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Can a Bad Diet Cause Irregularity in Ones Menstrual Cycle?

By Holly Case ; Updated August 14, 2017

Many factors may play a role in causing irregular menstrual cycles. Normal menstrual cycles can differ among women. The most important thing is that your cycles vary by no more than eight days. Stress, hormonal imbalances and diet can all affect the regularity of your cycle. Nutrition is linked to health in many ways, and a poor diet can cause poor health. If your cycles are irregular, you should see your doctor to rule out health conditions that may be causing the problem.


Several hormones play a role in maintaining healthy and regular menstrual cycles. According to the Feminist Women's Health Center, these hormones include estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. These hormones must rise and fall at appropriate times within each menstrual cycle to stimulate ovulation, prepare the uterus for a possible fertilized egg and to shed the lining of the uterus if conception does not occur.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors can cause irregular menstrual cycles. Some of these factors include smoking, stress and consumption of caffeine and alcohol. According to the website Women's Health Resource, smoking 10 cigarettes or more each day can cause shorter menstrual cycles. Heavy caffeine consumption can also increase the frequency of your periods. Excessive alcohol consumption can also disrupt cycles.

Fiber and Fat

Eating a healthy diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, is important for general good health, and is also important in promoting normal menstrual cycles. The Women's Health Resource says that diets low in fiber and high in saturated fat can cause irregular periods.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a common cause of irregular periods. PCOS is a condition that includes lack of ovulation, irregular periods, acne and abnormal hair growth. According to the Children's Hospital of Boston, women with PCOS have hormone imbalances that cause lack of ovulation and irregular periods. PCOS may also be associated with insulin resistance, which can be related to diet. Some women may find that low-carbohydrate diets and reduced intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates improve their condition.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, can also cause irregular periods. Anorexia is a condition in which women severely restrict their calories, which can result in losing so much weight it causes periods to stop. Bulimia involves a cycle of binging and purging, which can also disrupt the menstrual cycle.

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