Menstruation and Weight Loss


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
[h=1]Menstruation and Weight Loss[/h]
There are many factors that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle and period. Hormonal changes, ill-health and genetics can all play a part in how heavy or regular a woman's period is. Weight loss can affect your period. While a healthy weight loss can alleviate heavy or painful periods, unhealthy weight loss can cause periods to become lighter or to stop altogether.

Obesity and Menstruation
The body mass index is used to measure weight. Obesity can have a negative effect on menstruation, so lowering your BMI with weight loss can improve painful periods. Obesity in children may result in menarche, the medical name for a first period, at a younger age than the average of 12 1/2. According to Reuters Health, starting periods at a young age has been linked to breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so keeping a child's weight in a healthy range is encouraged and weight loss is advisable.

Low BMI and Menstruation
Unhealthy weight loss, such as that associated with anorexia nervosa, bulimia and crash dieting, often has a negative effect on menstruation and fertility. Periods frequently lighten or cease completely in those who have an eating disorder. Fertility is severely affected by very low body weight and menstruation may never return once lost. According to the University of Massachusetts, 25 percent of severe anorexia sufferers permanently cease menstruation. If you notice your period become very light after dramatic weight loss, consult a physician.

Healthy Weight Loss
Healthy weight loss can have a positive effect on menstruation. A good diet that includes plenty of vitamins and nutrients can stave off anemia, cramping and PMS. Exercise can also improve painful periods. Omega fatty acids, found in oily fish, whole grains, oils, garlic and fruit and vegetables, can improve painful periods, so include these in any weight loss program. Iron, found in red meats and green leafy vegetables, also protects against anemia, so do not cut red meat from your diet entirely to lose weight.

Eating for Your Cycle
Hormone changes in the weeks before menstruation can have an adverse effect on weight loss efforts. Hormone changes can cause cravings in many women. However, these cravings are not usually enough on their own to impact a weight loss program. If cravings are severe just prior to your period or in the two weeks before, you may wish to consult a physician to have your hormone levels checked. Healthy foods can still be eaten in menstruation and may improve pain. The Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre recommends eating salmon, tuna, pumpkin and sesame seeds to ease menstruation pain.

When to Consult Your Doctor
If after losing a significant amount of weight, your period becomes lighter, absent or irregular, you should consult your doctor immediately. Absence of periods and infertility problems may also be associated with being overweight, so if you have lost weight and your period has not improved, is absent, irregular or lighter, see a physician. If your period becomes very painful regularly, medical advice should be sought.

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