Effects of weight loss on period

Can weight loss affect your period?
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Doctor Answers (1) on Effects of weight loss on period

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Ms. Swati Kapoor Bangalore | Dietitian/Nutritionist
We all know that people in general often lose weight to improve their general appearance and self esteem.It is also well known that our body weight has a considerable effect on our health,for e.g. being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions. At the other extreme, being underweight may cause low blood pressure, heart palpitations, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and other issues.But It may surprise you to learn that body weight can have an impact on your reproductive health as well. In addition to conception and pregnancy problems, weight loss and weight gain can both significantly affect your menstrual cycle. Weight fluctuations,often caused by dieting and exercise can cause your periods to be late or absent.Rapid weight loss from exercising and dieting can cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle, including skipped or late periods. Estrogen production can vary based on your weight, and lower estrogen levels can affect your periods. Late or absent periods are particularly likely if you have a very low body fat percentage, less than 17 percent, At this point we have established that the hormone estrogen controls our period (along with another hormone called progesterone, not mentioned here) and estrogen varies with our weight.To understand better as to how weightloss affects your period, you must first understand the working of estrogen and how bodyweight regulates it. Estrogen,helps build the cushiony uterine lining, known as the endometrium, that will nourish a fertilized egg. If fertilization does not take place, a woman's body naturally sheds that lining through the process commonly called having a period, or menstruation. Estrogen is usually secreted by the ovaries but basic cholesterol compounds in fat cells can also get changed into a type of weak estrogen called estrone. When you lose weight, most of your fat cells are getting burnt and shed. This means that your body has fewer fat cells that it can convert to estrogen. Less estrogen can affect your period as explained above. It is also important to note that teens who exercise and diet a lot or who are underweight may experience delayed puberty.This is also because of the same concept as explained above. Hence weight loss does affect your period, most likely delaying it or sometimes even ceasing it from occurring. It is also very important to understand that even if you are dieting and exercising, do not assume that missed or delayed periods are necessarily because of weight loss. While a missed period is not usually indicative of anything serious, persistently irregular or missed periods warrant a medical evaluation. In some cases, it could mean you are losing too much weight too quickly. Other reasons for late periods may be hormonal disturbances, thyroid problems or problems with your reproductive organs, such as polycystic ovary syndrome. A missed period could also indicate pregnancy. So if you are experiencing menstrual irregularities, a visit to the gynaecologist is advised.
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