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Diet and Menstrual Cramps.

A low-fat, vegetarian diet lessens the severity of menstrual cramping, reported Dr. Neal D. Barnard and his associates of Georgetown University, Washington.

In a crossover study, 33 women (mean age 36) with a history of moderate to severe abdominal pain during menstruation were randomly assigned to a low-fat vegetarian diet (10% of calories from fat) or to a placebo supplement during two complete menstrual cycles.

Eating the low-fat, high-fiber vegetarian diet was associated with a significant reduction in the duration and intensity of menstrual pain, but not with a change in menstrual flow Women were significantly more likely to lose weight and lower their BMI while on the diet than during the placebo phase. Women also reported significantly higher energy levels during the diet phase of the study (Obstet. Gynecol. 95[2]:245-50, 2000).

The diet was associated with significantly higher serum levels of sex-hormone-binding globulin and lower serum estrogen levels. Bile contains estrogen conjugates and a diet high in plant fiber increases the amount of estrogen excreted in feces. The resulting decline in estrogen coupled with increased sex-hormone-binding globulin may reduce the endometrial proliferation of prostaglandin-producing tissues and thus lessen menstrual pain.

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Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2000
Words:193
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