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Diet Causing Excessive Menstrual Bleeding and Cramping



It is not normal for a woman’s female organs to be a curse.  They should be healthy and mostly pain free.  The fact of the matter is that most women do suffer quite a bit from menstrual cramps and have been doing so through recorded history.  This is not due to a defective design of the organs but rather it is the result of our own behavior.  Men will have less severe and less frequent problems with hormones because their sexual nature is more withdrawn.

The levels of hormones in your blood are affected by your diet.  These are the hormones that affect the female reproductive tissues such as ovaries, breasts and uterus.  Three of the more common hormones involved in our reproductive systems are progesterones, estrogens and prolactin.  Eating a diet that is high in fat will cause the amounts of these hormones to elevate in the body of a woman and through a number of pathways.  There are certain bacteria that normally live in the colon of persons who consume high fat foods and these are adept at changing bile acids into other compounds that influence hormone activity.

Another key mechanism has to do with recirculating hormones. As an example, estrogens which are produced in the adrenal glands and the ovaries, are injected into the blood where they go through the liver and on to the intestine.  In order to prevent these estrogens from being reabsorbed by the intestine, the liver combines them with a substance that cannot be absorbed.  A diet that is high in fat causes the proliferation of colon bacteria that manufacture enzymes that break apart these unabsorbable estrogen compounds that are made in the liver.  The newly freed estrogen in then easily absorbed into the blood which creates excessively high levels of estrogen in the body.  All fats, and especially fats from any meat, will feed the growth of these bacteria in the colon.   Making these free estrogens available for re-entry into the blood, causes excessive menstrual flow, cramping and will increase the risk of breast cancer.

Foods from plants have natural fibers in them that help to retard the absorption by the bowel of these newly freed estrogens by absorbing them in the fiber.  Women who are vegetarians will expel two to three times more estrogen in their excrement than will women who are meat eating.  In addition, meat eaters will have estrogen blood levels that are 100% higher than vegetarians.

Excessive body fat also causes the production of more estrogens.  Androgens (male hormones) also naturally occur in females and these are changed into estrogens by body fat.  The more that a woman is obese, the more this change takes place and the more the estrogen level will be elevated.  The same thing happens in men who are obese and this explains why they will exhibit certain female bodily characteristics.  We can see that there are a number of biochemical mechanisms through which our rich fatty standard American diet can raise the levels of hormones in both women and men and to the detriment of their physical wellbeing.

Saturated Fats and Excessive Menstrual Bleeding and Cramping

The amount of pain and the severity of bleeding during a woman’s period are directly caused by the amount of endometrial tissue (the cells which line the inside of the uterus) that builds up every month.  These cells must be shed when the menses period begins.  The volume of tissue that forms is directly related to stimulation by estrogen.  A diet which has a lot of fat will cause more estrogen to be present in the body and this will cause more endometrial tissue to form.  When large clots pass through the uterus neck, severe pain can result.  In the natural order, menstrual blood will have compounds present that prevent clotting.  However, saturated fats from animal products (meat and dairy) that are introduced by diet will encourage blood clotting thus creating more pain during the period.

This article was adapted from an article on the website of Dr. John McDougall MD.  Dr. McDougall is a board certified internist and advocates a low fat plant based diet as the solution to many chronic and systemic ailments.  In other words, bad diet causes disease.

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