Letters from the SCD support group: concerning hormones and the female cycle

question for the ladies please
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 16:56:45 GMT

some of you who are in my age range 40+ please respond to this phenomenon...

i have been monitoring my 'condition' more closely for the past few months...and i see a definite cycle here. i'm pre-menopausal (i must be though i'm still quite regular...the calendar on the wall tells me that at my age, i should be
there anyway) and i have noticed a definite pattern to my feeling lousy/well cycles.

i hit the worst 'low' during and immediately after my period...then about 10 days later i start to feel really good...

mostly i think i'm experiencing water retention....i bloat out like a damned balloon and get swollen ankles (mostly in the left leg) and aches in the knees...

then mysteriously, it gets worse for one night...actually keeps me awake.. the pains...
but that's the turning point...i begin to feel decidedly better for a few days before it starts all over again.

i just got elaine's book today....a student of mine placed an order with Amazon and three of us ordered together DHL to reduce shipping costs...what a wonderful service!!

anyway, i just got home and thought i'd ask you all...first.... now i'll go read the book!!

arlene in istanbul (yes, turkey)

Re: question for the ladies please
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 23:26:56 GMT

>some of you who are in my age range 40+ please respond to this

I'm only 25 but I have noticed the same thing. I'm sure that this IBD is affected by our hormone balances.
Every time I get my period I start getting some gut symptoms and worry that it's another flare.
When I get cramps, it almost seems like the period cramps are indistinguishable from Crohn's pain, and I get diarreah usually too.
Plus, that overall lousy sick feeling that's hard to describe.
Usually it turns out that it wasn't a flare after all, and gets better after the period is over.
I wonder if many women with IBD get this pattern.
It never used to be this way and has only happened for the past 6 months or so.

The female cycle and prostaglandins
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 23:26:57 GMT

Dear Arlene,

I asked a similar question to yours about three months ago and since
then have learned a lot that helped me and may apply to you as well.

Prostaglandins are the hormones that are secreted related to
inflammation. There is an increase of "bad" prostaglandins when most of
us have flares of our intestinal stuff and also, we women tend to get
increased prostaglandins during our periods. This is why there is often
added irritation at this time, achiness, bloating.

From the Chinese medical perspective, during our cycles there is often
an increase in "dampness" (swelling, etc) at this time that is also
present with other "damp" conditions, such as arthritis -- if you have
any achey problems in general, they would increase during your cycle.

So, what to do about it? Here's what helps me: several days before your
period starts, stay away from all foods you are even remotely sensitive
to. For me this means I eat a bland vegetable and chicken diet,
borring, but the results are worth it. Also, taking Omega-3 oils, as in
flaxseed and primrose oil, will help diminish the bad prostaglandin

I used to have terrible periods where I just dragged and ached the whole
time, felt like a zombie. Since I started paying strict (even stricter
than usual -- eliminating all sugars at that time) attention to my food
and increased my Omega-3, I actually have even higher energy than usual
during my period, which I consider a small miracle.

Good luck.


Re: question for the ladies please
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 0:56:19 GMT

Dear Arlene,
I turned 50 in January and began menopause about a year ago. My periods are
real screwy. Since my UC is under control, I find no relation to my cycles,
however I have spondylitis which is an IBD related arthritis and without a
doubt when I'm about to get a period, my joints react and badly. I feel as
though I'm walking around with a 300 lb. man sitting on my shoulders. The
pain involves each and every one of my joints, from the neck down. I'm also
severely affected by weather changes and here on LI, they are a common
occurance. Last week we went from 60 and dry one day to 90 and humid the
next. Thought I'd die. I almost didn't make it to work. I fight real hard
not to let my disease get the better of me or in any way change my daily
patterns. I think I'm terrified that if I allow the pain to gain even a
tiny victory, I'll lose ground real fast. Wishing you all the best.

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