After years of experimentation, XPOSÉ Magazine contributor Karen McLean discovered some dietary changes that improved her life dramatically.
Can your diet really be the cause of heavy periods? Some people have credited drastic diet changes with everything from curing cancer to MS–so it’s very possible a few changes to your eating habits could make a huge difference if you suffer from menorrhagia (excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding, over 80ml of blood loss per cycle, or bleeding lasting longer than seven days). Although menorrhagia in itself is rarely life threatening, its effects on the quality of women’s lives are major.
Heavy periods and prolonged bleeding can cause more problems than having to change pads or tampons halfway through the night; blood loss can lead to anaemia, fatigue and shortness of breath. There are also many medical issues which could lead to menorrhagia, including hormonal imbalance, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, some cancers and ectopic pregnancy, and it’s always important that your first port of call is to discuss it with your GP. However if you have already established that you simply suffer from heavy periods, trying out some simple additions and exclusions from your diet may help.
British woman Karen McLean (aka Kaz La Mac) has spent years experimenting with her diet, and is convinced she has found a set of foods that instantly bring on menorrhagia (heavy periods). She has recently published a mini-book with her findings, Foods that Cause Menostaxis: My Experience, that she hopes will help other women whose lives are thrown into disarray on a monthly basis.
If you are looking to find out if you have food intolerances, the best way to truly know is by practising an exclusion diet, which means eating a very simple clean diet, with all possible allergens excluded, and then reintroducing possible allergens one by one to see if they trigger any symptoms. Kaz was already practising a very clean, restricted, almost vegetarian diet, although she eats fish. She was allergic to dairy and intolerant of sugar. With her diet being so restricted, it was easier for her to pinpoint which additions to her diet precipitated changes. She found, over the years, that certain foods almost instantly brought on heavier bleeding.
The trigger foods Kaz found are honey, oats, pasta, couscous and beetroot. The effects of these foods were instant and dramatic. She recalls: “If I ate the pasta near the end of my period. It could prolong it for up to eight days.” After having her son in her mid-thirties, she became more tolerant of sugar and took to eating flapjacks as a snack for energy. She describes the instant effect of oats on her: “Within 10 to 30 minutes of me eating the flapjack, whilst menstruating, I would be in big trouble. It would cause me to have a profuse menses. It would last for a good two hours then resume back to its normal state.” Oats being a highly nutritious food, she felt cutting them out of her diet completely was too extreme, but found a happy medium by avoiding them for half of the month.