Illnesses That Mimic Your Period Part II
The idea of a gluten free diet seems to have struck a nerve for those who believe it to be a new fad diet rather than an actual life threatening/altering disease. It is okay to not want to eat gluten if you do not want the extra pounds, but it is also okay to eat it if you do not have any sensitivities.
Here are some symptoms of Gluten sensitivities according to Beyond Celiac web page (https://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/ ):
- Gas or abdominal pain
- Headache (migraine)
- Foggy memory or not being able to think clearly
- Joint aches
- Numbness/ tingling in appendages (fingers, legs, arms, etc.)
- Constipation or diarrhea
Again, there are similarities between the symptoms for gluten sensitivities and menstruation. If you were not specifically looking to solve the symptoms listed above, you may just account them to your cycle. Try cutting bread/wheat/gluten from your diet for a week or two and see if some of your pain goes away. If you have a more serious reaction to gluten than the above list, please contact your doctor to discuss Celiac’s Disease (a gluten allergy).
If this pain does not go away with the absence of gluten, then try taking heated baths, taking naps, getting massages (whether professional or from a friend), and possibly cutting out dairy products (the symptoms for lactose intolerance will be listed below).
If you are experiencing headaches that are not normal for you, or are incredibly painful, you may want to research migraines.
Migraines are a more serious and painful version of a headache. It may start off like a normal headache and progress or you may have preempting symptoms.
According to The Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201 ), there are four different categories for Migraines: Prodrome, Aura, Attack, and Post-drome.
Here are the main symptoms to look out for in all the categories:
- Mood changes
- Craving different foods
- Stiff neck
- Becoming thirsty or needing to use the bathroom
- Visual problems (seeing spots, stars, blurred vision, etc.)
- Heightened hearing (or hearing nonexistent sounds)
- Being sensitive to light
You do not have to have all the symptoms listed above to be experiencing a migraine, but if you are having any of them that accompany a headache or are followed by a headache, then making an appointment with a neurologist might be a good option. The mood changes, headaches, food cravings, and heightened senses could be attributed to your menstrual cycle, but when accompanied by the other symptoms or all at once, then it may be a migraine.
Another common illness that mimics menstrual pains is Lactose intolerance. This illness may seem like an embarrassing topic for some but should not hinder you from receiving proper care for your digestive tract. It is all a part of life, and almost 75% the American population struggles from some form of Lactose sensitivity.
Here are some common symptoms for Lactose intolerance provided by the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lactose-intolerance/symptoms-causes/syc-20374232 ):
- Nausea, and sometimes, vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
These symptoms are experienced after the consumption of dairy products. Try not eating anything with dairy for two weeks if you think you might be lactose intolerant. Once you have established a change in your dietary habits and you are functioning better, it is okay to resort to eating a little bit of dairy a week. There are also plenty of dairy free and gluten free recipes on the social media site Pinterest.
If you do not feel comfortable discussing these symptoms with a parent or guardian, then school nurses and councilors are available to you. The Children’s Hospital of Alabama is also an available resource when needing to see a doctor or to get a second opinion for something (https://www.childrensal.org/adolescent-health-center ).