The female menstruation can be an annoying and unpleasant monthly experience for many women. Nevertheless it is a useful matter. Every month the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg if the woman becomes pregnant. The purpose of the menstrual bleeding is to shed this uterus lining if no fertilisation happened.
Like almost every physiological process in our body in which sudden hormonal changes are involved, this often happens at the expense of our mental and/or physical well-being.
A lot of women are suffering from different symptoms at more or less severe stages. This can really affect a woman's life. But do not worry, you are not alone. In this article we will explain you the most common symptoms and what you can do about it.
The following symptoms are the most frequent ones experienced by women before and/or during their period. If they occur before the actual bleeding sets in, we are talking about the “Premenstrual Syndrome” or PMS, which includes the following symptoms:
- Acne: The rising progesterone levels may cause the sebaceous glands to increase production which leads to acne. To promote healthy skin you should eat plenty of healthy fats (Omega 3 fatty acids), which can be found in salmon, avocado and walnuts for example. It is also important to avoid high sugar foods because they may worsen the symptoms.
- Sugar Cravings: This may be due to lower serotonin levels before the onset of your monthly period. Eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. It has been shown to help regulate blood sugar and avoid heavy cravings that may lead to binges. Try to get in some extra magnesium from nuts and dark chocolate (>80% cacao).
- Headaches or migraines: Naturally occurring changes in hormones, especially estrogen have been linked to headaches and migraines. To balance your hormone levels it is recommended to avoid inflammatory foods such as hydrogenated oils in baked or fried foods, refined grain products such as white bread or pasta and sometimes dairy products also may cause inflammation.
- Abdominal cramps: The cause for abdominal cramps are prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are molecules, which form part of the lining of the uterus during the period and they cause cramps to help shed of this lining. Your top foods when suffering from abdominal cramps should be those loaded with B-vitamins. Whole grains, eggs and dark leafy greens. Legumes are also a great source of vitamin B but as they tend to cause bloating they may not be the best choice in this special occasion.
- Indigestion, bloating: Avoid salty foods as salt is binding water and this may worsen the symptoms. Yoga has been shown to relieve bloating when done on a regular basis. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your bowel movements regular and to eliminate gases.
- Fatigue: This may be related with the iron loss during menstrual bleeding. Make sure you refill your iron stores by getting enough meat or in case of vegetarians a variety of iron rich plant based foods such as legumes, dark leafy greens and nuts. Clams and mussels are also an excellent iron source.
It is important to pay attention to your diet during the whole cycle. The body is permanently producing hormones which may affect our well-being. The declining progesterone levels before the onset of menstrual periods for example may cause mood swings, migraines and menstrual cramps. A magnesium-rich diet can be very beneficial in this case.
Magnesium is found mainly in dark green leafy vegetables, beetroot and whole-grain products such as wholegrain rice or oat bran. The OkamiBio Wake up Mix is not only a good source of magnesium, but also provides other essential nutrients, such as iron, potassium and calcium, that support the body during this phase of the cycle.
During the actual days of menstrual bleeding you should try to be physically active, drink a lot and also pay attention to a healthy diet. The key nutrients here are, as already mentioned healthy fats, like omega 3 fatty acids.
Salmon, avocados and chia seeds should definitely be on your menu. If you want to better support your body and especially your liver OkamiBio Top Health is your buddy. The detoxifying superfood mix promotes the elimination of slags that are stored during this phase. Furthermore, Top Health helps the liver to process the hormones.
Hydration during menstruation
It is always recommended to drink a lot. But is that also true for the days during menstruation? The answer is YES. And you should drink even more than normally. During menstruation, the blood levels of estrogen are low. This leads to water retention in the tissue, which can be flushed out more easily by drinking plenty of water. Furthermore, dehydration can cause headaches and flatulence, aggravating menstrual problems.
Exercise during the period
Exercise can also help relieve menstrual cramps. On one hand, endorphins are released after exercise, which makes you feel better and happy. On the other hand, sport reduces the body's own inflammatory mediators, such as cortisol, which in turn can lead to a relief of cramps. Even though you may not feel like a workout during your days, you should try it.
The time during the monthly period can be very difficult for some women because it affects their well-being and their ability to complete their daily tasks. For some women, this already starts some days before the onset of menstrual bleeding. A healthy diet with the right nutrients, accompanied by adequate hydration and exercise can in many cases help make these days a little more enjoyable.