Greetings to all the ladies:
I've been noticing that when I eat more sugar (desserts, sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, rapadura/sucanat; but not whole foods like sweet potatoes/fruits), my periods tend to be more uncomfortable (bloating, cramping, heavier flow...) I was wondering if anyone else noticed these symptoms and if they attributed it to excess sugar consumption?
I'm thinking that eating sugar is creating an inflammatory response in my body, because it also may be causing me to break-out in pimples the following days after a sugar-binge (regardless of whether or not my period is coming up). They're not huge/painful/cystic pimples; they're small, but they seem to be a little more sensitive and kinda itchy...symptom of detoxing?
For those who want to know, I'd say I generally eat pretty well (no grains, legumes), but I do eat dairy (I've experimented quite a bit with eliminating/introducing it for a few months, several times, but didn't seem to notice any negative effects, so I take the Mark Sisson approach and tend to eat fattier dairy, as well as raw/fermented dairy products).
Any thoughts, insights, or related experiences?
Update: Awesome ladies, thanks for all the insight and personal experiences! I would love to keep hearing more...
Ever since I stopped taking the pill this past May, I noticed that my cramps are barely existent if I am eating clean, and even if I do increase my sugars, as the cravings are there, and I tend to give in a little, I try to keep it to dates. But currently, due to the gift of a huge box of Godiva truffles... I have given in. I haven't noticed an increase in uterine cramps, maybe it is because it is a lot of fat with some sugar? I had been eating VLC and IFing for the past few weeks and I haven't allowed increased carbs in anything else, just the sugar in these chocolates, so it didn't have a slippery slope effect like it has in the past, which I think is where I would get more pre-menstrual symptoms.
But, if the sugars craving leads to increased starches (like my last pre-period time, I ate a ton of rice, like, it was the only thing I ate for 3 days.. I have no idea why) then my intestines feel inflamed and bloated, as well as my breasts and I do feel like my lymph nodes get swollen all over. Also, the uterine cramps were pretty strong. Since I tend to not eat rice, it could have just been this event, but I get way more of a sugar rush from rice than I do from chocolates, or even dates. So if I consider rice a sugar, then yes, it inflames me! And I crave it even more.. the rice makes me feel like a bottomless pit while the chocolates and dates tend to satisfy me a lot faster due to their richness.
I have noticed the heavier flow too, but a shorter period with sugars/starches, versus a lighter flow and a longer period without sugars.
Sugar definitely impacts my cramps. When I'm eating 100% clean at least 2 weeks prior and during I barely have any cramps. I still need to take aleve but not as much as I would when I'm not eating clean.
Hrm.. before transitioning to clean eating they'd last for about 7-8 days and were very light and had no symptoms or signs except for moodiness and the calendar. No bloating, no cramps, no cravings, no tenderness... just a moody brat.
Now? I have significantly shorter and heavier periods with extreme cramping for a good 3 or 4 days before and all during, tender breasts for about a week before and a LOT of intense, intense cravings. Less moody though, that's a plus.
Absolutely. When I did the Whole30 regimen/100% clean eating my period was 3 days shorter than usual, way lighter, with just one evening of very mild cramping. I have an IUD (copper/no hormones) and my periods are usually long (7 days), heavy, and with severe cramps.
I have recently experienced what I think is very relevant to this question. I am at the very end of my Whole30 and my monthly gift arrived yesterday morning. I was shocked when I realized I had experienced no cramps, bloating, pre-event mood swings, or anything else.
Flash back to yesterday evening: Sugar craving! Knowing I couldn't have anything not Whole30 approved, I made a smoothie with frozen banana, frozen strawberries and a little bit of pineapple. 20 minutes later - extreme cramps that lasted through the night and are still going this morning.
Could this really be from the sugar intake? It seems likely since I had literally no sugar in my system for days prior and then it happened.
What a cruel joke for our bodies to play on us! Crave sugar and indulge then BAM pain for 12 hours straight. It's great being a woman. :/
Short answer: 100% YES. When I'm eating healthy, keeping sugar to a minimum, and exercising regularly, I often don't need to take any kind of pain medication against cramps at all. When I have been eating sugary foods too frequently in the time leading up to my period, I can expect to be completely non-functional, on-the-floor crying, from the cramps if I do not dose myself early and often with pain killers.
What's more, during the first few days of my period, I can literally feel any sugar I eat hit my stomach and bloom into pain. I pretty much feel the sugar enter my blood system. Sugar to me is pretty much poison during my period and this has been the case since I was a teenager. I've gotten a lot of weird looks over it when that "Come on, just one!" coworker comes by with treats during my period, but hell with them, it's never worth it.
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