Dealing with stomach pain: Elimination method, FODMAP & tips to cope

Many people in todays society deal with stomach pain and discomfort, to certain degrees. Some people just get a little pain from time to time after overeating or maybe eating certain foods, while others can barely live a normal life due to their stomach issues.

In the past, I was the latter. I struggled with a lot of stomach issues and pain.

In this post I am giving you some tips on what you can do to figure out what causes your stomach issues via an elimination method. Though I do advise you to seek help from both a doctor and dietitian so that you don’t end up restricting your intake far too much and far too long so that you end up unhealthy or with nutrient deficiencies.

I have written a post about FODMAP and IBS, which you can read here.

Also a post about dealing with bloating HERE

As well as a post about eating a high fiber diet, which can often lead to cramps and digestive issues, HERE

When you are dealing with stomach pain or digestive issues it can easily lead to a very restrictive diet, either because you don’t want to eat something that triggers the pain, but you don’t know what causes the pain and therefore restrict everything you think might cause pain. Or you infact become scared of certain food because you don’t want the stomach pain and therefore cut it out and get scared to eat those foods.

FODMAP

When someone has IBS they are often recommended to try doing FODMAP with the help of a professional. FODMAP is not a longterm diet or way of eating, it is a way of eating for a (short) period of time to help figure out which foods that cause flareups and stomach issues and which foods you can tolerate.

What is FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”

Common FODMAPs include:

  • Fructose: A simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
  • Lactose: A carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
  • Fructans: Found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
  • Galactans: Found in large amounts in legumes.
  • Polyols: Sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.

These carbohydrates/fibers don’t fully digest and some become nutrition for gut bacteria while others don’t digest at all and can therefore cause bloating, gas, cramps.

In some individuals, FODMAPs are poorly digested, so they end up reaching the colon. They draw water into the intestine and get fermented by hydrogen-producing gut bacteria.” (Healthline.com)

A low FODMAP diet means you eat very little or no foods which contain those carbohydrates/fibers. I.e limiting the amount of foods which can cause symptoms.

When following the FODMAP diet for a period of time you are very restricted in what you can eat, and even more so if you are vegan. (I had to try the FODMAP diet for 3 days during one of my university courses and I didn’t eat much those three days as I was so restricted in food choices.) But overtime you begin to reintroduce foods and eventually have a much more varied diet and will hopefully have figured out which foods you can tolerate and you may even figure out which foods you tolerate in smaller doses and which you can consume in larger doses. However along with FODMAP you also have to look over your lifestyle and the way you eat.

Sometimes the problem may not actually be the food, but it may be that you are very stressed, that you are anxious around food, that you don’t actually sit down to eat or you eat your food within 5 minutes while standing or on the go. All of these can cause stomach issues, but also foods such as gum, carbonated drinks, alcohol, certain sweeteners and caffeine can lead to gas, stomach issues and caffeine can heighten anxiety which can lead to stomach discomfort or pain.

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HOW YOU EAT:

So along with looking at what you eat, you also have to look at how you eat. Changing how you eat and even where you eat can make a big impact on your stomach issues. If you are eating in very stressful environments or you don’t have time to eat, then you can easily feel anxious and stressed or you don’t really enjoy or chew your food and all of that can lead to stomach discomfort. So making time to eat while resting and preferably sitting and in quiet environments can make a big difference.

As mentioned above, a FODMAP diet should be done with the help of a professional, otherwise it is easy that your diet becomes far too restrictive and that you don’t actually begin implementing certain foods again, instead you just stick to the “green” foods. It is also important to note, that everyone is different. Some people with IBS may be able to consume foods that are listed as red, while they get stomach pain while consuming certain foods that are green. So you do have to try

different foods and see what works for you.

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WRITE A FOOD DIARY

If you don’t have IBS, just stomach issues, the first thing you can do is to write a food diary for 2-3 weeks.

Write down what you eat, what time you eat, the environment/situation when you ate and even how you felt before/during/after, along with any symptoms you felt during or after the meal.

This will help you get a better overview of what and how you eat as well as tracking symptoms.

After 2-3 weeks it will give you better understanding and overview, compared to just a few days or one week of tracking. The important thing is to eat just as normal… don’t begin cutting out food or changing your diet. Write down everything, even the handful of nuts, the latte on the go or the piece of chocolate you eat standing in the kitchen waiting for dinner to cook.

