Breaking up with ice cream may stop your PMS

November 7, 2016
ice cream, pms, dairy, inflammation, naturopath toronto, toronto naturopathic doctor

When I was on my honeymoon in Italy, I made it a point to eat gelato, tiramisu and parmigiano reggiano as frequently as I could (it’s almost criminal not to). I did this despite knowing that I have a sensitivity to dairy. Unfortunately despite being undeniably delicious, foods that we are sensitive to can often cause and perpetuate PMS symptoms.

What’s the link between PMS and Inflammation?

PMS affects almost 85% of women either physically, emotionally, or behaviourally. A recent study has identified a possible link between PMS symptoms and inflammation. In fact, a biomarker of inflammation was measured in over 3000 women, and showed that inflammation was higher in women experiencing symptoms of PMS. These PMS symptoms include mood changes, fatigue, weight gain, breast tenderness, abdominal cramps and headaches. They typically begin a few days before a woman’s period and can end a day or two during her cycle.

Why ice cream may be causing cramps

Many factors can cause inflammation, including age, weight, smoking, environmental exposure and food sensitivities. Imagine if by removing particular foods from your diet, you could finally experience a pain-free period!

The most common food sensitivities that many women experience are (unfortunately) dairy and gluten. When we ingest these foods, they are presented as ‘foreign’ in our body and activate our immune system whose goal is to eradicate this invader. This causes inflammation within the body and can lead to the above symptoms of PMS.

Moreover, eliminating food sensitivities may also be efficacious for women who are looking to improve ovarian function and become pregnant, and suffer from PMS or endometriosis.

Final Thoughts

The simplest way to determine if you have food sensitivities is to keep track of your diet (either on paper or on your phone) and play close attention to any negative symptoms you may have experienced after eating particular foods. Personally, I typically notice gas and bloating after my treasured scoop of bacio gelato.

You can delve further into possible food sensitivities by choosing to follow an elimination diet for about a month and eliminating all allergenic foods. After the one month period, you would introduce the foods back into your diet one by one, and look for any changes within your body.

If you’re wanting to determine if you have food sensitivities right away, you can opt for an IgG test. This is a blood test that determines which foods cause a immune reaction within the body. While this test can be expensive (and can only be run by a Naturopathic Doctor), it can test up to 200 common foods and will give you answers within a week indicating which foods are good and which need to be avoided.

Hopefully you’ve come away with a plan of action! If you love learning about your body and period, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for great and informative content like this!

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