Part 2 : PERIOD PAIN (DYSMENORRHOEA)
by Dr. Mecherl Lim
MD (MA) Naturopath (ND), Holistic Kinesiology
This is lower abdominal pain that commences just before or during menstrual flow, the first 24 hours being the most painful.
About 70 percent of women experience some degree of menstrual pain.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?
The pain may be gripping, cramping or a constant ache, and it ranges from mild to severe. Sometimes it spreads to the back and down the legs. Period pain may sometimes be accompanied by scanty or heavy flow with clots, headaches, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, sore breasts or dizziness and fainting.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
A medical diagnosis is required to find out if the pain is menstrual or something else. Primary dysmenorrhoea is normal menstruation that is accompanied by pain. Secondary dysmenorrhoea is linked to a cause such as endometriosis, fibroids or polyps.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Primary dysmenorrhoea is caused when the uterus contracts to eliminate its lining. Women with period pain probably have high levels of prostaglandins and these compounds over stimulate the uterus.
Secondary dysmenorrhoea has a medical cause such as fibroids (obstructive internal uterine growths) that cause the uterus to contract more powerfully than normal. Intrauterine contraceptives are also linked to period pain.
HOW ALLOPATHY DOCTORS TREAT IT?
- Painkilling drugs, such as paracetamol
- Prostaglandin inhibitors, such as ibuprofen
- Oral contraceptives often eliminate period pain
The medical treatment depends on the cause and may involve hormones, anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals or surgery.
All drugs have a long list of cautions and adverse effects, as you will see from package inserts or by looking at the MIMs Annual in your library. Not everyone experiences side effects and you may need to take a strong, quick acting medication for severe symptoms and particularly for pain. If a few over the counter painkillers, such as paracetamol, prevent period or other pain, then that’s the simplest most effective and economical treatment-and it’s unlikely that you will experience side effects from taking, say, two to six tablets a month.
THE HOLISTIC APPROACH
Bed rest with abdominal heat (such as a hot water bottle) is a standard recommendation. This works better if you gently massage about six drops of lavender oil onto your abdomen before applying the heat and lie on your back with a large pillow under your knees. A combination of eucalyptus and peppermint oil also helps some women and this combination may prevent a headache if you put a few drops on the back of your neck and one drop on the end of your nose.
Herbs : Specific herbs such as cramp bark and wild yam, Chaste tree, Dong Quai, Red Raspberry leaf, False Unicorn, Feverfew, Cinnamon helps to relieve pain and inflammation and reduce the need for pharmaceutical painkillers.
You can also use Dr. Mecherl SHE 18 which is already a combination of the above herbs and you can also see the tea recipe under “Endometriosis” Supplements.
A combination of evening primrose and fish oil works well (and even more so if vitamin E is in the formula), such as Dr Mecherl Femi Vita M or Femi HH. Neuromous (Magnesium) is sometimes helpful, I recommend these daily for three months, and if effective relief is relieved, reduce the dose to two weeks, then re-evaluate every few months to find the lowest helpful dose.
This type of schedule works for a number of natural remedies and the aim is to find the lowest helpful dose that works in your case. Subsequently, some women stop taking all remedies, although their pain may recur following illness or major stress.
Other remedies are exercise such as easy yoga may help ease abdominal tension and improve blood flow and therefore reduce pain. Some women say a glass of wine or a nip of brandy helps!
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT?
Regular exercise throughout each month generally relieves congestion and stress. Also, you will see under “Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that a scientific trial showed that a vegetarian diet helps reduce period pain.
Always do something about pain, because it increases inflammation, prevents sleep, may cause depression and blocks enjoyment.
Next No 52 Issue : CANDIDIASIS
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