The diary may just be for you to analyse and get a better understanding of how/what you eat, but may even be useful if you do go to a doctor or dietitian for help.

Once you have written the food diary, begin to look over it. Are there certain meals with certain ingredients that cause symptoms or flareups? Are there certain situations that cause pain and discomfort… such as the rushed lunch during school/work, or maybe the dinner straight after training or the lunch you ate while super stressed?

Once you have found out which meals or situations cause the most flare ups it can be easier to make adjustments.

However, now is when the long process begins. The important thing is to not cut out everything at once…. Instead, you do it one by one. If you think that maybe garlic, onion, chickpeas and gluten cause stomach pain… then begin by just omitting garlic from your meals and diet for a week… see what happens and how you feel. Then the next week omit onion and add in garlic (depending on how you felt the previous week i.e symptoms or no symptoms). It is a long process of finding out what works.

You could of course group certain foods together such as all beans, all sweeteners, all foods with gluten, onion and garlic, all dairy products etc and then one week remove all the foods in one certain group, and slowly reintroduce them one by one. Because it may be that you are sensitive to chickpeas but not to blackbeans, or it may be that you can’t tolerate aspartame but you are fine with stevia.

I would also recommend that you do infact limit your caffeine intake (coffee, black tea, energy drinks) as well as not chewing gum or sugar free pastilles, as they can all cause stomach discomfort.

I do also want to note that many believe they are gluten intolerant and cut out all products with gluten, however many products that include gluten also include certain fibers that are hard to break down. So it may not be the gluten you are sensitive too, but the fibers.

Which is an important thing to note, fibers can cause stomach discomfort and pain. There are certain fibers that are hard to break down and cause gas and bloating. So limiting fiber intake and drinking plenty of water can be one step if you don’t want to do the whole elimination process. Though then you won’t be able to tell which foods cause pain or symptoms if you eliminate them all at once.

I also recommend that you keep your meals very simple, just 2-4 different ingredients. The more ingredients and foods you eat in a meal the harder it can be to digest as well as figure out what causes your pain or discomfort.

FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE STOMACH PAIN

There are certain foods that are more likely to give stomach discomfort and they are:

Beans and peas – this is due to their fiber content and that the fibers are hard to break down

Sweeteners – Many sweeteners aren’t broken down or absorbed in the body and therefore lead to gas and bloating

Carbonated beverages, sugarfree pastilles, gum – the bubbles in carbonated drinsk along with both caffeine and sweeteners, basically a triple whammy. With gum, when you chew you are swallowing air which can lead to gas and bloating, as well as gum usually having sweeteners (even if it’s only very small doses)

High fat meals – including creamy and/or, oily dishes. Typically fast food, dairy full fat (specifically cream) or certain takeout meals such as Chinese. Fat leads to feeling full quicker and is also harder to break down compared to carbohydrates. It can also often lead to heartburn. Many find that eating fat sources from avocado, nuts, nut butters and seeds don’t cause the same stomach issues.

Food with lactose or gluten – many cut out lactose and gluten thinking they are intolerant to them. Some may be, but as already mentioned. Many foods with gluten also include hard to break down fibers which may be the issue and not the gluten. With lactose, many can’t handle a lot of lactose or they don’t have enough lactase enzyme which breaks down the dairy. Though this isn’t so strange considering that dairy is actually for baby cows, and not for humans… or well, not in the huge amounts that many consume dairy products now a days.

Too much fruit – Fruit has a lot of fiber but also fruit sugar which can cause certain individuals discomfort if they eat too much of it. And by that I mean eating maybe 4-6 fruits in one go.

Note, just because i mention these foods doesn’t mean that YOU are sensitive to them. Everyone is individual and everyone reacts differently to different foods. You may be able to digest those in small amounts, ,aybe not at all or maybe they don’t trigger you at all.

When you are dealing with stomach pain, it is easy to get scared of food because oyu don’t want to deal with the stomach pain. But you can not completely restrict yourself, the best is to get proffessional care, but if you can’t because of reasons- Then remember to not completely cut out food and if you do cut out food youshould try to reintroduce it. Otherwise your diet can become very restrictive. Also be reintroducing it into your diet after not eating the food(s) for a while you can better understand what is causing stomach pain.

