Great News for Women Who Experience Disabling Cramps and PMS
following a low-fat, vegetarian diet can expect significant reductions
in menstrual pain and PMS symptoms, according to a new study conducted
by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in
conjunction with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at
Georgetown University Medical Center.
10 percent of all women suffer such severe pain during their menstrual
cycles that they’re forced to miss work and other
activities,” says Dr. Neal D. Barnard, PCRM president and
main causes of their pain are chemicals called prostaglandins, made
from traces of fat stored in cell membranes. Barnard and his colleagues
hypothesized that if women reduced their fat consumption, they’d
also decrease their estrogen levels, which would in turn reduce cell
growth and prostaglandin production.
goal was to smooth out the hormonal roller coaster many of them
experience each month,” said Barnard, who had noticed former
patients overcome terrible menstrual pain after changing to a low-fat
also hypothesized high-fiber diets, especially vegetarian diets, would
increase a protein in the blood called sex-hormone binding globulin,
which binds and inactivates estrogen in the bloodstream until it is
needed. In essence, it calms down the hormone swings,” said
some of the women participating in the study were dramatic. Besides a
decrease in the intensity of menstrual pain, the women experienced an
average of 1.5 fewer days of pain each month.
pain was gone or dramatically reduced, something they had not
experienced for years. If they needed any pain medicine at all, they
needed much less than before.”
also experienced a significant relief from PMS symptoms, most notably
with water retention and concentration problems.