost sure that it isn't. My chiropractor, however has been telling me how vegetarianism is so unhealthy and that my cycles will probably start if I eat red meat. She believes that people really need animal protein in their diets. I'm not sure if being a vegetarian can cause problems or not. I am an ovo vegetarian, but I actually have started to include fish oil in my diet from the insistance of this chiropractor. What do you all think of this? Do you think that sometimes animal food is necessary to maintain hormonal health?
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#2 Old 11-10-2006, 10:29 PM
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hopejoy,



sorry if i miss some points, but i am just replying quick.



a diet alteration often causes a change in your cycle, but nothing that would be detrimental (sometimes a lighter flow, or an early period for a few months).



if you are getting adequate nutrition and eating properly, then your vegetarianism has nothing to do with what is going on. it's good you saw a doctor.



i would go over the diet with them, if you are concerned.



other than that, if you have PCOS or a cyst, it's good to find out.



as for your last question, no, you do not NEED anything animal derived for anything.
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#3 Old 11-10-2006, 10:31 PM
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one point: Chiropractors are NOT trained Nutritionists.
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#4 Old 11-10-2006, 10:36 PM
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Why is your chiropractor offering nutrional advice? If he/she is doing things like insisting you eat fish oil against your will I'd get another one pronto. Sounds incredibly unprofessional.

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#5 Old 11-10-2006, 10:42 PM
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if she is at risk for arthritis, fish oil supplements increase protection for bone health.
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#6 Old 11-10-2006, 10:47 PM
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There are other ways. It's not the suggestion, it's the insisting, and the over-riding of someone's ethical viewpoint with the doctor's own. But perhaps I'm reading too much into it, and it was a suggestion that the OP took as insistance. Hmm... did that post make sense?

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#7 Old 11-11-2006, 07:05 AM
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Well, I'm a teen and I still live with my parents, so I can't switch chiropractors and if a doctor tells me to do something I have to listen. Recently (and I'm sorry to say this on a vegetarian board), I've been wondering if vegetarianism really is beneficial or even acceptable for everyone's diet. That particular chiropractor is VERY un-vegetarian friendly and she has given me a hard time from the beginning, but maybe she is somewhat right. It does bother me though that she would tell me and my mom how beneficial it would be if I would eat "just a little" red meat everyday. I don't know that much about nutrition, and it seems as if there is not a "clear cut" healthy diet, but many opinions on what is healthy. I did ask the gynocologist about if my diet change could be related to my negative health changes and they said that they were sure that it wasn't. I think I eat healthy- much healthier than most teens I know. I eat lots of fruit and veggies, beans, nuts, and I avoid refined carbs. I just don't know what to think anymore about diet. (Again I'm sorry to say this here) I am not totally ethically opposed to eating meat, but it just REALLY grosses me out, and as much as I like vegetarian food and being a vegetarian, if it is wrecking my health I don't know if I should do it (though I don't know if I could even get myself to bite into a hunk of meat). I think it is probably cheaper, and more natural to eat meat, than to be put on the pill for my whole life. Anyway, I'm sorry for ranting at you all, but I'm just so frustrated as there is not clear cut solution to this, and I don't want to have to go back to eating meat unless I really have to.
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#8 Old 11-11-2006, 07:05 AM
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so sorry for the double post...
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#9 Old 11-11-2006, 09:49 AM
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I've been vegetarian for four years and vegan for two, and I have an extremely regular cycle, even off of birth control. I understand your frustration, but it's really unfair to scapegoat vegetarianism for a problem you're having, when it's extremely unlikely that it is to blame.
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#10 Old 11-11-2006, 09:54 AM
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I wasn't regular as a teen either and I wasn't veg. Maybe it's just an adjustment period. I doubt it has anything to do with you eating more veggies and no animal products.
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#11 Old 11-11-2006, 11:42 AM
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I really doubt this has anything to do with being veg, unless you're not eating very well.



Stop listening to your chiropractor's nutritional "advice" and work with your gyno on what is really going on.
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#12 Old 11-11-2006, 01:09 PM
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Chiros are twats. mine thinks unless i take fish oil im subjecting myself to a lifetime of disease. psh.
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#13 Old 11-11-2006, 02:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonAmy View Post

I really doubt this has anything to do with being veg, unless you're not eating very well.

Agreed. I mean, it's possible, but it could also be stress, or

gaining weight/losing weight/being overweight/being underweight.



