Menstrual pains are cramps of uterine origin that can affect a woman during the menstrual period.Menstruation is the process by which the body expels the uterine wall (endometrium) that has been prepared to accommodate any fertilized egg. The contractions that are used to flake and expel this wall can be more or less strong.Surely the psychic factors influence the intensity and duration of the symptoms , but the main cause of the pain is due to the fact that the endometrium, especially during the menstrual period, produces considerable quantities of prostaglandins , which, in high concentrations, generate significant uterine contractions that can cause pain in the lower abdomen.
Obviously they are not comparable to the contractions of childbirth , but the hormones involved are the same.
- What is dysmenorrhea
- Menstrual pain symptoms
- Causes of menstrual pains
- How to tell if period pains are normal
- How to relieve severe menstrual pain
- Nutrition for menstrual pain
- Herbal remedies
- Bach flowers
- Chinese medicine
- Exercises for menstrual pain
What is dysmenorrhea
By dysmenorrhea we mean a painful manifestation that occurs a few days before the menstrual cycle, of a uterine nature. It is also generally one of the symptoms of PMS associated with headache, nausea, back pain.
Dysmenorrhea can last for 2 or 3 days after the onset of the flow and reach its painful climax after one day , with period cramps and heavy menstruation.
Dysmenorrhea is divided into:
- Primary , where there is no organic cause for the pain that occurs.
- Secondary , attributable to genital alterations and pelvic inflammatory diseases.
Menstrual pain symptoms
Each woman experiences pain at different stages of the cycle and with different intensity and often these are accompanied by increased or decreased appetite, tiredness , difficulty concentrating , headache , breast pain, constipation or diarrhea , weight gain , desire to eating sugar, back pain from periods in the loins , abdominal pain, or, vulgarly, “stomach ache”.
Causes of menstrual pains
Menstrual pains ( dysmenorrhea ) can depend on various factors, linked not only to physical aspects, but also to emotional and mental aspects.
Stress and anxiety to cause and / or accentuate menstrual pain, but we specify that the pain threshold varies greatly from woman to woman . On the other hand, the situation of abnormal, excessive menstrual pains, which can be linked to diseases of various kinds, is different.
Among these pathological conditions that can give rise to significant pain we find:
- Inflammation of the lining of the womb (endometriosis)
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Uterine neoplasia such as uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts
- Infection of the uterus
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
We also specify that these are pathological conditions , different from the physiological pain that accompanies the menstrual cycle.
How to tell if period pains are normal
First of all , suffering in general and for the menstrual cycle in particular, is not normal .
Tiredness, irritability, turgid and painful breasts, back pain, slight belly cramps, headaches before the period , are the typical manifestation of pre-cycle pains with which you can live safely and which dissipate after the first days of onset of the flow.
In case of very strong cramps, with difficulty in extending the legs and walking, it is essential to proceed with investigations to understand the causes.How to relieve severe menstrual pain?
When no pathologies have been highlighted, but severe menstrual pains occur, there are often related disorders that worsen with the cycle . Intestinal cramps, lumbar muscle stiffening, uterine contractions, headache.
Is it possible to calm these symptoms? Sometimes it is difficult because other factors such as stress , fatigue , nervous inflammation intervene.
Many women use over-the-counter pain relievers, which act as spasmolytics and soothe acute pain. It is possible to associate some natural remedies, an alkalizing diet and also some body techniques such as shiatsu to these palliatives that celery the symptom.or tuina , which work on energy channels and allow the body to detoxify and de-inflammation.
Nutrition for menstrual pain
Menstrual pains have several contributing causes that can be prevented with an integrated approach and a healthy diet . In the 14 days preceding the period it is necessary:
- Decrease if not avoid milk and dairy products , refined cereals and white sugar , veal and chicken that contain hormones
- Enrich your diet with foods containing magnesium : peas , green vegetables, almonds , peanuts and cocoa
During menstruation it is good to support the liver with carbohydrates , proteins and vegetables . Meals will have to reduce painful symptoms so pay attention to foods that interact with coagulation such as:
- Citrus fruits;
The intestinal bacterial flora is also important, which must be reintegrated with species-specific probiotics and fed with foods rich in fiber : in case of dysbiosis and with a diet low in fiber, in fact, the hormones may not be completely eliminated and this worsens the painful symptoms.
Herbal remedies for menstrual pain
Herbal remedies against dysmenorrhea exploit plants with antispasmodic properties that are able to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus favoring, in synergy with the other elements of their phytocomplexes, an improvement in painful symptoms.
Other plants, on the other hand, act as rebalancers of the female hormonal system, regulating the production of those hormones (prostaglandins PGF2), responsible for uterine contractions and spasms.
- Yarrow : ( Achillea millefolium ) particularly used in case of painful menstruation, it is an excellent antispasmodic remedy, and rebalancing the hormonal system. The plant is also indicated for all those symptoms related to the premenstrual phase, associated with nervousness, irritability, mood swings, weakness and fatigue. During menstruation, however, its astringent, anti-inflammatory and haemostatic properties are used to decrease blood flow in case of heavy menstruation.
- Chamomile : ( Matricaria recutita ) is one of the plants traditionally best known and used as a natural remedy for painful menstruation (as well as as an anti-inflammatory), for the spasmolytic action on the smooth muscles of the uterus.
