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lack of cycles= vegetarianism

5203 Views 46 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  Debrah
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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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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so sorry for the double post...
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.
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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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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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.
Originally Posted by eggplant View Post

Here is an interesting article on this subject from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

The author's conclusion is: "Although healthy, weight-stable, vegetarian women consuming self-selected diets did not experience more menstrual disturbances than did healthy, weight-stable nonvegetarians, population studies are needed to address the question at the broadest level."

In other words, there's no indication as of yet that vegetarianism alone affects a woman's menstrual cycle.
I'm not even sure anymore. I've heard that a vegetarian diet can affect your hormones, but I've also heard that it can't. It is hard for me to eat a balanced diet because I don't eat gluten and my family is omni, so alot of days I live on beans and nuts, which is not balanced. Another factor in this whole thing is vitamin D. I do not absorb vitamin D well and have to be on a few thousand international units daily or my vitamin D levels go way down. I was tested in the spring and I almost had no vitamin D in my body. I took 50000 IU twice weekly for a few months and my period returned in 6 weeks. I had another one 5 weeks or so later and then went down in my dose of vitamin D and my period stopped. I then went up again in my vitamin D dose about 4 weeks ago. My period actually retured last week which was 3 weeks from when I changed my vitamin D dose. It was also the day after I stopped being vegetarian. I stopped last Friday. It is what is best for me and my family right now. My gynocologist thinks I have PCOS although my sonogram was fine, and I feel like I might do better on a lower carb diet. They want to put me on birth control but as I said in a previous post, I really want to solve this naturally, if I even have PCOS. I started the South Beach Diet today with my mom, as I hear it helps PCOS. Wow... I'm so confused about all of this...
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I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not fully on the South Beach Diet, but am mostly eating that way. I don't know that much about nutrition, though, but do believe that nutrition plays a big role in health... My chiropractor recommended the diet, so I thought I'd try it. It is really hard, I've found, to know anything about nutrition, because it is so controvercial. Everyone seems to have their own idea as to what it is.
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