Your Period Changes Throughout Your Life
Just when you start to feel like you can predict exactly when your period is going to show, everything can change. For that, you can thank the hormone shifts that happen throughout your lifetime.
Once you get your very first period, your cycles may be longer, meaning more time may pass between when one period starts to the next. A typical cycle for a teenage girl may be 21 to 45 days. Over time, they get shorter and more predictable, averaging about 21 to 35 days.
Hormone changes that happen during perimenopause — the years before menopause when your body starts to make less estrogen — can throw you for a loop. The time from one period to the next may get shorter or longer, and you may have heavier or lighter bleeding during your period. This phase can last up to 10 years before you start menopause and stop getting your period for good.
Gradual life changes are normal, but sudden, unusual issues like very heavy bleeding or missed periods are not. Talk with your doctor if you notice that something seems off.
Whats Best To Eat During Your Period
Especially during the first couple of days of your period youll feel withdrawn, your energy levels will be low and youll be tired. Thats why its important to focus on a diet that keeps your energy levels up.
- To beat tiredness replenish your iron and vitamin B12 intake by eating organic red meat, salmon, legumes, liver, beans, chickpeas, raisins, cheese, milk, almonds or fish.
- Even though cravings will still be strong, try to avoid eating junk and processed foods as they contain a lot of sodium and refined carbohydrates which increase bloating.
- You can replace unhealthy food cravings with healthier options like pieces of fruits, nibblling on nuts or almonds which are rich in omega-3. Try switching a candy bar for a piece of dark chocolate.
- Soft drinks are a hidden source of great amounts of refined sugar, which can increase your cramping. Try to replace the soda with lemon-water, a glass of freshly pressed juice, fruit or herbal tea or a smoothie.
- Try not to consume anything that is very cold. Drinks should at least be at room temperature.
- Have a cup of herbal tea instead of coffee to avoid increasing cramps due to the high levels of caffeine.
- Spice up your veggies or soup with some turmeric, cardamom, ginger, cilantro or cumin these are all spices that will support anti-inflammation
Why Am I Craving Chocolate
Eating chocolate releases endorphins and serotonin, which regulate your mood and balance neuromediators, encouraging relaxation. After getting used to this positive reaction to chocolate, your body starts to crave it. It intensifies during your period because of hormonal shifts and the loss of blood and nutrients.
Consider swapping that chocolate bar with a serving of sliced fruit. If that doesnt seem realistic, then opt for dark chocolate with less sugar when you really want to indulge.
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Pms Is Still A Mystery
Itâs 1 or 2 weeks before your period starts, and here come the breakouts, sluggishness, cravings, bloating, and mood swings. Sound familiar? Every woman is different, but for many, PMS is a fact of life.
But doctors donât know exactly why that is. It seems to be a mix of hormone changes during your menstrual cycle, chemical changes in the brain, and other emotional issues you might have, such as depression, that can make PMS worse.
Whatâs more, once you get your period, the rollercoaster may continue. One study found that period-related pains such as cramps, bloating, backaches, and headaches can cloud your thinking, because the pain may make it harder for you to focus on the tasks at hand. Not that you canât still do them — you can. It may just feel like it takes more work.
Lifestyle changes are usually the best way to take control of PMS. Aim to get about 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, get 8 hours of shut-eye per night, and donât smoke. Your diet makes a difference, too, so fill up on fruits, veggies, and whole grains while you limit salt as well as sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Let your doctor know if PMS keeps you from doing what you normally do, or if you have symptoms of depression or anxiety. You may have a more serious condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder that needs medical attention.
The Period You Get While On The Pill Isnt A ‘true’ Period
Sure, you bleed during the week that you take the sugar pills. But technically thatâs âmonthly withdrawal bleeding.â Itâs slightly different than a regular period.
Normally, you ovulate in the middle of your menstrual cycle. If the egg your ovaries release isnât fertilized, your hormone levels drop, causing you to shed the lining inside your uterus, and you get your period.
