Do you tend to get headaches/ migraines, feel anxious and irritable, have digestive issues, or feel extra sleepy throughout the month? Have you ever wondered if these symptoms are connected to your cycle?
Chances are, they probably are! Why? Good ol’ histamine.
Histamine is a compound released from mast cells in response to allergic and inflammatory reactions. We need histamine to accelerate healing, but when we have TOO MUCH it can cause all kinds of problems like the symptoms I listed above. And unfortunately, it’s very common for women to suffer because of it.
Histamine intolerance can arise from many different factors, including high estrogen which is a big one for women! Estrogen raises levels of histamine - so during the mid-follicular phase into ovulation and mid-luteal phase, you may be more susceptible to feeling anxious, dealing with migraines, being sleepy, and having a sensitive tummy.
So how do you address this?
Get to the root. Find out WHY you may be histamine intolerant or have to much circulating histamine. Is it exposure to mold or heavy metals? Gut infections or dysbiosis? Estrogen dominance? Deficiencies in crucial nutrients needed for the breakdown in histamine like copper, magnesium, and vitamin C?
Track your cycles and your symptoms. Keep a journal and begin to take note of how you feel throughout your cycle. Through journaling (or even tracking on your phone notes or in an app- I love the Flo App) you’ll be able to identify a pattern after a few months.
Avoid foods high in histamine. You’re going to want to avoid foods high in histamine during times when estrogen is the highest. Estrogen rises during the first half of your cycle and drops during the second half.
Foods high in histamine are fermented foods and dairy (yogurt, sauerkraut, etc.), avocados, spinach, eggplant, shellfish, tomatoes, chocolate, alcohol, and cured meats.
TEST, DON’T GUESS. Work with a functional medicine practitioner to get functional labs done. Based on your results, your practitioner should get you on a plan to balance your hormones and histamine levels.
Just because it’s common does not mean it’s normal. You should not feel like crap throughout your cycle. Lean into functional testing and begin to understand your body so that you can make empowered choices with confidence.