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Learning to live with periods

 The regular cycle of hormonal charges affects not only our reproductive capabilities, but also helps the body maintain strong bones, supple skin and muscles one of the hormones estrogen helps protect the body against heart disease However, many women suffer me unpleasant symptoms during their menstrual cycle, including mood swing breast tenderness ramps and pains, fluid retention bloating food cravings, constipation, diarrhea and in so cases depression: these symptoms are often clacked together in premenstrual Terni PM While no particular food can cure period problems, what and how you eat can ha profound effect on the severity of the symptom

 Food has a fundamental role in the progress of menstruation. Diet helps   die time of the onset of menstruation in girls It is usually the cause that the heath and better nourished you are, the earlier you start your periods, the more regular they will b and the linger you will have them. Scientists believe that a woman’s bodies to reach level of 7 per cent body fat before the estrogen and progesterone cycle kicks into action. Girish with keep their weight below the ideal Body Mass usually in the 16-17 range. cither because they are very athletic, because they are on restrictive diets or are suffering from anorexia, may find that the start of their periods is delayed.

 If you lose too much weight at any time in your life, especially if you lose it rapidly through crash dieting your periods can cease Stress and shuck can also cause your periods to disappear. If your cycle does not return after a few months, seek medical advice

 PMT

 Pre-menstrual tension affects a huge proportion of women. If the pain, mood swings or symptoms are causing you distress I recommend that you see your doctor to find out whether there is any medically treatable cause. Poor example. heavy bleeding can be caused by fibroids or a hormonal imbalance. You should also seek advice if you experience a Significant change your period. Some women in their thirties start to suffer from bloating and severe constipation around the time of their period, which could be caused by irritable bowel syndrome:

 Generally, women who eat a well-balanced diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables pulses wholegrain. fish but less meat) and plenty of water seem to suffer less with PAT than these

who eat lots of sugary and convenience foods and drink a lot of tea or coffee. Women with the healthier eating habits seem to produce more of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Since women with lower levels of these hormones generally suffer from PMT more than other women it is worth boosting your intake of pulses: vegetables and fruits to see if you feel better. It is easy to assume that you have a well-balanced diet,

but I recommend that you read the chapter on Understanding your nutritional needs and perhaps keep a food diary for a couple of weeks Some studies have shown that PMT can be alleviated by taking vitamin B6 However the studies are inconclusive and can at worst encourage women to take unnecessary vitamins and potentially cause toxicity (with symptoms of extreme lethargy and lack of appetite, numbness in the fingers and toes.

and serious liver problems) Instead of taking vitamin supplements, I recommend that you eat foods rich in all the B vitamins. These include dairy produce eggs wholegrain foods and green leafy vegetables such as watercress and spinach. Staying positive about your body and the way it changes is a crucial aspect of managing PMT.

If your body insists on gaining a few pounds prior to a period and then foes it afterwards accept it. Our bodies change throughout our lives If you fight these changes, stress hormone levels will escalate and PMT will too.

Energy levels 

Many women find that during the week leading up to their periods they are sluggish. want to sleep arid find it very hard dragging their bodies through the simplest of tasks. Getting stressed out about it, kicking your body to get going by having a quick fix sweet food is the worst thing to do as the sugar boost will be followed by an energy crash making you feel even worse Accept that this is going to be a slower week than your other three, adapt your life around it and eat foods that give you a slow but sustainable energy intake.

Weight gain and bloating 

Many women suffer from the feeling that their stomach has swollen and their clothes are uncomfortably tight. This affects a woman’s moods, making her feel unattractive, and it can worsen other symptoms of PMT Before changing your diet, you need to find out whether the swelling is fluid fat or gas, some women unfortunately suffer from all three. 

FLUID RETENTION 

The most common cause for the weight gain is a temporary increase in Hold retention – which disappear when the period starts. Fluid retention can make your whole body feel fully, although the worst affected areas are usually the face, waist. feet and hands in rare cases fluid retention can be caused by a tack of protein or a decency of a particular vitamin or mineral, but this is rarely seen in healthy women who eat a reasonably well balanced diet.

If you are worried by your fluid retention and suffer from any other symptoms, such as pain in the chest and kidney area, seek the advice of your doctor 

• Keep your salt intake PMT fluid retention occurs because there is a temporary rise in the sodium level, which causes the body to retain excess fluid to dilute the sodium concentration in the tissues. Reducing your intake of salt helps your body redress the balance. Avoid blatantly salty foods and watch the amount of salt you use on food and in cooking, herbs and can enhance flavors just as well. If you reduce the amount of salt in your diet during the week or ten days leading up to your period, your fluid retention should decrease 

• Drink plenty of water. Don’t think that the less water you the less your will the opposite is true. Providing your body with extra water helps to dilute the salt level in your tissues and enables the body to excrete more salt and fluid, thus reducing fluid retention. You should aim to increase your water intake to three liters/five pints’ day during the week leading up to your period. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that alcohol or caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee and cola serve the same purpose, they can dehydrate your body.

If you in or going away to hot climate, it is important not to restrict your salt intake excessively. A body that sweats a lot loses a lot of you need to replace some in your food. Just keep to a sensible intake and make sure you drink plenty of pure water.

