Written by Kara Morris
WEDNESDAY, Oct 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — While working on a major research project as part of her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, Sarah Sanoh decided to analyze peer-reviewed studies on diet and menstrual pain, in part because she had his own struggles with This issue.
what did you find? Sannoh states in her new study that her research shows that foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation, the main cause of menstrual pain, while a diet rich in foods containing omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation.
Period pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, occurs when the muscles of the uterus contract. Prostaglandins, which are chemicals involved in inflammatory responses, make things worse.
Sannoh, now a medical student at Temple University in Philadelphia, said.
While 90% of teenage girls report period pain, many do not seek treatment. According to the study, this is a major reason why girls miss school.
Those foods that Sannoh’s research identified as a common problem also include red meat, sugar, salt, dairy, coffee, and oils.
“The American diet is very rich in omega-6 fatty acids,” Sanoh said.
Research has shown that people who follow a plant-based diet have the lowest rates of inflammation.
“Diet has an impact on your health, and I feel like this is often overlooked,” Sanoh said. “Sometimes people may just want to know if there’s a drug they can take. That’s fine, but if there is a way to comprehensively stop the starting step in this painful chain, I feel that would be better for some people to adopt and would also help them improve their health in general.
Sanoh said more research is still needed.
“I think this can be applied to all ages, but that’s another reason why I want to do more research on this so we can see the actual effects of these diets in the long term,” she added.
Sanoh was due to present her findings Wednesday at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, in Atlanta. This research is preliminary to publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Dr. Monica Christmas, director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Integrated Women’s Health, explained the effect of prostaglandins. High levels may increase the constriction of the blood vessels that supply the uterus with blood. When blood flow is restricted, it can cause cramps.
“That’s why ibuprofen or Midol or Aleve — all non-steroidal ones — work because you’re taking something that blocks the release of prostaglandins and reduces the process of vasoconstriction,” Christmas said. “With this study, they say, ‘Hey, look, can we get people to just stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, and is that enough to block the release of prostaglandins so you don’t get vasoconstriction?'” “It appears to be so.”
In her private life, Christmas follows a mostly vegetarian diet due to the health benefits, with occasional exceptions for dairy and sushi.
While Christmas often works with postmenopausal patients, sometimes they arrive at her office with significant symptoms, including rapid weight gain, mood swings, and arthritis. But an early transition to a lower inflammatory diet can help.
“If you have teens who really want to stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, which is also a healthy way to eat at a young age, are we making up for some of the things they might encounter later on?” asked Christmas.
Christmas noted that eating inflammatory foods can also increase the risk of diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.
Christmas recommends eating a Mediterranean diet, filled with colorful fruits, green leafy vegetables, brown or whole grain rice, oatmeal, and fresh herbs and spices.
“Having people nourish their bodies with foods that will give them the best health, longevity, think better, work better and live a healthier life in general, and reduce their risk of co-morbidities that increase as we get older, I think is the best way to eat ‘ said Christmas.
The US National Library of Medicine has more on menstrual pain.
Sources:Sera Sanoh, BA, alumnus of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Monica Christmas, MD, associate professor, obstetrics and gynecology, director of the Center for Integrated Women’s Health, University of Chicago, and board member of the North American Menopause Society, Chicago; North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, October 12-15, 2022