Facts About Dysmenorrhea ( Menstral Pains) And Natural Ways To Cure It.
Painful menstruation is known as Dysmenorrhea which literally means “difficult menstruation”. Each month when the uterine lining sheds as menstruation, the uterus must contract. In women with dysmenorrhea the contractions are very painful. The uterus may even spasm. Pain can be localized to the lower abdomen, but it can also be in the lower back, in the vulva, as well as radiating down the thighs. This wave like pain is often accompanied by headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The pain can begin up to 24 hours before menses begins and usually lasts for the first 48 hours once menses begins. In some women the pain may last up to 72 hours once menses begins.
Painful menstruation is one of the leading causes for women to miss work.
If you have extremely painful menstruation it is important to talk to your doctor about this. It is important to rule out if what you are experiencing is actual Primary Dysmenorrhea, or Secondary Dysmennorrhea. Primary means that it is the first issue, whereas secondary means there is another health issue causing or contributing to the painful menstruation. For example; Secondary Dysmenorrhea is often caused by endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids. There may also be other factors that are causing pain that may also need to be ruled out, such as IBS, constipation, UTI, ect. If you know that you have other fertility issues that are the underlying cause of your menstrual pain, it is important to address those issues as well. While it is always easier to treat pain acutely (when it is happening) rather than address the root cause, it is very important to find out what is causing the pain in your body.
Below are some natural remedies to help treat menstrual cramping when it is happening, but also remedies and mind/body practices to consider long term to help relieve your menstrual cramp pain forever!
Nutritional Considerations First!
That’s right, getting adequate nutrition every day should be top priority! Considering that Dysmenorrhea is an inflammatory state in the body, it is important to avoid foods that increase inflammation response. High glycemic foods are known to increase levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, including PGF2. When looked at holistically both doctors, naturopaths and herbalists agree that an anti-inflammatory diet is important.
Avoid refined carbohydrates
Stick to whole grains like oats, millet, brown rice, quinoa, ect. Eat only 3 servings of grains at most a day.
Eliminate sugary foods and processed sugar. Choose very limited amounts of honey or agave. Choose Stevia as a sweetner when possible.
Consider eliminating dairy. Dairy products are congesting to the body and many doctors have seen a reduction in menstrual cramp pain in women who eliminated dairy products. If you choose dairy, try to purchase organic or organic raw dairy only to avoid added hormones.
Reduce red meat and egg yolk consumption to at most 2-3 times a week. This is because both red meat and egg yolk are high in arachidonic acid (AA). This has been found to increase cellular inflammation in some people. To find out if you are senstive to AA, eliminate red meat and egg yolk for a month. Reintroduce it and see if your symptoms come back. Choose organic free range meats and eggs when possible to avoid added hormones.
Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables!
Important Nutritional Supplements
Whole Food Multivitamin
Be sure to take a good whole food
This will help you to maintain adequate nutrition. Many of do not consume enough fresh foods because of our food system, therefore our nutritional levels are lacking what our bodies need each day to function properly.
Be sure to get enough Vit. natural whole food source (cod liver oil) or beta-carotein (carrots). This will help to keep estrogen levels regulated.
Magnesium helps to relax smooth muscle tissue. It has been shown to reduce menstrual cramping greatly. Magnesium deficiency is a leading cause of menstrual cramps.
Are you getting enough Omega-6 fatty acid? Both Borage oil and Evening Primrose Oil are high in Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fats can assist fertility by improving reproductive cell structure, decrease risk of inflammation and improve the condition of organs in the body. Borage and EPO tone the uterus. Honestly it is best to take a complete essential fatty acid supplement. This will help you to get a wide variety of EFA’s!
Digestive Upset with Inflammation
Ginger: If you experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea due to painful cramping and hormonal changes, ginger is one of the best herbs to soothe the stomach. It is also anti-inflammatory. Also see Chamomile.
Anxiety, Nervous Tension, Irritability with Menstrual Cramps
Chamomile: This sweet little flower is both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It is also helpful for women with digestive constipation contributing to pain. Because this herb is also a nervine and mild sedative it may help to reduce stress, relax the nervous system and induce a restful state in the body. This can be very useful when experiencing menstrual cramping accompanied by anxiety and irritability. Chamomile is best sipped as a tea during menstruation.
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