Can The Keto Diet Cause Your Period To Be Late?

A ketogenic or keto diet involves eating high-fat, low foods, according to Healthline. The minimal intake of carbs helps the body achieve a metabolic state — known in the medical field as ketosis. In normal circumstances, our bodies are structured to rely on blood sugars for energy. In the absence of high-carb foods, your body switches to burning fat for energy instead of glucose, says the Cleveland Clinic. If you've been on the keto diet for some time or you've just recently started, you might notice a change in your menstrual cycle

Carb Manager reports that female sex hormones (which usually increase before ovulation) greatly influence your menstrual cycle, which happens if an egg isn't fertilized. For many women, a new menstrual cycle begins every month. However, your dietary changes might affect how your hormones behave, says Carb Manager. If you're on the keto diet and you suspect it's affecting your period, it's best to visit your doctor to determine the causes.

How a low-carb diet affects menstruation

According to Healthline, irregular menstrual cycles and conditions like amenorrhea are commonly associated with low-carb diets. Amenorrhea refers to the absence of a menstrual cycle for 3 months or more. Also, the keto diet is known to cause sudden weight loss in some people, which according to the National Health Services (NHS), is one of the major reasons for missed or stopped periods. According to the source, severely restricting your daily caloric intake might trigger a reduction in how much ovulation hormone your body produces. 

According to Carb Manager, stress might also be another factor, since it's one of the common disruptors of the menstrual cycle. According to the source, stress hormones can bind several cells in the body, including those that affect reproductive health. The NHS reiterates this claim stating that stress can affect the length of menstruation, causing them to be shorter, longer, or completely cease. Carb Manager also mentions thyroid health as another factor. Fewer calories might have a direct impact on thyroid health which might inadvertently affect your menstrual cycle.

Tips to keep your cycle healthy

To keep your cycle healthy, Healthline encourages moderate carb intake, which might be better for certain people, including those who are breastfeeding or who are very active. Beyond maintaining a normal menstrual function, moderate carb intake might help improve your mood and energy levels. As individuals, our bodies require different amounts of dietary carbs. Generally speaking, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 45 to 65% carbs per daily caloric consumption. In addition, the Carb Manager suggests eating nutritious food and switching to a high-carb diet a couple of days a week to balance things out.

Healthline further advises consuming enough folate to support fertility and enjoying fruits such as papayas and pineapples, as they are known to help regulate menstrual periods. According to WebMD, another solution for irregular or skipped periods is to reduce the intensity of your workouts. This is especially important if you're on the keto diet, which already restricts your carb intake.