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Period pain relief

Do you get period pain? Wondering why you get period pain? Or perhaps you already know why you get painful periods. And you would like to know what can provide period pain relief naturally?

 

Let’s talk about ‘Period Pain Relief’.

 

Hello, I am so thrilled to be here.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michelle Cooke, Period & Hormone Naturopath, Natural Fertility Educator & Naturopathic Emotional Release (NER) Practitioner. I help women struggling with their menstrual cycles, have easy, pain-free periods, balanced hormones & emotional wellbeing. I’m the Founder and Director of Reproductive Wellness, a clinic located in Melbourne. I see patients online and face-to-face.

 

Period pain (dysmenorrhoea)

 

I would like to start by saying that just because you get period pain & it is common, does NOT mean that it is normal. It is not something you have to put up with and endure because you are a woman. In fact, it is your body waving a flag telling you that something is not right. You should have little to no pain when you have your period.

 

Dysmenorrhoea comes from the Greek word – dys (meaning difficulty with) and menorrhoea (having to do with menstruation – your period).

 

There are two different types of period pain (dysmenorrhoea)

 

  • Primary Dysmenorrhoea

 

The uterus or uterine muscle specifically is misbehaving and causing cramps. The uterus has gone wild, but the pain is not due to an underlying condition.

 

This can be due:

 

–     An imbalance of prostaglandins (which are hormone like substances):

We do need them for healthy normal periods. But when you have high levels of prostaglandins this will increase muscle contractions & will result in dreaded pain.

 

–     An issue with uterine tone:

Muscle contractions in the uterus will normally take place to get the blood out through your cervix and down the vagina out of the body. There is a resting phase in between the contractions. The blood that flows through the muscle of your uterus will carry nutrients and oxygen. So, if your uterus doesn’t have that resting phase it will result in muscle spasm i.e. cramps or painful periods.

           

This type is generally diagnosed when other causes of period pain are ruled out such as the conditions mentioned below in (secondary dysmenorrhoea).

 

  • Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

 This type is due to an underlying medication condition which I will mention below.

 

What is the cause of period pain or period cramps?

 

There can be several conditions that can explain why you may be experiencing painful periods.

 

  • Endometriosis – endometrial like lesions growing where they shouldn’t be outside the uterus

  • Fibroids – benign growths that form inside the wall of the uterus

  • Adenomyosis – tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrium) grows in the uterine muscular wall

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – infection of reproductive system (uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix) usually causes by STDs such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia.

 

 Period pain could be bad or not that bad either way, regardless of whether you have primary or secondary dysmenorrhoea.

 

  

Types of Period Pain

 

It can really vary from woman to woman. It may be sharp, stabbing, dull, heavy & dragging etc. It can happen before, during or after your period.

 

– Congestive dysmenorrhoea: is when there is a sense of heaviness or dull background ache

– Spasmodic dysmenorrhoea: is when there are episodes of cramping like pain

 

Rule of thumb is that the pain that you are experiencing shouldn’t knock you about so much that you can’t go about your usual day-to-day activities. It shouldn’t mean you have to miss school, uni, work. The pain shouldn’t be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or passing out.

  

Period pain relief

 

There are things that can provide relief for period pain. But at the end of the day you need to remember, it is important to rule out why you actually have it in the first place. No point just addressing the symptoms and not looking towards finding the cause.

 

Here are some general things to consider:

 

  1. Consider removing cow’s dairy:

This contains the A1 beta-casein protein which converts into beta-casomorphin-7 which arises in inflammation in the gut and decreased motility. Inflammation in the gut can lead to hormone imbalance, particularly oestrogen excess. The higher your oestrogen levels the more prostaglandins (a group of fats made at the site of tissue damage which cause pain in order to try and heal the body) are produced. It’s normal for prostaglandins to be made, however too much is not good > inflammation. Switch to goat’s or sheep’s products instead that contain A2 casein protein molecule that is smaller & easier to digest and not inflammatory.

When I am talking about cow’s dairy, I am referring to milk, cheese & yoghurt so make the switch to goat’s or sheep’s products instead. 

 

  1. Warming herbs: cinnamon, ginger

They are warming herbs and increase healthy blood flow & circulation so can be particularly good to ease period pain. The best way is to have these as a tea. Get the loose leaf tea rather than tea bags. It will be a lot stronger & have therapeutic benefits. 

Buy the ginger chopped up root (preferably organic) or cinnamon chopped up bark (preferably organic). I would drinking three cups of tea per day – let it infuse for 5-10 mins. 

 

  1. Castor oil packs

Supports liver detoxification, lymphatic flow (removes toxins from our body) improves circulation to the area. So a healthy blood flow to our uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, promotes healing, can assist with breaking down any scar tissue, assists with healthy hormone balance. Can help with reducing pain and inflammation.

Soak a flannel in warm castor oil (preferably organic). Place this over your pelvic region. Pop a hot water bottle over the top. Don’t use when you have your period. Do this 3 times per week for 3 months then reduce to once per week. Leave it on for 30-60 mins. Great time for self care – listen to some music of meditate while you have it on. 

 

Can a Naturopath help with period pain & painful periods?

 

Yes, absolutely. I would suggest seeing a Naturopath that specialises in Periods & Hormones like myself; to help support you. Regardless of whether you know why you have period pain or not. 

 

Treatment wise, we would be using Natural medicine: including herbal medicine & nutritional medicine based on pathology findings, symptoms & signs, diet & lifestyle. I also use NER (Naturopathic Emotional Release) to look at underlying emotional contributors.

 

-Assessment:

 

  • Nutritional Deficiencies (magnesium, vitamin D & more)

  • Hormonal imbalance: Girly Hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone etc.), Thyroid, Pancreas, Adrenals

  • Assessing gut health: might include microbiome testing for large bowel, SIBO testing for small bowel (can cause high histamine & period pain)

 We have to remember that your bowels and balance of bacteria there, plays a huge role in hormone balance. There is a family of special bacteria known as the ‘Estrobolome’ that regulates oestrogen in the body. If that is out of balance because you have dysbiosis (imbalance of good & bad bacteria) it can result in things like oestrogen excess in the body. Remember excess oestrogen contributes to period pain. 

 

If you would like support with your painful periods, I would love to help you, go ahead and book a FREE 15 min discovery call to find out more about how we would work together and if we are a good fit.

If you have any questions or comments, pop them in the comments box below 🙂