Posted on Sun, 19 Sep 10
Irregular painful menstrual periods may be the result of irregular eating habits. A new study has found that young women who skip breakfast are more likely to experience reproductive problems.
Recent studies have shown that regularly eating breakfast improves performance and test results at school (1) as well as lowering future risk of weight gain (2). Little attention however has been paid to the importance of a regular breakfast and female reproductive health.
To determine whether skipping breakfast has a harmful effect on reproductive function a research group from Japan surveyed eating habits in 18-20 year old female college students (3). It was found that those who skipped breakfast were significantly more likely to experience irregular or more painful menses. Skipping breakfast was also associated with constipation and feelings of poor general health.
Commenting on these findings the research group said that “we now speculate that failure to eat at the start of daily activities, as observed in students who skip breakfast, is an important factor that causes reproductive and non-reproductive disorders in young women.”
Not only when you eat but what you eat may be important. In 2009 the same research group found that young women who ate more fast and processed food were much more likely to experience painful periods (4). These findings speak to the importance of balancing your hormones by balancing your eating habits.
1. Rampersaud GC, et al. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 May;105(5):743-60
2. Niemeier HM, et al. Fast food consumption and breakfast skipping: predictors of weight gain from adolescence to adulthood in a nationally representative sample. J Adolesc Health. 2006 Dec;39(6):842-9.
3. Fujiwara T, Nakata R. Skipping breakfast is associated with reproductive dysfunction in post-adolescent female college students. Appetite. 2010 Aug 20. [Epub ahead of print]
4. Fujiwara T, et al. Skipping breakfast adversely affects menstrual disorders in young college students. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009 May 26:1-9. [Epub ahead of print]