What Dairy Does to Periods

cow's dairy and periodsMore than twenty years ago I discovered something: When I stopped having dairy, I stopped having period pain.

Since then, I’ve worked with thousands of patients who have had the same result. For many women (not all), stopping dairy can dramatically improve period pain, heavy periods, endometriosis, acne, and PMS.

The inflammatory effect of A1 casein

How does dairy cause heavy pain and bleeding? It’s all to do with A1 casein, which is one of the proteins in normal cow’s milk. For some people (not all), A1 casein converts in the gut to the inflammatory peptide casomorphin or BCM7, which, in turn, can stimulate inflammatory cytokines, histamine, and mast cells — all leading to menstrual pain and heavy bleeding. Dairy, mast cells, and histamine can also play a role in PMS and PMDD.

👉 Tip: Feel better on a vegan diet? It could be because you’re avoiding dairy and you might find you can continue to feel well even if you reintroduce non-dairy animal products.

People who don’t form BCM7 from A1 casein can tolerate normal dairy and most people can tolerate A2 dairy, which is dairy that doesn’t contain A1 casein. A2 dairy includes all products made from the milk from Jersey cows, goats, and sheep.

👉 Tip: One sign of dairy sensitivity is a childhood history of recurrent tonsillitis or chest infections. You probably outgrew that immune problem but it’s now showing up as chronic inflammation affecting periods.

Is dairy necessary for calcium?

The short answer is no. There’s plenty of calcium in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and A2 dairy. Research shows that milk drinkers do not have better bones than non-milk drinkers, and according to Harvard researcher Walter Willett, “humans have no nutritional requirement for animal milk.”

The bottom line about dairy and periods

Based on my clinical experience with thousands of patients, stopping dairy can relieve heavy periods, period pain, and premenstrual mood symptoms. It’s certainly worth a try.

140 thoughts on “What Dairy Does to Periods”

  1. I always loved dairy but realised it doesn’t sit well with my stomach Problems and trying to heal heavy periods so I drink Full cream A2 milk and recently started sheep’s yoghurt for the past couple of weeks and now I feel like I have an aversion. How can one get all dairy’s exact Nutrients without dairy? I can’t eat sardines every day or at all and probably have salmon filet once a week but how do I get enough daily? I would usually have at least 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of yoghurt a day and if it’s leafy greens how do I not have too many oxalates .
    Thanks

    Reply
  2. I’m trying eliminating dairy for the first time this month and feel a bit confused about whether I should eat breads that say they have milk parts, but not milk, as an ingredient. Is there a good website that gives thorough information about what can and cannot be eaten? I’m underweight and struggle to gain weight so need to be a bit cautious about elimination diets. I don’t feel that I could safely get enough calories if I also gave up bread at this time. But I didn’t realize how much milk related ingredients are used in bread.

    Reply
    • The degree to be strict with dairy-free really depends on why you’re doing it. Is it for heavy or painful periods? or PMS?
      Keep in mind there are lots of beneficial high-calorie foods such as meat, potatoes, coconut cream etc.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your reply! I am trying to reduce bleeding (currently bleeding 160-220cc in an average period). I was diagnosed with adenomyosis by ultrasound but don’t have too much pain. Ferritin levels are lower than ideal but not clinically low yet. So I’ve gotten more serious about my iron supplements and would like to see if I can improve this naturally or if I need to take my doctor up on the Dienogest she is offering. I’ve read both of your books and they have made so many things clear! Thank you so much for your diligent research and laying things out so nicely for us!

        Reply
  3. Hi Lara,

    I love your book period repair manual and currently reading this. I have a few questions. I have fluid retention and bloating the worst before and after ovulation. Where I look puffy and bigger with more cellulite. I have cut out most dairy long ago but have Greek yogurt three times a week or so. How much could this be affecting this bloating l/ water retention? Also, I am already taking over 300 mg of magnesium and have definitely seen good results but wonder due to my weight training lifestyle I could benefit from more. Please let me know!! Thanks!

    Reply
  4. I happened also to me. I m always surprised when my menstruation comes, no pms at all. Since I Quit dairy, I don’t have breast pain anymore

    Reply
    • sheep and goat products are A2 — ie, they don’t have A1 casein, so generally, I find that most people are fine with sheep and goat.

      Reply
  5. Hi Lara,
    I have Hashimotos and have been seeing a naturopath for years now. I took birth control for the first two years of being married and then the birth control took its toll on my body. I went to a lot of doctors and even went to urgent care but every ones test they did for me was “normal” but I was at the point of having panic attacks because my hormones and vitamins were so low. I had to start carrying around Gatorade with me for whenever My body suddenly got warm and I wasn’t feeling right.

    I ended up taking progesterone after going to a Nurse Practioner. She was able to help a little with my overall health. She told me that I had adrenal fatigue but didn’t really do anything for it.

    I’ve now been living in a another state for almost ten years and seeing a good naturopath but she is out of options (as far as I know) to see what has been causing my monthly nausea and vomiting. It’s been going on for years now and would like an answer or some kind of relief for it. It’s just getting wearisome.

    I’m reaching out almost in desperation. everything is in balance and I’m feeling fine, except during my periods. I just had a stomach scope yesterday morning to see if something was wrong and nothing was there. Next the GI, wants to check my gall bladder. I don’t want to be doing all of these procedures just because. Do you have ANY suggestions for me right now? I’m kind of out of options. So this last December’s period was one of the worst for me and throwing up food instead of liquids.

    I do have the MTHFR as well, if that helps at all. I’m on a paleo diet, so I’m grains, soy, gluten, dairy free. I do have some cheese when I have Mexican food since that’s what I enjoy most. But do try to limit that when I can.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Hi Lara,
    I have Hashimotos and have been seeing a naturopath for years now. I took birth control for the first two years of being married and then the birth control took its toll on my body. I went to a lot of doctors and even went to urgent care but every ones test they did for me was “normal” but I was at the point of having panic attacks because my hormones and vitamins were so low. I had to start carrying around Gatorade with me for whenever My body suddenly got warm and I wasn’t feeling right.

    I ended up taking progesterone after going to a Nurse Practioner. She was able to help a little with my overall health. She told me that I had adrenal fatigue but didn’t really do anything for it.

