At some point in time most every woman goes through the aggravation, discomfort and yes pain of menstrual cramping. Some more or way more than others!
A few simple suggestions I have made to my daughter and my patients have meant significant relief from cramping and pain at this time of the month.
Menstrual cramps typically do not begin until ovulatory menstrual cycles (when an egg is released from the ovaries) occur, and actual menstrual bleeding usually begins before the onset of ovulation. Each month, the inner lining of the uterus normally builds up in preparation for a possible pregnancy. After ovulation, if there is no pregnancy the lining of the uterus becomes swollen and is eventually shed.
Menstrual cramps are caused by the uterine contractions that occur in response to prostaglandins and other chemicals. The cramping sensation is intensified when clots or pieces of bloody tissue from the lining of the uterus pass through the cervix.
The difference between menstrual cramps that are more painful and those that are less painful may be related to a woman's prostaglandin levels. The heavy duty menstrual cramps are very similar to those a pregnant woman experiences when she is given prostaglandin as a medication to induce labor.
During a normal menstrual period, the average woman has contractions of a low pressure (50-80 mm Hg), which last 15-30 seconds at a frequency of 1-4 contractions every 10 minutes. With heavy menstrual cramps, contractions are of a higher pressure (they may exceed 400 mm Hg), last longer than 90 seconds, and often occur less than 15 seconds apart. No kidding!
These are some of the suggestions my daughter and patients have found helpful to lessen their menstrual cramps.
Increase your intake of healthy fats that increase the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and reduce the formation of pro-inflammatory ones. Beneficial foods include those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish salmon, tuna and mackerel. Eat walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds or hempseed. Cook with olive and canola oil and eliminate bad fats as much as possible. These are available as supplements too.
At the first sign of cramping take Aunt Flo Cramp Relax (Enzymatic Therapy) and Magnesium Citrate 150 mg 1-3 x day (may increase stool softening)
For Pain take the herb Corydalis (Kan Herb) 30 drops in 1 oz juice 2-4 x day.
There are many other potential reasons for severe menstrual cramps, including hormonal imbalance, PCOS, and endometriosis. Fortunately there are many natural treatments for these concerns as well. I can also help you with heavy bleeding, fibroids and excessive fatigue. You can schedule an in-office or telephone appointment with me at 508-336-4242