A few months back, I found something interesting. When I stopped eating dairy, my period pain disappeared. So I did my research to understand if cutting out dairy can affect your period or if I was turning crazy.
If you struggle with PMS, period pain, or bloating every month, this might be interesting for you.
Dairy and inflammation
Already heard that dairy can lead to inflammation?
Cow’s milk contains the protein casein A1. To some people, consuming it can cause an inflammatory reaction (1).
In some cases, inflammation translates into bloating, acne or allergies.
In other cases, you won’t be able to notice inflammation – or it will show in a way you would have never thought.
That’s when it gets tricky.
Even though we can’t see or feel it, many things are happening in our body.
Fortunately, people conduct studies – and you might already know that I love them.
Studies showed that casein A1 could lead or magnify:
How ? Due to the inflammatory response casein A1 can cause. Because yes, all of the above are inflammatory diseases.
It couldn’t be clearer.
How dairy affects the menstrual cycle
As you have probably understood, inflammation is not the best thing that can happen in your body.
Well, PMS, bloating, and menstrual pain are also caused by inflamed tissues (5).
The proof is that taking an anti-inflammatory medicine makes your period pain go away. But by knowing all the above, the solution might be to avoid dairy.
But as mentioned above, not everyone has an inflammatory reaction to casein A1.
And I’m not either here to tell you that the only reason for your period pain is the mac and cheese you eat once a week. But it could contribute to it.
If I am that convinced, it’s because I’ve experienced it myself.
I stopped eating dairy and my periods changed
I’ve always been a huge milk drinker. Younger, I easily drank 3 glasses a day – I told you, a real fan.
Since I suffered from hormonal imbalance with massive acne, my dairy consumption decreased.
Related post: I went off the pill and this is what happened
Even though I managed to balance my hormones and cure my acne, I was still suffering from PMS and menstrual pain.
Sometimes, it was very bad.
To the point that it woke me up at night and I couldn’t fall back sleep without medicine.
Everything clicked when I felt dairy was messing with my digestion. I was suspecting a lactose intolerance so I completely stopped eating dairy for a few months.
Not only did I found that I was indeed lactose intolerant. I also saw my period pain completely disappeared. At the time, I didn’t quite realize the correlation.
So I started eating dairy again when I learned I could take lactase pills to counter the effects of lactose on my body.
Soon after, I started experiencing PMS and menstrual pain again. And that’s when everything became obvious ; dairy affects my periods so bad.
Now, I try to avoid dairy as much as I can. Not because of my intolerance, but because I know that I will suffer from it once my periods arrive.
But that doesn’t mean I will never eat tiramisu again, because let’s be real – it’s delicious.
My technique? Eating dairy according to my cycle. More precisely, avoiding it during the luteal phase.
Because yes, the timing of certain foods you eat influences your periods. I explain how to eat according to your menstrual cycle in this article.
But don’t we need dairy to be healthy?
Of course, we don’t.
Yes, even if milk is seen as a nutritious food that helps strengthen your bones. The cow is the symbol of my country – Switzerland – so believe me when I say it’s anchored.
Calcium is found in many dairy alternatives (i.e. the oat drink I use has as much calcium as regular milk).
Some foods even contain more calcium than milk : leafy greens, tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Did you know you can make your own cashew milk? Learn how
So, can cutting out dairy affect your period?
According to what I’ve found and experienced: yes, it can.
But as I always say, everyone is different. I’m not here to tell you you should ban dairy from your life. Especially if you don’t have any health issues.
However, know that if you struggle with your periods every month, this could be one of the reasons why! Remember, PMS and menstrual cramps are common but not normal.
Related post: How to treat menstrual pain naturally
I hope my experience will convince you that there are solutions. And many times, they are more accessible than we think.