Plus, if you're a teen, it's VERY common for periods to be heavy/light, irregular or absent.



Do you know what's led them to believe that it's a cyst or PCOS? While I think that these are important conditions to uncover, if you have them, I also wonder if maybe you're undergoing some unnecessary worry over something that will straighten itself out as you get older.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#14 Old 11-11-2006, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamJen View Post

Agreed. I mean, it's possible, but it could also be stress, or

gaining weight/losing weight/being overweight/being underweight.



Plus, if you're a teen, it's VERY common for periods to be heavy/light, irregular or absent.



Do you know what's led them to believe that it's a cyst or PCOS? While I think that these are important conditions to uncover, if you have them, I also wonder if maybe you're undergoing some unnecessary worry over something that will straighten itself out as you get older.

Well, I used to have regular periods for a few years so that is why they are pretty concerned. Also, my testosterone is very high and it doubled from January to last July. They are testing it again to see if it is still increasing and what it is. My mom has PCOS so that makes it even more likely that I have it.
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#15 Old 11-11-2006, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopejoy View Post

Well, I'm a teen and I still live with my parents, so I can't switch chiropractors and if a doctor tells me to do something I have to listen.



Ah.. ok. I assumed you were an adult. You come across as being very mature and articulate. I know, I shouldn't make assumptions, I mean - how many mature and articulate adults are there out there?

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#16 Old 11-11-2006, 04:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopejoy View Post

Well, I used to have regular periods for a few years so that is why they are pretty concerned. Also, my testosterone is very high and it doubled from January to last July. They are testing it again to see if it is still increasing and what it is. My mom has PCOS so that makes it even more likely that I have it.

Ah..there are some indicators then. I was afraid they were jumping to conclusions a bit there.

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#17 Old 11-11-2006, 06:19 PM
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A chiropractor, most likely, knows very little about nutrition or gynocology.

A gynocologist knows about gynocology.

A nutritionist knows about nutrition.

See them for the advice you need.

Listening to your chiropractor about your diet is sort of like listening to your bus driver for diet advice: they might be an excellent bus driver, but you have no way of knowing if they have any real data at all about nutrition.

As for the fish oil, well, that can make sense. But if this is really upsetting you, see if you can talk to your parents about switching chiropractors. If it's difficult insurance-wise or you live in a community with few options, put up with it, but if it's not a huge deal, check it out. Maybe somebody else can offer a better alternative to the fish oil. (Flax, perhaps?)
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#18 Old 11-11-2006, 07:33 PM
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i was going to say if you eat a lot of dairy, the hormones migth throw your body off-whack.



if it is your diet that is the cause of your problems, it is not the vegetarianism - it is YOUR DIET. many vegetarians are healthy. if you are suffering due to your diet, read up on nutrition and make sure you get everything you need. it's fairly easy once you know what to do. but don't blame anyone else but yourself. you are responsible for your own health!
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#19 Old 11-11-2006, 10:25 PM
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Thank you everyone for your replies... I'm not quite sure what to do about this. I'm nervous that my ultrasound results will show that I have polycystic ovaries and I will be prescribed the pill. I've been doing research which says that this is the most common treatment for PCOS. I have also heard that there are many risks. PCOS is a long term syndrome and I question the healthfulness of being on a drug like birth control long-term. It seems that (I could be wrong) birth control just masks the symptoms of PCOS but doesn't really fix the actual cause of them. I wish that there was a more natural route to treating PCOS, but from researching online, I haven't seen much. Do any of you know of any alternate more natural treatments for polycystic ovarian syndrome such as vitamins or herbs? I may not even have PCOS, but in case I do, I want to mentally prepare myself, before I go in and get told that I need to go on the pill long term, without any other treatment suggestions.
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#20 Old 11-12-2006, 05:42 AM
 
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There are some other ideas for PCOS aside from the pill, but only you can decide what's best for you. I've recommended this site a couple of times before:



www.soulcysters.com

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#21 Old 11-12-2006, 07:55 AM
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excessive soy consumption can cause thyroid problems that could lead to a similar situation. also, perservatives of different sorts as well--if you eat a lot of processed food.



i would start by cutting out all soy products in your diet and consuming a whole-foods vegetarian diet.
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#22 Old 11-12-2006, 08:13 AM
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I'm very soy-intensive & 99.9% vegan, & my periods are getting later & later & extremely heavy (go though a super tampon in an hour for about 2 days of it... overflow my Diva cup...)

