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Birth Control/Flax seeds - good or bad for menstrual cycle?

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Question
Hi,

I am interested in starting to incorporate flax seeds into my daily diet (about 1 tbsp a day).  I read about the benefits of flax seeds and mainly want to reap in those benefits.  But, I also read that flax seeds contain phytoestrogens (lignans) which can extend the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.  I also have irregular periods (periods come about 5-6 weeks apart) so I am worried if the flax seeds would make my irregularity even worse (make my periods come less frequently).  If they will regulate my periods, that would be a huge bonus.

I am 22 years old, at a healthy weight, I exercise daily, and I try to maintain a healthy diet.  I plan on adding the tablespoon of flax seeds into a fruit/vegetable smoothie that I make for myself every day.

Thank you so much for your time. :)

Answer
I also take flax seeds daily.  I'm not sure they help, but someone recommended them a long time ago for constipation.  In general, phytoestrogens don't have enough estrogenic effect to have any effect on periods.  I doubt that you will notice any difference in the length of your periods after being on flax seeds.  Although many claims are made for flax seeds, I have not seen good evidence that flax seeds or other phytoestrogens can extend the luteal phase.

In case you do notice a change in your period length, then I would stop the flax seeds to see if they are really the cause.  In case you find that they really affect your periods, please let me know.  Best wishes.

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Norman Solberg

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I am an OB-GYN physician. I can answer almost any question related to women's health.

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35 years in an active OB-GYN practice.

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Fellow, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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