Also remember, if you do think you are sensitive to gluten and want to get it checked. Youahve to eat gluten to do the tests… so don’t cut out gluten and then get checked because the results won’t show any intolerance/allergies then.

Stomach issues and pain is complex. Many get the diagnosis IBS because doctors can’t find any other diagnosis that causes the pain. But IBS is about more than just food, as previously mentioned. Stomach issues aren’t always due to food, but due to other factors which also makes it hard to treat. It often requires changes in diet, lifestyle and way of eating.

It is incredibly debilitating to live with stomach pain, I did for several years. Many plans that were cancelled, many evenings I lay curled in a ball on my bed with extreme pain, many tears due to the discomfort and a lot of constant bloating. What helped me was to go vegan and start eating plantbased, but of course that also meant letting my body adapt to a higher fiber diet. I can still get stomach pain from certain foods, but I have learnt to figure out which foods cause me pain and also know that too much of certain food will give me discomfort… and then it is up to me to make the decision whether I want to eat the food and deal with the discomfort afterwards or to just skip the food or choose something else.

For stomach pain and nausea ginger or peppermint tea can help, as well as having something warm on your stomach.

If you are dealing with a lot of stomach pain, I highly recommend you go to both a doctor and a dietitian. Be persistent with your doctor so that you get all tests done, just to rule out any serious conditions. However, I do also recommend that you keep a food diary for 2-3 weeks, get an overview of your symptoms, how and what you eat and see if your symptoms may just be due to anxiety and stress and certain foods such as caffeine, sweeteners and high fiber.

(From personal experience I can also add that when I am very stressed and anxious, then I can get stomach pain and bloating even if I am eating the same as usual. So it is important to look at your stress and anxiety levels).

Sports nutrition: eating for performance

It’s been a little over a week since i finished my course in sports nutrition and i thought that i would sit down and try to share some of the things i learned in that course.

The course was super interesting and also very beneficial to me and it will be useful for me in my future career! Also the teacher was really good, which makes a huge difference- If the teacher is not good at teaching (even if they may know their topic super well), it can demotivate me to go to the lectures as i feel like i can just read the information from course litterature and teach myself. So not only was the course interesting, it was also a teacher who could teach well!!

Our class has also asked if they could maybe make a part two of this course or a more advanced sports nutrition course where you also learn more on cell level and do different tests and such. Hopefully that will happen in the future, as i would love to learn more about this area of nutrition!!

Note that the course was about elite athletes and nutrition for performance. I.e how to optimize nutrition for performance and recovery, so the recommendations for an elite isn’t exactly the same as for a normal, average person who just works out a few times a week.

If you are someone who is triggered by numbers, or just doesn’t want so detailed about nutrition, then maybe this post isn’t for you. Also remember that if you are just working out as a hobby or to be healthy, then you don’t need to think so much about macros or eating optimally, instead just focus on eating from all the food groups and getting enough energy – that is the most important!! Also if you do want to gain muscle and strength, then increasing your protein intake a little (Nothing crazy) is recommended, maybe around 1.2-1.5g/kg body weight. (Note, most people who eat an omnivore diet actually eat that much protein already – as long as they are eating at a calorie balance)

Some of the most common questions when it comes to sports nutrition is… how much protein do you really need? Do you need supplements? What about protein and carb timing?

I thought i would try to answer those questions as best i can with the knowledge i have right now.

Let’s start off with protein and carb timing! This was one of the questions i wanted answered during the course, and here is the answer i got:

For best results, it is good to consume some protein 20-120 minutes after your workout for optimal protein synthesization. That doesn’t mean you need to drink a protein shake in the changing rooms right after your workout. Instead, just try to eat either a snack or main meal relatively close to your finished workout.

For carb timing… the most important thing is to eat enough carbs in total. Also, eat carbs 2-3 hours before your workout can insure that you have enough energy and filled up your glycogen stores to perform during your workout! If you are working out two times a day, then it is more important to think about your carb intake and to fuel up with plenty of carbs as well as protein after your first workout, so that you have enough fuel for your second workout.

For an average person, protein and carb intake isn’t a make or break thing, just focus on eating before and after your workout and eating at a calorie balance (or surplus if you want to gain muscle).

So how much protein/carbs/fat do you really need?

Protein 0,8-1,2g normal people. Protein 1,2-2g for elite (or if you are trying to lose fat while maintaing muscle). Ex, if you weigh 60kg then you would need around 48-72g protein per day for a normal intake. or around 72-120g protein per day. [The more you weigh, the more protein you need to consume].