This has only happened since dropping eggs & dairy almost 2 years ago, & seems to be getting worse.

Not sure if this parallels the OP's problem exactly, but I think it's similar.

And I would much rather have weird periods than eat animal products, so I guess it's a trade-off.
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#23 Old 11-13-2006, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

excessive soy consumption can cause thyroid problems that could lead to a similar situation. also, perservatives of different sorts as well--if you eat a lot of processed food.



i would start by cutting out all soy products in your diet and consuming a whole-foods vegetarian diet.



I only eat about 1 serving of soy daily, but after hearing about the problems that soy can cause, I cut it out of my diet for a few months and everything was exactly the same. Anyway, I got the sonogram done and I wont get to talk to my gyno until tommorow, but the ultrasound technician was very sweet and answered some of my questions. She said that ovaries of a person with PCOS have a certain look- they are enlarged with dots in a pearl shaped pattern. She said that my ovaries and everything looked great and that she is almost certain that I do not have PCOS. She told me that the gyno will probably put me on birthcontrol to regulate things. I wish that there was a more natural approach to treating hormonal imbalance. I don't want to live my whole life on chemical hormones. I think it is strange that I would have these issues if physiologically everything is fine. I will talk to my gyno tommorow and let you all know what happens.
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#24 Old 11-14-2006, 05:14 AM
 
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If it's not PCOS or some other cyst, cancer, etc. then you *should* be able to go without the medicine. There's no reason, as a teenager that you have to have normal, regular periods.



If you were bleeding too much, then you'd have to worry about anemia, but not bleeding enough really isn't that big of a deal.



I'm not saying that there couldn't be benefits, but it seems like they're really worried about everything being "regular". (when every woman is different)

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#25 Old 11-14-2006, 07:38 AM
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there are natural ways, you just have to seek out the one that is right for you. Susun Weed's book Wise Woman Herbal for the Child bearing Year has a lot of insight on different elements of healthy cycles worth looking into.



if you don't want to take the pill, then don't.
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#26 Old 11-14-2006, 07:40 AM
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oh, and organica--you don't have to eat animal products, just cut out the soy. there are lots of soy-free vegans out there for a variety of reasons. i was a soy free vegan for a time before the cholesterol thing got figured out.
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#27 Old 11-17-2006, 12:27 AM
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Hi hopejoy! Sorry I'm a little late, but I wanted to reply because it seems we're in the same boat... I haven't had a period in about 8 months now, and after blood tests and an ultrasound, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was on the pill on and off for about 8 years, so I don't know when it really started, but I had been a vegetarian for about 4 years prior to that and didn't have this problem. So unless your diet is really bad, it's probably not related to that.



My doctor also suggested I go (back) on the pill, but like you said earlier, I didn't want to since I'd already been on it so long, and I was concerned that it would just mask symptoms of a bigger problem. He said that was OK, but that every 3-4 months I should take progesterone for a few days so I get a period, to clear things out. So far that's worked out OK, and the only real problem I've had is hypoglycemia (which actually improved when I went vegan earlier this year). I asked him if I would ever get a normal period again, and he said maybe not, but that it wasn't a problem unless I started noticing other serious symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. And even if you do have PCOS, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll need surgery, so don't worry too much about that part.



It definitely can be a long-term condition, though, so if you're really not comfortable with your doctor, maybe if you talk to your parents and express your concerns, they will help you find a new one. I'm new to all this too, so I don't really have much advice, but feel free to PM or e-mail me if you ever need moral support. Good luck!
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#28 Old 11-18-2006, 08:21 AM
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tray:



i think you have some good advices there. in the book Garden of Fertility, there is infomration abut increasing progesterone through various natural means--including references to other books about it. possibly worth checking out!
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#29 Old 11-18-2006, 01:28 PM
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Ugg... well, I decided to start eating a little meat again, and see if some of my problems clear up, because I didn't have them before this. I'm sorry if this is offensive to some, but in my case, going vegetarian seemed to clearly correlate with a number or health problems starting and worsening. For me, I'm pretty much only a vegetarian because meat grosses me out, although I also appreciate the ethics in not eating animals... Someday, especially if my health stays the same, I'll probably become a vegetarian again, but I'm not sure if it's good choice for me right now.
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#30 Old 11-18-2006, 01:37 PM
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I hope you are treating your problem with something more than just meat, dear hope, because i'm 99.9% sure thats not your problem. Best of luck to you though, I hope you find some relief soon.
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