Think potassium. Potassium and sodium exist in tandem throughout the body The levels of the two fluctuate constantly, but if you boost your intake of potassium-rich foods, your sodium and hence retained fluid level comes down Foods rich in potassium include bananas, tomatoes, and in fact most fruits and including dried fruits and fresh fruit juices. You should not take a potassium supplement for fluid retention unless your doctor has prescribed 

• Keep your caffeine intake low. Although caffeine is acts by stimulating the kidneys to produce more diuretic hormone and makes you lose water too it impedes the excretion of excess salt and fluid from your It upsets the natural hormone changes, mood swings and breast tenderness increase. Removing caffeine can have a tremendously positive effect on Just be aware that you might experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headache and lack of energy for a few days.

•Avoid diuretics as far as possible. They can be useful on occasion, for example to help you feel comfortable in a party dress, but they should not be used long term. The body can become accustomed to and you will swell up badly when you stop taking them. They can also cause drop in blood pressure.

• Exercise can help reduce fluid retention by maximizing your circulatory and tissue drainage mechanisms. Keeping active helps keep the fluids moving in the right direction and helps reduce puffiness. Exercise also produces endorphins, the body chemicals that make you happy and exhilarated.

COMBATING CRAVINGS

 If you notice an increase in appetite leading up to your period, your additional weight is likely to be fat.   healthy ways to control the tendency to puck on weight Mention food to many women during their PMT week and the majority will say the word chocolate! Many women crave sweet foods, others crave salty foods or indeed any food just prior to their period.

This is caused by fluctuating levels of hormones and other body chemicals. Some people believe that women who crave chocolate are trying to get a fix of phenyl ethylamine substance that makes you feel comforted and happy. However, the phenyl ethylamine cycle is both an addictive and negative cycle, the more you have, the more you need to satisfy yourself, and it can worsen mood and energy swings.

Try not to have the first mouthful. Once you cat the first little bit of chocolate, the body will be set off on its cycle. The ideal way to boost your energy Is to choose a sweet food that has some fiber in it Fiber helps your body glean the sugar from the food slowly evening out energy levels.

• I have given many recipes for high fiber fruity desserts which should satisfy any cravings for sweet foods. You could bake a fruit and malt loaf or a batch of oat muslin raspberry bars or flapjacks to keep you going for a few days. or you could make a big bowl of fruit compote using fresh or dried fruits. 

• If your craving is for salty foods, remember that although salt doesn’t upset blood sugar levels, it can still set up its own cycle of the more you have the more you want and can aggravate fluid retention • Boost your intake of chromium and magnesium rich foods during your premenstrual period. These can help some women stave off’ sugar cravings. Foods rich in chromium and magnesium include whole-wheat bread, oats, brewer’s yeast (which can be sprinkled on breakfast cereal). green leafy vegetables winkles, shrimps, prawns, cheese, calf’s liver, soya beans and black pepper. 

BLOATING 

A common symptom of PMT s bloating. Your tummy fills with gas, which makes you feel uncomfortable and windy, and can cause pain, because at distension in the bowel presses on your already tender womb. There are two main reasons why many women develop more gas at this time of the month Fires, the in teste reacts to fluctuations in hormone levels.

If you keep a detailed food diary, you will be able to see whether certain foods upset you more than other many women report that bread or dairy produce are the prime suspects. If so, remove them for a few days before your period, making sure they are replaced by equally nutritious alternatives Secondly, you may eat different foods during your PMS time, sugary or salty foods in particular, which change the bacterial balance in the gut the good bacteria are driven out and the bad bacteria take charge and produce wind.

• Try redressing the bacterial balance in your gut by putting some good bacteria back. If you eat a small pot of live yoghurt every day for the week leading up to your period, this might solve the problem 

• Some women find broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and pulses particularly hard to digest during the PMT days. Choose alternative vegetables such as French beans, mange tout, asparagus, parsnips carrots, broad beans,

• Rushing your food and eating at irregular times can increase bloating. A gut left for a long time with nothing in it slows down its production of digestive Juices. When you come to eat, the enzymes are not around in sufficient quantities, so the food lies heavily in the gut and frequently causes bloating Slow down your eating, relax and eat small meals often. 

Diarrhea 

Hormonal changes can sometimes affect the tone of the intestine so that it cannot hold on to food for long period pain can also cause your body to produce substances that relax the smooth muscles in the intestine When you have diarrhea you need to treat your gut gently to help it deal with the foods you put into it. Most importantly you need to replace lost fluid by drinking plenty of water .

Constipation 

Women may find that in the week before their period constipation becomes a problem. It can be prevented by eating plenty of fiber-rich foods and drinking lots of water If It’s too late for prevention.

Breast and period pain 

Tender breasts can be caused either by excessive fluid in the tissues, or because the breast tissue itself becomes inflamed.  , but if you have followed this advice for a month or two and still find that your breasts are tender there are some additional things you can try. A sore womb can also be helped by following this advice.

• Reduce or cut out caffeine containing drinks. This simple step can bring dramatic improvements for many women, particularly with breast tenderness

• Increase your intake of oily fish. Oily fish such as salmon, herrings, tuna and sardines contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which can help the body produce natural painkilling substances and reduce inflammation. Keep your saturated fat intake low as saturated fats these beneficial oils. interfere with the metabolism of 

. Consider taking evening primrose oil. This contains gamma linoleic acid IGLA), which enhances the production of prostaglandin, an anti- inflammatory substance produced by the body. As with fish oils GLA can only help reduce breast and womb pain if your diet is low in saturated fats.