CNN – About 85% of girls suffer painful bloating, cramps and abdominal pain during their monthly periods — and for some the problems can last for years.
Dr. Stephanie Faubion, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Women’s Health in Jacksonville, Florida, in a statement. She was not involved in the study.
“Since menstrual pain is a leading cause of school absenteeism for adolescent girls, it’s important to explore options that can minimize the pain.”
But there are behavioral adjustments girls and young women can make to reduce pain, according to a new analysis of studies.
“Diet modification could be a relatively simple solution that could provide substantial relief for them,” said Faubion, who is also the medical director for The North American Menopausal Society, of the research findings.
The abstract, presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of NAMS, explored the connection between diet and dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful periods. The lead author, Serah Sannoh, told CNN she became interested in the topic due to her own menstrual pain, which has plagued her since adolescence.
“I found diets high in inflammatory foods such as animal meats, oil, sugars, salts, and coffee contribute to an increased risk of pain during a woman’s period,” said Sannoh, who conducted the research as an intern at Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.
She is currently a medical student at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
NAMS board member Dr. Monica Christmas, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the study, said:
“A lot of the things that young people like to eat are are highly inflammatory … lunch meats, foods full of sugars and trans fats. But if you go on an anti-inflammatory diet — fruit, vegetables, olive oil, like the Mediterranean diet — you’ll get less cramping,”