(Note, the more you eat the more protein you also consume).

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Carbs, varies alot, but can be around 50-70% of your total calorie intake, or around 5-10g/kg per day, i.e if you weigh 60kg then you can eat around 300-500g carbs per day, depending on how much you train. I.e if you train two sessions per day, you would need the higher amount.

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Fat, well that should just be the remainder of your calorie requirement, after you have made sure to eat enough carbs and protein. But also, fat is important to get enough essential fatty acids and absorb the fat soluble vitamins in your food. It is also not recommended to eat less than 20E% (i.e less than 20% of your total calorie intake) of fat per day, because there is a risk that you won’t get enough essential fatty acids then. Also, fat is important for your hormones not to mention your brain and skin! Ex: If you have a calorie requirement of 2800kcal, you would need around 62g (minimum) – 124g fat (if you consume 20E%-40E% fat).

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How much fiber you need depends on how much your stomach can handle. Also eating alot of fiber too close to a workout may affect your workout negatively if you get stomach discomfort.

What about supplements?

As an athlete you don’t *need* supplements or extra vitamins. However, if you have a deficiency, then you may need supplements. Typically though, if you are an elite you will most likely eat alot more calories than the average person and therefore also consume alot more vitamins and minerals.

However, for female athletes they may need iron supplements as there can be an excess loss of iron if you workout alot. (Note, if you do lose your menstruation while working out alot, it is recommended that you try to eat more and/Or workout less until your menstruation comes back.)

For some, calcium and magnesium may also be required, but it is best to talk to a doctor and get blood tests done.

What about other supplements?

No, you don’t need protein supplements. BCAA alone won’t help you grow muscle or get stronger. Protein sources with all the essential amino acids – as well as a calorie balance or surplus is what is needed. It is better to eat “real” food than supplements. However, protein powder may be a good/cheap alternative if you maybe find it hard to eat after a workout or if you need an on the go snack. So ex. a protein shake and banana after your workout and then eat 1-2 hours when you have your appetite back or can eat a real meal.

Also for vegans, they may be at risk of not getting enough leucin in their diet (if they don’t eat alot of legumes, soya products or other protein sources with all the essential amino acids). So then EAA or BCAA can help compliment and increase the amount of amino acids in your meal. Though of course, eating actual food is recommended first.

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And with other supplements, the supplements that are proven to work are caffeine, creatin, beta-alanin and bicarbonate. I don’t plan to get into the scientifics or doses.

If you an endurance athlete, such as out running or cycling for several hours, then it can be beneficial to consume some energy gels or bars, or some sport drink when you are out exercising. This is because your stored glycogen runs out after around 2 hours, and if you don’t fuel up with glucose then you will most likely have to lower your intensity because your energy sources (i.e fat) can’t fuel the high intensity.

There is alot of hype around protein and working out, but the fact is many neglect the improtant of carbohydrates. Carbs are your main source of fuel and energy… if you want to perform whether it is strength or endurance, you need fuel so that you can perform, and that means eating enough carbs. Filling up your glycogen stores and if oyu are doing long workouts (i.e several hours) then actually eating something carb rich will help reenergize you.

Yes, protein is important but if you eat enough, then protein won’t be a problem. Of course, if you are also trying to lose weight while exercising alot and eating at a calorie deficiency, then you do need a higher protein intake… which in turn will affect how much carbs and fat you can eat, and you will most likely notice that you can’t perform at the same intensity as before because you are eating less calories and less carbs.

As i mentioned in the beginning… this information is mostly towards elite or those who workout alot or maybe just want to try to optimize their performance. Of course, there is still alot more information i could add such as water intake, salt intake, antioxidants, carb intake for different sports, carb loading etc but i thought i would just try to make this post simple and not give away all my information for free hahah.

I share this information because i love learning and want to share my information with others… but don’t forget that i am taking a loan for university and can’t give away all my information for free.

For normal people who just want to try to optimize their nutrition in regards to exercise…. try to eat several meals a day, drink enough water, don’t cut down on carbs. No you don’t need supplements. 

