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Avatar universal

vegetarianism and lack of menstruation?

Well, I'm 16.5 an I went vegetarian almost a year ago. Before this I had pretty normal periods. After going veg, I had one period that was a little late, but pretty normal. After that I lost my period for 6 months, had 2 a few months apart, and now haven't had one in over 3 months. I've only had 2 light periods this year, and before this I was pretty regular and bled decently heavily. I don't know whats wrong. I thought I might have PCOS as my mother has it, but I am not classically PCOS. I don't have much acne, I don't bleed heavily when I do bleed. Pretty much the only way I am like that is my lack of period. I got tested with a sonogram and I do not have PCOS. My hormones are just out of whack. They could see on the sonogram that after 3 months of not bleeding, my uterus lining (what is shed during menstruation) is still really thin, which means that I am no where close to getting a period. They might put me on birth control, but I don't want to go on. I feel wrong about putting chemicals into my body to have a fake cycle.On the sonogram everything was good, so why did everything stop when I went veg? I am eating enough, and have actually put on a few pounds. I might give up vegetarianism and see if my cycles actually start up again. It only took a month and a half for them to disappear, so maybe I'll give it a few months. Did any of you ever hear of heathy vegetarians having their periods change or dissapear? I don't really miss it, but I'd just like to be able to have kids some day, and my mom is really worried. Thank you!! Sorry, by the way, that this is so long...
12 Responses
164559 tn?1233708018
Are you getting iron and protein?  Vegetarianism is a wonderful but difficult diet.  Often people will just eat salad and they are unintentionally starving their bodies of needed nutrients.
134578 tn?1578157483
Are you still eating/ drinking milk products?  If so, increase their fat content, such as, if you are drinking skim milk, go to 2% or regular, and eat a lot of cheese and at least some butter.  It probably is that your veggie diet isn't giving you enough fat, and your body thinks you are starving and won't let you ovulate or have normal cycles in case you had a baby and it didn't make it for lack of food.  (Our biological heritage.)  When I was a vegetarian for several years, my periods were normal, but I also did not limit the dairy.
Avatar universal
A drastic change in diet can definatly affect your periods.  Your lacking nutrients.  It's very common for people with eating disorders not to have a period anymore.  (I'm saying you do.) But if your depriving yourself of certain nutrients that your body needs, it will affect your cycle.
Avatar universal
I meant to say Im NOT saying you have an eating disorder.
Avatar universal
Well, thank you for your comments. I decided to start eating meat again, and I don't know if it's related, but somehow I did get my period yesterday after not having it for over 3 months. I decided to give up vegetarianism for now, because for me it is hard to eat balanced that way. I tend to live on soy and nuts. Anyway, thank you for your help and I'll keep you posted.
383621 tn?1199933454
I'm seventeen and I've been vegetarian for a little more than a year and a half too and I used to have regular light-ish periods. But my last period was about two months late and in a few days my period now will be three months late and I'm not getting any signs that it's coming. My friend told me that this happened to his vegan friend because she ate too much soy. But I'm going to get blood work done in about a week to see if there's anything more than just vegetarianism. You should probably do the same [:
Avatar universal
I've been a vegetarian for two months now, and my last period was extremely light, I usually have very bad ones.  I am very healthy and still eat dairy, therefore I am not complaining at all.  I would be happy if I never got a period.  My own belief is that all the hormones in meat and chicken make periods worse, you are putting those hormones into your body when you eat meat and of course that affects your own hormones.
I definitely will practice vegetarianism for the remainder of my life.
Avatar universal
I have been a vegetarian for about 3 months now. I have had one very light, very late period. My cycles are off and I'm exhausted. I am having pms symptoms, but my period doesn't start (have not had one at all for nearly 2 months). I am used to tracking my ovulation to prevent pregnancy, as I refuse to use chemical birth control, but now I'm lost. I thought I was being careful about getting the right nutrients, as I studied healthy ways of leading a vegetarian life for quite a while before I decided. I have two babies, going to be one and two this month and I'm terrified because I can't track my ovulation I may get pregnant again.
Anyone have any suggestions on how to get my cycle back on track but stay a vegetarian? I love the diet, as far as my digestive tract seeming to be healthier than ever, and I've lost twenty pounds which was much needed. I just hate the tiredness and feeling like I'm constantly pmsing with no relief of a period in sight.
1796914 tn?1317311576
I would see nutritionist about making sure right vitimans and proteins.  Also discuss with dr. who put you on the birth control, to make sure it is not responsible for it, people have experienced loss of cycle due to birth control.  If underweight, it depends on person, I am underweight, vegetarian and never completely lost mine, it has been late or almost skipped, but that is due to me having an eating disorder(same with my weight being at a very unhealthy bmi), not going without meat.  It can be either lack of some vitimans or the birth control in your case.  
Avatar universal
Hi there,

you lost 20 pounds recently... that's rapid weight loss... I think that's why you haven't had your period. I've been vegetarian for 3 months now, and I'm here because I'm 4.5 months late for my period. I think I've accidentally lost a few pounds (not loads) recently too so that could be a factor. And my exams are under a month away, so that stress has probably been affecting my physical as well as mental health. I became vegetarian rather suddenly, and I'm wondering if my body has been negatively impacted by the sudden change. I live with my parents, but as they're never in, I'm responsible for my diet so I thought that I had been good about ensuring the right amount of protein and nutrients etc. but perhaps not? My periods used to be regular, except the one before this was 2 months late. Should I give up being vegetarian at least until my exams are over so to not put too much stress on my body?
Thanks x
Avatar universal
I have been vegetarian and even vegan at times for several years now and have never had this problem personally, but then I eat plenty of calories and I don't cut out any macro nutrients and I haven't lost any weight.

It is likely not vegetarianism that is causing your cycle to disappear, it's more likely that you are just not eating enough calories and that is also what is causing you to lose weight.

Getting enough calories on a vegetarian or vegan diet is actually very easy.  I have been overweight on a vegan diet even.

Maybe it's time to start adding oils and fatty things like nuts and avocados to your food.  If you eat cheese add plenty of cheese.  Make your portions bigger.

I am guessing you probably relied heavily on meat before you became vegetarian and because meat is satiating you got used to eating smaller portions of food.

I would suggest you start counting the calories you eat.  Make sure you are eating around 2,000 a day and add plenty of fatty foods and eat things like bread and pasta.  Make sure you supplement b12 also.
Avatar universal
I actually didn't read this properly.  I read someone else's answer and thought it was you.  You actually say you put on a few lbs.

I would suggest going to your doctor and getting blood work done.  They will check your hormones like your thyroid levels ect and get them to check your vitamin levels as well.

It could also be that a change to vegetarianism does effect some people, but it just hasn't been my experience.

I forgot to mention that irregular cycles in teenagers can also be very normal.  I had irregular cycles on and off until I hit my early 20s and I don't have PCOS or any sort of hormonal imbalance and I am able conceive.
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