    I’ve now been living in a another state for almost ten years and seeing a good naturopath but she is out of options (as far as I know) to see what has been causing my monthly nausea and vomiting. It’s been going on for years now and would like an answer or some kind of relief for it. It’s just getting wearisome.

    I’m reaching out almost in desperation. everything is in balance and I’m feeling fine, except during my periods. I just had a stomach scope two days ago to see if something was wrong and nothing was there. Next the GI, wants to check my gall bladder. I don’t want to be doing all of these procedures just because. Do you have ANY suggestions for me right now? I’m kind of out of options. So this last December’s period was one of the worst for me and throwing up food instead of liquids.

    I do have the MTHFR as well, if that helps at all. I eat a paleo diet. I am dairy, soy, grains, gluten free. I have a gluten intolerance. I mostly try to stay away from dairy, but since Mexican is my favorite I do have regular cheese with that when I have it. Because it’s just better with it. I am trying to limit though.

    Btw, I also just downloaded an audio version of your period repair manual, but haven’t listen to any of it yet.

    Thank you.

    Reply
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    Reply
  8. Over the last months, I’ve done a couple of ‘experiments’ on myself where I’ve exclusively eaten specific dairy products for 2-3 cycles and observed my period pain. I’ve found that I tolerate butter and ghee, even if I eat it daily. However, any other forms of dairy result in period pain for me. Even when I’ve had only 100% sheep & goat cheese for 3 months, I had really bad period pain afterwards.

    Do you think the problem is casein here?

    Reply
  9. Hi
    Wondering if you could help ..
    I am 43 , always suffered fairly painful periods regular 5/7 days and around a 28 day cycle and in the last year or so I noticed my period going to every 3 weeks lasting 6/7 days and they are so painful, especially 3rd day where I was prescribed menafic acid 500mg from gp but reluctant to take as I don’t like medicines, aPart from homeopathic meds , I also have clots , quite large usually and this is when pain gets bad .
    Can you advise me anything ?
    I bought Mag365 from A health shop and think it may help , if you can advise anything else I’d appreciate it !

    Reply
  10. HI Lara! I read your book because I have severe period pain. I did not have A1 dairy this month, but I did have butter. My period pain did not improve. Should I try to see if another month off it helps or should I assume dairy is not the factor that is causing the pain?

    Reply
    • The interesting thing about that study is that a great portion of the dairy recorded may have been non-inflammatory A2 (sheep’s) dairy as they state in the discussion “Dairy products made from sheep’s milk are widely consumed in the Middle East.”

      Reply
  11. I have completely cut out dairy over the past month or and have noticed I feel a lot better and skin has improved.
    One thing I was not expecting would be that my period cramps have drastically reduced and I can actually cope with them. I was diagnosed with PCOS in Jan 2014 and for years my periods have been excruciating — every month I would block out a whole week in my calendar so I could deal with the debilitating cramps.
    I’ve always had a bit of an aversion to dairy, and I still look at some cheeses and they turn my stomach. So I think I definitely have some kind of intolerance, but I have to say since cutting out dairy I’ve been in a far better mood and the cramps have been totally cope-able — this ‘side affect’ is such a great one!
    I don’t want to get too excited, so I’ll let you know if I continue to notice the improvements next month.

    Reply
    • An update for you: I’ve been dairy free since mid May, and have had 3 periods since then which have been a dream compared to what they used to be like! I can’t believe dairy was doing that to me!
      Thanks for the great article 🙂

      Reply
      • Like you, Stefanie, I had unbelievable pain for way too many years – for me it took 3 decades of pain so severe that it would b always accompanied with vomiting, diarrhoea, waves of hot and cold and shaking – all unexplained by medical professionals, who recommended trying different versions of the pill. (They never worked for long.). The weird thing for me was that the pain only lasted for 3 hours, almost to the minute. My doctors were baffled. This was the only silver lining to years of needless suffering.
        It was only by chance that I learned that it was 100% related to my dairy intake. During my 7 years of being dairy free, I have stumbled along the way – and paid heavily for my misgivings.
        For me, sadly even camel milk is off limits.
        As I lay here in the early stages (pain level only 7/10), having only vomited once, I can yet again confirm – even one measely mousse, had in a moment of weakness (and optimism), has ruined my morning and lost me a days pay.
        Best wishes to you on your dairy free journey! xo

        Reply
  12. Hi im just wondering if lactose free milk would lessen the cramps and acne at all? If there is any correlation between the two after observing how heavy and painful my periods can be after all the cereal and chocolate i eat that week ive decided to give lactose free a try instead but im hesitant since my periods are painful and im acne prone

    Reply
  13. I have the complete opposite experience- I stopped dairy milk 3 years ago and my menstrual cycle pain has gotten unbearable- recently my husband said he was craving some good ol 2% milk with some cereal so I broke down and bought both (we don’t eat cereal either) and I noticed I had zero cramps…ZERO. Those bovine hormones help my cramps- not worsen it. So now a week before my cycle I drink a glass of moo juice with my dinner or have some milk and cookies- and no joke I’d go from taking 3-4,000 mg of ibuprofen over a 2-3 day period , now two pills if any.
    I’d like to mention I do not take birth control pills- maybe some people who do would have trouble with dairy.

    Reply
  14. Hey Lara! I’ve always noticed a correlation between my acne and excruciatingly painful periods and my level of milk consumption around that period of time so this is really interesting!

    However I am now 16 trying to recover from H.A, caused by an e.d, and am told to have milk four times a day! I’ve already noticed more flare ups but don’t know whether this is the dairy or just my hormones kicking back in. What are your thoughts on this?
    Thank you for your always insightful information😊
    – Katie

    Reply
    • It could be the dairy. Try speaking to your practitioner about using A2 milk (if you can buy it where you live) or a different kind of high-calorie drink in place of cow’s milk (maybe coconut milk plus protein powder).

      Reply
  15. Almonds are NOT a source of calcium! Please correct this misleading statement. Science is clear about the fact that calcium oxalate does not provide us with any bio-available calcium, and about all the potential harm it can do.