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If you like these types of nutrition posts i would love to know 🙂 And if you have any other nutrition related posts you want me to write about! (Though you can check out all my previous nutrition posts HERE and HERE)

Eating disorders come in one size: miserable

Eating disorders are not a diet, phase or a trend. And you don’t have to have a certain weight or size or be super skinny to have an eating disorder. You don’t have to look sick to have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are a mental illness, and anyone, at any gender, age, size, weight, socioeconomic background etc can have an eating disorder.

There are however certain criteria, one of which is related to weight, to be diagnosed with anorexia. However there are other forms of eating disorders which are just as serious and need help, support and treatment to get better.

Weightloss is just a symptom of an eating disorder, or for some eating disorders, weight gain is a symptom. But they are mental illnesses and can not always be seen from the outside. Many are functional sufferers, meaning they can live life somewhat normally but still struggle and suffer in silence – don’t be one of them.

If you are struggling – you need to seek help.

You don’t need to get sicker. You don’t need to lose more weight. You don’t need to look sick.

If you are suffering and struggling with an eating disorder and an unhealthy relationship with food and your body, then you should seek help. You may think you can live life and be ok, but in the long term it won’t last. You are still missing out on life and not truly living if you are suffering at the same time.

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And i understand that many think that they can’t seek help if they don’t look sick, because they won’t be taken seriously. But if you go a professional who is actually knowledgable then you should be offered help – whether it is talking to a therapist, getting help from a dietitian, CBT training, inpatient or day patient care. Whatever is best for your health and situation.

Don’t go your whole life struggling and suffering. Know that there is help and you don’t need to suffer in silence.

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There are consequences – physical and mental – that can occur over time if you don’t seek help. Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates of psychiatric illnesses. And binge eating is actually one of the most common eating disorders- and there is presumed to be a huge amount of people struggling and who never seek help, making the percentage higher than what is documented. (I have had many ask me about binge eating and bulimia, so i plan to write a post/masterpost about this topic. Many find it incredibly embarrassing, whether they have just developed binge eating or whether they have transitioned from anorexia to bulimia, it is an awful dark circle and people find it incredibly embarrassing to talk about or seek help for. But also because of the embarrassment, many suffer in silence for years).

Know that you do deserve help, support and treatment for your eating disorder. Don’t think that you have to wait until you look sick or get sicker – eating disorders are serious nonetheless. And you can’t live a truly happy life if you are struggling and sick at the same time.

 

Micromanaging your food and your body just gives you a false sense of control – in actuality you don’t have control at all, it is your eating disorder, your illness that has control. Instead you are just running from the actual problem and the guilt and anxiety that goes along with recovery and facing your eating disorder. But the only way to recover and get better is to face your eating disorder and your fears, and deal with the actual problem. (And with help, support and treatment you can get better ways to learn to do that, as well as get support so you don’t have to try to face your fears alone.)

And remember that just because you can eat doesn’t mean you are healthy or have a healthy relationship with food. If you feel that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, or you feel like food controls you or gives you guilt and anxiety, then you need to rethink your relationship with food.

Eating disorders come in one size… and that is miserable.

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How to get your period back

Losing your period can happen for many reasons, and it is important to figure out why your period is gone.

If it’s gone for just a month or two, it could just be signs that you have been overly stressed or maybe undereating/overexercising or you have had a hormonal imbalance. If your period has been gone for several months, it is important to talk to a doctor incase it is due to hormonal imbalance or problems with your thyroid that creates hormones or illnesses that can affect your hormones and menstrual cycle.

But it is also important to do something about why your period is gone. Most often not having your period is due to having too little weight and body fat, or overexercising and being very stressed. Those are things you can actually do something about without having to take medication and hormones.

 

My story:

When i was sick with anorexia and overexercising i lost my period for several years… i don’t think i had ever really had a regular period before it was gone as i was so young when i got sick. To get my period back i had to of course eat more and reach a healthy weight – and maintain that weight. I remember when i was half recovered and still underweight and got my first period in years… or well, it wasn’t actually my period. But i was convinced then that i was healthy and didn’t need to gain anymore weight, despite being around 5kg from my lowest healthy weight. However, it wasn’t until about a year or more later, after having reached and maintained a healthy weight for several months that i got my period back again. It was still irregular for several months. Also the times i have been very stressed or fallen into a cycle of a little too much exercising it usually affects my menstrual cycle. And after i stopped taking birth control it took about a year for my period to become regular again.

