Ladies: How long eating Paleo to see effect on PMS and periods?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 06, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Hi ladies,

I've read all your great stories about easier periods after eating paleo for a while.

I am 33 years old have been eating Paleo (including some dairy) for two months and in a few days my second "Paleo period" will start.

So far I have not noticed any positive changes in PMS. My cravings are enormous. I get depressed, anxious, extremely tired and isolate myself one week before period. My last cycle was the longest (37 days) I have ever experienced. I really hope my p\Paleo eating can contribute to normalize my PMS in the future.

How long did it take for you to ease your PMS symptoms after switching to Paleo?


on February 18, 2012
at 05:34 AM

Do you have, or suspect that you might have, endometriosis? I didn't find out till I went Paleo. Something about it triggered the worse cramps in my life which continued till I got on birth control. Sadness all around.



on December 04, 2011
at 06:15 PM

right away! within the first month I got absolutely no cramps! I haven't had a cramp since going Paleo...only get my period once every 2 months (might be because my body fat percentage is low, not sure, or if because we aren't meant to have a period once a month and our bodies just bleed when they do). Definitely take out the dairy though for a month and see if it helps. Dairy was the culprit for my acne and I think the cramps.

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on April 10, 2011
at 10:30 PM

You might want to increase the amount of yams you are eating. My TCM practitioner suggested 2 servings per week, every week, which helped tremendously. Plus, they are yummy.

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18 Answers



on October 07, 2010
at 05:09 AM

It took me about four cycles to notice any discernible difference, but all the changes have very been positive.

Admittedly, I was vegetarian/vegan from before I began menstruating until my mid-20s and suffered from amenorrhoea the entire time (I got my period maybe twice a year with extreme cramping and for 10-15 days at a time, had crazy emotional PMS for days before I started bleeding, etc) so my standard of normality is a bit skewed. However, my slow transition to paleo eating has directly paralleled my transition to having a better period. When I returned to SAD-ish omnivorous eating I began getting my period every few months. When I went low carb I began menstruating regularly (every 40 days, almost like clockwork), my cramps started becoming more tolerable and my period shortened to five days maximum. Several months of paleo eating has almost completely eliminated my cramps, shortened my period to three light days, and my cycle is slowly shortening (at 35 days currently). I also have one emotional crying day prior to bleeding instead of three or four.

As a side note, I've found tracking my cycle on a site like mymonthlycycles and following FAM symptoms (tempeture and cervical mucus) has given me a better insight into my lady workings/self, and has only become possible with my post-paleo periods.

Give it a while and things should even out/improve.



on October 07, 2010
at 04:51 AM

For me, it was a gradual progression of improvement. Some months are better than others so it's not a straight line. I think it took a few months before I noticed much though. This last one was the best yet. No cramps beforehand and only one or two tiny little cramps on the first day. I felt a bit tired the day before, but it wasn't enough for me to really notice. The end result is I am not getting much forewarning that it's coming! I will have to start actually paying attention to the calendar at this rate.. But my monthly visitor has always been moderate in severity. I don't know if someone who has had a more severe situation would reach the same end point as I did. I do suspect that most people will experience some improvement over the long haul though.

Medium avatar


on February 18, 2012
at 08:43 PM

For me the most fascinating change has been in the color and "tempo" of my period. My blood has always been black/brown at the beginning, and end, and now is a BEAUTIFUL red. Really it is gorgeous. There is no other way to describe it. I also don't have the Start/stop/start issues that I faced for 30 years. Whoa, oops, you mean I'm not "done"? Yes, it was quite frustrating...

I've also found that eating liver once a week REALLY influences minimizing PMS and the length of my cycle. I have NO symptoms now. REALLY AMAZING.

It really is amazing to me how the 'little things' add up.



on February 18, 2012
at 10:08 AM

It has been all over the place, but I think I've figured out why. It seems to depend on how much of the bad juju I was exposed to in the past (15 years of color photo chemistry, 6 years of oil painting) is being released into my system. When losing weight rapidly it is worse, and I've been pretty weight stable lately so I was a little confused when I had worse PMS than I can ever remember this month. I had some really intensive body work done this month with a series of myofascial treatments, with a lot of work in the abdomen, so that probably squidged some stuff out into my system that is being dealt with now.