    Reply
  16. I’ve given up all dairy products in March and haven’t had a painful period since April (and it was only mildly uncomfortable not excruciating). I do occasionally eat eggs but have given up all milk products and replaced milk in my cooking to rice milk. It may be difficult but trust me it’s worth it. I’m 23 yrs and have a history of ovarian cysts for reference.

    Reply
  17. Hello, you mention a correlation between childhood recurrent tonsillitis or chest infections and a problem with A1 casein. Could you please explain more on this? If you have a resource, even better.

    Thank you, aj

    Reply
  18. I know that you’ve been recommending goat’s and sheep’s products for women who are sensitive to cow’s dairy.
    Personally, I had been cutting out cow’s dairy for 7 months which had almost no effect on my periods. But when I cut out sheep and goats dairy as well, my period went from “moderately painful” to “no pain at all” within 2 months! Why is that? I’ve never seen you mention that these can be inflammatory as well, so I’m really surprised. (I was mainly eating sheep/goat yogurt and sheep’s cheese before)

    Reply
  19. Dear Dr. Briden,

    For people who do have A1 dairy protein sensitivity, is it safe to eat forms of dairy that are relatively protein-free, such as (presumably organic) cream, sour cream, and cream cheese?

    I’m loving the effects of being dairy-free but also missing dairy tremendously! 🙂

    Many thanks!
    Diana

    Reply
  20. Hi Lara.

    I’ve been off cow dairy (except for butter) for about a month, since last period. I have my period now and my period pain hasn’t improved. A lot of women who go off dairy feel improvement after just a month but it’s not the case for me. I have been having goats milk in my coffee and a little bit of sheep cheese in cooking.

    I’ve had very painful periods and got very bloated on my period for about 6 years and take a lot of painkillers on my period. I only have medium flow periods, so they’re not heavy. My gynaecologist wants me to try a Mirena but I’m putting off that in case I can fix my pain naturally. I’m actually booked in to get the Mirena put in tomorrow but I’m thinking of cancelling or postponing my appointment. I’ve been taking magnesium and zinc at night too.

    Could it take a while for lack of dairy to take the pain away or should I see a difference by now?

    By the way, I’m 27 and haven’t had children.

    Thank you for your time!
    Tasha

    Reply
  21. Hi! I started bovine colostrum some months ago – another try to heal my gut a bit. Seems like I got some benefits first, but then I did not realize that I started to get worse (I always do so many things at the same time, so I never realize what causes what…). I stopped it yesterday, but these months has been an mast cell and hormonal hell. I have have been in a constant mast cell flare with lots of anaphylaxis. The most painful ovulation ever. My last perioda was the worst ever (and I am really used to problems…I have always had extremely heavy bleeading, then menorrhea for many years and when I got my period back I got extremely heavy periods and pain again, my cycles are very irregular etc….and my mcas is very connected to my hormonal cycle. I have very bad gut problems too since childhood, probably a combination of my EDS and too much antibiotics and an EHEC infection I almost died from). But as I wrote, my last period was the worst ever, with extreme bleeding, I was knocked out from pain for 6 days (usually I have maybe 2 days when I have much pain and after that less, but nothing like this), passed out, could not leave my home etc.

    What I wonder is – I have tried to understand how and why the colostrum affected me so much. I am sensitive to everything and I have avoided dairy for many years. (Have tried all kind of diets, but have realized that I do best when I find out what works best for me and not follow a diet with a name that someone tells me to do. As much abalanced as possible, avoiding the worst things, eating enough etc) Seems like I do okey with dairy fat. And I did okey with undenatured whey before I started the colostrum… So I am really doubtful that it is all of the hormones in colostrum that causes problems for me.

    I was thinking that colostrum has very little protein (at least with the small dose of colostrum I take) and should not cause the problems you describe with a1-casein. But, when I started to read I understand that it may be that there is a very high concentration of BCM7 in the colostrum? Can this be why I am okey with whey, but not with colostrum? Is the whey free from BCM7? I have been thinking about trying goat and sheep, but I am afraid when I don´t know what causes my problems…..something in colostrum affects me really really bad and don´t even get these bad reactions from eating other cow milk products.

    Sorry for long post!

    Reply
  22. Thanks for your reply! Yes, avoiding all forms of dairy. I take zinc (picolinate) and curcumin as well. Magnesium glycinate also.

    Reply
    • if that combination does not work, and if it is “intense” pain as you describe, you may need to consider whether it’s endometriosis or adenomyosis. Did your doctor say anything about those conditions?

      They require a stronger approach to treatment.

      Reply
  23. I was very optimistic about this possible solution to the intense period pain I have had for the past 27 years. Yes, definitely had a lot of ear infections as a young kid, so I figured it should help, and approached the change with enthusiasm and meticulousness. After 2 months of no milk, however, I haven’t really noticed much difference. Shall I keep it going? Does it really take 3 months to show results? Thanks!

    Reply
    • are you also avoiding cheese, yoghurt and other dairy?

      As I explain in my blog post When period pain is not normal, my approach with patients is to start with dairy-free, zinc, and maybe turmeric. If that trio of treatments does not work, it raises the possibility that something else is going on.

      Reply
    • She said milk from jersey cows were ok. Jersey and Guernsey cows seems to be what they use for A2 milk. Also, A2 milk shouldn’t have the inflammatory A1 beta casein in it or very little, that’s the whole point behind A2 milk.

      Reply
  24. Wow, this has been life changing for me! I used to dread the start of my period and took painkillers. After avoiding dairy for a month, my next period was completely pain free. No need for painkillers. I am now on my 4th pain free period. Just wanted to thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
  25. Hi Lara, I read and loved your book. Every girl should be given it to read before their periods start. One day I found the strength to go cold turkey stopping dairy and sugar. I’ve had basically no period pain bow for over 2 years, just the ‘warning’ pain before it starts, and this from someone who has had 2 endo removals and both ovarian veins coiled. I love dairy and sugar but I just think about my times in hospital and pass on it! Xo

    Reply
  26. Dear Lara,

    Thank you so much for this article!

