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...
asked byChristina_6 (103)
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on December 22, 2011
at 03:16 PM
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.
on December 22, 2011
at 04:47 PM
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.
on December 22, 2011
at 08:37 PM
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.
on March 18, 2014
at 02:15 PM
Food definitely affects cramps and other sensations. Sugar is an all round 'no-no' for me - as for the natural sugars, well it's what they tend to be combined with. I can scarf down a few figs and dates ie whole foods with little ill effect, but at 'that time' of the month I often get cravings for less health promoting choices. It has helped me to rest ie spend most of the day at home, lounging. And to eat whole starches - non-grains such as sweet potatoes and bananas, then the craving for 'sweet' is subdued.
on February 14, 2014
at 09:33 PM
I read, decades ago, in a nutrition book by Adelle Davis, that menstrual cramps and these little pimples on arms and legs come from a deficiency of oil-soluble vitamin A, which also can lead to migraines. A deficiency can happen, of course, with using the eyes a lot in bright lights, snow, night driving, but what was interesting is that they found it happens when one eats rancid or overcooked oil, and particularly hydrogenated vegetable oil, which has a chink in it which combs thru the body taking out the vit A. The lack of vitamin A kills off the cells in the surface layers of skin, uterine lining, and even walls of arteries, causing pores to clog, and clots and cramping in the uterus. I had terrible migraines and menstrual cramps so bad I couldn't get out of bed. After reading this in her old book, way back in the early 1970's, I tried the little gel caps with Vit A and the first day the migraines stopped, and in the first month the cramping and clotting stopped and the bumps on the back of arms and butt disappeared. Since then I always carry a little bottle of gel caps of vit A,and avoid hydrogenated vegetable oil products like the plague. It has to be in the oil capsules, not water soluble A that you find in regular vitamins.) Don't take more than recommended on the label or by a doctor.
on August 27, 2013
at 07:27 AM
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.
on April 30, 2012
at 03:54 PM
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. :/
on December 22, 2011
at 07:37 PM
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.