I tried different supplements and had minimal success. I really felt at a loss as to how to make these symptoms go away because it wasn't always like this for me. The pain gradually grew worse the older I got, and so I felt that there had to be some explanation for it.
|Photo by Danilo Rizzuti|
However, I didn't connect the dots from dairy to menstrual pain until I read, Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health, by Joseph Keon. The author explains that elevated levels of estrogen and the hormone-like substance called series-2 prostaglandins are to blame. Prostaglandins trigger muscle contraction and inflammation, meaning women who have painful periods also have higher levels of prostaglandins (1). Excessive estrogen causes salt and fluid retention and leads to bloating and that dull pressure you feel in your lower back and pelvis (2). What we eat can affect the levels of these two substances in our bodies.
"'Among the routes of exposure to estrogens, we are mostly concerned about cow's milk,' the source between 60 and 80 percent of all estrogens consumed... estrogren levels in milk are so high because of the modern practice of milking cows throughout pregnancy, when estrogen levels increase significantly. Milk derived from a cow in late-stage pregnancy can contain as much as thirty-three times more estrogen than milk from a cow that is not pregnant." (3)That's a lot of extra estrogen. Series-2 prostaglandins can be found in dairy fat, meat and eggs, so reducing consumption of dietary fat helps reduce overall levels. That being said, I still consume meat and eggs daily, but perhaps eliminating cow's milk from my diet was enough to tip the balance.
I am sure that there many dietary factors at play in terms of what contributes to PMS and menstrual pain. However, looking back on things, I can see that I remained pain-free as long as I wasn't consuming dairy.
(1) Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health, by Joseph Keon, pg 71
(2) Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health, by Joseph Keon, pg 72
(3) Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health, by Joseph Keon, pg 59