Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Highly salted foods, which promote fluid retention and bloating

Most women in their reproductive years recognize the mild cramps or slight twinge in the lower back as the normal effects of menstruation. These effects are not symptoms of any sickness and do not usually interfere with normal activities. Many women, however, experience discomfort and even temporary disability from the severe cramps and nausea that can precede their periods, sometimes lasting several days. Some others have do deal with irregular, sparse, or excessive bleeding that can make it difficult to plan and enjoy activities.

More than 150 symptoms-notably, bloating, irritability, breast tenderness, food cravings, headache, and constipation-have been linked with premenstrual syndrome, which seems to be caused by hormonal changes during the latter half of the menstrual cycle. For 10 percent of the women who suffer from PMS, these symptoms can cause serious social problems, disrupting work and family activities.

Women who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from PMS. The difference may be related to the levels of endorphins, which are released at an increased rate during exercise. Endorphins can increase the sense of well-being and help the body to deal with stress.

This oil, available in capsules and in liquid form, contains an essential fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid. This acid blocks the inflammatory prostaglandins that contribute to cramps and breast tenderness.

Menstrual cramps are most common among young women who have never been pregnant. In most cases there is no underlying health problem, and symptoms often ease somewhat after pregnancy, or with the use of oral contraceptives.

Menstrual bleeding tends to be heavy and irregular at the beginning and end of a woman’s reproductive years. Heavy periods, caused by hormonal fluctuations, often conclude anovulatory cycles in the months following the first period and in the year or two preceding menopause.

The most likely reason of a missed period is pregnancy. However, the menstrual cycle may also be interrupted by hormonal imbalances related to obesity or diabetes, thyroid disease, a change in contraceptive pills, or an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa. Women involved in high-level athletic training are prone to menstrual problems, because they lack the critical amount of body fat to maintain adequate estrogen levels. A systematic meal plan can provide the nutrition essential to maintain top athletic performance while guarding against excess weight. A women who is not having regular menstrual periods should see a doctor for a thorough checkup.

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