The ketogenic diet (low-carbohydrate, high-fat & adequate-protein diet) is known to offer
several health benefits. It not only controls your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar
but also helps in inducing weight loss. But do you know that with a keto diet, you might also
experience some less-than-pleasant side effects at the beginning? The menstrual cycle is
definitely something that gets affected by the ketogenic diet. After adopting a keto diet, some
women have reported irregular periods, while others said that their menstrual cycle
disappeared altogether.

Cutting out too many carbs on the keto diet can lead to issues like irregular periods.
Diet plays a major role in maintaining a regular menstrual cycle. Lack of nutrient-dense foods
could contribute to abnormal periods.

Following a very low-carb diet over a long period of time can send a signal to the body that
insufficient energy is available. As a result, the level of leptin hormone drops. Apart from
being involved in metabolism and appetite control, leptin is crucially involved in regulations of
the menstrual cycle. Thus, low levels of leptin cause irregular menstruation.

Extreme carbohydrate restriction may also disturb the function of luteinizing hormone in the
body. The luteinizing hormone is responsible for contributing to regular ovulation. But once,
this hormone is compromised- it also results in hypomenorrhea (short, light periods).

Losing too much weight, too soon may cause menstrual dysfunction.
Not consuming enough calories regularly, no matter what diet you are following, can always
cause you to miss your period. In pursuit of losing weight too quickly, you restrict the number
of calories on the keto diet.

And this extreme or sudden changes in weight can affect the entire hormonal pathway.
Since hormones play a major role in controlling your menstrual cycle, it’s quite obvious that
hormonal imbalance throws your menstrual cycle off whack.

Rapid weight loss in a very short amount of time can alter the estrogen-progesterone
balance and impact ovulation, therefore cause irregularities in periods.

NOTE: Once your body gets used to being on a keto diet, your menstrual cycle will return to
its normal routine. If it does not, then there is no need to blame your diet as some other
stressors in your life may be responsible for your missed periods. Or it could also be a sign
of other health problems (PCOS, genetic abnormalities, or hormone imbalance).
So, it’s advisable to consult your doctor first before starting any restrictive diet such as keto.

By Dr Seema Nanda

Refer to her blog for more updates on Health and well