nutrition and PMS - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 11-22-2006, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey ladies. I was wondering if anybody knows if there is a link between nutrition and PMS symptoms, and if so what that link is? Any associated deficiencies/excesses or anything? For cramps in particular. I get cramps so bad on the first day of my cycle that I am literally incapacitated unless I take like 8 ibuprofen in the day and then 3 aleve to get me through the night (which is NOT something I like to do). That doesn't seem right, somehow. : I'd love any and all advice!

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#2 of 24 Old 11-22-2006, 06:14 PM
 
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I stopped having cramps when I eliminated most dairy from my diet. I had not had cramps for a years until last month, when I had too much cheese around the time I was menstral. I had cramps, and forgot how tiring they can be. Also, just so you know, I am a vegetarian who rarely eats eggs or dairy.
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#3 of 24 Old 11-22-2006, 06:17 PM
 
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I have read that not eating any junk (esp sugar) and making sure you are getting the omega-3s in there is supposed to help. You want to decrease inflammation as far as I understand it. May the WAP site may have more info. Can you use a heating pad until you are better?

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#4 of 24 Old 11-22-2006, 06:24 PM
 
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A lot of people with PMS are deficient in magnesium. Supplementing with magnesium can help in reducing cramps for those deficient. Magnesium goes hand in hand with calcium and also helps in processing B vitamins so I think it's possible that deficiency calcium and B vitamins are also involved.
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#5 of 24 Old 11-22-2006, 07:30 PM
 
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I didn't have cramping but lots of PMS irritability, anxiety and depression. I was deficient in iron, magnesium and b vitamins.
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#6 of 24 Old 11-22-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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There are 4 different types of PMS. Most of them are symptoms of hyperestrogenism (relative to progesterone). That means too much estrogen. This is not the case in PMS -D (most prominent sign is depression) This happens if the liver is not effective enough in clearing estrogens. It may also increase production of oxytocin, which may cause more cramping ( but that may also related to lack of magnesium, which causes muscle cramps).
Estrogen is cleared through the same channels as caffein and nicotine as well as some other substances. The best way to get at PMS symptoms at the root is by making sure the liver works effectively. This means cutting down on things like caffein, nicotine, sugar, additives, etc. as well as making sure the liver has the nutrients it needs to function properly ( protein, zinc, iron,Vit b6 and magnesium, mainly)
An important role in PMS is also being played by dopamine production. Nutritional defiencies also disrupt that cycle as well as many drugs, and stress.

Make sure that you get all the nutrients you need and that you absorb them (check food allergies, improve digestion, heal the gut) You might consider supplementing for a while to see if that helps. If the cramping is bad you can just take straight magnesium pills, like 200-400mg every two hours or so ( might get loose stools!) but that often does the trick.

Good luck!


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#7 of 24 Old 12-01-2006, 03:36 AM
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I stopped having cramps when I eliminated most dairy from my diet.
Did you also avoid yogurt/kefir... it seems like those are more easily digested ?
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#8 of 24 Old 12-01-2006, 03:46 AM
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This means cutting down on things like caffein, nicotine, sugar, additives, etc.
And anything else (ie, food-wise) to cut down on ?

Just wondering... my pms and periods have been getting worse the last 3-4 months - ie, with migraines, acne, irritability, etc .

Actually since I started eating the NT (late summer) I think this is when it started : - I think maybe it's the dairy b/c before learning about NT I didn't eat much dairy at all - just didn't 'trust' it - but with NT they say it's so good for you so I started with regular yogurt/kefir, cream, raw cheeses and sometimes raw milk - and it's so handy and easy I love it !

