Why am I crazy before periods?

If you are feeling some changes in you let it be physical, emotional or mood disturbance before your periods then you might be suffering from premenstrual stress or syndrome (PMS). It affects menstruating woman at any age.

For some women it just monthly bother and not very difficult to handle but for some it could be so tough that it needs intervention.

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome is wide range of physical and psychological symptoms occurring before your periods starts. These symptoms may occur 1 or 2 weeks before menstruation (period) and these are not due to any physical or psychiatric illness.

You will feel better after period starts and symptoms disappear when period ends.

When the symptoms are moderate to severe these are called PMS but symptoms if more than severe then it is called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

What causes PMS?

Cause of PMS is unknown but following one or more factors may be included.

  • Changes in hormonal levels– It is linked with changing hormone levels due to menstrual cycle. Levels of female sex hormones Estrogen and Progesterone vary throughout menstrual cycle. PMS is related to cyclical fluctuation of Estrogen and progesterone and their effect on neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain)
  • Water retention in the body
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Prostaglandin Impact 
  • Psychological and psychogenic effects

Risk factors for PMS

There are many factors which do not cause PMS but can worsen it are

  • Women in their late 20’s and early 40’s.
  • Nutritional deficiency-Many vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids are involved  in helping to ease PMS
  • Weight and Physical activity –Likelihood of PMS is more in women who are obese and have less physical activity.
  • Stress-it seen more in women who are under physical or emotional stress.
  • Having other physical illnesses.
  • Consumption of excessive alcohol, caffeine and salty food.
  • Smoking.
  • PMS occurs more often in women who:
    • Have had at least one child.
    • Have a family history of depression.
    • Have a history of postpartum depression or mood disorder

What are the symptoms of PMS?

Presentation and severity of PMS vary with woman to woman and may be different every time.

Symptoms of PMS can be as follows but it is not necessary all of them occur at the same time and are sane in all women

Physical Symptoms

  • Bloating
  • Headache or backache
  • Acne
  • Cramps
  • Tender breasts
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Low tolerance to light or noise
  • Craving for certain food
  • Feeling tired
  • Change in appetite
  • Difficulty in sleeping etc.

Psychological symptoms

  • Anger outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Social withdrawal
  • Tension or anxiety
  • Trouble with concentration or memory
  • Feeling of sadness
  • Crying spells
  • Reduced interest in sex etc.

How the PMS is diagnosed?

There are no laboratory investigations needed to diagnose PMS. From your symptoms and its time of occurrence and how much it affects your life, your doctor will diagnose PMS.

Doctor may diagnose you having PMS if you have few of these symptoms and fulfilling following criteria.

  • Occurring five days before your period for at least three menstrual cycles in a row
  • Relieved within 4 days of the onset of periods
  • You are not on any pharmacologic therapy, hormone therapy or drug or alcohol use
  • They refrain you from social or economic performance.

How do I get rid of PMS?

PMS can be managed in many ways. If the symptoms are mild to moderate and not associated with any other illness you can help yourself by doing following changes in your lifestyle

  • Take over the counter NSAIDS pain reliever like paracetamol or ibuprofen for headache, cramps, backache etc.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet most of the time with lots of fruits, vegetable, wholegrains, dairy and pulses.
  • Avoid processed meat.
  • Avoid salt, sugary foods, caffeine, smoking and alcohol.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Find healthy way to reduce stress talk to somebody close about stress, cultivate hobbies.
  • Go for Yoga, meditation.
  • Along with the modern medicine Homeopathic medicine and Ayurveda Medicine has very good results in dealing with PMS.
  • Keep record of your symptoms so that you can show it to your doctor for better managementof PMS.

Consult your doctor if

  • Symptoms are not relieved by Lifestyle Modification
  • If your symptoms are affecting your daily life significantly.

From pale to pink ……Diet for “Nutritional Anemia”

Anemia is medical condition in which you suffer reduced ability to carry oxygen in your blood.

It could be due to low production of Red blood cells or low hemoglobin (protein in the body which carries oxygen) or decreased volume of red blood cells (Blood loss).

Amongst various causes of anemia nutritional deficiency is the commonest cause of Anemia.

“Nutritional Anemia” is a condition in which the hemoglobin or red blood cell content of the blood is lower than normal due to a deficiency of either a single or several essential nutrients regardless of cause of its deficiency.

