Diet and menstrual cycle-related symptoms

8 August 2016.

I have been interested in menstrual health for 18 months, primarily due to my own struggles to improve the regularity of my cycle. I´ve visited several practitioners and most of them were not interested in finding alternative ways to managing my menstrual cycle-related symptoms other than giving me a contraceptive pill prescription, again.

In that time, I have collected tips and tricks that work FOR ME. Remember, everyone is different and so please bear this in mind.

When I came off the pill, the first things I did was to research which nutrients my body was deficient in, and I really got my diet on track. I created a list of vitamins and nutrients, and in which foods they occur, in my kitchen – I would try to incorporate these into my diet as often as I could. I also started taking a multivitamin for a few months. I think it did help, especially in terms of getting a good amount of B vitamin, which is important for mental health. I also took probiotics to improve my gut health.

Other significant changes I made were giving up caffeine and cutting down on dairy. These were the last steps I took in trying to regulate my cycle and they helped a great deal. Caffeine has a big impact on the cycle and can worsen the period cramps. If you are trying to give it up, take it slowly if you need to. It can take up to three months to get used to it and for your natural energy to level out. I switched to green tea instead and eventually stopped drinking caffeine on a daily basis altogether. I still eat some dairy but overall I feel less bloated and more energetic since I cut down on the amount, which is a welcome change especially around that time of the month!

Other big changes I made and that help me manage hormonal changes are getting enough sleep (I aim for 8.5 hours every night and 7 at minimum), regular exercise (whatever you enjoy, but ideally a few times per week) and meditation. Accepting that stress is a part of life but also managing it so absolutely crucial. I notice that in a month with a lot of stress, my cycle becomes longer. It definitely made me appreciate how delicately balanced the hormonal system is and how quickly it responds!

-Anonymous