There is an infinite number of reasons as to why we can experience painful periods and naturopathy can offer relief. The mechanism behind physical pain is relatively simple. Some form of stimulus activates our release of substance P, otherwise known as the pain neurotransmitter, and we experience a somewhat uncomfortable feeling.
What are the Most Common Causes of Painful Periods?
The most common causes of period pain are:
- A pro-inflammatory diet
Certain foods fall under this category. In general, anything that contains highly refined sugars creates a low-grade inflammatory response on our insides systemically. Refined carbohydrates fall into the pro-inflammatory response as well.
- Lack of movement
When we move our bodies, whether it be walking around the block or a fast-paced aerobics class, it causes our blood to circulate that little bit better around the body so that important nutrients reach our muscles allowing them to contract and relax appropriately. When our blood isn’t circulating as well as it should, it becomes stagnant and harder to get out of our bodies around that time of the month.
- Hormonal Imbalances
Any hormonal excess or deficiency can cause period pain and other unfavourable things to happen, such as mood changes, flow changes hair loss/excess hair, weight gain/loss etc.
- High Stress & Anxiety
Prolonged stress leads to prolonged cortisol (our stress hormone) release. Cortisol is also one of our main anti-inflammatory tools. If the body is exposed to a high amount of cortisol for a long period of time, it starts to become less responsive to it which causes inflammation from diet and hormonal imbalances to go unopposed and pain increases.
What are the Symptoms of Period Pain?
Period pain has only one symptom, the pain! Pain that is unmanageable and is impacting your daily activities, mood, quality of life.
Painful Periods and Naturopathy but How does it help?
Naturopathic treatment for Period pain includes:
- Correct Hormonal Imbalances via herbal and nutritional interventions.
- Promote warmth through movement and warming herbs and foods such as ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, chilli, capsicum to help boost circulation and encourage a healthy period.
- Low Inflammatory dietary changes, as well as nutritional interventions.
25 year old female presenting with high anxiety and period pain. Previously diagnosed with polycystic ovaries. Underweight, excess hair growth around nipples. Not a great eater, tended to skip meals due to busy lifestyle and craved convenience foods (toast, instant noodles, cereals). In recent months, hot flushes have become unbearable and frequent, at night and during the day.
Course Of Action
A full hormonal profile and blood count was requested, and comprehensive screening was performed in house. Once results were available, the prescription included a tailored herbal formula used to combat anxiety and regulate hormonal levels as well as nutritional, herbal support. Dietary changes included sticking to a whole foods diet, high in good fats.
Time until pain significantly decreased was by the 2nd Timeline until treatment completed was 6 months. Patient felt relief from anxiety after 4 days of treatment.
29 year old female presenting with debilitating period pain and trouble conceiving. Had been actively trying to conceive for past 6 months naturally and had been unsuccessful. Period pain would come on day 1, last entirety of bleed (7-10 days). The patient would not be able to get out of bed, extremely nauseated, vomiting and diarrhoea as well as highly anxious and depressed during the bleed. Occasionally suicidal thoughts would accompany period.
Course Of Action
A full hormonal profile and blood count was requested, and comprehensive screening was performed in house. Once results were available, the prescription included pre-natal herbal support, hormone modulating liquid herbal formula and nutritional, herbal support. Dietary changes included a diet high in vegetables, leafy greens and good quality protein and fats.
Mental symptoms decreased in 1 cycle and were eliminated within 3 cycles. Pain decreased on the 2nd cycle and continued decrease until the 4th cycle when eliminated. The patient fell pregnant on the 6th cycle.