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Obesity Linked to Severe Menstrual Cramps

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: BStone • updated: 10/5/2009

Is there any truth to the assumption that weight plays a large part when it comes to the severity of menstrual cramps?

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    What Does Weight Have to Do With Menstrual Cramps?

    Thousands of women within North America are overweight. In fact, weight related illnesses are the number of cause of death within the continent. In order to look into the ways that weight may cause severe menstrual cramps, the term “obese" must first be defined.

    What does it mean to be obese? Although many people think that they are not obese, the term itself is defined as having a body mass index of 30kg (66lbs) or more. Not sure what your body mass is? Take this simple test: divide your current weight by your height squared.

    If the results of your test show that you have a BMI higher than 30kg (66 lbs), you are considered obese. Now that the term is out of the way, let’s talk about how any amount of extra fat can impact your menstrual cramps. This cramp crunching cycle begins with estrogen levels.

    As your body packs on more fat, the estrogen levels within your body increase. An influx of estrogen within the body sends numerous signals to the brain, which, in turn, confuse the body. The result is irregular ovulation. These misplaced cycles then result in heavy bleeding.

    The more that you bleed during menstruation, the more iron your body will lose. What’s the big deal? Your body needs iron to function. In fact, women that go through severe bleeding are often hospitalized due to an extreme loss of iron.

    As if iron loss weren’t scary enough – abnormal menstrual cycles caused by obesity can result in uterine cancer. All of those extra levels of estrogen within the body can actually create irregular growth. Irregular growths mean cancer, and that’s something that no woman wants to hear.

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    What You Can Do

    Nobody wants to think about the dreaded words “diet and exercise." Unfortunately, these are the only two things that you can do in order to lose weight and keep it off. If you happen to be extremely overweight, consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise routine. If you just want to lose a few pounds, consider these tips to a healthier lifestyle...

    Try and think about everything that you put into your body. Before you grab any kind of food, think about whether or not that food contains any valuable nutrients. If not, you can always take a bite of the food, but don’t make it your sole source of nourishment.

    Munch on fruits, nuts, and veggies during the day, and keep that meat intake to a minimum. The more time you take to think about the foods that you put into your body, the better off your body will be. If you want to reduce those severe cramps every month, losing a few pounds might be the way to go.

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