How I Eliminated Menstrual Pain and PMS For Good
Back in my teenage years and into my twenties, I suffered from the inevitable menstrual cramps when Crimson Glory came into town. After all, it’s normal right?
Or is it.
In my research, it appears that 88 percent of women experience significant cramping during their monthly cycles. In one study conducted in the UK, women reported that they would often miss a day of work just be the cramps were unbearable. If they did chose to work, their productivity levels suffered.
Even though so many women succumb to the dreaded period pain, it is often ignored because it is deemed “normal”. While it is common to experience the cramping and PMS, it is actually not normal! It is our body’s way of informing us that something is not right and it needs a solution. These symptoms are warning signals to prompt you to adjust something or it may affect your health later.
Studies have shown that being diagnosed with endometriosis puts a woman at a 62 percent risk for developing coronary heart disease especially if she is under 40 years of age. This is a big national health deal because heart disease is the leading cause of death for women here in the U.S.
But alas, as a woman you were probably given the typical narrative: “Cramps and PMS are normal”. Even with all the over-the-counter medications and warm relief bags, it is like we all took a silent solemn oath at the start of womanhood to not speaketh of the cross we have to beareth. *Le sigh*
Well, I am challenging that oath because I believe most of us are just enduring a pain unnecessarily. Here is what I believe helped the most along with other remedies:
Less Meat to Meatless
Since I became a plant-based no dairy enthusiast, I noticed a significant decrease in the length of my menstruation cycle and the symptoms that came along with it! I went from experiencing 7 to 8 days of torture to 3 to 4 days in about a two-year span. Shortly after committing to the lifestyle, the cramps and the PMS were non-existent. I strongly believe this was in part to my preference of avoiding dairy products:
Research shows a possible link between dairy, PMS and inflammation. Dairy contains beta-casein proteins and the caseins. A1 casein, which is the most common protein found in cow’s milk is a significant source of inflammation . Inflammation is believed to be associated with severe PMS symptoms . This means that dairy-free vegetarians and vegans could experience less severe physical PMS symptoms.
A study on vegetarians shown that the subjects reported shorter period cycle; researchers concluded that this was due to a planned lifestyle of consuming vegetables and high level of activities which resulted in low BMI . One thing to mention is that planning is crucial as a vegetarian! This means eating more vegetables and not substituting with starchy products like pieces of bread out of convenience. Also, it is important to consume adequate iron from dark leafy greens like spinach, beans and lentils and tofu.
I know committing to a plant-based diet is not for everyone, but I highly recommend making replacements and starting slow!
Like your period cycle, get regular on your exercise routine! Research has revealed that moderate exercise on a regular basis was effective at reducing menstrual cramps. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood every day and adding a gentle flow of yoga to boost the circulation and reduce cramps.
Omega-3s and fish oils have been shown to reduce period pain by improving blood flow circulation. The Omegas helps to reduce clotting with their potent nutrients which are loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They are also capable of decreasing prostaglandin related to the menstrual pain!
The restorative yoga pose is perhaps the easiest and relaxing pose to do! Visually, it is known as the “Legs-Up-The-Wall” pose and helps to regulate blood pressure and boost circulation. This gently restores the blood flow rebalancing the body and has the potential to alleviate menstrual cramps. All you need is mat, loose-fitting clothes to wear, a wall, and a few minutes of free time!
As women, it is so crucial for us to take care of our bodies by paying attention to it when the subtle hints appear. We are capable of tapping into our inner healers to achieve the best health that we all deserve.
Baines S, Powers J, Brown WJ. How does the health and well-being of young Australian vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women compare with non-vegetarians?. Public Health Nutrition. 13 Feb 2006. 10(5), 436–442.
Gold EB, Wells C, Rasor MO. The association of inflammation with premenstrual symptoms. Journal of Women’s Health. 2016 May 2.
Pal S, Woodford K, Kukuljan S, Ho S. Milk intolerance, beta-casein and lactose. Nutrients. 2015 Aug 31;7(9):7285–97.