Jennifer Ward is a leading Naturopath trained in herbal medicine, nutritional medicine and health coaching. She created her own blog ‘She Glows’ to help educate women about the inner workings of their bodies. In this article, she writes about the relation between coffee and period pain.
“Having your period is a pretty cool thing (seriously!). It reminds us of our femininity, child bearing abilities and shifts us back a notch to marvel at the wonders of the human body. For some having a period is a dream, however if you are reading this is it likely it’s a less rainbows and lolly pops and more like there is something trying to claw their way out of your uterus.
Yes, it can be that bad.
With each cycle you may be experiencing cramping, period pain and that can’t-get-out-of-bed-to-face-the-world exhaustion. With an energy dip a natural go to solution is to grab an almond latte or iced long black, right? Because let’s face it, coffee = getting through the day.
But should you be drinking coffee at this time of the month? If you are going to tell me no then you damn well better back it up with a WHY!
So should you be downing that iced latte first thing or holding off during your period? The answer begins with a P..
Shortly before a period begins, the endometrial cells that form the lining of the uterus make large amounts of prostaglandins (that P word). Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that act locally on tissue to restrict blood flow and contract or release smooth muscles.
Prostaglandins are usually quite cool, having the ability to induce labor, sensitize spinal neurons to pain and protect the digestive system against excess acid.
Prostaglandins and your period
During a period however prostaglandins cause contractions in your uterus. Why? To help expel the endometrial lining it has produced during the month (another wonder of the female body). For some prostaglandins are useful little guys, producing just enough of an effect to shed the menstrual lining and keeping us pain free. However for others higher levels of prostaglandins are released and are the cause of pain and cramping.
So what’s the connection between coffee + prostaglandins?
Coffee increase prostaglandins, restricting blood flow, contracting the muscles of the uterus and cause cramping. So the more coffee the higher the chance is you will experience pain.
Therefore it is best to avoid coffee 1-2 days before and during the heaviest days of your cycle (usually days 1-2) IF you are prone to menstrual cramps.
How else can you decrease prostaglandins before and during your period
- Increase your consumption of flaxseed meal or oil
- Increase your consumption of citrus
- Decrease your consumption of meat and dairy
- Increase your consumption of oily fish e.g. salmon
- Avoid sugar, deep fried foods, gluten and junk food
- Try dandelion tea in place of your regular cup of joe
- Supplement with high quality turmeric
When to stop drinking coffee?
- 1-2 days before your period and 1-2 days of your period
When can you start having coffee again?
- After day 3 you can start drinking coffee again.
Seasoned coffee drinkers, think of this as a mini monthly detox. For those who could take or leave coffee this may just be the tip off you were after. Either way, now that you know there is a little more knowledge in your hands to manage your period!
Got a question? Comment below.”
To learn more about Ere Perez, click here.
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