I've been paleo off and on for 2 of the last 4 years, and winter seems to be hardest on the lady system regardless of what I eat, maybe I'm letting my D get too low, never been able to get it above 35 in the summer and last year when I had it tested in February it was 22 taking 2000 IUs/day.

In general much better, and with the addition of zinc supplements a few times per week cramping is much reduced, even non-existent sometimes (and I used to nearly pass out from the pain, worse than labor pains without the relief of coming and going like contractions). So that is better, I'll take what I can get, and hopefully the other hormonal imbalances are getting worked out with time and slowly rebuilding my body with bio-appropriate ingredients.



on February 18, 2012
at 07:00 AM

My PMS eased up right away. And the blood flow is not as bad as it used to be. I used to wake up in a puddle of blood. Looked like some murder scene. Now my sheets are clean :) Very happy about that! Oh, and it used to be 30 days - now my cycle is 26 and I am in sync with full moon!

But there is something you need to know: my Paleo and your Paleo are different. When people say "Paleo" it is very very different for everyone.

I want to share what I eat and you figure out the difference:

  1. Vegetables (EXCEPT: nightshades, onion family, potatoes, even sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkins and squashes)
  2. Meats, fish (no eggs)
  3. Tubers (carrot, rutabaga, beets, parsnips)
  4. Berries and fruit (EXCEPT citrus fruit due to gastric erosion)
  5. No salt
  6. No dairy in any shape or form (not even butter)
  7. No legumes, no soy, no peas

Notice how I have no nuts or oils in my diet - cannot tolerate them.

I forgot to mention that my cramps were so severe I would spend a couple of hours throwing up. I could not function. Now I still have cramps but they are tolerable compared to what I used to have. I don't even need painkillers anymore!

Occasionally I have binges - leftover from the time I had to follow my very low calorie diet, but I am noticing they are getting less severe with time as well. During those binges I buy special gluten-free chocolate/almond cakes (no milk, no grain, no artificial colorings) so even though I know they are bad for me (sugar) I think they are still semi-Paleo.


on June 30, 2011
at 12:15 PM

I notice immediately the improvement in PMS symptoms (especially emotional) when i'm eating paleo ( or even low carb) relative to when I have sugar, alcohol, and lots od carbs in diet. I still get cramps during, but not too bad, and still get a migraine at beginning and end of period. But the emotional stuff...night and day. Maybe some mild crankiness but not the monthly "I want a divorce and a new life" feelings. Are you using alcohol at all? You might look at that.



on October 07, 2010
at 02:26 AM

I have had one big change in the positive direction: no more cramps! Yay! When I do not eat Paleo I usually have severe cramps for at least two days, sometimes so bad I can't get out of bed. If I eat Paleo I have a little discomfort, but nothing like before and a few Tylenol will take care of it. Sometimes, no cramps at all.

I wish I had known about this going all the way back to high school. It has been something that's really been a problem in the past.


on October 06, 2010
at 10:56 PM

Try dropping the dairy for a couple of months.



on October 06, 2010
at 07:55 PM

Unfortunately, I have been Paleo for several months, but I have had no changes. Since it has only been several cycles, I will still wait it out.



on February 18, 2012
at 05:11 AM

3 months strict paleo now, and my periods are much worse. I don't get any emotional symptoms... Crying, feeling angry and upset, etc (I used to in my twenties, but that passed). What I DO get is PAIN. And it's worse since paleo. Gut wrenching, doubled over, nausea inducing, ice-hot daggers in my ovaries pain. I wish it would end, but it has definitely increased in the last two months. Ive upped my pain killer dose from just two at the beginning, to now four. Just to get through the first day. I don't know what else to do to ease this, but it's hell every month.