Which are the  nutrients  needed for red cells production?

  • Proteins- Red cells and hemoglobin are made from proteins hence are important. Hence adequate proteins are required for building these two.
  • Iron-Hemoglobin is full of irons and with help of iron it carries oxygen.
  • Vitamins
    • Vitamin B12 and folic acid is essential for production of new cells.
    • Vitamin C- It facilitate the absorption of iron from the gut and it is also involved in normal metabolism of vitamin B12 and folic acid.
    • Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine-Important for hemoglobin production.
    • Vitamin E- Essential for stability of red cell outer layer
    • Vitamin A- Affects hemoglobin levels because it is involved in iron metabolism deficiency restricts iron use by hemoglobin.
  • Copper and Zinc- Both copper and zinc are essential nutrients and deficiencies of both result in anemia.

Causes of Deficiency

Amongst all nutritional anemia Iron deficiency anemia, Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia and malnutrition related anemia are very common.

  • Poor diet
  • Poor absorption of these nutrients by body
  • Loss of Blood
  • Lead poisoning in children
  • Increased Demand  but normal production as in pregnancy, growing children

Diet to improve haemoglobin and Red cells level

Treatment of Anemia depends upon the type,cause and severity of anemia but diet is essential element of the plan.

Deficiency of one or more of the above can lead to Anemia. hence it is important to include above nutrients in the diet.

Diet also varies with type of anemia you are suffering, your physical condition but in general guidelines are given for  prevent and treat anemia.

  1. Proteins –Include adequate proteins in the body

Plant sources

  • legumes: dried beans,peas,lentils are legumes
  • Soy based proteins it is a complete protein and it is comparable to animal source of protein.
  • Nuts and seeds Nuts and seeds are very good sources of proteins e.g. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts etc.
  • Spinach

So combination of these in daily diet will improve quality of protein intake.

Animal Sources

  • Dairy –Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Cottage cheese (Paneer).
  • Eggs, Seafood, Meat.

 Include iron rich food in the diet

  • Plant sources are called “non heme iron “and are not easily absorbed by the body but if taken with vitamin C their iron is absorbed by the body. Sources are Green Leafy vegetables, dried beans, dark colored fruits, beet, dates, grapes, raisins etc.
  • Animal sources are called “heme Iron” our body easily absorbs this type of iron. Sources are meat, fish, and egg yolk.
  1. Vitamin C –when taken along with the meal facilitates absorption of iron and it is also involved in the metabolism of vitamin B12.

Sources are

  • Fruits- citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, Amla (Indian gooseberry), orange, sweet lime, pineapple, papaya, guava etc.
  • Vegetables-Green leafy vegetables, pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, raddish, tomatoes etc.
  • Sprouts
  1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is generally not available in plant source but nowadays breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12. Vegans must be especially careful to get adequate amounts on a regular basis, preferably daily.

Animal sources are

  • milk ,yogurt, cheese
  • Eggs ,fish ,meat
  1. Folic Acid-Dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach and dried legumes such as chickpeas, beans and lentils are naturally good sources of folic acid.

6.Vitamin E

Vitamin E generally found in food that contain fat margarine, vegetable oil, wheat germ oil, olive oil, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds

Also other sources of vitamin E are dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, pumpkin, broccoli, fish etc.

  1. Vitamin A 

sources are

  • Animal sources-Liver and fish oils other sources are milk, eggs
  • Plant sources are

Leafy green vegetables

Orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato etc.

Orange and yellow fruits like papaya, mango, apricot, peaches.

Remember!!

  • Supplementary and fortified foods may be a help in controlling or preventing anemia.
  • Vitamin C which promotes Iron absorption hence if you squeeze lemon on food will not be only make food palatable but also make iron absorption better. You can take a glass of orange juice along with the meal.
  • Vitamin C is water soluble hence if you warm meals for long time decreases their vitamin C content and hence iron absorption
  • Germination and baking increases iron absorption.
  • Avoid drinking tea and coffee with meal or immediate after meals as tea and coffee form insoluble iron tannate that is not absorbed.
  • Coconut milk, if used extensively in cooking inhibits iron absorption.
  • When food is cooked in iron utensils, some iron is added from the utensils.

Looking at the diet required to prevent and treat anemia we can conclude that it is not one type of food which can treat anemia but variety of food has to be included in the diet.

