Period Pain Prevention - Diet & Supplements to Help Period Pain
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Do you ever wonder if your monthly period pains are the same as labour contractions & if you can do anything to reduce period cramping? Let's find out...
What is covered in this blog:
Common period pain Vs period pain that needs further investigation
What actually causes period pain?
Nutrition & Supplements for period pain prevention and relief
Is Period Pain Normal?
Data from period tracking app Clue shows that 3 out of 4 women report experiencing period pain just before or during their period.
Although this means that period cramps are common, period pain is not a normal characteristic of a "healthy" period. Period pain is a clue that indicates something needs to be addressed.
The medical term for period pain is Dysmenorrhea.
Normal period pain is mild cramping for a day or two as your period starts. It can be relieved by pain killers. This period pain can be relieved by natural treatment such as changes in your diet, lifestyle and supplement support.
Some clients are shocked when I tell them that periods should be relatively painless, you might experience some twinging or a dull ache feeling as your period begins but your period is not meant to cause severe pain every month.
How Do I Know if my Period Pain Needs Further Investigation?
Non-normal period pain might look like:
Having severe pain that can "stop you in your tracks"
Pain that requires pain killers
Pain that causes you to miss work, school, or impacts your regular activities
Pain that causes nausea, vomiting, fainting, crying
Pain with heavy bleeding and/or clotting
If you experience this type of period pain you might just need some tweaks in your diet, lifestyle and supplements as these have such a huge impact on our hormones, or you might also have Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, Fibroids, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome/Chronic Pelvic Pain or an infection. If you suspect you might have one of these hormonal conditions please visit your GP for testing and diagnosis - you do not have to put up with this pain, along with proper diagnosis, treatment, nutrition, lifestyle and supplements can help massively.
What Causes Period Pain?
If you have ever wondered whether period pains are the same as labor contractions, the answer could be yes.. depending on the severity of yours. Period pain & labor contractions are caused by the same compounds - Prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are hormone like compounds made from fats in the body, they are released as our hormone levels drop right before our period, this causes our uterine lining to shed (aka your period)
Period pain is due to an excess of prostaglandins. To reduce period pain - we need to look at what can cause excess prostaglandins.
Natural Treatment for Period Pain
Diet Tips to Reduce Period Pain
Increase anti-inflammatory foods
Omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation. Sources include: walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines. I also recommend supplementing with a good quality Omega 3 supplement as it can be difficult to reach the RDA through diet alone. I love Nutri Advanced Omega 3 you can buy here or Nordic Naturals Omega 3 and Vitamin D3 you can buy here. (If you are on medication or have a diagnosed health condition always consult your GP before starting a new supplement)
Follow a Mediterranean diet and increase monounsaturated fats mainly found in Extra Virgin Olive oil, avocado, almonds, brazil nuts.
Eat the Rainbow to reduce inflammation. Aim to include fruits and vegetables in a wide variety of colour, these contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that can only be found in plants! If period pain is an issue for you I recommend aiming for 7 - 10 plant foods per day. If you think you would struggle with this, I find listing out plant foods (include all fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices) or creating meal plans for my clients really helps them get creative and see all of the possibilities.
Reduce pro-inflammatory foods
Diets containing predominantly red meat, processed meat (sausages, bacon), poultry, breaded/battered meats and lacks in white fish, oily fish and vegetarian proteins such as beans, chickpeas, lentils can promote inflammation as they are higher in Omega 6 and lacking Omega 3. Reduce processed meats and include some fish and vegetarian protein in your diet regularly.
Common allergen foods/foods that cause sensitivities and can contribute to inflammation in the body.
Reduce foods containing free sugars and trans fats
"Free sugars" are sugars that are added to foods during processing. These are usually found in cereals, sauces, chocolate, sweets, alcohol etc. They can quickly add up if eating a highly processed diet and eaten in excess can contribute to inflammation.
Trans fats are also found in processed foods and are associated with inflammation.
Supplements to Help Reduce Period Pain
(Always consult your GP if you are on medication or have a diagnosed medical condition)
Magnesium (side note: Stress & alcohol deplete Magnesium!) I love Magnesium Glycinate from Nutri Advanced which not only helps to relax muscles and reduce contractions but also helps in energy production and calms the central nervous system and reduce stress which is why I love it for PMS too.
Vitamin D - super important for immune health aka inflammation! Here is a good one - Vitamin D drops
I would love to hear your thoughts on period pain, whether you suffer with it & I hope this blog helps!
If you are interested in working with me you can book a consultation HERE
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