Birth control pills, though, prevent ovulation. With most types, you take hormones for 3 weeks followed by 1 week of pills without them. Though they keep your body from releasing an egg, they usually donât prevent it from building up the lining of your uterus all month. The period-like bleeding during that fourth week is your bodyâs reaction to the lack of hormones from the last week of the pill.
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Get Your Period Back By Managing Stress
This is HUGE. And tough since a lot of us who struggle with food/dieting struggle with perfectionism, which is stressful as crap. Stress is normal but when it is chronic it can impact the hypothalamus and suppress our cycles. Managing cortisol, the stress hormone, levels is huge. You can do this with therapy, meditation, relaxation, etc.
And, no, running can not be your therapy right now. W have to make sure we have other ways to cope, too. Remember that running is going to increase our cortisol levels and create an even larger caloric deficit.
Stay Away From Sugary Treats
I used to be a sucker for donuts, chocolate, and soda. They were my go-to feel-good foods, especially when my uterus was doing summersaults. However, these are some of the worst things you can eat, along with highly processed foods full of bad fats.First of all, they will completely mess up your blood sugar levels, which are already all over the place. And the added gas from the carbonated soda will just light a fire under your already bloated stomach.
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What To Do After You Get Your Period Back
The goal after you get your period back is to eat more intuitively. At first, when implementing this healthy menstrual cycle diet plan it might feel anything but intuitive. There will likely need to be a conscious effort to add MORE to your day when increasing intake during the time where you’re making efforts to get your period back. Like I said, I dont think you need to count calories during this. We know when we are being restrictive and when we likely havent eaten enough.
After 3 consecutive cycles is when the No Period, Now What? book recommends to transition to a more “intuitive” eating style and guiding your eating choices more so with hunger and fullness, VS a conscious effort to eat more.
Also, after you’ve got your period back give yourself a HUGE hug because that’s AMAZING, girlfriend!
I hope that this blog post was packed with info for you to learn how to get your period back. Like I said, I’d highly, highly recommend snagging those two books that I mentioned earlier and reading them for yourself. Also, if you’re suffering from a loss of period due to an eating disorder please reach out to a dietitian for help, do not take this as personalized medical advice, because it’s totally not!
Leave a comment with your thoughts on this blog post! I love hearing from you all. Personally, I’m fascinated by the topic of women’s health and plan to dive more into this topic. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in learning more, too!
How To Reprogram Those Cravings
Youre not going to go from loving brownies and chips to appreciating salads overnight, but its possible to make better choices gradually. Dr. McClure recommends not just making healthy swaps around period time but changing the way you eat overall, so its easier to stay on track when your cycle starts. For example, instead of finding comfort in your favorite chocolate dessert, she suggests going for a small piece of dark chocolate.
Its really about reprogramming and changing the foods that youre going for. In the beginning, it might be tough to make a complete switch from hot fudge sundaes to healthier foods, but its possible. For instance, if you want dessert, switch to something like a small piece of dark chocolate. Youll still get the antioxidants from the chocolate that youre craving only not in a large amount and with less sugar. Eventually, you can make a goal to try to avoid sweets altogether.
Dr. McClure also recommends cutting back on caffeine and alcohol as well because these beverages can dehydrate you. If you simply cant live without coffee, she suggests that you have a cup in the morning, then switch to drinking water the rest of the day. She adds that sipping water throughout the day can actually help keep you awake. But if you find water is boring, just add some of your favorite fresh flavors to it like lemon slices, berries, herbs or cucumbers.
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Avoid: Foods High In Fats
Fatty foods influence hormones, lead to cramps and can make you feel gassy. Given the fact that your skin is already sensitive during these days, incorrect food choices during your period can make this issue worse and cause it to become even more dry and dehydrated. Additionally, foods that are rich in saturated fat content increase the production of a particular chemical called prostaglandins, which are notorious for alleviating period pain. Ideally, you should try and avoid fatty meats, burgers and cream-based desserts.
