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Strenuous workouts may affect your period.
If you're a woman, eating too few calories for a period of time can affect menstruation -- and therefore fertility. Just because you consume a low-calorie diet, however, doesn't mean your cycle will be affected. If you do notice a change in your menstrual cycle, see your doctor to determine the cause.
In general, if your cycle is affected by eating too few calories, it may become lighter or nonexistent. If eating fewer calories than you burn off does cause your period to be lighter or go away completely and you're trying to become pregnant, you may have a more difficult time doing so. But many women following low-calorie diets don't notice a change in their menstrual cycles.
Role of Vigorous Exercise
Regardless of the total number of calories you consume each day, exercising vigorously and burning more calories than you eat over time can lead to amenorrhea, or the absence of a period, according to Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Because amenorrhea can cause fertility problems and may be associated with calorie and nutrient deficiencies, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center suggests treating exercise-induced amenorrhea by reducing exercise, making dietary changes, possibly taking oral contraception pills and consuming vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Experiencing Heavy Bleeding?
If you're following a low-calorie diet and your period becomes heavier, it's likely not due to your calorie intake. Have your doctor check your hormone levels, especially estrogen, progesterone and thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism, a disorder that occurs when your body makes too little thyroid hormone, can cause heavy periods regardless of your calorie intake. Fortunately, taking synthetic thyroid hormone pills can correct hypothyroidism. Heavy bleeding may also be a sign your body is preparing for menopause, but check with your doctor to determine the cause.
Low-calorie diets often contain 1,000 to 1,600 calories daily, according to Weight-Control Information Network -- while very-low-calorie diets provide 800 calories or less each day. While very-low-calorie diets are more likely to affect a woman's menstrual cycle than low-calorie meal plans, a low-calorie diet can affect a woman's menstrual cycle if it causes her to lose weight rapidly, become underweight, eat too little dietary fat, have a low body fat percentage or is accompanied by stress.