vegan switch and insane period cramps - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-06-2007, 08:01 AM
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So, I recently made the switch back to veganism (about a month ago) after a year of lacto-ovoness. I'm happy to be back, but I've done things a little differently this time by following an adjusted Fuhrman diet to keep myself from junkatarianism. It's adjusted because I need more calories than it generally allows, and it was suggested to me by others on the diet (people who had input from Fuhrman himself on similar issues) that I increase my fat intake so I will have enough energy to work out. I've been getting approximatley 36% of my calories from fat, but my overall intake still remains relatively low (no more than 1800 calories or so per day).



Then my period arrived, and I am having the worst cramps I've had since I was an omnivore (and they used to be pretty bad). In doing some reading I find that a lowfat vegan diet helps women with cramps because taking in less fat means less estrogen, so less intense periods. Would I be mistaken in perhaps concluding that taking in so much more fat, as I have been doing, could have caused a more intense period?
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#2 Old 12-06-2007, 08:34 AM
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i couldn't say. it may be that way for you.



of course, my diet has about that much fat in it, and i don't have heavy periods/cramps, so i'm not inclined to think that it's the case.
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#3 Old 12-06-2007, 08:55 AM
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Any ideas on why this might happen only a month or so after I switched back to being vegan? I don't remember this being the rule when I was vegan before, and I maintained a vegan lifestyle for a couple of years last time. I just don't remember if I had this kind of transition the first time I did it.
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#4 Old 12-08-2007, 02:39 PM
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well, you know it could have something to do with it. the truth is, i don't know. perhaps if you went down to 25% fat or 30% fat, it would be different, you know? it could be that your tipping point is 32.5691132% fat, and that if you just had 32%, you'd be ok, you know?



it could also be any number of other factors--such as any other aspects of the diet that changed such as having more soy than before (which can decrease period symptoms for some women by increasing estrogen in the body) or having less soy than before (which means that your body does well with soy and it isn't a big factor for you). there could be other thyroid situations that you're nto sure of yet, and a diet can affect that. Iodine loss might be a part of it, for example, which can happen at diet switches.



could be a lot of things. I think it's a good idea to observe it.



also, in the coming weeks i'm working on a thyroid and reproductive balancing workshop for my clients. i'm going to have some papers about it, and i'll let you know when i have it. there are some great movements for "toning the uterus" taht seem to decrease pms and related symptoms.



oh, and caffine can have an effect (too much or too little).
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#5 Old 12-09-2007, 01:28 PM
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cassiel, first of all, i love that shel silverstein quote. as for your problem, im not sure. im on the 3 month pill pack, meaning i have a period every 3 months. november was my first period as a vegan (i was "just" a vegetarian before), and it seemed like i had more stomach pangs than normal. im not sure what caused it. my only guess is that it could be caused by a lack of something in our diets?
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#6 Old 12-13-2007, 09:48 AM
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zoebird - I'd appreciate seeing that information when you get it, thanks.

Ay! I can't believe how many things affect this. It was just weird to have such incredibly bad cramps when I haven't had them at all in so long.

leminchyl - I love your sig, too! I suppose we're almost lucky, in a way, to have periods as a barometer of what our bodies are doing. Still, what a pain.
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#7 Old 12-13-2007, 10:14 AM
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Hopefully it was just a coincidence, but I have read about Dr. Neal Barnard's studies from the PCRM about a low-fat vegan diet decreasing blood-estrogen levels and decreasing PMS symptoms. I found that going vegan improved my cramps and menstrual migraines considerably, and they almost entirely go away when I am keeping my fat and sugar intake in check. I hope you figure it out and have a better month!
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#8 Old 12-27-2007, 07:50 PM
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Hi, I guess this thread is kinda dead now, but I wanted to share my experience.

When I became vegan (I had been veg for like 6 years before that), my body went through a long adaptation (I'd say at least 3 months before it started to get better). The worst thing is what happened during my period: it became very painful and I bled a lot more and longer than I used to; actually, it was just like before I started to take the pill 8 years ago.

Things gradually went back to normal. I'm taking vitamin B supplements, but I don't know if it's related or not. (I believe it helped, but I think my body also needed some time to adjust.)

Oh, and I don't think my vegan diet contains a lot less fat than my past vegetarian diet: I used to eat light cottage cheese, no-fat yogourt and skim milk, hehe.
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#9 Old 12-29-2007, 01:14 PM
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Well, I'm expermenting with my fat intake a little - at least, I tried to decrease it, and then the holidays hit...need I say more? But I'm trying again. We shall see. Thanks for sharing your experience, too, vertfluo.
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#10 Old 08-01-2016, 07:33 PM
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Hey OP! This was years ago but how'd it turn out?
I'm having the same problem. I never had cramps and now do. Sigh.
I didn't have them as a vegan originally, then didn't have them when I stopped being vegan after years for a year, and now do (back to veganism). Which makes me think it's unlikely to be veganism per se and something else...

Found it really interesting to read the tips others gave you.
I barely eat soy and used to a lot. It's helped make my periods shorter (relying less on soy, I main) but perhaps soy was helping with the pain. That's really my only change. And less (but still a 'moderate' amount) caffeine these days...
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