Intermittent fasting (IF) has taken the world by storm in the past few years. While popular for weight loss, restrictive diets can cause irregular or missed periods, among other health concerns.

While there is little research on the specific connection between intermittent fasting and amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation), there is evidence that low-calorie diets and long periods of fasting can negatively impact the menstrual cycle.

Intermittent fasting may work for some people, but women with certain health conditions or situations are not advised to fast. We talked to the experts about who is right for intermittent fasting and how it can be done safely.

What exactly is intermittent fasting?

During intermittent fasting, you alternate between a period of eating and a period of fasting. The fasting period length is different for everyone. For example, some people do a 12-hour fast from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Others might do a 24-hour fast or another method entirely.

Fasting means you are not consuming anything with calories