    I found your post when searching for information about why being dairy-free has eliminated my period and ovulation pain. (I normally take 16+ Advil per month dealing with menstrual cycle pain.) I was so excited to see the information you shared. Two points:

    (1) When I went cold turkey on giving up dairy, I had an intense period of withdrawal symptoms (that I didn’t recognize except in retrospect) – mainly in the form of a headache that lasted over ten days. Seeing what you wrote about dairy forming opiates, this made complete sense!

    (“In some people, A1 casein cleaves in the digestive tract to form a potent opiate-type molecule (called casomorphin or BCM7) that stimulates histamine and inflammatory cytokines.”)

    (2) I also resonated with this:

    “To assess for a casein problem, I look for the tell-tale childhood symptoms of recurring tonsillitis, chest or ear infections. They were signs of casein immune disruption in childhood.”

    Yes! My childhood was one long ear infection (and one long antibiotic prescription for the non-stop infections, which led to other problems). I am so excited to see the connection at long last!!

    Thank you again so much!!!
    Diana

    Reply
  27. Dear Lara
    I found your blog because of my bad period cramps, so far the worst I ever had and I was very curios about the cause of it specially because I have been very healthy all my life specially four years ago I am vegan at home and vegetarian when eating outside and just if I can’t avoid the dairy in some menus, I do exercise , meditate, etcetera. I realised long time ago that thanks to the exercise I didnt suffer for period cramps specially since I incorporated wheights in to my routine and then I read it was because of the hormones that you segregate during the workout so it was great for me !, however this morning was horrible I had so much pain, diarrea, couldn’t move from my bed until more or less I could put myself out to bed and do some exercise, the reason I think this time my period started so bad wasn’t because I came back from Italy just for holidays and I ate to much cheese, ice cream and possibly cream in the pasta sauces oooooh I feel sick just to think about it then that’s why I was so interested to read that could be some relationship between dairy and cramps, and then I found you, definitely I am going to avoid dairy , thanks a lot Lara

    Reply
  28. I’ve suffered from very painful periods for about 15 years. No doctor ever asked me about my diet and/or a history of respiratory disease/tonsilitis. Instead, they prescribed painkillers and offered me the pill without asking any further questions (I never accepted the pill).Changing my diet by eliminating added sugar and cow’s dairy apart from heavy cream and butter a few months ago has significantly reduced my pain and I hope to eliminate it. II have not needed painkillers in a few cycles, something I never managed to do the years before. This would not have been possible without Dr. Briden’s work. Thank you so much for listening to women and treating them with respect, empathy and expertise! Reading your blog helped me more than any visit to the gynecologist in my life. I also asked another friend with period pain about a history of tonsilitis (which she had). After 15 years of suffering and finally eliminating cow’s dairy, her pain all but disappeared – to her, a “miracle”. Her gynecologist had told her, suffering was part of “being a woman”.

    Reply
  29. Hi Laura,
    My daughter has just started her menstruation, she is 11. She takes organic grass fed milk 1/2-1 cup a day, some organic buttermilk daily. She has a BMI 17. After reading your article, I believe that if I stop all dairy, I will see results quickly. We are vegetarian, no eggs as well.
    I do want her to enjoy her school and play for couple more years at least and grow taller.
    Should I give her some magnesium chloride as well?
    Please let me know your thoughts.

    Reply
  30. Hello Lara!

    After reading your book I have decided to go dairy free! But after reading this article and some comments I am a little confused. I did not have recurring tonsillitis or upper respiratory infections as a child. I have not eaten dairy (except for butter) for a little over a month. My endometriosis pains were improved during my period, but I found that period to be significantly heavier than normal. Could A1 casein be an issue for me if I didn’t have that childhood issue link? I’ve also been taking a high dose curcumin turmeric capsule, so maybe the better pain was from that? I just want to know if it’s possible to have an issue with A1 casein without the link to respiratory illnesses as a child. Thank you for your time and perspective on this situation!

    Reply
  31. Hi Lara, I have been off of dairy (and gluten) for a month after my doctor diagnosed me with those food allergies. My skin got better about 2 weeks in, but is now back to the way it was before the change. I feel so discouraged. I also have been feeling very lightheaded /dizzy and I’m experiencing brain fog and headaches. I never did in the past. I am a vegetarian but I’ve been eating enough (I even gained weight), mostly eggs, avocados, nuts, salads, beans, chickpeas, lentils. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I am desperate to remain healthy and help my skin.

    Reply
    • Hi, I’m an asian pcos woman, but I’m thin… I heard that pcos is tend to genetic… so I’m desperated….
      I used to be an acne complex and always a complex, though I used to have many reasons during adolescence. Even after becoming an adult, acne did not disappear.
      I had been taking rouacutan steadily for acne. Roacutan is a vitamin a sanction.
      The recent menstrual period is very irregular.
      I am interested in nbe(natural breast enlargement) and want to realize it. Many people say the breast size is small when they have pcos symptoms.

      Is it true?

      My breast size was also small. So I have a complex, I want to improve on hormone therapy rather than surgery.

      While Spearmint is good for reducing androgen, it drinks often. but when it stops, gets acne again.

      The doctor showed symptoms of pcos on the ultrasound, and
      told me it was serious. I think it is because I took a lot of spearmint now. And I think that I can not apply the progesterone cream properly.

      Is breast augmentation the best for pcos patients?

      Can progesterone cream improve hormone imbalance? Is it possible to actually ovulate by applying a progesterone cream?

      I wonder if there is a hormone therapy that I can do for breast growth.

      thank you for reading!!

      Reply
    • Hi, I’m an asian pcos woman. I heard that pcos is tend to genetic… so I’m desperated…. I have symptoms of PCOS despite of my lack of fat… Many doctors recommend dieting for patients with pcos, but the bmi index is 18, so I don’t think I should have a diet anymore.

      So, I think my PCOS symptoms are caused by very genetic causes.
      My mother is taking her medicine with high blood pressure.

      I am very sensitive to stress. And I am actually getting a lot of stress. I know that stress can cause ovulation disorders. If stress is excessive, progesterone is reduced.
      But can it truely cause pcos symptoms?
      Do we get PCOS due to excessive stress?

      I used to be an acne skin always, during adolescence.
      but, acne causes for many reasons even for milk.
      But, even after becoming an adult, acne did not disappear.
      I had been taking rouacutan steadily for acne. Roacutan is a vitamin-a sanction.

