More and more first-period girls are experiencing dysmenorrhoea or painful periods and unfortunately a greater percentage than ever before are being prescribed the oral contraceptive pill.
Whilst ‘the pill’ is the only answer for some first-period girls and excessively painful periods should always be accompanied by a visit to the GP, lifestyle changes and diet can play a major role in managing major hormonal changes.
Lifestyle vs Diet
Making simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference such as walking and other light exercise, eating smaller meals, light tummy massages and hot water bottles, but by far dietary changes can make the biggest impact.
The five simple dietary tips to curb cramping and other menstrual symptoms are:
- Reduce low fibre carbs such as white bread, pastries and pasta. These can cause blocked or slow-moving bowels which can increase bloating and cramping during periods.
- Go low-fat or even vegan leading up to and during your period. Studies have shown it can significantly reduce pain and PMS. A high fat/low fibre diet can cause constipation and increase estrogen.
- Eat regular meals evenly spaced apart to avoid fluctuating blood sugar levels which increase irritability, stress and fatigue related to PMS. Remember to include low GI fibre to avoid blood sugar spikes.
- Increase essential fatty acids from oily fish or supplements such as fish oil or evening primrose oil. Try to avoid salty foods, too much salt increases bloating.
- Increase muscle relaxing minerals calcium and magnesium to curb cramps. For calcium eat more almonds, sardines, figs and greens. For magnesium eat more bananas, avocado, dark chocolate, nuts and leafy greens.
Caroline has a final word of advice, “If these diet changes are beyond your family’s busy schedule, some of my first-period young patients are experiencing life-changing relief from a new, all-natural plant-based product, khapregesic® for Period Pain. The choice is always yours.”
In this video Caroline shares a patient’s very moving first-period story.
Caroline Robertson is a Clinical Naturopath and Ayurveda Practitioner. She is a natural therapies author and practices in the Northern Beaches of Sydney Australia.
More info for parents: https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/development/periods-hygiene/periods