(Aside: If you’re not comfortable reading about women’s monthlies uncomfortable, go ahead and skip this entry. I do strongly recommend that women read it as it might help you not be too surprised when things happen…)
You’ve conquered carb flu and your cravings, more or less. That’s awesome. So what other surprises lie around the corner? Well, for me, it was the really random and constant breakthrough bleeding that I started to experience in my second month. Now, I’m on the pill which I take religiously every day: we haven’t decided if we want kids yet, and it’s the only way I can control my PCOS-odd periods, so when I get bleeding before I’m meant to I start to worry. I didn’t mention it to anyone, thinking it was just my body adjusting to the diet; I had read that depending on the dosage you’re taking, the pill can be affected by drastic changes in diet, so I figured I’d just wait it out. Now, before I was on the pill I’d have some pretty heavy periods that lasted for ages, that was when I had them at all – one of the delightful side effects of PCOS, which I’ll start discussing soon – but having breakthrough bleeding for more than a month was a little bit insane, even for my messed up reproductive system. So what did I do? I could have called my GP I suppose, in fact I probably should have, but I thought I’d hop online first and see if I could find an explanation before I ran to the doctor’s.
Turns out I wasn’t alone in this. In fact, the Internet forums are full of women – a lot of them panicking – who went through the same thing. Funny thing about women, our reproductive organs enjoy a steady balance of hormones, and as it happens, estrogen is fat soluble. Guess what that means? Our body’s been storing the darned stuff in our fat, at least that ‘s the way I understand it. Now that we’re low carbing, the fat’s being burned up and the excess estrogen is flooding our system triggering a hormonal response that can lead to off-rhythm menstrual cycles and for some women who have given birth over the last year or so a restart in breastmilk. I figure this is one of the reasons why women with PCOS are told to lose weight before they try to conceive: the more fat we’ve got the higher our estrogen stores are, the more out of balance our hormones get, and the cycle continues.
Keep in mind, ladies, that while you’re having these breakthrough bleeds your birth control isn’t working as well! So take extra precautions if you don’t want to get pregnant!