      The recent menstrual period is very irregular.

      By the way, I am interested in nbe(natural breast enlargement) and want to realize it. Many people say the breast size is small when they have pcos symptoms. My breast size was small too. So I have a complex about small breasts.

      Is it true? many women with PCOS have small breasts?
      Is there a relationship between PCOS and small breasts?

      I want to improve on hormone therapy rather than surgery.

      While Spearmint is good for reducing androgen,so i drinks very often. but when it stops, gets acne again.

      The doctor showed symptoms of pcos on the ultrasound, and
      told me it was serious. I think it is because I took a lot of spearmint now. And I think that I can not apply the progesterone cream properly.

      Is breast augmentation the best for pcos patients?

      Can progesterone cream improve hormone imbalance? Is it possible to actually ovulate by applying a progesterone cream?

      I wonder if there is a hormone therapy that I can do for breast growth.

      thank you for reading!!

      Reply
  32. Hi Lara,

    Thanks for the very informative text.

    I have a question related to my 14 year old daughter.
    Her period first started 2 years ago in January 2016, and it has been very irregular. It was 4 months on and 4 months off in the first year. Then her period started in January 2017 and she had it up until June 2016 non stop, then it stoped for 2 months and started again in August.

    Our doctor recommended contraception pills, in case this continues in the future.

    Four weeks ago I started buying organic soya milk instead of organic cow milk that I used to buy, and her period has stopped after two weeks. Then she ordered a glass of hot chocolate when he was out with her friends and her period was back for a couple of days, and stoped again. Is there any type of test that we can do to identify the problem? What would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best,
    Jelena

    Reply
  33. Hey Lara!

    Could you give your thoughts on whey protein isolate for those suffering form endometriosis? Theoretically whey protein (particularly isolate, I would imagine) shouldn’t contain any casein, so I wondered if this would be suitable?

    Thanks so much,

    Lauren 🙂

    Reply
    • Hello again!

      After having a better look, I can see you’ve addressed this question–sorry!! I do have a follow-up question for you…what are your thoughts on red meat consumption (assuming that the red meat is organic and grass-fed)? I have been ‘taken off’ red meat for some time and encouraged to eat a more plant-based diet, but do not feel better doing this, and also do not wish to lose muscle mass. Eggs seem to be a grey area for me (sometimes I have them and I’m perfectly fine, other times I get bloating and pain…) and I am limited when only eating chicken and some fish. The rationale from my naturopath for cutting out red meat related to it being ‘more difficult to digest’, amongst other things. I’d really appreciate your thoughts.

      Lauren 🙂

      Reply
  34. Hi Lara,
    Would you recommend avoiding dairy for unexplained infertility? Don’t have any of the period problems mentioned or childhood infections. My current naturopath doesn’t recommend avoiding but I have seen it recommended elsewhere for infertility and wondered your thoughts.

    Reply
    • The way I see it is that it doesn’t hurt anything to switch to goat and sheep dairy (A2 dairy). That way, you retain the nutritional value of dairy, but remove and potentially inflammatory effect (That yes, could be affecting your fertility). But. Please also consider your partner, and in particular, sperm morphology.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your comment, fully removing dairy is the one thing I haven’t done & yes husband has been checked multiple times. I will give it a try, I really love my cheese!!

        Reply
  35. I have the opposite problem. When I stop drinking milk my period cramps are intense and I also start getting random muscle twitches and spasms all over my body. I’ve tried it twice now – going off dairy for over a month and both times my body had period cramps that nearly made me faint from pain. After 2 months – I start drinking organic milk again and my muscle twitches stop and my period is nearly pain free? I don’t understand my body – trying to though.

    Reply
  36. Have you ever come across a case where going dairy free messed up a patient’s cycle? I’ve been dairy free (and gluten free) about a month, my period started a week and a half early, and 8 days later I’m still bleeding and cramping like it’s day 2 or 3. I’m ALWAYS done by day 6. Could I need the hormones in milk to support my cycle? I was on the pill for over a decade, which screwed up my endocrine system. I’ve been to three different doctors recently for other health problems and am on topical progesterone. I was only consuming raw grassfed milk and cheese. Is there anything I can do to make my period to end?

    Reply
    • How recently did you come off the Pill? When you say your period is always 6 days, do you mean real periods or pill-bleeds?

      Reply
  37. If you’re reading this post, you’re old enough to know if you have an allergy to milk by the obvious symptoms. If you aren’t suffering (breathing issues, lips blowing up like balloons, hives, etc) then its very unlikely you have an A1 casein allergy going on and therefore no need to quite dairy for that reason. f you don’t like cows being abused and killed before age 2 then THAT is a great reason to stop drinking their milk. Not to mention their new born babies are ripped from them the moment they come out and if male usually killed and if female never bonding with mom (because her milk is not for her baby but for us selfish humans) so she goes on to suffer the same fate as her mom – repeatedly impregnated, to keep the milk flowing, then killed before age 2. Lets try that on a human being and see how long you all want to drink milk. Over feed til puberty (12 years old maybe) impregnate the human, then use her for her milk for 2 years or so, then shoot a numbing bullet before slicing her throat to drain the blood – assuming they will double use/abuse this animal as meat after all that. Yeah, sick ass world we live in people, wake up!

    We’d never do it to human, so we should never do it to ANY sentient being… no animal deserves this torture we evil humans inflict and then justify our behaviors. How many cows have you killed by your milk or meat consumption? Look it up on become informed.

    Reply
  38. This is a great article! I stopped eating dairy about 6 weeks ago. I love cheese, but I was in so much pain that I was willing to give it up; which was hard. My boobs would start hurting a week after my period was over and I would have 3 weeks of PMS and then my period would come and it would be hell. My boobs hurt so bad I would be taking ibuprofen all day just to function. I would just be sitting and the pain would be intense. So far no breast pain since I stopped eating dairy. Which is a miracle for me! I’ve been eating cheese since I was a kid and I never made the connection.

