Two vegan bloggers think that women have heavy periods and experience cramping because they have a “toxic body” and a “toxic diet.”
Cramps, bloating, PMS–induced mood swings—the arrival of your period every month can sometimes be a major pain in the butt. But is it toxic?
That’s what these raw vegan bloggers claim. Miliany Bonet, who gave up all animal products and had her periods vanish shortly thereafter, penned a post on her blog, RawVeganLiving, which explained that menstruation is a sign of a “highly toxic” diet and lifestyle.
“If there is nothing to clean, there’s no reason to menstruate,” wrote Bonet. “And since a raw foods diet IS clean, your period naturally becomes lighter and/or disappears altogether.”
Another vegan blogger, who goes by Freelee the Banana Girl, shared a similar view in a 2013 YouTube video that’s racked up more than 400,000 views. She says she was thrilled when her period hit the road for nearly nine months. “I still believe that, largely, menstruation is toxicity leaving the body,” she explains. “So a lot of people are having these heavy, heavy periods and painful periods because they have a toxic body or have a toxic diet.”
These sentiments, which have been in the news cycle lately, sound ridiculous to anyone who is even remotely biology-savvy. But to make sure that no one falls for this whole toxicity thing, we wanted to set the record straight. We consulted two top gynecologists, who helped us put together a four-point rebuttal to these bloggers’ beliefs.
“Toxic” is synonymous with harmful or poisonous, and your period is neither, says Lauren Streicher, MD, an ob-gyn in Chicago.
Here’s what’s really going on when you get your period: Every month, your uterine lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy, explains Westchester, New York–based Alyssa Dweck, MD, author of The Complete A-Z for Your V. When ovulation passes and you haven’t become pregnant, the lining sheds, since it’s not needed to support an embryo. Voilà! This is your period. “It’s all hormonal and there’s nothing toxic about it—it’s healthy to have this happen.”
If your period stops for no reason—you’re not pregnant, breastfeeding, or approaching menopause—consider it your body’s way of telling you something is off. You might be stressed out, have a thyroid condition, or be on certain meds like the Pill, which can make your flow vanish because you’re no longer ovulating, says Dr. Streicher. “If someone has gone more than 3 months without a period and no explanation why, then that would be the time to see your gynecologist and find out what’s going on,” she adds.