I'm curious to know, as I just wrote a post about it. My own periods are now lighter, shorter, and less annoying in general. Mine is now about two days of light bleeding instead of 5 crampy bloody miserable days of hell. I chalk it up to a better balance of fatty acids, less sugar, and lower body fat.
So the caveat I'll throw in is that I've only done Paleo for a month now, and so am just experiencing my first period post-paleo. But, I have noticed two things:
No zits! I always get a zit or two prior to my period, and realized this time, none appeared.
And the other thing, that I didn't even realize was a period thing until the last year or two, finally talking with my female friends about this. In the first day or two of my period I will get struck with an instance of REALLY needing to go to the bathroom (#2). Apparently, there is something hormonal that occurs with your digestive tract, that causes a strong need for elimination, shall we say? Funny that no one ever talks about this aspect of the cycle.
Anyway, didn't have that occur this time.
TMI, certainly, but hey, that's the human body for you!
I'm 40 years old, been eating low-carb for 18 months and Paleo/Primal for 10 months. My cycles were always long - 35 to 42 days - although the flow usually was only about 5 days. I've always had massive tension headaches two days before the flow starts and also in the middle of the cycle, plus water retention, cramping, increased hunger, lowered immunity (interesting someone else mentioned that too, I'd never heard of it anywhere else but definitely noticed it myself), joint aches, flu-like symptoms, and an attack of diarrhea the day before the flow started (funny someone else mentioned that one too, I only saw mention of that one other time. I read somewhere that it's from a hormonal surge just before your period starts - progesterone I think it was). All of that has gone away, and my cycles are now very consistently 28 days, flow for two days. Mostly symptom-free except for slight increased hunger. Most of the symptoms went away pretty quickly, within the first 6 months. I did go through a couple months when I spotted very slightly in the middle of the cycle, but that went away too. It took over a year for the cycle to reduce down to 28 days and for the headaches to go away completely.
To the ladies who have Mirena & eat Paleo...you may want to look further in depth into the synthetic material & hormone contained in the iuc. I had it for 18 mos & found that it can have devastating effects to your health. My opinion is that your Paleo lifestyle is working to naturally balance your hormones, while the iuc is constantly working to imbalance your hormones in an unatural way. Obviously it's a personal choice. But I couldn't fight daily for whole health by abiding to the Paleo lifestyle, avoiding "poisonous foods" while an evil little foreign object lived in my body releasing "poison". But I'm a little biased against Mirena if you can't tell! Anyway...
Before I cut the carbs, my hormones were way out of whack, and I had some of the symptoms of PCOS. My cycle was long (like 33-35 days), and I had spotting. Insulin is such a powerful hormone, and it can really wreak havoc with your system. My doc's recommendation was oral contraceptives. Nice. Now, my cycle is pretty much 28 days and is much lighter (never any spotting). No more monthly backaches either -- those were a b*tch.
I'm 32 and recently quit the hormonal birth control pills (ortho tri-cyclen/generic equivalent) that I'd been on for over 15 years (!!). That was about 6 months ago and approximately four months after I started eating Paleo. My main motivation to quit was the horrible mood swings I was experiencing that only seemed to get worse every month. I expected a rough adjustment and potential few months of irregularity but have so far only suffered one seriously late period out of about 7. Cramps are minimal (1 day) and heavy flow only lasts for one day - in fact I happened upon this thread because I was starting to wonder if a light, 4-5 day long period is normal or healthy. The only downside of kicking the pill thus far has been occasional acne. Sex drive went through the roof and my moods stabilized greatly so I'm happy with my decision.
I've ha a similar experience to you, Melissa. Pre-paleo I was on birth control on and off for a fair few years, due to irregularity and acne issues. Although I've slowly been moving towards paleo for about a year now (before I even knew what paleo was!) it's only the last 2 months I've been almost purely paleo without birth control. And boy, the difference! It only lasts about two days, I have no headaches the day before, no insane tiredness from nowhere and best of all; my immune system doesn't seem to be as fragile in the days prior either. That's a biggie for me! I would always get minor colds, almost every month, in the days before my period. But the biggest and best deal of all is that my acne is essentially gone and cleared up. And yet people around me still won't believe it's due to a diet change. :P
I cam to Paleo directly because of my menstrual issues - I have endometreosis.
I was (finally) diagnosed in 2004 and went to see a nutritionalist in the hopes of dealing with it without recourse to hormone therapies which my (gentleman) specialist introduced with the comforting "well, we're not sure what will work ... it won't cure it ... we'll just keep trying you on different cocktails until we find something that makes you feel a bit better" Um? No, thanks!
(The nutritionalist didn't get me to Paleo but started me on a course of eating and investigating that eventually ended here.)
Paleo has radically changed my periods for the better, these are the things that I have noticed:
(1) I rarely have pain now - if I do it is a vague cramping on day one. I don't really experience the pain that I identify with the endo side of things any more at all.
(2) My cycle has shortened, I was always a 28 day cycle but now am 26 days - you can set your watch by me!
(3) I used to have pretty much a full on 5 day period but I would say that I only have 3 days now and the rest is very light and on and off for the last two days.
(4) I used to get PMS symptons, funny tummy, confusion, clumsiness and sometimes a terrible aching sadness for no reason. That's pretty much all stopped and the emphasis on hormonal changes seems to have shifted to mid cycle ovulation where I am generally ravenous for 3 days or so and occassionally hit with the sadness - but in a much milder form.
All in all I have transitioned from violent pain and mind-fug to pretty much what I expect is considered quite normal. I really can't articulate the relief and delight I feel in having won free of the endo. On the flip side though - the minute I stray from Paleo eating I get hit like a truck and it can take a good few months for the endo symptoms to subside again. But unless I'm in a situation where I have no control or no choice (kinda rare) I've never wanted or needed to stray from Paleo .. so it's all good.
I've always been pretty regular, averaging 28 days. I think it's important to note that I don't use hormonal birth control. My husband and I follow FAM and have since we got married. I think my flow has gotten slightly lighter and slightly shorter since following a paleo diet, but it wasn't ever that heavy.
melissa wrote on her blog: "With most big proponents of the paleo diet being male and the general taboo against this subject, it's not surprising that menstruation and the paleo diet is little discussed."
actually, as soon as i found the arthur de vany blog and started paleo, i plunged into the period topic right away. no one slapped me down for it. so if it is taboo, it is women who feel too uncomfortable with the subject who make it that way.
also, talkin' menstruation, i think we have to know people's ages. i'm 44 and may be perimenopausal, at which time irregular heavy periods are seen as a symptom and not abnormal. i was passing big clots and lots of blood. i was anemic. but with each month of paleo (i'm on month 6 now), my periods have gotten lighter. they last for 6 days, with day 2 being the heaviest and the rest of the days fairly light. i have never taken birth control. i have 2 children and my birth control now is tubal ligation.
Ok this is totally weird but I'll post it anyway. I had a total hysterectomy with my ovaries removed 18 months ago due to severe endometriosis. Since going paleo (about 2 months) I've been getting the endo pain back and also the sort of breast pain I used to get pre-menstrually. I'm waiting for the results of blood tests on my hormone levels because it feels as though I'm making estrogen again. I don't and never have eaten soy products so I've no idea why this might be happening although there is something called ovarian remnant syndrome and it could just be a coincidence that its surfaced now.