Having had a low weight as well as not having had a period or regular period for the majority of my adult/fertile(?) life has also led to me having low bone density, and infact the scans from my most recent bone density test have shown that i pretty much have osteoperosis – which is kind of terrifying. Having your period and hormones in check reduces the risk of developing osteoperosis and other complications/risks of not having a period, or having a low weight for a long time.

Tips to get your period back:

Having a healthy weight and fat percent i.e you can have a healthy bmi but have alot of muscle and very little body fat and your body still won’t be healthy.

Eat enough healthy fats = healthy fats are part of hormones, so if your diet doesn’t include enough fat there won’t be enough fat to help produce the hormones.

Eating enough calories and nutrients overall.

Get enough rest and try to avoid stress – meditation and yoga can be helpful to manage stress.

Don’t overexercise – exercising is also a stress. I would recommend “Light” and moderate training. And i would avoid heavy cardio if you are underweight/have been overexercising, and instead maybe do an exercise form like yoga, short walks or strength training. Remember exercising is a stress to your body and your body has to feel it is healthy for it to be safe enough to have a menstruation.

After reaching a healthy weight, eating enough calories including healthy fats and resting it may take a few weeks or 2-3 months before your period comes back, so give it time. And allow your body to rest up and feel safe.

*Some people do need to take hormones to kickstart their period again.

*Also note, if you have been on birth control and you stop, it can take several months for your period to come back again and be regular. This isn’t something to worry about unless it takes a very long time after stopping.

 

Foods to eat?

There are no specific foods that will kick start your period unfortunatly, but there are certain foods that may help you reach a healthy weight, or foods to eat to include more healthy fats into your diet.

If you are underweight, you need to eat at a surplus.

If you exercise alot, you need to both cut down on exercising and also focus on eating enough and resting.

Healthy fats such as: Avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, oil. (If you eat animal products – salmon, eggs, dairy products).

Eating enough iron rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, tofu, seeds and nuts, grains.

Maybe make smoothies with oats, nut butter, banana, berries and plant based milk. Make rawfood balls/bars. Chia seed pudding with oatmilk, nut butter and banana. Handful of nuts and seeds. Trail mix. Toast with avocado. Yoghurt with granola.

Add an extra snack – or maybe drink some plant based milk with your meals. Fortified plant based milk is rich in vitamins and minerals which is great when trying to regain weight!

 

 

 

 

Give your body time… your period may be irregular in the beginning, but also it doesn’t begin right away. It can take weeks to months for your body to feel safe and healthy enough.

Having your period is a sign that your body is healthy and that your body could carry a baby. I.e if you are very stressed, underweight, too little body fat, eating too little…. then it is unlikely that your body could carry a baby. Not to mention all the energy you do eat just goes to your other organs and muscles that are more important. Having your menstrual cycle does require energy hence why you are more tired and hungrier, but it is not a vital function in the body, so when your body is in a stressed mode or gets too little energy, it shuts off the functions that aren’t vital for survival and carrying a baby isn’t a vital function. (Just like you can lose your sexdrive/lower libido when you are underweight or stressed, because if you are in a “flight/stressed” mode your body knows there isn’t exactly time for sex, haha.)

Also important to remember that the longer you go without a period (amenorrhea) the higher risk you are for osteoporosis but even things like ovarian cancer.  Not to mention that if you don’t have your period you can’t become pregnant (i.e you can become infertile if you never get your period back). So even if most girls would like to skip having their period – it is important (even if it’s not as important as having your liver, heart and lungs working properly).

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So remember: Eat enough, make sure to rest physically and mentally, don’t over stress your body and make sure to have a healthy weight and fat percent. 

You can read more about my journey/story of getting my period back, HERE

*& some more posts:

Weight restored but not getting your period back
Think you’re not sick enough because you didnt lose your period

 

Periods,PMS, bloating, weight gain? |Tips and advice

Periods, bloating and weight gain…. Not the most fun topics to talk about, but important to mention.

Also as i know that alot of people who read my blog may struggle – or have struggled with body image or food issues, and then it is even more important to talk about these things. Not to mention how things like bloating during that time of the month is completely normal, even if it can last several days and be uncomfortable.

Periods… .or “that time of the month” as some people call it. For me, whenever i get my period i also get serious pain and cramps. So bad that i sometimes just have to curl into a ball and lie there until they pass. And have had times i have had to skip lectures because the pain is so bad and it radiates to my back and my whole body. (I am pretty sure having pain this bad isn’t normal, but i have yet to actually talk to anyone about it.) Also let’s not forget the mood changes and extreme tiredness that also happen.