In short “Diet balancing body needs is key to health!”

  

Your tiredness may be due to Anemia!!

Are you feeling tired with normal activities? and if it does not go away with the sufficient night rest then be alert and take action as you may be suffering from Anemia!

It’s a very common medical condition and can be easily treated.

It affects all ages, races ethnic groups. Both men and women suffer anemia but women and children are more vulnerable.

What is Anemia?

Anemia is medical condition in which you suffer reduced ability to carry oxygen in your blood. Which could be due to low Red blood cells or due to low hemoglobin.

Red blood cells carry a special protein called hemoglobin on them.Haemoglobin uses iron to carry oxygen. These red cells deliver oxygen from lungs to rest of the body. Oxygen is necessary for the body to make energy and carry out all its functions.

So when one suffers from anemia his or her ability to carry oxygen to rest of the body is diminished and hence there is low energy and reduced ability of body’s performing necessary functions as a result you feel tired and develop other symptoms.

Types of anemia

There are many causes of anemia common causes are

1.Due to reduced or defective red cells production.

Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow ( spongy tissue inside  the bones in the body)

To make healthy hemoglobin and red blood cells our body needs Iron, vitamin B12, folic acid(one of the vitamin B) small amounts of other vitamins and minerals, and proteins. We get these nutrients from food.

Also one chemical called erythropoietin (produced in kidneys) is required to boost production of red blood cells.

Conditions causing reduced or defective red cells production

  • Poor nutrition
  • Worms
  • Certain drugs
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Cancer and treatment of cancer
  • Increased demand in Pregnancy
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Certain inherited disorder

2.Due to destruction of red blood cells Sometimes red blood cells are destroyed before their normal life span in large numbers but body cannot make up for enough supply.

Conditions causing destruction of red blood cells

  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, where the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies its own red blood cells as a foreign substance and attacks them.
  • Certain inherited illnesses.
  • Infections (e.g. Malaria, Dengue, HIV)
  • Liver diseases
  • Spleen diseases
  • Certain drugs
  • Vascular grafts, prosthetic heart valves, tumors, severe burns, exposure to certain chemicals, severe hypertension, and clotting disorders

3.Due to blood loss.

When one loses blood one loses large amount of Red cells.

Causes of blood loss are

  • Heavy bleeding in periods.
  • Injuries
  • Gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis(inflammation of the stomach), and cancer.
  • Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirinor ibuprofen, which can cause ulcers and gastritis
  • Childbirth

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of anemia develop as body has to work hard to adjust with low oxygen. Anemia can be mild, moderate or severe. It can also be temporary or a longer-lasting problem. Sometimes symptoms of mild anemia can be unnoticed but as anemia worsens symptoms can worsen.

Symptoms include

  • Fatigue-tiredness after shorter and shorter periods of exertion
  • Shortness of breath while climbing staircase or lifting something or during normal activity
  • Feeling faint or dizziness, light headedness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Confusion ,lack of concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness, feeling cold in hand and feet
  • Heavy periods or irregular periods
  • Strange craving food
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss ,dry brittle hair
  • Black Stools –if there is bleeding in digestive system
  • Chest pain ,chronic body pain
  • Pale skin and eyes
  • Shiny tongue
  • Discoloration of nails
  • Loss of sleep

With severe or long-lasting anemia, the lack of oxygen in the blood can damage the heart, brain, and other organs of the body. Very severe anemia can even cause death.

Diagnosis of Anemia

You may come to know about anemia in various ways either on routine investigation or on testing for another conditions and or when your doctor advises tests for symptoms you have developed.

Doctors may take various steps to find out anemia, its severity and cause and to monitor treatment.

Steps includ

    1.History

  • Proper history about your sign and symptoms with respect to duration and its progress
  • Your personal history includes your occupation, dietary habits or drug addiction etc.
  • Your past history and family history of any illness occurred
  • Your menstrual history and pregnancy history etc.

2.Physical examination

This is done to confirm which organ or body system is involved. Your doctor may check the color of your skin, gums, and nail beds and look for signs of bleeding or infection. He or she may listen to your heart for a rapid or irregular heartbeat and your lungs for rapid or uneven breathing. Your doctor also may feel your abdomen for an enlarged liver or spleen, check for bone pain, or conduct a pelvic or rectal exam to check for internal bleeding

3.Test and procedures

Commonly done test for diagnosing Anemia

  • CBC-Complete Blood Count –It is broad scale test provides count of all cells in the blood. It also gives reading about level of hemoglobin and other valuable information which decides if you have anemia and what is its type.

