Why a Keto or a Low-Carb Diet May Cause Late or Missed Periods

Menstrual Cycle

One unexpected consequence that women on a keto diet may experience is a late or missed period. This can be quite stressful given the many different factors that could contribute to a late period. You might, however, be comforted to know that you aren’t alone. If you go to an online Keto community or message board, you will come across many other stories of women who miss their periods following the start of a keto diet.

According to registered dietitian Crystal C. Karges, changes in diet, especially with nutritional deficiencies, may lead to abnormal menstrual cycles. In order to maintain a regular menstrual cycle, it’s important for the ladies to maintain adequate calories and nutrients in their daily diet. When on a keto diet, you are most likely having to reduce a significant amount of carbohydrate consumption, which contributes to hormonal changes.

Cortisol, for example, is one type of hormone that typically sees an increase when carbohydrate consumption is reduced drastically. A high level of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone, may lead to late or missed periods by interfering with the body’s feedback cycles.

So is the late or missed period something to be worry about when you are on a low-carb diet? Our suggestion here is to listen to your body. If you aren’t expecting to be pregnant then you could first do a pregnancy test to rule that out. If you are experiencing other painful or stressful symptoms in addition to the late period then we strongly suggest visiting the doctor for further diagnosis.

Some people mention the missed period being a one-time occurrence, while others mention that their periods are consistently late while they are on a keto diet. Every body is different so there’s unfortunately no way to tell how your menstrual cycle will react to the diet over time. We suggest keeping a close eye and making appropriate changes to your diet if the missed periods start to cause too much stress.