The Two Most Common Causes of Period Pain

period pain Jan 25, 2020

Take a moment to imagine what it would be like to stop your period pain for good. Like actually, get rid of it.

Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Well, maybe it's not as unrealistic as you think...

The two most common causes of typical period pain are actually quite simple to address through diet and lifestyle.

If your period pain is primary – meaning that it’s just ‘common period pain’ and isn’t caused by an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis, then this post is going to really help you.

If you don't know which type of period pain you have, this post explains them in more detail.

In this article

You’ll discover the two most common causes of period pain and how to identify if these are affecting you.

Then I'll provide you with a 3 step approach using diet & lifestyle to help you heal the underlying problem!

Sound good? Let's dig in.

The two main reasons women experience period pain

It’s possible to have just one or both of these things going on:

  1. Estrogen dominance
  2. Chronic inflammation

Let’s break down both scenarios including what they mean, how to identify these issues and what to do about them.

#1 - Period pain & estrogen dominance

Estrogen is a truly wonderful hormone that women need for health.

It plays crucial roles in heart health, bone health & brain function among other things, but when levels get too high, it can cause some unpleasant side effects.

You can have estrogen that is too high in relation to your progesterone levels, or you can just simply have too much estrogen. Both of these are referred to as estrogen dominance.

What are the signs of too much estrogen?

If you have estrogen dominance you may experience the following:

  • Painful periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Sore breasts
  • Weight gain, especially around the hips, belly and thighs
  • Headaches
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Bloating or puffiness

And what causes high estrogen?

There are a number of different things that contribute to high estrogen levels and a lot of them are to do with living in a modern world:

  • Physical and emotional stress
  • Overburdened liver
  • Low fibre diets and poor gut health
  • Xenoestrogens from plastics and cosmetics
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Excess body fat

3 steps to start reversing estrogen dominance

The good news is that estrogen dominance is reversible! Here’s the 3 things I suggest you focus on to get your estrogen levels back in balance:

1. Support your liver.

Your liver is crucial for removing excess estrogen from your body. Get a free copy of my Liver Support Guide Liver Support Guide below.

2. Reduce stress.

I know it's easier said than done but it's honestly so important for reducing estrogen dominance.

High stress means high cortisol and when you have high cortisol, your progesterone levels will suffer. If you don't have enough progesterone, your estrogen levels will be dominant in the second half of your cycle.

If you're interested in learning exactly what stress does to your sex hormones, this post explains it in detail.

3. Focus on gut health.

Once your liver processes the estrogen, your gut has to move it out of your body through your bowels! This means you’ll need plenty of fiber and a healthy microbiome.

#2 - Period pain & inflammation

Inflammation is the other most common cause of period pain.

First up, inflammation has an important role in the body and is actually part of a healthy immune response.

If our immune system detects damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens then it begins the healing process through inflammation.

So we want inflammation to occur in acute situations.

However, if we have chronic inflammation, things start to go wrong and our hormones and menstrual cycle really suffer.

What are the signs of too much inflammation?

  • Pain, muscle aches and sore joints
  • Skin rashes including eczema and psoriasis
  • Excessive mucus production (throat, nose, coughing)
  • Fatigue and low energy levels
  • Digestive problems

And just like with estrogen dominance, our modern world has a lot to do with our high inflammation levels:

  • A diet high in inflammatory foods
  • Compromised gut health
  • Stress
  • Chemicals and toxins

3 steps for reducing inflammation

The good news is that the three steps I outlined above to reduce your estrogen will also reduce inflammation!

But here are a few additional things to help you with lowering the inflammation levels in your body:

1. Healing a leaky gut.

This is probably the most important step for lowering systemic inflammation.

As a starting place, I recommend going gluten and alcohol-free and then adding in collagen, bone broth and fermented foods.

2. Focus on your omega 3 to omega 6 ratios.

Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory and omega 6’s are pro-inflammatory.

To balance these levels in your body I suggest eating plenty of wild-caught fatty fish and avoiding processed vegetable oils, deep-fried foods and margarine, which are all high in omega 6's.

3. Prioritise your sleep.

I'm sure you realise how important sleep is but did you know that your circadian rhythms play part in regulating your immune system?

And that a lack of sleep raises inflammation in the body?

This is why getting good quality sleep is so important for lowering inflammation!

Not sure if you have high estrogen or inflammation?

Learn about working with me here. I can help you work out what's going on and give you personalised recommendations.

Or you can always implement the changes suggested above and see how your body responds.... there’s nothing to lose and only health benefits to gain!

Big Love, Rach xx

 

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