Educate you doctor, guys.
Hey, ya’ll. I have been EBF a huge baby boy for five months. I have had some postpartum thyroid issues that caused my doctor to do a complete panel of blood tests. Well, this morning I got dragged into her office and told I have extremely elevated cholesterol.
My doctor was incredibly alarmed, and gave me pamphlets about genetic high cholesterol and the dangers of early onset heart disease in women. I got a low cholesterol (!) meal plan. My doctor and her nurse were both scratching their heads the entire time, because I have no history of anything like this. I am 5’9 and 125 pounds, a runner, and primarily a vegetarian. She was basically apologizing to me for giving me the literature, and saying how sorry she was that I had this problem to deal with.
My doctor knows I am breastfeeding. I tell her every visit, right before she closes out my chart.
Obviously, I left the office in some distress. I ran through my family history. I blamed myself for my chocolate habit. I wondered if chocolate even has cholesterol in it. I blamed myself for stupidity.
But it took like five seconds with Google scholar to realize that lactation causes your entire blood lipid profile to become elevated, and it is not even recommended that lactating women have blood lipids tested. Major duh. You need the cholesterol to make fatty delicious breastmilk.
I don’t need a low-cholesterol diet. I need a new doctor
Check our this excerpt from a 1992 (ancient in medical sciences!) study:
“In the 27 mothers who were exclusively breast-feeding their infants at 9 months of lactation and whose serum cholesterol levels were measured 2 months after the end of lactation, cholesterol levels increased rapidly to 5.7 +/- 0.21 mmol/L (P = .001). In the subgroup of 34 mothers who were examined more closely, the course just described was also true for serum TG, LDL and VLDL cholesterol, and LDL apo B levels.”