Period pain, or dysmenorrhoea, is an annoying and debilitating complaint suffered by many women. Periods do not have to be painful – pain generally indicates a hormonal or nutrient imbalance.
Around 50-70% of women endure some degree of period pain and cramping. For some women the pain can be so debilitating that they are forced to take time off work or can only get through their periods by dosing themselves with painkillers. About 10% of women experience period cramps that are one and a half times more powerful than labour pains.
It is not something you need to put up with every month, but a condition that indicates an imbalance in the body that needs to be addressed. What’s more, if it is affecting your quality of life, it is time to do something about it.
Because pain is usually a warning signal from your body, it is important that the pain is investigated. While you are working with your naturopath to treat the cause of the problem, there are a number of techniques you can use to relieve symptoms.
Symptoms of period pain
- Spasmodic cramping pains
- Fainting/dizzy spells
- Feeling wiped out and exhausted
- Low backache
- Pain down into the legs.
Differential Diagnosis for period pain
Because any pain in the body warrants investigation, it is important to rule out any other conditions that exhibit similar symptoms to that of dysmenorrhoea, namely painful periods. Other reasons may include:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Urinary tract infection
- Bowel obstruction
It is important to be investigated and diagnosed by a healthcare professional.
Natural remedies for painful periods
The good news for many teenage/adolescent girls and women is that there are effective dietary measures and natural remedies to manage the symptoms of dysmenorrhoea.
Naturopaths recommend positive changes to eating habits along with specific, key nutrients and herbs to help relieve the symptoms of painful periods, for example, magnesium, fish oils, and herbs such as cramp bark and wild yam.
Please refer to the links below for further reading and detailed information.