Depending upon test results of CBC your doctor may ask for further tests, like

Blood test –Serum Iron, Total iron banding capacity transferrin saturation, serum ferritin, comb’s test,G6PD etc.

Bone marrow study –Gives information about the marrow’s ability to make enough healthy blood cells.

Treatment of Anemia

Anemia can be mild ,moderate and severe.Depending upon cause and severity treatment is given by the doctor.You can even prevent some types with a healthy diet. Other types can be treated with dietary supplements.

However, certain types of anemia can be severe, long lasting, and even life threatening if not diagnosed and treated.

If you have signs or symptoms of anemia, see your doctor to find out whether you have the condition. Treatment will depend on the cause of the anemia and how severe it is.

Medicines –Your doctor may give you medicine to treat underlying condition causing anemia.

Dietary changes food to improve your red cell and hemoglobin count if anemia is due to nutritional reason.

Supplements –Doctor may need to give you Iron, vitamin B12, folic acid supplement if your diet is poor.

Supplements can be given orally or intravenous (directly in the vein) or intramuscular (directly in the muscle) depending upon severity.

Blood transfusion

Bone marrow transplantreplaces your faulty stem cells with healthy ones from another person (a donor). Stem cells are made in the bone marrow. They develop into red and white blood cells and platelets

Surgery-Surgery may needed for underlying causing blood loss such as uterine fibroid, hemorrhoids, ulcer, cancer etc.

 

Does vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids affect menstrual health?

Menstrual periods are fact in a woman’s life for about 3 decades of her life. Huge period! Isn’t it? We go through lots of physical and emotional turmoil during each period in these 3 decades.

We should also know that our menstrual health is not only hormonal affair but it is also largely associated with the food we eat. Nutrition researcher theorize that dietary pattern affect the cause and severity of menstrual troubles.

Role and sources of essential nutrients

Apart from carbohydrates, proteins and fats, these are minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids play important role in maintaining body functioning smooth their excess and deficiency can impair body function and so the menstrual cycle.

So it is important to have their adequate supply in our food.

Calcium-Calcium performs a number of vital functions in the body: It is a major constituent of bone and teeth, but it is also needed for muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve conduction etc.. Calcium is closely interrelated with magnesium in the human body.

Researcher have found that calcium supplementation resulted in significant reduction in symptoms such as depression, Mood swings, Headache, and irritability and breast engorgement.

Sources

  • Milk and milk products
  • White beans White bean refers to any bean that is white or off-white in color, Soybean, tofu
  • Almonds, sesame seeds, dried figs, dates, walnuts, apricot, raisins berries, custard apple, oranges
  • Green leafy vegetables, okra, broccoli
  • Shrimps, crabs, eggs and chicken etc.

Magnesium –Magnesium along with calcium is involved in many crucial functions in the body that affects woman health. Magnesium supplementation has shown promise in treating premenstrual stress, menstrual cramps, mood swings.

Sources

  • Legumes-soyabean,kidney beans, black beans
  • Nuts and seeds-pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, cashews, and almonds
  • Whole grains
  • Green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, lemons, coconut, grapefruit etc.

Zinc – Copper is well recognized for its association with estrogen while zinc, on the other hand, is associated with progesterone. Zinc-to-copper ratio can be applied to the progesterone-to-estrogen ratio respectively. Those who have low zinc copper ration suffer premenstrual syndrome, heavy menstruation etc.

  • Fortified cereals, wheat germ
  • Nuts and Seeds-pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, cashew, peanuts, walnuts
  • Seafood
  • Dairy
  • Fruits-ponegranate,avocados,berries

Iron– Iron is essential for formation of blood. It is needed to overcome to combat blood loss occurred during periods

Sources

  • Green leafy vegetables,beets,broccoli,potato
  • Grapes,raisins,watermelon,apples,pomegranate,Strawberries,
  • Legumes-soybean,kidneybeans,chickpeas,spitpeas
  • Peanuts, cashews
  • Meat-chicken, red meat, seafood

Vitamin B6 – vitamin B6 can alleviate PMS symptoms through its role in the production of prostaglandin and fatty acids.