    Reply
  39. After reading your article about histamine and oestrogen I stopped dairy (so far 3 weeks) but the only dairy I was having was goats cheese. I read above that goats cheese doesn’t usually cause problems. However I am sure I saw a difference in my histamine symptoms. Could it just be in my head that I felt an improvement?

    Reply
  40. Hi, I recently bought your book. I am reading the recommended treatment for PCOS. Is it OK to use all the supplements recommended such as magnesium,berbine,alpha liporic acid and ect as well as metformin at the same time

    Reply
    • In general, it can be ok to combine those supplements, but please check with your doctor. Also, berberine should not be taken for more than about 8 weeks at a time.

      Reply
  41. Hi Lara

    I’ve recently started drinking goats milk kefir to help my acne however the 2 menstrual cycles I’ve had since I’ve had really painful breasts and cramping when I’m on my period. I’m having a large glass a day of the kefir and I’m wondering if that is causing the problems?

    I already take magnesium, fish oil, don’t have cows dairy, am gluten-free and very healthy in other respects so not sure why.

    Also these 2 cycles have been shorter than usual.

    Thanks for any insights you have!

    Lauren

    Reply
  42. It’s great to know what is in dairy that can cause very uncomfortable period pain. But there’s more than milk to get a good amount of calcium in your diet. Vegetables like broccoli or spinach have high amounts of calcium.
    Ensure to follow a diet that’s high in fibre. I like cabbage or beet based soups and salads and if you have cheese cravings, try nutritional yeast!
    I love cheese but have learnt to minimize and find alternatives. Less bloating, lighter cycles and barely any cramps!

    Reply
    • Vegetables like broccoli or spinach have high amounts of calcium.

      as per i know we shouldn’t eat calcium rich food with iron rich food as per the absorption of both ..and it is advisable to keep a gap of 2 hours between. .and not to combine them together in one meal .. fig is rich in iron ..cheese rich in calcium. .. can be combined ?

      ..if you have cheese cravings, try nutritional yeast!
      what is the relationship between the cheese and yeast ! I didn’t get the point dear ! I did not understand. .. should we replace cheese by yeast !

      Reply
  43. Thank you for this article. I am just starting my journey with going dairy free to help alleviate painful and heavy periods. I was wondering of consuming whey protein or whey isolate protein powders are acceptable?

    Reply
  44. Are there any studies that link the onset of your period with dairy consumption? I’m peri-menopausal (having not yet hit the magical year without a period to be deemed menopausal). I’ve had years of irregular and VERY infrequent periods with fibroids and endometriosis. Lately I’ve noticed a correlation between consumption of yogurt, dairy products with spotting and bleeding.

    Reply
  45. No need to stop eating dairy, just stop eating none organic dairy. Although FDA says there is not so much difference but it is not true! Try it you will see!

    Reply
  46. I am off dairy due to PCOS. I have found that almond milk is great for ensuring you get enough calcium – one glass has 30% of your daily calcium requirement. (I only drink sweetened original or unsweetened vanilla to minimize the sugar content – even sweetened original only has 8 g of sugar per glass.)

    Reply
  47. Hi Lara, after going on A2 dairy exclusively as you suggested, I came accross an interesting fact in my research, that I thought is worth sharing. Per the usual info available on the subject of A2 cow dairy, it is believed that Holstein ( /Fresian) cows produce only A1 dairy while Jersey cows (mostly) and Guernsey cows (wholly) produce A2 dairy. This is such a commonly held belief that even on the A2 milk company’s website, this information is repeated.

    However, I got in touch with the A2 brand here in the US to reconfirm which breed of cows they are using and which farms they source from for the huge US market. I was told they are actually using Holstein cows and the farms in Nebraska and upstate New York supply this milk to the whole of the US. I’ve reconfirmed this info with them twice via different forums.

    I wonder how this can be correct? I was under the impression that Jersey cows are the only ones the produce a mix of A2/A1 milk (majority A2 – mid volume) and all other breeds are either A2 ( Guernsey – Low volume) or A1 (Holstein – high volume)

    I was trying to source for A2 non homogenized low pasteurised milk from local Farmers and since they haven’t tested their entire herd, I was hoping to select based on the commonly known cow breed – protein type classification. But now with this new info regarding Holstein also being A2/A2 cows, it’s become massively confusing once again. Who’s to say whether in actuality the Jersey or Guernsey breeds are mostly or only A2 producing, as we currently believe ? It makes it v tough to trust the dairy source.

    Reply
    • My understanding was that most Holstein cows are A1A2 or A1A1, and can be bred to be A2A2. Going forward, I hope that more farmers will test their entire herds. There are a few other comments about this in the thread.
      The other option is to stick with goat or sheep products.

      Reply
  48. Quick question that I can’t seem to find an answer for! One day per month (today) about a week before my period starts, I get diarrhea when I consume milk. It only lasts for the day and will get diarrhea evey time I consume milk that day and some mild cramping also. What is going on with my body? Why do I get this? Note…I love milk and drink lots of it on a daily basis…its my favourite drink! Any help ould be greatly appreciated!! Thank you!

    Reply
      • I don’t have an easy answer for that one, sorry. My guess would be that your microbiome (intestinal bacteria) is slightly different at that time in your cycle, and so you react differently to milk. Fluctuating female hormones have a strong effect on the microbiome.

        Reply
  49. Hey Lara! It was so lovely to meet you and get to know you a bit at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Queenstown. Question for you…

    I am three weeks into a Whole30 (NO grains, dairy, legumes, seed oils, sugar, or alcohol) and have lost some weight (though I don’t know how much because I’m not allowed to weigh myself – but my PT has been weighing me). I currently have my period, and lo and behold, for the first time in a couple of years it’s not painful! Normally I want to curl up into a ball for a couple of days.

    However, I do still feel like I’ve gained back all of the weight I’ve lost and then some! I’m going to put that down to bloating and water retention, as my diet and exercise have been consistent over the last few weeks. I did a quick Google, and all I got was ‘eat less salt, and it’s likely because your period makes you crave carbs so you eat a few extra hundred calories per day while you have your period leading to weight gain.’ Nope, that’s not it.

    Is there anything else I can do to support my body and stop it feeling like it’s the size of a house? It’s not all in my head – my clothes feel tight too! The only dairy I’ve been eating and is Whole30 compliant is ghee.