TIA
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#9 of 24 Old 12-01-2006, 11:04 AM
 
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Did you also avoid yogurt/kefir... it seems like those are more easily digested ?
I eat yogurt infrequently- usually if I have had abdominal cramps- not related to menstration, I will try eating some yogurt, but otherwise I do not have it very often. I do sometimes eat cheese- usually once or twice a week on a sandwich. Otherwise I am avoiding dairy because dh and dd are vegan and it is easier to cook one healthy meal instead of two. Also, I am allergic to something in conventional dairy (organic has not bothered me the same), so I never really eat dairy out of the house.
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#10 of 24 Old 12-01-2006, 12:26 PM
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Thanks Melissa. I'll try cutting out the milk/cream and maybe just have some yogurt/kefir occasionally to make it easier.
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#11 of 24 Old 12-01-2006, 05:23 PM
 
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Off-topic for nutrition, but possibly helpful for the cramps. My cramps went away entirely when I switched over to a Keeper (later a Diva Cup) menstrual cup. Now, if I forget it and have to use conventional products, I get cramps immediately.
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#12 of 24 Old 12-01-2006, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Off-topic for nutrition, but possibly helpful for the cramps. My cramps went away entirely when I switched over to a Keeper (later a Diva Cup) menstrual cup. Now, if I forget it and have to use conventional products, I get cramps immediately.
I bought a diva cup awhile back, and I actually get worse cramps when I used that instead of tampons. : Plus it leaked all over the place. Can't win for losing, eh?

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#13 of 24 Old 12-01-2006, 08:44 PM
 
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My PMS was significantly improved using meat stock each morning, and supplementing with evening primrose oil.
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#14 of 24 Old 12-02-2006, 12:56 AM
 
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When I switched to a high animal foods diet consisting of limited dairy, lots of natural meats, eggs, green veggies, very limited fruits, no grains, my PMS symptoms virtually went away. I still had some food cravings, but I think it was mental association. I used to have the worst cramps prior to my diet change. My advice is to eat as naturally as possible: good quality natural meats, veggies, no or limited grains, limited dairy.

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#15 of 24 Old 12-02-2006, 01:33 AM
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limited dairy.
What would be an example - like maybe cheese twice a week - or no cheese/milk, but only cultured like yogurt/kefir ?

TIA !
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#16 of 24 Old 12-02-2006, 01:57 AM
 
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When I switched to a high animal foods diet consisting of limited dairy, lots of natural meats, eggs, green veggies, very limited fruits, no grains, my PMS symptoms virtually went away. I still had some food cravings, but I think it was mental association. I used to have the worst cramps prior to my diet change. My advice is to eat as naturally as possible: good quality natural meats, veggies, no or limited grains, limited dairy.
This was my experience too. In the 90s, on a near-vegetarian, no dairy, low-fat diet I had horrible cramps, endometriosis, weight gain, PMS, etc. Last year I went on a high-fat, low-carb diet and my symptoms disappeared, and I no longer even know when I start my period. However, I do eat a LOT of butter and cream, but don't drink that much milk.

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#17 of 24 Old 12-02-2006, 04:12 AM
 
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Getting a MoonCup significantly helped my cramps. I'm new to the WAPF diet so I'm not sure how that will help me. I don't get actual physical muscle cramps very bad, a couple of Motrin or one Aleve and I'm good most of the day.

I get emotional upset a day or two before, then hot flashes, cold flashes, diarrhea, nausea, achey joints, weak & tired, on the day I start. It's more annoying than just plain ol' cramps!

I take beneficial oils, usually flax seed and some kind of fish oil. I used to take womens vitamins specifically targeted to help with PMS symptoms, I found that I had to take them religiously (in addition to other vitamins) for the whole LP to get them to help. Recently I've taken men's multi vitamins and they actually make me feel better than the women's kind.
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#18 of 24 Old 12-03-2006, 12:23 AM
 
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magnesium citrate is easiest absorbed, (when i am mag deficient i get migraines, they're related too) i would think you ladies would benefit more by upping magnesium rather than cutting dairy/cultured dairy. dandelion root infusion is the easiest natural remedy for liver support, but some related pills are glutathione and molybedenum (source naturals makes such a combo). i have never been crampy, but when i let stuff slide i still see effects. like, recently my magnesium status slipped, and i was having muscle tension, and migraines if i drank red wine (my liver was having trouble clearing the sulfites) some liver support and gillham's natural calm mag supplement, and i can drink red wine again! for me, i just need to keep the supplements on hand, and gear my diet intently on the nutrients, but being aware of the symptoms should deficiency rear it's head. i'm going to harvest dandelion soon, it's better when they're not blooming.
i'm partial to cotton for menstrual absorbtion, not that i've menstruated much in the last 4 years!
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#19 of 24 Old 12-03-2006, 01:43 AM
 
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I took some magnesium citrate + Calcium citrate a week or so before my period and that really helped. I was having major mood swings - weepy and extremely irritable. This month things seem to be under control (I was a bit whiny, but too out of the ordinary ) Dairy doesn't seem to affect me too much. But caffeine does (ie chocolate).
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#20 of 24 Old 12-03-2006, 02:33 AM
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Thanks for all the good tips everyone !

