Can dietary changes help ease menstrual problems?

Simply changing the way you eat may ease the symptoms of some types of menstrual problems. For example, a calcium-rich diet may relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as can a diet high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. You may also want to try reducing salt and portion sizes to avoid feeling bloated during PMS, and steer clear of alcohol and caffeine.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is another menstrual problem that may respond to changes in diet. Women with this syndrome may have cysts on their ovaries, erratic or absent periods, obesity, and issues such as abundant facial hair due to excess testosterone. They may also have high insulin levels, which can prevent ovulation and cause infertility. Losing weight and limiting refined carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, and desserts can bring insulin levels down and possibly prompt ovulation.

Bear in mind too that eating disorders can cause irregular periods, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. If you think you may have an eating disorder, speak with your doctor or other medical counselor.

Alisa Vitti
Alternative & Complementary Medicine Specialist

Diet is key to improving endocrine function, which leads to more balanced hormones during your menstrual cycle. Watch functional nutrition specialist Alisa Vitti explain how high fiber foods, greens and healthy fats can work to balance your hormones.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.