on June 30, 2011
at 01:03 PM

I was so curious about this, great question! I've been Paleo going on 4 months now - no grains no sugar, unless from fruit, but have kept to some dairy and definitely nuts and a wide variety of potatoes and berries for carbs. I'm trying to gain weight and muscle so have adjusted my eating habits accordingly. Anyway, I can happily say that I have NO breast tenderness, no bloating, no PMS at all but the period itself is still normal with cramps of course. Would love if it would shorten and lighten up. What else are you eating, supplements, etc?



on June 30, 2011
at 12:03 PM

Right after I got married in April, I fell of the wagon when it came to paleo (too many sweets and too much wine). I just restarted it about 5 days ago in a very strict way. My periods are always 31 days in length, but then today mine started again, on day 28. I'm not sure if it's just a coincidence, or if eating very strictly can such an immediate effect. Probably a coincidence, though. We'll see how next month is.


on April 10, 2011
at 10:16 PM

I was just wanting to write about this. This is my second period on paleo and I feel AMAZING. I had no PMS symptoms whatsoever (in the past, my breasts would get swollen and hurt like a bitch, I would retain water like crazy and have massive cravings) but they reduced to NOTHING. I have no cramps and I feel great. I'm not eating dairy, fruit, seeds, tubers or legumes and very little nuts (all of this because I'm trying to lose some very stubborn weight) but I think the most important factors are sugar,grains and dairy.

It can take longer for some people, I've never had horrible periods so maybe that's why it's been so great for me. Keep it going and see!



on February 19, 2012
at 09:13 PM

I was on the birth control pill for over 20 years due to my awful periods that started when I was a teen. I went off it for several reasons, but was not looking forward to the return of all the period problems, which did return. Then, for about 3-4 years I took the herb agnus castus/chasteberry, and it helped so much with my periods. Unfortunately, after that time period, it seemed to have the opposite effect (and I've read comments on the internet that this sometimes happens with agnus castus). I stopped taking it and things got better for a year. Then the periods got worse, a lot worse. Co-incidentally, I had my blood tested and turned out to be anemic. To boost my iron levels I have taken ferrous bisglycinate (just 36 mg daily) for the past 6 months and my last couple of periods have been gradually getting better and better. I already take a good amount of B vitamins, magnesium and zinc, and taking more has never helped my periods. Also, I've taken evening primrose oil for my periods for about 15 years (and in the beginning this seemed to help the periods a lot) but I stopped taking it a couple of months ago and perhaps this has contributed to my better periods in the last couple of months. My point is that sometimes supplements can really make a difference, but also sometimes supplements that we've been taking to good effect might end up having a detrimental effect, so it's good to experiment, give things up for a while, try new things (beyond adjusting the diet, which is fantastic too) (that is, if taking supplements is something one is comfortable with).



on February 19, 2012
at 06:49 PM

My first paleo period was already free from PMS! Now the second one had no PMS, reduced pain (I didn't have to take any painkillers), and also a bit longer cycle (30 instead of my usual 26 days).

I am disappointed though that my flow is still heavy at ~150 mL (normal would be between 30 and 90) in 3-5 days. I would really like it to be less, and not have to stand up more than once during the night. :(


on February 19, 2012
at 07:35 AM

As long as I don't eat sugar and go easy on the caffeine, I have very little pms. Just enough of a twinge to remind me I need "supplies". I'm a little hungrier than usual, especially for fatty steaks, and I usually crave cocoa. When I was weight training, I would almost have a period and then not. I'm a little freaked out by it. I wouldn't mind skipping a few periods if it didn't cause any permanent damage ( I guess it shouldn't since birth control pills advertise that as a benefit). I'm obese so low body fat is not a problem, so could I be harming myself?


on February 19, 2012
at 05:33 AM

I say try and get more magnesium in your diet. Once my body was caught up, I stopped having symptoms of PMS.


on February 19, 2012
at 01:23 AM

I started earing paleo in October and that is when I had my last period. This has never happened to me before and I'm really curious to see if anyone has the same experience. I am an athlete and train very hard but my training volume hadn't increased. I'm starting to get a little worried since my last period was supposed to be on the 26th of October and before that I had a fairly regular 24-26 day cycle. I lost a little weight in the beginning but that was something I had to spare from the off-season. I'd really appreciate any advice or hearing if anyone has had similar experience.

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