During their menstrual cycles, some women experience unpleasant or even painful symptoms. However, “having your period” should not be synonymous with suffering , the individual terrain partly explains this inequality in the face of the natural cycle of women. Lifestyle and diet are factors that aggravate or, on the contrary, promote comfort during these periods. Finally, our thoughts and our emotions also have a role in the experience of our femininity.
What are the causes of painful periods?
Painful periods (or dysmenorrhea) can be classified into two “types”:
It corresponds to painful periods in adolescence . It most often comes from exaggerated uterine contractions during menstruation which are related to an increased secretion of certain substances, “prostaglandins” (arginine vasopressin and leukotrienes). These hormones are normally intended to promote the expulsion of the uterine lining.
It appears later , in an adult woman who, until then, had periods with little or no pain. Pain can also be accompanied by other menstrual abnormalities (bleeding between periods, abnormally heavy periods, etc.).
The main cause to look for in menstrual pain in adults is endometriosis , which corresponds to the migration and development of clumps of uterine lining in another part of the belly or body where it should not be (fallopian tubes fallopian, ovaries, vagina, bladder, abdominal cavity, thorax…).
As this mucosa in an abnormal position (“ectopic position”) has the same characteristics as a normal mucosa, and in particular, its sensitivity to hormones, it follows the same cyclic evolutions as the uterine mucosa. This then causes a kind of “cyst” that fills with blood at the end of each cycle. In the same way, fragments of the uterine lining can sink into the muscular wall of the uterus to cause “ adenomyosis ”, with it also a cyclic evolution. Period pain can also be related to a chronic genital infection, uterine fibroids, ovarian disorders such as ovarian cysts, polyps of the uterus, etc. Therefore, secondary dysmenorrhea warrants careful medical examination .
The tools of naturopathy can effectively help regulate these disorders and relieve women. Admittedly, individualized advice based on your terrain and your temperament that only a naturopath can determine is the most appropriate response.
Food for painful menstruation
Diet plays a fundamental role in PMS ( premenstrual syndrome ) and in pain during the moons. Indeed, the rules lead to inflammation, which can be favored and amplified according to our diet.
- Watch your intake of omega 3 : camelina oils, hemp oil, walnut oil, but also small blue fish (mackerel, sardines, herring). Omega 3, more specifically EPA, have an anti-inflammatory action. They also participate in proper hormonal functioning.
- Supplement with evening primrose oil , as it regulates the production of prolactin, responsible for breast tension.
- Drink plenty of water to support the body in its evacuation effort, menstruation being a way to free itself from toxins.
- The metabolism of prostaglandins requires sufficient intakes of vitamins and minerals. Particular attention should be paid to vitamins B6 and C, and magnesium.
- Foods that are difficult to digest and safe to strain the liver functions should be avoided : saturated fats, foods with a high glycemic index, dairy products, foods containing alkaloids (tea, coffee), red meat rich in arachidonic acid, etc. light meals are preferred .
- Refined sugars , by causing increased insulin production, stimulate pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. They are therefore to be avoided as much as possible.
In terms of lifestyle , measures are necessary during our “moons”
As much as possible, it is best to slow down and rest. Indeed, our body and our spirit need it. Period is a time of intimacy with ourselves, with our femininity, and we should take care of ourselves.
Physical activity is not to be banned, on the contrary. But it must be practiced gently: walking, cycling, yoga…
Cold sitz baths if practiced before the onset of menstruation have a favorable effect on pain. They also allow flow regulation. On the other hand, during menstruation, lukewarm baths are to be preferred. In these cases, we can use soothing and regulating plants that we infuse (yarrow in particular).
In the same vein, derivative baths, which are excellent for regulating many bodily functions, have a place of choice in female intimate balance.
The hot water bottle is our ally during our periods. Placed on the lower abdomen or under the back, it will provide invaluable benefit and comfort. On our liver, it will help it to perform its many functions.
Ventral breathing , slow and deep, is an opportunity to land, to become aware of the process that takes place in us, and to relieve any tension or abdominal pain present. In addition, they will allow the diaphragm to relax and open up, with a positive impact on our emotional management.
Massages are welcome . Whether performed by us or by a third party, they will bring undeniable physical and psychoemotional relief .
Plantar reflexology can be a good support, taking all the necessary precautions. Practiced preferably outside menstruation, it acts gently and in depth in order to regulate the different systems of the body.
Which plants to use to soothe painful periods?
Many plants act effectively on the gynecological sphere:
- Yarrow ( Achillea Millefolium ) has a recognized affinity with blood. On the uterine sphere, it has a regulating effect in cases of dysmenorrhea through its action on blood flow. It also has a decongestant effect on the liver. Yarrow can be used in herbal teas or for sitz baths .
- Chasteberry ( Vitex agnus-castus) acts on the pituitary gland and harmonizes the female cycle globally . Premenstrual syndromes will be reduced by consuming its fruits in infusion, by cures of 2 to 3 weeks.
- Sage ( Salvia officinalis ) is a precious plant for women, but its effects on the nervous sphere require precautions . A great hormonal regulator , sage can be consumed as an infusion (taking care to respect the dosages and not exceeding 5 minutes for the infusion time) or as a mother tincture.
You can also find its 3 plants in the form of EPS , 10ml per day in a large glass of water.
Warning: these plants are not recommended in case of personal or family history of breast cancer and in case of hormone-dependent cancer.
Aromatherapy for painful periods
Several essential oils have very interesting properties to relieve dysmenorrhea:
- Tarragon ( Artemisia Dracunculus ) should be highlighted for its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and analgesic action. You can take 2 drops mixed with sesame oil or a dab of aloe vera gel in massage on the ovaries. Tarragon can also be ingested. In this case, swallow 4 drops of essential oil in a teaspoon of olive oil, 3 to 4 times a day.
- Clary sage ( Salvia Sclarea ) has properties that are similar to Salvia Officinalis , but it should be used primarily as an essential oil, because it has fewer contraindications.
- True lavender ( Lavandula Angustifolia ) has an antispasmodic, analgesic and calming action. It can easily be used in massage on the lower abdomen.
Other Natural Remedies
Young raspberry shoots ( Rubus Idaeus ) act effectively on the female hormonal system (antispasmodic and relaxing, regulation of ovarian secretions, various menstrual disorders, etc.). In addition, raspberry plays a protective role in the liver, an essential organ for proper hormonal functioning. There is also the Feminagem complex which combines raspberry with other buds which will act on all menstrual disorders: pain, inflammation, regulation of flow and mood.
Homeopathy also provides remedies that will relieve pain and spasms associated with menstruation. Depending on the manifestations present, your homeopath will determine the most appropriate formula.
Magnesia Phosphorica 6DH will be very useful in case of spasms in the belly: 2 to 6 tablets in close intake (within two hours if crisis) mixed with lukewarm water.
The work of Jacques Ménétrier on diatheses has demonstrated the regulatory action of Zinc-Copper synergy on the pituitary-adrenal-gonad axis. The finesse of this approach requires a thorough analysis that only a trained naturopath can carry out.
Oral clay (1 glass of clay water in the morning on an empty stomach) or in poultices during painful episodes will have a balancing action.