    Thanks Lara, and hope you’re well! Jenna

    Reply
    • Hi Jenna,
      Great to meet you too!
      It sound like premenstrual fluid retention. Natural treatments for premenstrual fluid retention include vitamin B6, magnesium and Vitex (see my post Vitamin B6 and Other Serious Cures).

      Also, premenstrual fluid retention should improve the longer you’re off dairy and other inflammatory foods. Three weeks is early days.

      Reply
  50. Hi Lara, do you have any insight into cow’s milk kefir? does it contain A1? I’m having trouble finding reliable information about whether it is inflammatory in the same way regular milk is. There is an amazing kefir stand near my work and it’s such a great snack! 🙂

    Reply
  51. Thank you, Lara! Great post. I’m learning a lot from you! I have seen many patients do better with sheep or goat dairy, or without dairy at all, but I was not aware that milk from Jersey cows might be an option too.

    I like your lists of period problems and childhood symptoms that mean avoiding dairy is worth a try. I’d add to the list excessive cervical or vaginal discharge, mucus-y and/or purplish menstrual blood, and a generally “phlegmy” constitution. All those would suggest damp, cold and phlegm in Chinese medicine understanding.

    Reply
    • Wow. Thanks for your input Leilani! That’s really helpful.
      I absolutely agree with your description of a “phlegmy” constitution (I also have some training in Chinese medicine).
      Also, I should clarify about Jersey cows. As a few people have pointed out in the comments of my A1 milk post, some herds of Jersey cows have one copy of the A1 allele. It’s worth asking the farmer if you can.

      Reply
  52. This article claims that it’s not the fat in dairy, and that it might be the hormones. Well, I have news for you, the majority of the hormones in dairy reside in the fat. The protein hormone will be digested by the stomach acid, but the potent lipid soluble hormones like 5 alpha reduced progesterone, 17beta estrone, and many other potent sex and adrenal hormones which are not digested in the stomach, and are bio identical to the human kind, are in the fat component of milk.

    The reason commercial dairy fat is full of these hormones is because the milk which ends up in the collection tanker is from a mix of pregnant and non pregnant lactating cows. Traditionally cows were not milked into their next pregnancy, or if so only by a month or two. For the last few decades, cows are milked right up till before they give birth in their next pregnancy in an almost continuous cycle. It’s about profits. It costs money and is not profitable to feed an animal that is not producing any milk. This is not how things were done in times gone by. Most families living on a decent block would have a couple of cows and if one was mated to have a calf, you’d get milk for the family for a year just from that one cow. Nobody was fat, or had any hormonal conditions.

    Reply
  53. Hi Lara,

    I’m wondering what it means to spot on day 28 of my cycle and feel crampy like my period is starting- only for it to stop for about 4 days and then ill get a full period. I was diagnosed with PCOS 15 years ago and my only symptoms now are hairloss from time to time and these strange cycles now for about 6 months. Thanks!

    Reply
  54. This very interesting. ..I have suffered from severe headaches,aching joints, IBS for many yrs…also on two inhaler for asthma.Through my own reseach and drinking green tea within a few days off coming off all dairy I was like a new person..Still was not right so I came off wheat and eggs aswell…in 8 mths I lost 2 stone in weight and at 58yrs old now had the energy of a 16 yr old..This was 2yrs ago, I still stick to my strict diet but get plenty of fresh fish,fruit and vegetables…
    My Chronic Sinusitis was the cause of my headaches also middle infection..My Doctor is totally amazed at how well I am now…

    Reply
    • thanks for your comment Norma. I’ve also observed many stories of dramatic improvement when my some of my patients come off dairy.

      Reply
    • My gut feeling is that dairy is a breast cancer risk. I say that based on the way dairy causes other hormonal problems (discussed in this post), and the fact that many of the breast cancer sufferers I’ve known report having been big dairy consumers at some point in their lives.
      Of course we do not yet have scientific evidence to prove a dairy-breast cancer link. I personally don’t want to wait for the science to catch up, so I avoid normal dairy to prevent breast cancer amongst other reasons.

      Reply
      • I have heard of many consultants advising their breast cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer patients to stop all dairy. It is obviously not meant for humans anyway. Breast milk is. If this advise got out to the general public I wonder if the dairy industry would collapse overnight. We are told how good dairy is for us and we believe it. I stopped being a sheep years ago.
        Just found your blog so will be having a big cup of tea and a good read.

        Thanks.

        Reply
  55. Hi Lara, I really appreciate this advice but before I take it on board I would like to know your opinion on the Harvard study that showed eating more full-fat dairy resulted in a reduced risk of infertility from ovulatory disorders. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/64192.php

    As a woman with PCOS, I have been trying to incorporate one serve of full-fat dairy daily but now I am wondering if this is doing me damage as I also have a history of fibroids and recurrent tonsillitis?

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Yes, that’s the same study I link to the article. They found that full-fat is better than low-fat for fertility. That makes sense, because fat is the beneficial part of dairy. Also full-fat, contains proportionally less protein (which is the inflammatory part).
      The confusing thing about dairy is that it is fine for some people, but highly inflammatory for others. In your case, since you have history of tonsillitis, then I would say it is probably inflammatory for you, and you’re better off without any of it. But if you do have some, then choose full fat.

      Reply
  56. Hello Lara,
    I’m curious about Kefir? You suggest this is a healthy alternative, and I’ve read it is healthier than yogurt because of its higher probiotic count. Is it still important to forgo in these above cases?

    Reply
  57. Thanks for this post, I put it into bookmarks when it was freshly out, but today I was reminded to it. I enjoy your thorough posts 🙂
    I’m not totally dairy free, but when I was for 5 months, my fibroids size drastically dropped (to its third). Just an info for future readers 😉 Nowadays I eat cheese sometimes because I love it but nothing else.

    Reply
  58. Umm…I’ve read somewhere that since raw milk contains the digesting enzymes, it rarely poses a problem. But that might be about the lactose. (Enzyme is lactase.)