- Calendula : ( Calendula officinalis ) for internal use, generally as a mother tincture or glycerin macerate, it is used in dysfunctions of the female genital system, since it increases scarce menstruation and decreases abundant ones. It has an antispasmodic action on menstrual and abdominal pain.
- Chaste tree : ( Vitex agnus castus ) the fruits have the ability to act on the pituitary gland and exert an anti-estrogenic and antispasmodic action, indicated to counteract dysmenorrhea, and all those symptoms connected to the premenstrual phase, associated with nervousness, irritability, sudden changes in d ‘ mood, anxiety, depression and neurovegetative disorders of menopause .
- Sage : ( Salvia officinalis ) the leaves exert an emmenagogue action that is able to regularize the menstrual flow and mitigate any painful manifestations; its estrogenic hormonal action is also useful for combating menopausal disorders.
Among the vegetable oils , widely used are those obtained by mechanical pressing of the seeds of Evening Primrose ( Oenothera biennis ) and Borage ( Borago officinalis ) to relieve many purely female ailments, such as breast pain (mastalgia), typical of the premenstrual period, irregular periods, menstrual pain, amenorrhea, and ovarian cysts . Commercially they are found in pearls as a dietary supplement.
Finally, the raspberry bud extract (Rubus Idaeus) is a hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal regulator, therefore it is used in the imbalances of the female hormonal system, including menstrual pains and irregularities, pre-menstrual syndrome, mastopathies, ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids.
The emmenagogic plants, an aid for the disturbances of the menstrual cycle
Bach flowers for menstrual pain
Physical pathologies, such as menstrual pains, are not treated directly with Bach flowers , as these remedies act mainly on the emotional state, which leads to the onset of a certain disorder.
In general, menstrual pains are caused by certain hormones , which are responsible for the strong contractions of the uterine muscles. The emotional sphere and mood are closely linked to the hormonal system.
For this reason , personalized mixtures must be composed, with respect to the emotional state and experience of the person and chosen with respect to the individual’s reaction to these situations and not just the symptom.
However, the use of Rescue Remedy cream, if massaged on the abdomen, is a relaxing and balancing remedy, to relieve pain and muscle tension.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine , menstrual pain is curbed by acting on the functional disorders that affect it, therefore an obstructed flow of Xue and Qi , caused by psychological factors or external agents such as Cold and Humidity .
In traditional Chinese medicine books, 4 different syndromes are represented:
- XU (Void) syndrome of Xue and energy deficiency of the kidney;
- SHI syndrome (from full) from stasis of Xue and Qi ;
- HAN Syndrome (from Cold), which is divided into Han Shi and Han Xu;
- RE Syndrome (from Fire).
For all syndromes, the therapy consists in mobilizing the stasis of Xue and internal vital energy , removing Cold and Humidity to reactivate the Circulatory System and relieve pain.
Some important points are:
- PI SHU (Shu point of the back of the Spleen, 1.5 cun to the side of the spinous process of the XI thoracic vertebra), mobilizes the qi of the Spleen;
- ZU SAN LI (under the lower edge of the patella, next to the anterior tibial crest), tones the Spleen and Stomach;
- XING JIAN
- IQ HAI (located 1.5 cun below the navel), tones and regulates the kidneys and stimulates excess Yang.
Aromatherapy for menstrual pain
To relieve menstrual pains, the use of essential oils constitutes an aromatherapy therapy that intervenes both psychically and physically.
Some essences rebalance the female hormonal system, modulating the production of prostaglandins (PGF2), responsible for uterine contractions and spasms; others perform an anti- inflammatory and relaxing action to the benefit of the smooth muscles of the uterus.
- Geranium essential oil massaged on the lower abdomen, relaxes uterine contractions due to ovulation and menstrual pain; helps relieve the discomforts of menopause and premenstrual syndrome, neuralgia and headaches;
- Lavender essential oil : has an antispasmodic action on muscle contractions, calms abdominal pain and spasms;
- Rose essential oil : calms spasms in case of menstrual pain and stems bleeding. Indicated in disorders related to hormonal imbalances, anxiety and irritability that characterize premenstrual syndrome and menopause;
- Chamomile essential oil : helps to relax tense muscles due to nervousness, irritable bowel, spasms, colitis and gas colic, especially in newborns. Gives benefit in case of menstrual pain and menopause disorders.
Exercises for menstrual pain
Against spasms and menstrual pains yoga is very effective , and above all cheaper, if you choose to do it yourself.
Among the most suitable yoga positions to find relief from menstrual pain we recommend:
- Marjariasana (cat pose)
- Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), two simple postures, also suitable for beginners.
Obviously, every woman is different, and, also based on the experience of the women in her family who preceded her, she will be able to experience severe pain or experience the pre-menstrual and menstrual phase very peacefully. What is true for all of them is that physical activity increases blood flow and provides oxygen to the body’s tissues, promoting relaxation of the entire body.
The sense of pain and heaviness can also be faced with gentle gymnastics and with Pilates performed with due patience and care. Green light also to all relaxation techniques.
It is very useful to massage the abdominals when the pain is severe to reduce the tension of the muscles. It seems trivial to recommend it, but our own hands are therapeutic; if used with targeted intent, relief will be immediate.
Another sensitive area is the heels, according to foot reflexology . Perform acupressure on the sides of the heel (where the ovarian area and the entire reproductive system are concentrated) and slowly go up along the calf (this will also promote lymphatic flow and the swelling will subside).