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Does Losing Weight Regulate Your Period?

author image Emma Watkins
Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.
Does Losing Weight Regulate Your Period?
Maintain a diet that supports your level of physical activity. Photo Credit TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images

The relationship between weight and menstruation goes two ways. Polycystic ovary syndrome -- PCOS -- is a condition that can cause irregular cycles. Researchers consider weight gain among the possible precursors of the medical problem, according to the WomensHealth.gov website. On the other hand, weight loss can also lead to inconsistent periods. Only your doctor can determine whether losing weight might regularize your periods.

Regular Periods

A general definition of a regular menstrual cycle is hardly possible because of wide variations among women. A teenager’s normal space between periods is 21 to 45 days. An adult’s cycle is regular if it occurs every 21 to 35 days. Take note of the days that normally bridge two of your bleeding sessions to become acquainted with what is normal for you. That becomes your personal definition of a regular period.

Normal Weight

A normal weight is even more variable than a normal menstrual period. Your age, height and gender are usually determinants of your ideal weight. Your current height and weight help health-care professionals calculate your body fat to find out whether you are within a normal range, overweight or obese. An overweight person is excessively heavy. The condition has different causes, including big muscles, fluid retention and overeating. Obesity refers to too much body fat. Depending on the cause, too many pounds can affect menstruation.

PCOS and Menstruation

Ovarian cysts, overproduction of male hormones and irregular periods are symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome. What triggers this condition is less clear. The federal information site WomensHealth.gov says the causality theories range from genetic inheritance and dysfunctional ovaries to too much insulin in the bloodstream. The last of these results in excessive male hormones in the female body, which in turn, can cause weight gain. Thus, there may be an indirect correlation between too much weight and inconsistent menstrual cycles. Although science has not established a firm link between the two conditions, WomensHealth.gov lists losing 10 percent of your weight as action that can restore regular periods when you have PCOS.

F.A.T. and Menstruation

Female athlete triad (F.A.T.) afflicts sportswomen who take in fewer calories than their physical activity level requires. The combination of intense workouts and inadequate nutrition causes a drop in estrogen production. Low levels of the hormone, in turn, can lead to osteoporosis and menstrual problems. Thus, if female athlete triad is behind irregular or nonexistent periods, a weight-loss diet is the wrong treatment. In that case, your doctor prescribes dietary changes that raise your caloric intake from healthy foods.

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