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Very painful menstrual periods, despite being HCLF for 2 years?

Hi everyone. I hope all is well.

I have been vegan for 4 years and HCLF (Raw till 4) for about 2 years now. For the first year of being HCLF, I had very minimal and very painless periods. It was awesome. But, now, for the past 6 months or so, I have had completely unbearable periods with cramps. I have to take large doses of Ibuprofen (pain killer), it hurts so much that I feel nauseated, and I cannot leave my bed for the first day because I need a heating pad on me at all times. I have to miss school and any other activities because of the horrific pain. My period still only lasts 3 days, and the first two days are the only bad ones, but I am wondering what I could do to minimize the pain.

I eat a diet with NO added sodium or fats. My breakfast and lunch are banana/strawberry smoothies and my dinners are sweet potatoes or corn pasta with steamed veggies. I eat around 3,500 calories per day, exercise 4-5 times a week (cycling), and drink 3 liters of water per day. 

I do not know what else to do. I don't know if I can handle another month like that. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

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You might need a Magnesium supplement. Go for topical if you can find it. Look for one with B6 and some zinc also. Minerals are very important to maintain a healthy balance. Most of our soils have been depleted so what we eat won't necessarily provide enough of the minerals we need. 

But I get 300% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium, 500% of the recommended amount of B6, and 140% of my daily zinc.

Hi Berny7, I have been having the same issues as you, i have been HCLF for for 1 and a half years and Rawtill4 for about 6-7months but i feel like my periods are getting more painful each month :(

I don't want to take pain medication but i cannot bear the pain and i am unable to take days off from work to stay home in bed nursing myself!

I have this problem too (Vegan for about 10 years, low fat vegan for a few years, but only raw till 4 for on and off about a year). I have endometriosis, though, I don't know if you ever considered whether you might have that? I think it must make it harder to be completely pain free, no matter how good you are with your diet. I'd love to hear some positive stories of women with endo on raw or raw till 4, but I am yet to find one. 

I have seriously considered whether or not i have endometriosis. After 4 horrible consecutive periods, I was going to get tested for it. But, then, I said, why not try something different just for a month or two? I was already eating low fat, vegan, high carb. But, I thought, what if i go even lower fat/protein? So I typed in my food to cronometer and calculated exactly how much fat and protein I was getting and I was getting around 20 grams of fat a day (still very low fat) and my protein was pretty high at 110 grams a day because I was eating a lot of brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and corn tortillas, which are pretty high in protein. So, for one month, I cut that right down to about 6-10 grams of fat per day and 50-70 grams of protein per day (2-3 smoothies per day, dates, and white or sweet potatoes for dinner). I noticed a pretty big improvement in the pain i experienced during that following period. it has only been one cycle so next month i could totally have horrible pain again, but i am hoping that this will work or at least improve it a little bit. i will update everyone in 2-3 cycles to see if the improvement in the pain i experienced is sustained. maybe for now just try bringing your fat intake really really low and then keeping your protein at a good amount. 

yes keep us updated! i am going to monitor my fat and protein intake too and see if that makes a difference for me.

That sounds really positive. I'd love to hear any updates you might have too.

I should really try lowering my fat and protein - I know that my digestion seems to favour lower protein, anyway - potatoes over rice, for example. 

One thing I have noticed really helps (if you do have endo, at least) is exercise, especially vigorous cardio in the week leading up to your period. Apparently other women have had this experience too, according to an endometriosis nurse I have been to see. (Unfortunately there isn't a lot of studies on this or any other aspect to the condition but anecdotal evidence can sometimes be right.)

Also, I don't know if you're aware, but the procedure for finding out whether you have endometriosis is rather invasive (keyhole surgery) -- there's no other way to find out for sure. And the doc will typically treat any endo that they find at the same time, which for some women leads to more pain (due to an increase in adhesions) over time. So I think you're doing a great thing just trying to improve the pain naturally.

I would check your iron, this happened to me, I wasn't eating enough greens/beans. You can check cronometer to see what your daily iron levels look like, you need 18mg. As soon as I started getting that 18 every day my painful heavy periods and all pms symptoms cleared up completely. Though I know it's best to get all your nutrients from raw food, I supplement with floradix a beet and herbal extract. Another woman I know had the same issue and getting her iron helped her too. Hope so much that this helps!

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