Research Publications on Nutrition and Dietary Habits for Menstrual Health

These studies collectively highlight the significant role of dietary patterns in the management and risk of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and primary dysmenorrhea. Western diets high in fast foods and processed meats are associated with increased PMS risk, while traditional and healthy diets, as well as whole grain and Mediterranean diet adherence, offer protective effects. Nutritional interventions, including increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains, show promise in alleviating symptoms.

Conversely, dieting for weight loss during adolescence and meal skipping are linked to worse menstrual pain, underscoring the importance of balanced eating habits. The complex relationship between specific dietary fats and PMS suggests that further research is needed to fully understand the nutritional influences on menstrual health.

Dietary patterns are associated with premenstrual syndrome: evidence from a case-control study; Public Health Nutr, 2020; Link

The study investigated how diet affects Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), identifying three main dietary patterns among participants: Western (fast foods, soft drinks, processed meats), Traditional (eggs, tomato sauce, fruits, red meat), and Healthy (dried fruits, condiments, nuts). Findings showed that the Western diet increased PMS risk, while Traditional and Healthy diets were associated with a lower risk. This suggests that dietary choices play a significant role in the management of PMS symptoms.

Nutrition as a Potential Factor of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies; Gynecol Obstet Invest, 2019; Link

The study reviewing nutritional factors influencing primary dysmenorrhea found that increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, milk, and dairy products is associated with reduced menstrual pain, highlighting the potential benefits of these foods in managing symptoms. Conversely, meal skipping and diets aimed at weight loss were linked to increased severity of dysmenorrhea, suggesting the importance of regular and balanced eating habits for women experiencing menstrual pain. However, due to methodological inconsistencies across studies, the findings are inconclusive, underscoring the need for further research with more robust methodologies to clarify the impact of diet on dysmenorrhea.

Diets enriched with whole grains reduce premenstrual syndrome scores in nurses: an open-label parallel randomised controlled trial; Br J Nutr, 2019; Link

This clinical trial investigated the impact of whole grain consumption on Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms among 100 nurses diagnosed with PMS, divided into intervention and control groups of fifty each. The intervention group replaced at least four servings of refined grains with whole grains daily for three months, consuming 120g of bread made from whole flour, while the control group continued their usual grain intake. Results indicated a significant reduction in general, mood, physical, and behavioral PMS symptoms in the intervention group compared to the control group, demonstrating the potential benefits of whole grains in alleviating PMS symptoms. This study highlights the need for further research to confirm these promising findings.

Diet during adolescence is a trigger for subsequent development of dysmenorrhea in young women; Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2007; Link

The study conducted among 716 female students aged 18 to 20 years at Ashiya College in Japan explored the relationship between dietary habits and menstrual disorders, focusing on the impact of dieting for cosmetic purposes. The participants were categorized based on their dieting experience: Group I (no dieting experience), Group II (currently dieting), and Group III (history of dieting). The analysis revealed that individuals in Group II exhibited a higher frequency of irregular menstruation compared to the other groups. Additionally, Group III experienced a more intense level of dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain) than their counterparts. These findings indicate that dietary restrictions during adolescence can have detrimental long-term effects on reproductive health in young women, underscoring the importance of promoting healthy eating habits among this demographic.

The effect of diet on primary dysmenorrhea in university students: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Pak J Med Sci, 2018; Link

The study aimed to assess the effectiveness of diet therapy on alleviating primary dysmenorrhea symptoms among female university students. Employing a randomized controlled pre- and post-test design, 67 students suffering from primary dysmenorrhea were divided into two groups: a diet therapy group and a control group. The intensity of dysmenorrhea was measured using the Visual Analogue Scale and a modified questionnaire that evaluated various symptoms associated with dysmenorrhea. The intervention group underwent diet therapy for three months, with assessments conducted before the intervention and three months afterward. Initially, there was no significant difference in the mean intensity of dysmenorrhea between the two groups. However, post-intervention results showed a notable reduction in dysmenorrhea intensity in the diet therapy group compared to the control group, indicating that diet therapy effectively reduced pain associated with primary dysmenorrhea among the participants. This suggests that dietary adjustments could be a viable approach to managing primary dysmenorrhea symptoms in female university students.

Association among Premenstrual Syndrome, Dietary Patterns, and Adherence to Mediterranean Diet; Nutrients, 2022; Link

The study explored the relationship between dietary patterns, adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD), and the prevalence of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) among Korean women. Conducted through an online survey, 262 women aged 20-49 years were assessed for PMS using the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists diagnostic criteria. The adherence to the MD was evaluated using the Korean version of the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener, with Mediterranean Diet Scores (MDS) categorized into tertiles. Findings indicated that women with the lowest adherence to the MD (T1: 0-3 points) reported a significantly higher prevalence of PMS compared to those with the highest adherence (T3: ≥6 points), highlighting a potential protective effect of the MD against PMS. Additionally, a dietary pattern characterized by high consumption of bread and snacks was associated with an increased risk of PMS, suggesting that dietary habits may play a critical role in the management and prevention of PMS symptoms. This study underscores the importance of dietary choices in influencing PMS among Asian women, particularly highlighting the potential benefits of adhering to a Mediterranean diet.

Intake of dietary fat and fat subtypes and risk of premenstrual syndrome in the Nurses' Health Study II; Br J Nutr. 2017; Link

This study explored the link between dietary fat intake and the development of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) within a subset of the Nurses' Health Study II cohort. It contrasted the experiences of 1,257 women with clinician-diagnosed PMS against 2,463 controls who had minimal or no premenstrual symptoms. Dietary intake, including total fats, specific fat subtypes, and fatty acids, was assessed through food frequency questionnaires. The findings revealed no association between the intake of total fat, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and trans fats with the onset of PMS after adjusting for confounding factors such as age, BMI, smoking, and calcium intake. Interestingly, a high intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA) was linked to a reduced risk of PMS. This association was primarily driven by stearic acid intake, suggesting that individuals in the highest quintile of stearic acid consumption had a lower risk of developing PMS compared to those in the lowest quintile. The study concluded that general fat consumption does not contribute to a higher risk of PMS, and a high intake of stearic acid might even lower the risk. However, it suggests that further prospective research is needed to confirm these findings, highlighting the complexity of dietary influences on PMS symptoms.