Best and Worst Foods for Menstrual Cramps Revealed: Avoid Coffee but Eat Lots of Salmon and Veggies

From excruciating stomach cramps to debilitating bone pain, many women endure period symptoms that make their lives miserable every month.

But the key to banishing these effects may be as simple as a few simple dietary tweaks, according to a growing body of research.

In new advice, the North American Menopause Society says women should aim to eat a diet rich in salmon, eggs and vegetables, rather than resorting to comfort foods like candy, chocolate and takeout.

That’s because the former are full of healthy fats and antioxidants that reduce inflammation, the body’s immune system response to an irritant.

Before a period begins, the cells that make up the lining of the uterus begin to break down, releasing large amounts of inflammatory prostaglandins.

These chemicals constrict the blood vessels in the uterus and cause the muscle layer to contract, causing painful cramps.

The NAMS also recommends that women stay away from coffee. Caffeine can cause blood vessels to narrow, contracting the uterus and making cramps more painful.

Around half of all adult women in the US and UK experience pain around their period and it is the leading cause of adolescent girls missing school.

However, many do not seek help for it. Instead, they turn to over-the-counter pain relievers that may have limited results.

In new advice, the North American Menopause Society says women should aim to eat a diet rich in salmon, eggs and vegetables, rather than resorting to comfort foods like candy, chocolate and takeout. That’s because the former are full of healthy fats and antioxidants that reduce inflammation, the body’s immune system response to an irritant. Before a period begins, the cells that make up the lining of the uterus begin to break down, releasing large amounts of inflammatory prostaglandins. These chemicals constrict the blood vessels in the uterus and cause the muscle layer to contract, causing painful cramps.

The NAMS reviewed peer-reviewed studies that looked at diet and menstrual pain, which is medically known as dysmenorrhea, to see which foods exacerbate it and which may reduce it.

They concluded that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (probably oily fish and eggs) and low in processed foods, oil and sugar was optimal.

ARE MY PERIODS ABNORMAL?

More than half of women in the US have period pain. So when should you worry about your period?

Menstrual pain it is common and most women experience it at some point in their life.

The pain is usually felt as cramping in the abdomen and is caused by the muscular wall of the uterus contracting and temporarily cutting off oxygen.

See your doctor if the pain is severe or suddenly different from what is normal for you, as it may be a sign of endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

irregular periods happens when the length of your menstrual cycle changes.

They can be normal or easily explained by hormones, but you should see a doctor if they suddenly become irregular, if they are close together or far apart (less than 21 days or more than 35 days), or if your periods last more than a week .

heavy periodsin which a lot of blood is lost, are common but can seriously affect a woman’s life.

Heavy bleeding is defined as losing 80 mL (16 teaspoons) or more each period, having periods that last longer than 7 days, or both.

Heavy periods aren’t necessarily a sign of an underlying problem, but if you notice an unusual amount of bleeding or it’s affecting your daily life, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor.

Source: NHS Options

NAMS Medical Director Dr. Stephanie Faubion said, “Since menstrual pain is a leading cause of school absenteeism among adolescent girls, it is important to explore options that can minimize pain.”

“Something like diet modification could be a relatively simple solution that could give them substantial relief.”

The literature review found that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids, sugar, salt, and meat promote inflammation, while foods high in omega-3 fatty acids reduce it.

Animal products, caffeine, and foods rich in omega-6 can increase these chemical reactions, while foods rich in omega-3 counteract the inflammatory effects of prostaglandins.

Serah Sannoh, lead author and Rutgers University public health graduate, said: “Research into the effects of diet on period pain began as a quest to remedy pain that I personally experienced; He wanted to understand the science behind the association.

“Learning about different foods that increase and decrease inflammation, which subsequently increase or decrease menstrual pain, revealed that diet is one of many contributors to health outcomes that are often overlooked.”

She added: “I am hopeful that this research can help menstruating men reduce the pain they experience and shed light on the importance of holistic treatment options.”

The results will be presented at the NAMS annual meeting in Atlanta, which runs from October 12-15.

More than half of women in the US have some menstrual pain for one or two days a month.

The pain is usually mild, but for some women it is so severe that it interferes with daily life for several days a month.

For some, the pain also comes with diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness.

Symptoms such as swelling, tender breasts, poor concentration, mood swings, and tiredness may also appear.

For many women, periods become less painful as they age and may also improve after giving birth.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends exercise, heat, sleep, and relaxation to relieve cramps.

Aerobic exercises like walking and swimming help the body produce pain-blocking chemicals.

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