Tip: Here’s what to eat during periods instead – whole wheat bread, dal chawal, porridge, salmon and lean meats, etc.
Potassium And Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 and other vitamins help your muscles relax and ease bloating during your period. Potassium helps to regulate your blood pressure and sends oxygen to your brain.
These suggested nutrients are really helpful for you. You need to pay special attention to the availability of these at your mealtimes.
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Whether Youre Suffering From Pms And Cramps Or Just Feel Like You Want To Hide Under A Duvet Being On Your Period Can Be Difficult Here We Speak To A Nutritionist To Find Out How A Tweak In Diet Could Help Us Feel Calmer Less In Pain And More Alert
There are a couple of weeks every month where I feel like Im operating at half-speed. I feel lethargic, irritable and when my period comes, Im often in a lot of pain. For me a combination of pain-killers, hot water bottles and CBD balm helps take the edge off, but Im convinced theres more I could be doing.
Feeling low in energy and agitated for half the month isnt ideal, especially for my partner who tends to be on the receiving end of my spikey moods. Through menstrual cycle tracking Ive gained a lot of awareness of how my moods change and why my anxiety peaks, but knowing what to do about it feels like the missing piece.
And I wonder if looking at what Im eating could be this missing piece. Were starting to understand just how much our diet affects not only mood but our mental health. So when our bodies experience hormonal and mood changes, there must be tweaks we can make to our diet to support that.
I spoke to nutritionist and asked her what we can eat to help us feel more energised and calm during our period and she offered the following recommendations.
Ensuring that our blood glucose levels are in balance can help us feel energised and prevent sugar crashes and cravings. Good sources of protein include poultry, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds.
Leafy vegetables also contain compounds called indole-3-carbinol which support liver function, important for helping to eliminate ‘old’ hormones and keep hormone levels balanced.
What To Eat During Your Period Keep It Warm And Balanced
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine , coldness in the uterus is a common cause of scanty period, no period, or painful period.
1. Avoid cold and raw foods if you can.
Cold and raw foods are harder to digest and use up the warm yang energy in your body. Moreover, coldness constricts, which can stagnate the normal blood flow and impair circulation causing period pain.
So try to consume foods and drinks warm or at room temperature, at least while youre menstruating.
2. Keep it light and fresh.
Follow the same guidelines recommended before your period.
3. Replenish your iron.
Normally women lose about 30-80ml of blood and 15-25ml of iron during each menstruation. So its important that we replenish our blood and iron during this time.
Foods rich in iron include organic red meat, liver, egg yolks, spinach, collards, dried prunes, raisins, oysters, clams, scallops, turkey, chicken giblets, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans and artichokes.
You may also consider taking a liquid iron supplement which is gentle on the stomach and non-constipating.
4. Avoid drinking strong tea.
The tannic acid contained in tea may affect the proper absorption of protein and iron in food. Learn 10 things to avoid when drinking tea.
5. Have some nourishing herbal tea instead.
For additional support during menstruation, visit my Menstruation Blog.
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Foods You Dont Tolerate Well
This might seem obvious, but its worth emphasizing: If you have food sensitivities, avoid those foods, especially during your period.
If youre lactose intolerant, you might occasionally treat yourself to a milkshake, regardless. But during your period, its especially important to avoid the foods that can trigger issues in your body.
Eating these foods can cause nausea, constipation, or diarrhea, which will only add to your discomfort when youre having a painful period.
Eating and avoiding certain foods isnt the only action you can take to ease the symptoms of your period. Try these, too:
- Exercise. Some evidence suggests that exercise, such as light cardio and yoga, can reduce menstrual cramps.
- Hot compresses. Hot water bottles or microwaveable hot compresses can soothe pain in your abdomen and back.
- Over-the-counter medication. Ibuprofen and other OTC meds can reduce your cramps.
- Massages. Massaging your stomach or your back can reduce menstrual pain. In a small