I also do the 'mag cit/cal cit 1:1' all the time about 1000/1200mg per day and dandelion about 1 wk B4 period, so that's why I thought maybe some dietary change would help... so I'll experiment I think.

I accidentally noticed this statement on the westonaprice.org website (funny, b/c I was actually looking up soy to show a friend how it's not good):

"In countries that traditionally produce milk, adults favor fermented products such as yogurt, clabber, buttermilk and soft and hard cheeses. These are easier to digest because of enhanced enzyme content. But fresh whole milk is easily digested by most children and is an appropriate food up to the age of three or four. A child's toleration for milk will be much greater if it is raw. "

HTH !
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#21 of 24 Old 12-03-2006, 03:03 AM
 
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I would also recommend supplementing with straight magnesium for those of you who eat/consume a lot of dairy - you need to balance the large calcium intake of the dairy with magnesium. Personally, I take in a lot of dairy (2-4 cups a day) - raw and/or kefir'd - and take about 600-1000mg of magnesium citrate a day as well. If you do a mag/cal combo, you are not addressing the magnesium deficiency, but keeping things more status quo. So, instead of eliminating the good dairy (raw, cultured/fermented), just try adding the magnesium as well.

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#22 of 24 Old 12-03-2006, 05:58 PM
 
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i would think you ladies would benefit more by upping magnesium rather than cutting dairy/cultured dairy.
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I would also recommend supplementing with straight magnesium for those of you who eat/consume a lot of dairy - you need to balance the large calcium intake of the dairy with magnesium. Personally, I take in a lot of dairy (2-4 cups a day) - raw and/or kefir'd - and take about 600-1000mg of magnesium citrate a day as well. If you do a mag/cal combo, you are not addressing the magnesium deficiency, but keeping things more status quo. So, instead of eliminating the good dairy (raw, cultured/fermented), just try adding the magnesium as well.

I agree with both you guys! Milk may be great ( IF ofcourse you are not allergic, whole other issue) but the cal/mag is way out of balance in milk. Ideal for humans is 2:1 (cal:mag) and in milk it is something like 9:1. Supplement with mag only ( and yes, the citrate) and do not take more then 200 mg at a time cause that's all your intestines absorb at once anyway, but take it 3-4 times a day.

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#23 of 24 Old 12-03-2006, 06:18 PM
 
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dandelion root infusion is the easiest natural remedy for liver support, but some related pills are glutathione and molybedenum (source naturals makes such a combo).
I too LOVE dandelion, what a great plant and so gentle and useful for liver issues. But I think it is important to figure out first WHY the liver is not doing its job effectively first before you start using herbs to correct it. Using herbs in that manner is suppresive and not much better then using pharmaceuticals to do the same thing. I my experience there are two reasons that the liver does not fuction properly ( besides, heredity and constitution) and those are first the the liver is needing to work too hard (too many toxins in the body) or second that it does not get the right and enough nutrients. Those issues need to be addressed first before using herbs, IMHO But then I am a vitalist first and an herbalist second

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#24 of 24 Old 12-03-2006, 07:45 PM
 
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I bought a diva cup awhile back, and I actually get worse cramps when I used that instead of tampons. : Plus it leaked all over the place. Can't win for losing, eh?
If it leaked when it wasn't completely full, then you didn't have it in right. It does take some practice, but it's a skill worth learning.

My theory is that when the menstrual blood flows easily from the uterus, it doesn't *need* to cramp. Tampons and to a lesser degree, pads, impede the flow. But a properly inserted menstrual cup allows the blood to just flow.
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