Sources

  • Wheat germ
  • Legumes, soybean
  • Milk
  • Egg,liver,meat
  • Starchy vegetables like potato

Vitamin B 12-It is needed to improve hemoglobin levels and smooth nerve function.

Sources

Vitamin B12 is generally not available in plant source but nowadays breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12

Animal sources are

  • milk and milk products
  • eggs, fish ,meat

Vitamin C –It is essential for integrity of blood vessels, healing and serves protection against stress (antioxidant).

Sources

  • Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, orange other fruits guava, pineapple, kiwi, papaya etc.
  • Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
  • Green leafy vegetables,cauliflower,cabbage,broccoli.tomatoes,
  • sprouts

Vitamin D- Vitamin D essential for calcium metabolism in the body.

Very few foods contain vitamin D.it is formed under the skin when exposed to sunlight.Feel free to bath with morning sunlight!

Food Sources are

  • fatty fish, fish liver oil,shrimps,oysters
  • cheese
  • egg yolks
  • mushrooms

Vitamin E-Vitamin E is helpful to reduce blood loss and reduce pain occurring during periods.

Sources

  • Wheat germ oil, whole grains
  • Almonds,peanuts,sunflower seeds, dried apricot
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Milk
  • All whole sprouted seeds

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)-Omega 3 EFA are essential for production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which are needed to reduce pain during menstruation.

Sources

  • Fish, fish liver oil
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Soybeans
  • Eggs

These are general guidelines for improving menstrual health but a balanced diet is always helpful for general wellbeing. Remember nutrition needs differ from woman to woman depending on their physical condition and lifestyle.

For effective results you need to give yourself at least three months on your new diet to allow for any health changes. Give yourself longer, say six months, if you missed continuity.

Sometimes you may not be able to do it. This is perfectly normal. Don’t feel guilty for eating “inappropriate” diet or missing “appropriate” diet.

If you miss it start healthy diet again on the next day.

Enjoy the food !Happy eating!

Are you concerned with period cramps?(Dysmenorrhoea )

Being a woman sometime or other time we have experienced pain during the periods.

It is one of the most common disorders related to periods. Though majority of times it is self-resolving after periods. But can cause serious concern for those who suffer it severely and feel restricted due to pain.

Let’s understand this common concern and how to reduce its adverse impact on our life.

What is dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea is a medical term for difficult and painful periods (menstruation).

More than half of the women feel menstrual pain during their monthly period for at least 1-2 days.

It can be light for some women but for some it  can negatively affects quality of life and sometimes results in activity restriction and lost work and school days, missing sports or social events etc.

What is the cause?

There could be several factors causing menstrual pain but primarily occurs due to a naturally occurring chemical in the lining of uterus (Endometrium) Prostaglandins. Prostaglandins causes uterus to contract and allow blood to release. Pain usually starts before period starts as prostaglandins increases in the lining of uterus.

Other factors are sensitive nervous system, which causes more intense response to pain. Genetic factors and pelvic diseases may also contribute to pain.

Risk factors

There are several risk factors which enhances chances of having pain during periods like

  • Heavy menstrual loss
  • Premenstrual symptoms
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Clinically suspected pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Age younger than 30 years
  • Menarche before 12 years of age
  • Family History
  • Never having given birth
  • Smoking /Alcohol
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Sedentary life style
  • Excessive overweight or underweight
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

Types of Dysmenorrhoea

Primary Dysmenorrhoea

It is pain that comes from having menstrual period in absence of any other illness. Usually begins soon after having first menstrual periods. Commonly occurs in young women and decreases as they get older and after childbirth. This pain is relieved after menstrual period is over.

Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

It Occurs specifically due to diseases of pelvic organs. Usually seen later in life and pain gets worsened over a period of time.It lasts longer than normal menstrual cramps. It may begin days before menstrual periods and may not end even after periods got over.

Symptoms

There is usually dull or sharp throbbing cramping pain in lower abdomen during menstrual periods. Primary Dysmenorrhoea usually starts with onset of menses and lasts for 2-3 days

May be associated with

  • Light-headedness,
  • Nausea
  • Pain in lower limbs.
  • Loose motions,
  • Bloating of tummy
  • Constipation

In Secondary dysmenorrhea symptoms vary with underlying disease but commonly

  • Occurs after menstruation
  • Pain may precede several days before periods and last several days after menstrual periods
  • May be associated with pain during sex.
  • Discharge from vagina

Common illnesses causing Dysmenorrhoea are endometriosis (lining of uterus grows in other pelvic organs), pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids (growth in wall uterus) and adhesions, cervical obstruction, ovarian cyst etc.

Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) and sometimes tampons can also contribute to pain in some.

Diagnosis

Most women can identify menstrual pain without help of physician.

Investigations depends upon severity of symptoms,incapacitation and pelvic illness.Your doctor may give a trial of medicines before resorting to invasive investigations especially in a young unmarried girl.Your doctor will assess and evaluate you by doing following examinations as required

  • Complete history
  • Pelvic and abdominal examination
  • Vaginal swab/pap smear
  • Pelvic Ultrasonography
  • CT scan/MRI scan
  • Hysteroscopy/Laparoscopy etc.

How to relieve symptoms and when to see a doctor?

Not all with menstrual pain needs treatment many times pain is self-limiting.It is rare to see severe primary dysmenorrhea above the age of 35 years.sometimes it is cured after pregnancy.

Care can be taken at home initially to reduce discomfort and pain

Medication – You can take over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) tablet  like paracetamol,Ibuprofen etc.which are available in medical store without prescription.One of those can be taken to relieve symptoms.(Please avoid prolonged self medications).

Birth Control PillsBirth control pills and other forms of hormonal birth control (eg, patch, vaginal ring, injection, hormone-releasing intrauterine device, contraceptive implant) also represent effective treatments for women with dysmenorrhea who are not trying for pregnancy. These treatments work by thinning the lining of the uterus, where prostaglandins are formed, thereby decreasing the uterine contractions and menstrual bleeding that contribute to pain and cramping.

Physical therapy

  • Hot fomentation on lower abdomen and back hot water bath, heating pads, hot water bags, hot moist pack etc. can significantly reduce the pain
  • Do gentle massage on lower abdomen with your fingertips.
  • Lye down with legs elevated.
  • Regular exrecise release endorphins which leads to pain relief.

Diet to reduce pain and inflammation

  • During acute pain warm beverages-green tea, ginger tea, chamomile tea etc.
  • Avoid –excessive salt, sugar, fats and food rich in caffeine
  • Stop smoking and alcohol 
  • Can take food rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid can reduce inflammation such as flaxseed, evening primrose oil etc.
  • Vitamin E and B-complex and magnesium can be taken with consultation of your doctor.

Psychotherapy 

Relaxation therapies can help to reduce pain and stress associated with dysmenorrhea, meditation is also useful to relieve pain

Consult your doctor if…

  • When pain is getting worse and not relived by home remedies.
  • Pains are lasting longer than menstrual periods.
  • If Symptoms becomes more severe and frequent
  • Increased menstrual bleeding and blood clots.
  • Abrupt change in severity of pain with other associated symptoms like nausea; vomiting, rapid heart rate etc. may be associated with acute medical emergency.
  • Fever with vaginal discharge-fever associated with menstrual pain and foul-smelling vaginal discharge before or after periods may suggest pelvic infection.

 

 

 

Eat healthy… Don’t feel crampy!!!

Yes! It is also food that will help reduce your menstrual cramps and your crampy mood during periods.

There are many ways to deal with primary menstrual cramps (Primary Dysmenorrhea). But one way to reduce and prevents severity of pain goes through food we eat.

What happens in Normal Menstruation and Dysmenorrhea?

Women’s menstrual cycle is regulated by female sex hormones Estrogen and Progesterone along with other hormones.

In every month amount of estrogens in a woman’s body rises and falls. It controls the growth of the uterine lining and production of prostaglandins (PG) during the first part of the cycle. If the woman’s egg is not fertilized, estrogen levels decreases sharply and menstruation begins along with painful cramps

Mainly Prostaglandins are responsible for painful cramps. Some of the prostaglandins also enter the bloodstream, causing headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms.

Prostaglandins are important

Prostaglandins causes uterus to contract and promote inflammations. As these prostaglandins are produced under influence of Estrogen (Produced from cholesterol-fat) more the production of estrogen it is likely more is the productions of prostaglandins.

These are pro inflammatory prostaglandins (Produced from Omega 6 fatty acids) but our body also produces anti-inflammatory (Produced from Omega 3 fatty acids) prostaglandins.

It is seen women with severe dysmenorrhea contain greater amounts of pro inflammatory prostaglandins than who have mild pain.

