Ask the Expert: Menstrual Cycle

The Physicians Committee
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Ask the Expert: Menstrual Cycle

Q: Can foods affect my menstrual cycle?

A: Estrogen naturally fluctuates during the menstrual cycle, and the degree to which it fluctuates is affected by the foods we eat.  The more high-fat, low-fiber foods one may get from McDonald’s, the higher the estrogen levels in the body.  The more low-fat, high-fiber foods you eat, the lower the estrogen levels in the body.  This makes sense because fiber naturally helps rid the body of excess substances or wastes, including hormones.

Additionally, sex hormone binding lobulins, that bind all kinds of fats in the blood, are more available to soak up extra estrogens due to a lower presence of total fats in the blood.  Lower fluctuations seem to ameliorate menstrual pain.

T.Gann PH, et aL The effects of a low-fat/high-fiber diet on sex hormone levels and menstrual cycling in premenopausal women: a 12-month randomized trial (the diet and hormone study). Cancer. 2003;98(9):1870-1879.