do not neglect the role of food

La réponses aux dysménorrhées se réduit souvent aux antalgques

Yet very widespread, painful periods, also called “dysmenorrhea”, have only recently become a topic of society. Now more present in the public debate, with, for example, the highlighting of school absenteeism among adolescents due to this condition (50 to 70% of adolescents have painful periods occasionally or permanently) or the emerging idea menstrual leave, they have also been taken more seriously in the scientific sphere due to the increasing publicity of gynecological pathologies such as endometriosis.

To manage these painswhich concern 53% of French women, allopathic medicine has so far only offered adjunctive treatments analgesics (paracetamol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) whose health effects are decried, or long-term treatments based on taking oral contraceptives whose adverse effects are also known. Faced with this absence of a preventive, long-term and risk-free response, more and more studies are highlighting the impact of changes in diet. One of the most recent was presented in October 2022 at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in Atlanta, USA.

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Painful rules: playing on inflammation to control pain

This review of the existing scientific literature on the subject points to the categories offoods that have a negative and positive influence on pain felt during the menstrual cycle.

In particular, studies show that pro-inflammatory diets High in processed foods, meat, sugar (including sodas), trans fats, or coffee all help increase the risk of period pain. By contrast, dietary habits favoring fruits, vegetables and olive oil, such as Mediterranean, vegetarian or vegan diets reduce this risk. The question of the nature of the lipids consumed is central, the excess of animal fats or an excess of omega-6 to the detriment of omega-3 also promoting inflammation and, hence, pain.

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As a reminder, the contractions of the smooth muscles of the uterus and the constriction of the blood vessels are linked to the prostaglandins, lipid derivatives functioning as hormones which are secreted in quantity by the endothelial cells during the desquamation of the uterine lining preceding the rules. Researchers have shown that these pro-inflammatory prostaglandin levels, influenced by the nature of the dietwere higher in women prone to stronger and more frequent uterine contractions and menstrual pain.

The conclusions of this research are encouraging and relatively simple to translate into consumption habits, representing a solution still too little known in the accompaniment of painful periods respecting women’s health and avoiding any risk of harmful side effects. “I hope this research can help menstruating people reduce the pain they feel and shed light on the importance of holistic treatment options. “, underlines Dr. Serah Sannoh, main author of this synthesis.

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in your kitchen cupboard


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