Did you know your period pain can tell a naturopath a lot about what is going on for you
Period pain can be caused for multiple reasons, including inflammation, hormone imbalance, nutrient deficiencies and structural issues. Today I want to talk about how you can reduce your period pain using diet and lifestyle.
Medically known as Dysmenorrhoea, period pain can cause women major issues, days off work not being able to leave the couch in crippling pain. Higher levels of PGE2 AND PGF 2a are found in women with painful periods. These are prostaglandins important for regulating things such as inflammation and pain. Too much of them can lead to heavier, painful cycles.
The way these prostaglandins work is related to how much progesterone you made during ovulation. The higher the progesterone the less uterine spasm seen. The drop-in progesterone so common to many women is also a high driving factor to stimulate an array of menstrual concerns.
What can we do to balance our prostaglandins and reduce inflammation?
Nutrients for menstrual pain
I love Magnesium for all hormone conditions. We are often so depleted that our uterine muscle is more likely to contract more and cause higher pain. Magnesium is also need for progesterone production and to help manage stress. What’s not to love about it!
Aim to get in 300mg daily but start in divided doses. If it upsets your bowels try having it before bed, or after food. I get best results with the citrate form.
Castor oil packs- leading up to your period using a castor oil pack can help increase circulation, remove toxicity and reduce pain. Use 1-3x weekly, just not when menstruating.
Essential oils- You can also add clary sage, lavender and chamomile to a carrier oil to help with period pain- due to its antispasmodic and relaxing effects. To make an oil add 20-60 drop of each to 100ml of carrier oil. Placing heat over the stomach after applying the oil can also help.
What to be aware of:
There are factors that I find my clients notice will mess with their period pain.
Stressful month? Often when the stress levels rise our progesterone decreases, so this means higher prostaglandins and more pain. Managing stress, especially around ovulation and just prior to your period will promote better progesterone production. As will nervine and adaptogen herbs- some favs include- withania, rhodiola, lavender and liquorice. Take as a tablet or in tea form.
Diet- generally a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods are going to make your period so much more manageable. Up the green leafys, fruit, clean proteins such as legumes, fermented soy and organic chicken.
An end note, if you know your periods are heavy, painful and really impacting your life please seek further assistance. Often there are undiagnosed conditions that are causing these issues. Know your body, demand action from your dr.
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