    Reply
  59. Hi Lara for some reason I only got notification of this today. Anyway Thanks for another great blog post I just sent it to a parent friend of mine. I wanted to say that in Australia and NZ, “Holstein”cows are known as “Friesians’ (We got them from Holland originally). Can you please put that word in as well?

    Warmly, Penny

    Reply
  60. I would like to add that, for some people, no animal milks actually work out. I do fine with cream and butter (goat or cow), but start to have problems after only a small amount of goat, sheep or Jersey milks. (I totally stay away from standard cow’s milk.) Raw or pasteurized does not seem to matter. For me, milk leads to mood swings. It seems like the proteins of the milks irritates my nervous or emotional systems in some unknown way. Homemade coconut milk is delicious, and is my everyday milk.

    Reply
  61. I had frequent ear infections as a child. I was sensitive to dairy foods as a teenager. When I cut out dairy (except for a small amount of Jersey milk) I got very sick. I did that for two years. Adding in plain old commercial dairy made me a lot better. One thing that worked for me to eliminate period pain is magnesium. I started taking magnesium five years ago and ever since I’ve had zero period pains. Doesn’t even matter what type of magnesium. I’ve used magnesium citrate, carbonate, glycinate, chloride, sulphate ~ all of it works great for period pain in my experience.

    Reply
    • Really, no amount of magnesium helped my period nor my pmdd (a dysphoric disorder thats like pms on steroids basically). I took myself off dairy entirely and started to consume more green tea (even bought green tea capsules) and bam! Those horrid painful cramps, and awful pizza face moments and those moments where I would want to send my own head through a wall completely vanished after only a month of doing this routine. Carrot juice is also another good way to get your calcium intake.

      Reply
  62. Hello Lara,
    I’m a few pages away from completing your book…. Fabulous read, I highly recommend it for all women, not just when you have an issue. I have a couple questions. I started the supplements that you mention but I’m unsure how to take iodine (put it on the skin, mix with water and drink?) (1) What is the best way? I have had surgery for endo but it’s back. I started exercising (PiYo so low impact) and bled for almost a month which I assume is from the exercise. (2) Is bleeding a bad thing? Should I be concerned with the bleeding? It becomes so normal when you have endo. (3) Also, I need to increase my B12, what is the best way to take a B12, shot, under the tongue liquid or another way?.. Thank you so much for this book!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback about my book.
      Iodine is best mixed with water, and then taken by mouth.
      re: the bleeding. You’re right that it’s common with endometriosis, but it’s still a symptom that you should make your doctor aware of. Just in case she wants to investigate further. If she determines that the bleeding is just from endometriosis, then it should improve with treatment.
      Finally, if your doctor wants to give you a B12 injection, then it’s probably a good idea. It’s the best method, but under-the-tongue is a close second.

      Reply
  63. Hi Dr. Lara, can you please do an article on the MTFHR gene mutation & “methylating”? There’s a lot of conflicting info out there & I think it would help a lot of us out if you simplified it for us. Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Yes, I’ll work on an MTHFR post in the next month or two. (I do mention it very briefly in my book.)

      Reply
  64. Thank you for your lovely articles. I’ve read a lot of health articles that are confusing and overwhelming but yours are so clear and positive and leave me feeling encouraged. Thanks again!

    Reply
  65. This is an area that most confuses me. I relate to the dairy problem, as a child I had recurring chest infections, sinus/head colds and tonsillitis (they removed them at age 4) Now my almost 2 y/o daughter seems to have the same issue. I have recently switched to a paleo style diet (incorporating gentle starches) and have experimented with removing sugar too (fructose). I have found that my tolerance for dairy seems to have improved vastly. I used to experience inflamed sinuses and increased mucous(nasal) within an hour or so of consuming dairy. Now, I can seemingly metabolise organic whole milk far better. I am hoping to conceive again (post 2 miscarriages in 2014) So much material on fertility diets suggests eating whole dairy. Would you suggest coconut milk as a safe/ practical alternative? Almond milk and others do not contain the necessary fat

    Reply
    • Hi Laura, thanks for your comment. Whole, full-fat, dairy such as cream is SO much easier to tolerate. Even casein-sensitive people can usually get away with cream because full-fat dairy has less casein. Also, as you point out, the fat is beneficial.
      Why not find some nice full-fat Jersey or sheep milk dairy? Or, yes, coconut milk is great.

      Reply
  66. I discovered this post while doing some hormone research. Have you looked at the benefits of raw grass-fed dairy? I dealt with major hormone imbalances and struggled with all the things you talk about in this post, much of it due to not getting enough healthy saturated fats. My family had drastically reduced our raw milk/cheese and grass-fed beef consumption due to finances. So I decided to do the “raw milk cleanse” (drinking/eating nothing but raw grass-fed milk for a short time to detox with a nutrient-dense living food). After weeks of migraines, exhaustion, period flooding, etc., I am feeling nearly 100% and have no migraines!

    Many people have found that health/hormone issues due to pasteurized dairy can be eliminated by drinking raw dairy (from grass-fed A2 jersey and/or brown swiss cows) and many issues not even related can be helped because it is such a healthy life-giving substance!

    So while I don’t disagree with your post, I wonder if it would be more informative to say “pasteurized dairy (from conventionally-raised Holstein cows)” instead.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Alli.
      Absolutely, Holstein cows are the only cows who make any substantial amount of A1 casein. So Holstein milk is a problem, even when it’s raw.
      On the other hand, full-fat Jersey dairy (raw or pasteurised) is fine for most people (so is sheep and goat).

      Reply
  67. Lara, if your DHEA is high & prevents your breasts from developing, are the estrogen/progesterone receptors permanently turned off at the breasts preventing them from ever developing even if thd DHEA is normalized? Why wouldn’t I see breast development after losing excess fat & therefore correcting the cause (Insulin Resistance, PCOS)? I have a definite diagnosis that I am underdeveloped…never passed budding. Please help.

    Reply
  68. Nice article.
    Can you comment on cheese and full fat yogurt. SInce these are fermented products, does it lessen the casein component?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Great question. My understanding is that fermentation does not lessen the casein component, so yoghurt is still a problem. As for cheese, my understanding is that the casein component really varies depending on the type of cheese. I would really welcome any further comments on clarification on this issue from readers!

      Reply

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