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Primal Ladies...what is up with Aunt Flo??!?!?

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  • Primal Ladies...what is up with Aunt Flo??!?!?

    So I started primal back in July. It's been about a month and a half now I'd say. My diet wasn't awful before, but I def had some tweaking I needed to do. Other than a few days of being starving, it wasn't too painful of a transition. Until it was that time of the month...

    I'm going to lay it out for you: Started off pretty normal with some spotting the day before. Usually I have 2 or 3 days of spotting though. This was 1 day maybe and then BAM...full on. And when it started, it was way more intense cramps than I've had in a long long time. They lasted two days!!! The only way I was able to go to work was taking ibuprofen consistently. I didn't know what else to do! Before, my cramps would be failry mild (nothing that would double me over) and they'd last half a day max. Yes, I was lucky.

    My normal length: about 3-4 days long. Heavier on the first day and then lightens up progressively until nothing. This time: 6 days long and was heavy for 3 days with super cramps for 2 of them.

    The most bothersome part to me was after it was over. Over the next week (after my period was over), I had 3 different times where I would get double-over intense sudden cramping in my abdomen all around to my lower back. The first time, it woke me up in the middle of the night! It lasts about 10 minutes and kind of lightens up/goes away after. Kind of freaked me out!!!!

    Has anyone else had those cramps??

    I expected my cycle to change a little...just like any time you make lifestyle changes. I didn't expect it to double though and feel worse!

  • #2
    Hi little12!

    What have you changed in your diet?
    Paleo since April 2013 for health reasons.


    • #3
      -cut out grains
      -cut out most dairy (except greek yogurt occasional and high quality cheese)
      -upped protein (I wasn't getting nearly enough)
      -staying less than 100g carbs (for now while i'm trying to lose)
      -starting tracking on sparkpeople
      -limiting fruit
      -trying to cut out caffeine...trying

      I have been very stressed, but that's been pretty much all summer so it's not new. I have a very busy job right now (architecture), trying to sell my house, getting married in december, and trying to study for additional licensure. Sooooo yeah. But like I said, this is nothing new...I've been at this level of stress since April probably.


      • #4
        Well, I'm no expert, far from it but what I can see is you are making good choices.
        Upping protein and lowering carbs could be a trigger. Depending on the protein, sometimes red meat will trigger cramps. Also, lower carb may do wonders for your cycle or not. Those are the two things I see from your diet that could have caused more pain. Are you eating more red meat? If you upped your protein with fish/poultry, then the concern could be lower carbs.
        Paleo since April 2013 for health reasons.


        • #5
          Def more red meat than I did before. I went from maybe 2 red meat meals a week to probably more like 4. And larger quantities of it also to up my protein. I know i'm not going over on protein, but maybe you're right on the red meat! I wonder if I cut it down or out right before AF if that will help?? I'd hate to just eat poultry for a week and a half though


          • #6
            If you Google red meat and menstrual cramps you will find lots of info like this:

            Red meat contains substances known as arachadonic acids. According to an article on the "Fitness Magazine" website, arachadonic acids have been linked to the stimulation of prostaglandins, the chemicals that cause menstrual cramps.

            I remember reading something about not eating it the week before. Fish/poultry/eggs could be a better choice during that week. In my own opinion, if it keeps you from getting cramps, it' worth it. I'm making big changes/sacrifices for the sake of not having insane cramps every month. I had to go low carb and I'm a total carb lover/addict. Not easy, but I have a refeed every week so I get my fix. The rewards are greater than what I had to give up.
            You'll have to try and see.
            Paleo since April 2013 for health reasons.


            • #7
              My guess is that your cramping is unrelated to your dietary changes. It's probably just coincidence. It's likely that something else is causing your cramps to worsen. I wouldn't worry about it unless it persists. If it's just as bad next month, or if you keep getting cramps while you're not on your period, then you should see a gynecologist. Various things can cause menstrual cramps to worsen. For example, uterine fibroids.

              My journal


              • #8
                You have external stresses, and then you 'stressed' your body by making sudden, drastic dietary changes. I would chalk it up to coincidence, unless the pattern continues the same or worse for 3-4 months straight.

                My periods are pretty predictable to a point, but no 2 are alike -- more or less painful, more or less flow -- so I wouldn't panic about any outstanding symptoms unless it became a pattern.

                Get lots of sleep, fluids, magnesium (muscle cramps), and good fats. And take that ibuprofen in anticipation of the cramps. Dont' wait for them to become unbearable.
                *My obligatory intro

                There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

                DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes


                • #9
                  How's you digestion? If your stool is harder and super-thick or pelleted looking you might want to increase your liquids & cooked vegetable intake, increase fat a little and cut the proteins back.
                  My Journal:
                  When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


                  • #10
                    This was a really good thread going a few days ago about hormonal changes on primal. Hope it helps!
                    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                    - Ray Peat


                    • #11
                      Could it have been an early-term miscarriage perhaps? As Diene above said, there are lots of conditions that could cause painful cramping during your periods. If you have the same cramps in the next couple of months, definitely get in to see your doctor.


                      • #12
                        I can't say it's not *possible*...but I highly doubt it was an early-term miscarriage. Highly doubt it.

                        Stool is good--I take magnesium anyway to help with some of that

                        Man, you guys are freakin me out a bit!!!!! I figured it had to do with the change in my eating since it coincided perfectly


                        • #13
                          My guess was very early term miscarriage as well.

                          I had an early miscarriage at 5-6 weeks (unplanned pregnancy). I've never had a period like it and i've never had one like it since. Because it was farther along, mine was 11 days of heavy bleeding plus chronic cramps (including big double-over ones and back aching), and massive head aches which continued for a week or two after the bleeding was over.

                          A friend of mine had a similar miscarriage -- she was 7 days of bleeding, lots of cramps, and very, very heavy bleeding for the first 5 and then two lighter days, modest headache throughout the whole ordeal.

                          Another friend of mine was on the bill, no interactions, but got pregnant anyway (so, 1% failure lottery winner), and had a miscarriage about 3 weeks later -- basically manifested like yours.

                          f you are on a hormonal form of birth control and have had other medications or antibiotics within the last month or so, this basically makes your birth control less effective. My friend (first one mentioned above) got accidentally pregnant this way. She was on the pill, but got an antibiotic for a mild illness, but didn't realize it would negatively affect her birth control. Got pregnant, but also miscarried.

                          If you had brown spotting at the beginning or end of your menses, this is a good indication that it might have been a miscarriage, as the low progesterone (or broken luteal phase as it's called in Fertility awareness method charting) tends to bring about miscarriages. If it's normal for you to spot like this before menses (as it was for me), that can be shifted through diet and behavioral patterns.

                          Today, I have a 5 yr old kid (chosen 100% -- no accident), and textbook perfect cycles. No PMS or other symptoms at all. 5 day period, day 1 is light, day 2 is heavy-heavy, day 3-5 are tapering. No brown spotting at the beginning or end. Good color overall.

                          Cycle is basically text book.


                          • #14
                            also, it could just be the stress that you are under as well.


                            • #15
                              I have had 6 early miscarriages and I immediately thought of that reading your description. It does sound like a very strong possibility.