You can’t open a social media page or go to a gathering (five people or less, please) without running into someone on the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet (usually shortened to keto) is a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet that has been used for 100 years to treat people with epilepsy. Recently though, it has become the diet du jour for everything from weight loss to mood stabilization. However, questions have arisen over the keto diet’s effect on female hormones? Is there truthful evidence behind the concern? Gildshire was curious and went after answers.
Does Keto Diet Balance Hormones?
Everything we eat and drink affects our hormones. Your hormones took notice of the Snickers bar you ate just a few minutes ago and adjusted itself appropriately. The same is true of the ketogenic diet. In fact, the news is even better than that. The keto diet may offer real benefits for women, especially those who suffer from PCOS, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. It starts with the diet’s positive effect on cortisol.
Cortisol is the stress hormone that you have heard so much about. For sure, it is a bad thing when out of control, but did you know that it starts out as innocently as a baby. When you are under stress, cortisol uses the protein stored in your body, producing glucose. The energy from the glucose helps you fight or flee. That’s a good thing, right? But if your cortisol levels are elevated all day and all night, your body and brain begin to grow tired. Also, the extra glucose can mean elevated blood sugar, which leads to many problems.
The keto diet helps to bring your body’s cortisol levels back into the proper alignment they were in when you were a child. When they are balanced, your body begins to relax into the pattern that makes for efficient use of the body’s resources. You are already healthier than you were before you started, and you may not have lost a pound. You can’t put your finger on it, but you feel better.
What Does the Keto Diet Do to the Female Body? And, Can Keto Diet Affect the Menstrual Cycle?
The keto diet offers some hope for relief from chronic monthly woes. Have your periods always been problematic? Do you have unexplained chronic pain anywhere in your body, but particularly headaches or backaches? You may have hormonal imbalances that need the care of a doctor. But, what if your doctor has checked you over without finding any underlying conditions? Keto could help:
- You may experience regular and predictable periods again, or maybe for the first time in your life.
- You may experience flow lasting for 6-8 days. This is normal. When your body adjusts, the flow will return to a regular volume.
- Hormones, even at healthy levels, will affect your body’s insulin sensitivity. Glucose dropping or surging a bit is normal. It will return to normal post-period.
In short, the keto diet may or may not provide the body goals you seek. No two people are alike. But for sure, keto isn’t doing any harm, especially to the hormone system. Try it for a better quality of life, and see what it does for you.