But it is not just pain and cramps, it is the bloating and hormonal skin flare up…. not to mention the increased appetite.

These three things, i.e i get VERY bloated and hold alot of water, not just in my stomach but the rest of my body as well. My face gets a bunch of hormonal spots, and i feel like i am non stop hungry. It’s funny how i never really make the connection between these three things and “that time of the month”. It is always when i get my period and the those three things go away that i realise… oh now i know why i was so bloated.

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I am not the type of person who sees having a period as a beautiful thing…. i.e many women see their menstrual cycle as a beautiful thing as it means that they can (hopefully) have children, and also that their body is healthy.

For me… it is just an unwelcomed pain and disturbance in my life which i would rather not have – and would gladly skip it. Though not having a period would most likely be a sign of an unhelathy or unbalanced body, or having too much/too little hormones which can interfere with your period. So even if i hate that time of the month, i can atleast appreciate the fact that it means my body is working as it should – hopefully.

So let’s talk about the bloating, because i know that many can find it uncomfortable and tough. Not only are you already extra sensitive because of the hormones, but the bloating can make you feel uncomfortable and feel not like yourself.

I have posts about bloating HERE and HERE(tag). They are mostly about bloating in recovery, but may be helpful.

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The important thing to remember is that the bloating and water retention will pass. It won’t last forever, even if it can sometimes feel like it. I wish i could give some tips on how to make the bloating go away, but the only tips i can give is: Keep drinking plenty of water – peppermint tea, chammomile tea and green tea can help, limit amount of salt eaten, exercise if you can. Some people think that drinking lemon water can help them, and things like chewing fennel is supposed to help debloat. Also avoiding foods you know bloat you.

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The bloating and water retention is due to the change in hormone levels… so there is no real way to affect the bloating, without also changing the hormone levels. But wearing comfortable clothes, maybe fixing your hair or make up to sort of “compensate” can help. Also, just accepting how you look/feel.

For me personally, the worst thing is the feeling…. the feeling of being 2 times the size i am, not feeling like  myself and the constant tiredness which make me feel unproductive and like i am not doing enough. But the feeling DOES pass.

Some people find that yoga, meditation and exercise can help them both with bloating and pain!

What about the hunger….? There are lots of things happening in your body during your period and your body does use more energy, so it is not strange that you feel extra hungry. But also if you are feeling very tired then the tiredness can lead to feeling extra hungry because food=energy, and your body/mind knows that. Eat more if you are hungry, the extra hunger will pass as your hormones balance out again after your menstrual cycle.

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I feel like the only way to balance out hormones and not get PMS or your menstrual cycle is to take hormones, but because of past experience with birth control and taking hormones i am not a huge fan of them. I worry about the side effects which makes me very hesitant to take them.

I do suggest that if you have extremely bad period pain you should go to a doctor and check up on it incase it is something such as endometriosis or even PCOS. But also if you don’t have a period or have had an irregular period you should go to a doctor and check up on it. Having a period is a sign of a healthy body and that everything is working as it should. (This is of course a note to myself as i should go to a doctor and check up on things).

Why am i writing this post…? Well to remind you that the bloating and water retention will pass, your extreme hunger and non-stop-hungry feelings will pass, and the other symptoms will also pass.

Don’t freak out or take it out on your body just because you are bloated. It will pass! Take some time for self care instead – take a long bath or shower, drink some tea, wear comfortable clothes, put on a facemask, eat your favourite foods. I really wish i could give some better tips…. but i guess the only really thing is to deal with the symptoms each month. Some people get no symptoms, and i get symptoms for c.a 2 weeks each time i get my period… so it varies from person to person how bad the symptoms are, as well as what actually helps.

From what i have heard, all the extreme PMS symptoms do lessen the older you get (hopefully), but also that if you do struggle alot with PMS or lots of pain in combination with your period, then maybe you should talk to a doctor.

 

I also get asked frequently on how to get your period back so i thought i would write a post about that…. i know many people have already written about this (and i am pretty sure i have made topics on this post before). But it will be easier to link to a post than answer people seperatly all the time! If that would be interesting to anyone just let me know (of course.. talking to a doctor is the important thing!)