What is normal period pain?
Normal period pain manifests as a bit of cramping in your lower pelvis or back. It occurs during the first day or two of your period and improves with pain killer meds. It doesn’t interfere with your daily activities. Normal period pain is caused by the release of prostaglandins in your uterus and usually improves as you get older. This level is easily helped with the right natural treatment.
Level two or severe period pain (secondary dysmenorrhoea) is throbbing, burning, searing, or stabbing pain that lasts for many days and can even occur between periods. It doesn’t improve very much with pain killers, and it can get so bad you vomit and may need to miss school or work. This one you definitely need to listen to the warning signs and do something to change your situation.
How to overcome normal period pain naturally?
For treatment, many women rely on over-the-counter pain relievers to ease symptoms, and Doctors may even prescribe birth control pills. However both of these "solutions" carry risks of side effects while doing little to treat the underlying reasons why menstrual cramps occur.
The Good News is – ‘God has a counter balance’ to your symptom. In God’s creation he has provided everything we need for our health and well being. In natural food, along with supplements, we can find most things we need to help our symptoms. “…their fruit will be for food and their leaves for medicine.” (Ezekiel 47:12)
Herbal preparations are very effective as a natural alternative to ease menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms.
Keep in mind that these herbs and foods are created by God and I am in awe of how the different ingredient found in nature is the very thing we need to rectify our specific health problems.
1. Chaste Tree
One of my favourite herbs is Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus); this wonderful herb is traditionally used to ease menstrual problems, including premenstrual syndrome. It is so good it can even help women suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a more severe form of PMS.
2. Dong Quai (angelica polymorpha)
Dong quai is another herb that has stood the test of time and used for dysmenorrhoea, or painful menstruation. Dong quai I find is especially useful when combined with Chaste tree.
3. As an herbalist I have the luxury of being able to combine herbs in one supplement and I often include the herb Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus). As the name suggests, it is helpful for relieving cramps, including muscle spasms and menstrual cramps.
4. Vitamin D Might Be Needed to Aid Menstrual Cramping/Pain
I recommend that the next time you visit a Dr, get your vitamin D (also B6, iron and ferritin) levels tested via a blood test.
During menstruation, your uterus contracts to expel its lining, a process that's triggered by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are associated with both pain and inflammation, and higher levels of these substances are linked to more severe menstrual cramps.
Vitamin D not only helps to decrease the production of prostaglandins, it also helps decrease the production of cytokines, which promote inflammation in your body. (1)
With the use of diet combined with the herbs and vitamins I mention you will create a powerful synergy inside your body and this will allow your body to heal itself naturally and safely.
5. Vitamins and minerals:
Making sure you're getting enough nutrients in your diet, specifically vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and omega-3 fats
Nova, (22) is an ex-chocoholic (she ‘needed’ to eat chocolate every day) and a self-confessed carbohydrate craver. She also noticed an uncontrollable increase of cravings the week before and during her menstruation.
“This combination of supplements (Chromium, Magnesium, B12, B6, Iron and the herb Gymnema is the best kept secret in health care,” she said. “Everyone should know about it. I never thought I could stop the food cravings but after taking these supplements I no longer have cravings for any of them. Simply amazing.”
Women who suffer this type of craving will know what I mean. It’s a craving, around the time of menstruation, for certain foods (usually detrimental ones) like candy, sweets, chocolate, cheese, chips, crackers, etc. It’s often caused by a mineral deficiency within the individual and/or hypoglycemia. The deficiency creates the cravings to alert the body of the imbalance so that the missing source of energy can be replaced. This creates the cravings and the cause needs to be addressed i.e. mineral and vitamin deficiency.
Dietary changes can be very useful to relieve cramping and other PMS symptoms.
Your first choices in foods are the cruciferous vegetables.
Why - because God in His wisdom included a substance called DIM (diindolylmethane) in them. DIM is a natural phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It has unique properties that allow it to modify the metabolism of estrogen, promoting optimal estrogen balance and supporting healthy progesterone and testosterone production. The severity of PMS symptoms in women has been linked to elevated estrogen, with symptoms becoming more severe as estrogen rises. (2) DIM exerts a balancing effect on hormones and may benefit conditions like PMS, which are associated with estrogen-progesterone imbalance.
In my clinic I often prescribe DIM in a supplement form to work with the herbs I mentioned previously and together they form a powerful help/treatment to female health problems. DIM supplements need to be prescribed with a consultation. I use salvia hormone tests to work out the exact formulas needed for the individual.
Additionally, Vitamin E has been found helpful in PMS symptoms and you get vitamin E from dark, leafy, green vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds.
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks
- Reducing your sugar intake
- Heat: Using a hot water bottle on your lower abdomen or soaking in a warm bath may provide temporary relief of menstrual pain.
Conclusion• You Do Not have to ‘put up’ with pain and discomfort and any adverse symptom is a warning sign to do something about it before it progresses to something worse.
• Take control back over your health. I recommend natural treatments as they are safer and without bad side effects. It’s never too late to do something about your symptoms and today can be your first step to keeping or restoring your natural hormone balance.
• Individuals who live a healthy lifestyle and follow a good eating plan have less if any hormone problems. I call this stewardship, which is taking the responsibility of looking after your body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
• Where modern medicine is concentrating on using oestrogen to treat many women issues – in fact it is a progesterone deficiency that is more common. Oestogen excess is detrimental to your health. Saliva hormone testing is something that I recommend all women to have. Contact me if you wish to have this done and I can arrange this easily for you, no matter where you may live, so distance is not a problem.
• The answer is to look at your symptoms and use the appropriate herbs, vitamins, minerals, diet and lifestyle changes.
Philip’s private naturopathic practice is located in Perth, Western Australia. Private consultations are available, both in person and for overseas and interstate people through long distance ‘online consultation,’ via Skype or phone.
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Readers are advised to consult a naturopath or doctor regarding the treatment of their medical problems. This article is not meant to prescribe for any individual but to educate and offer alternative help.