Is it true that diet influences the menstrual cycle?

Regular menstrual cycles are a sign of a healthy reproductive system. However, if your monthly cycle becomes irregular, don’t immediately assume something serious is wrong. It could be due to poor diet.

Is it true that diet influences the menstrual cycle?

A normal cycle occurs every 21-35 days with a bleeding duration of 2-7 days. As long as your cycle is within this range, then it is normal.

Hormones in a woman’s body, especially the balance of estrogen and progesterone hormones, greatly influence the regularity of this cycle. Therefore, if the cycle becomes irregular, it is certain that there is a disturbance in the levels of these two hormones.

What can cause irregular menstrual cycles? There are certainly many factors. However, the simplest is lifestyle choices, in this case diet.

Yes, the relationship between diet and menstrual cycle is quite close. An unhealthy diet will affect a person’s nutritional status, unlike someone who has had a healthy diet. This will be seen in the physical appearance of the body, whether thin, normal, or fat.

Studies have shown that women who tend to be malnourished will experience irregular cycles. For example, in women who have eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia .

In these two extreme cases, menstruation not only becomes irregular, but can stop altogether ( amenorrhea ).

Why is that? This is related to the lack of body fat tissue which is the main capital in the formation of estrogen and progesterone hormones.

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When the amount of body fat is low, the estrogen levels produced are not enough to build the uterine wall, which will then decay as menstrual blood. That is why, when you are on a strict diet until your weight drops drastically, your period can become irregular.

The cycle can also be disrupted due to unhealthy eating patterns. Namely, what makes people fat or obese . Excess fat will increase levels of the hormone estrogen, which triggers the ovaries to stop releasing eggs.

Another effect of excess estrogen is the thickening of the uterine wall. This is why overweight individuals tend to have longer cycles.

In this case, menstruation becomes rare. However, when menstruation occurs, the amount of bleeding becomes greater, and the duration lasts longer.

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Diet Influences the Intensity of Complaints During Menstruation

Apart from making the cycle irregular, unhealthy eating patterns can also aggravate complaints during menstruation.

The complaints in question include lower abdominal cramps, dizziness , feeling tired or weak, nausea , bloating, diarrhea , and mood swings.

Now, there is increasing evidence that certain dietary patterns can reduce the intensity of menstrual complaints which are often annoying.

For example, a diet rich in omega-3s such as fish and avocados, a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, and a diet low in fat, salt and caffeine.

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Other Factors that Influence the Menstrual Cycle

If your periods are still irregular even though your diet is healthy, it means there is something else causing it. Here are the seven most common causes:

  1. Life Stage Changes

During puberty, especially in the early years after menstruation begins and in the period leading up to menopause , hormonal imbalances often occur. These changes can cause menstrual cycles to lengthen or shorten.

The amount of menstrual blood that comes out can be a little bit like spotting or on the contrary become more than usual. However, these changes are something normal so there is no need to worry too much.

  1. Use of Contraceptives

All types of hormonal contraception, whether in the form of pills, injections and implants, can disrupt the menstrual cycle and trigger bleeding outside the menstrual cycle. Like spots that appear between two menstrual periods.

The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD), also known as a spiral, does not interfere with the menstrual cycle. However, the amount of blood that comes out can be more.

  1. Excessive exercise

Excessive exercise will affect the balance of estrogen and progesterone hormones. Disturbances in the levels of these hormones cause menstruation to become irregular.

  1. Stress

Psychological stress (especially long-term or prolonged stress) can also disrupt the balance of a woman’s reproductive hormones. This is what ultimately causes the cycle to become irregular.

  1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

In women who experience PCOS , small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) appear in the ovaries. These cysts appear because the egg cells are not released from the ovaries. In other words, no ovulation occurs.

Furthermore, the appearance of these cysts will suppress the work of estrogen and progesterone, thereby causing menstrual disorders.

  1. Abnormalities in the Uterus

The menstrual cycle can also be disrupted if pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs due to uterine infection or uterine myoma .

  1. Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid hormones are responsible for various metabolic processes in the body, including menstruation. Therefore, excess or deficiency of thyroid hormones can trigger irregular cycles.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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