Our body’s ability to inflame is as important as its ability to un-inflame. Hence when we  look at the  food for menstrual cramps it is important to note that balance nutrition is the key to keep body in harmony.

Let’s understand how food and food habits affects menstrual cramps

  1. Influence of Low Calorie Intake (Dietary restriction)

Nutritional deficiency is considered one of the important factors causing hormonal imbalance. Low weight and fat mass, low calorie intake and eating disorders are usually related to decreased intake of Essential fatty acids and magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, niacin, and vitamin C. and vitamin E which are needed for production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins results in more painful menstruation.

A deficiency of Essential fatty acids either due to inadequate intake and a high consumption of saturated animal fats can result in overproduction of pro inflammatory Prostaglandins.

  1. Influence of High calorie intake (excessive diet)

Excessively high calorie food is associated with overweight and obesity which is related to increased fat cells in the body and hence productions of excess estrogen and prostaglandins which may be responsible for more pain in overweight women.

Excessive Sugar intake through too many refined foods (known as high-glycemic-index foods which raise blood sugar levels too quickly) your body will react by producing a wide variety of inflammatory chemicals including prostaglandins resulting in dysmenorrhea.

**There may be psychological stress related to being underweight or obese which may cause differences in pain perception and sensitivity between these women and normal weight women, resulting in different subjective experience of pain.

  1. Food Skipping

Breakfast as part of a healthful diet and lifestyle can positively impact. On the other hand, breakfast skipping increased during the transition to adulthood, and is associated with increased weight gain from adolescence to adulthood. Young women who skip breakfast have a significantly higher degree of dysmenorrhea symptoms than young women who eat breakfast; breakfast skipping induced constipation that can cause various organic disorders in the pelvic cavity.

  1. Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian diet

The amount of estrogen in a woman’s blood is constantly being readjusted. A low-fat, high-fiber diet can significantly reduce estrogen levels. Lower the hormone level less is the effect on uterine lining. Having too high estrogen levels can also result in irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods.

Estrogen is pulled up from blood stream by liver and sent to intestinal tract via a small tube called bile duct. Which is reabsorbed in the blood. There, fiber soaks it up like a sponge and carries it out with other waste. The more fiber there is in the diet, the better the natural estrogen disposal.

Animal products do not contain fiber. When an individual’s diet consists predominantly of animal products such as chicken, fish, or yogurt, daily fiber needs may not be met

The waste estrogens, which should bind to fiber and leave the body, pass back into the bloodstream. This hormone “recycling” increases the amount of estrogen in the blood. So, by avoiding animal products and added oils, estrogen production is reduced and by replacing chicken, skim milk, and other non-fiber foods with grains, beans, and vegetables, estrogen elimination is increased

  1. Diet rich in Essential fatty acids,calcium and magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, niacin, and vitamin C,vitamin E is essential for production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
  2. Alcohol-Alcohol does not cause pain directly but interferes with hormone metabolism of liver and increases pain
  3. Smoking-Similar to alcohol, there is no evidence of smoking is directly related to dysmenorrhea but it is speculated that it causes constriction of uterine blood vessels resulting in menstrual cramps.
  4. Caffeine-Caffeine can worsen menstrual cramps as it constricts blood vessels.
  5. Excessive salt – Many women feel incredibly bloated and puffy around the time of menstruation. Consuming too much salt at that time will only make it worse.

How to keep food to work?

While diet alone cannot prevent dysmenorrhea or cure it, it’s certainly one of the first lines of treatment.

The key to success is to follow the diet strictly, so that the beneficial effects it has are evident after a cycle or two.

Improve your diet by following regimen.

  • Increase intake of Essential fatty acids which are found in cold water fish, nuts and seeds for e.g.flaxseeds)
  • Reduce Intake of processed meat
  • Reduce  vegetable oils: salad dressings, margarine, and all cooking oils ,fatty foods
  • Eliminate refined foods –Refined flour , Bakery
  • Eliminate caffeine
  • Balance intake whole grains  brown rice, whole-grain bread, chapatti, oatmeal, etc.
  • Increase intake of Vegetables
  • Increase intake of beans, peas, lentils
  • Increase intake of fruits.

Be sure to choose foods in as natural state as possible.Dietary changes are certainly useful The power of foods will be demonstrated in a very different way.