“WOMAN’S HEALTH 101” – Severe Dysmenorrhea

Rebecca Tero By Rebecca Tero, 31st Jan 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Women's Health

It’s that time of the month again. Severe cramping and pain, can’t go to work, can’t do anything but lie and wait for pain to pass. I’m sure you’re just as tired of it as I was. I found there were several simple steps I could take to help, and naturally!

Please note:

This is an informative article, not a dictation of self-diagnosing or self-treatment. I am in no way responsible for uses or mis-uses of the therapies mentioned. Please contact your health care provider before commencing any new treatment or protocol.

What is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea is just a fancy, technical term for very painful periods. Major cramping in the lower abdominal area as well as possible cramping in the hips and upper thighs during menstruation are the classic symptoms of dysmenorrhea. It is estimated that about 10% of women from early twenties to mid forties are incapacitated and hindered from going to work or school or doing any other activities for one to four days monthly from severe dysmenorrhea.

Some women think it's just a way of life, and deal with it. Others realize life can be better during this time that our bodies are working in a special way. Any way we break it down, there are several simple changes that we can make to our diet and/or lifestyle to make this time easier.

Lifestyle Changes

Probably the biggest lifestyle change would be to be sure we get adequate sleep and exercise. Dysmenorrhea is simply our bodily hormones causing a reaction in a particular way, and regular exercise and plenty of sleep aid in our hormones working to the best of their ability. It will also strengthen our nerves and metabolism, and if nothing else will help to make this time not quite so physically draining. Daily walks, bike rides, or thirty-minute exercise programs at least three times per week will be a good way to start our exercise regime, and going to bed instead of staying up to watch that late night show, or going to bed earlier if we have to wake up early will greatly boost our energy levels.

Dietary Changes and Natural Help

-Believe it or not, one of the biggest culprits for dysmenorrhea is our diet. Processed foods high in sugar and/or caffeine really raise a ruckus amongst our hormones, causing very painful results! We need to try to steer clear of highly processed foods.

-Red meat and animal products such as milk, cheese, sour cream, etc. are all full or arachidonic acid. This causes our uterine muscles to contract, thus causing much more painful periods. The week before and the week of menstruation is a good time to try and stay completely away from these. If we must have meat, poultry and deep sea fish are what we need to turn to. The rest of the month we need to try to limit the amount of red meat and dairy we consume. We can eat it, just more as a side and not a main dish.

-Increasing magnesium-rich foods such as beans, whole grains, nuts, avocados, bananas and sweet potatoes will help our muscles to relax, thus giving us a less stressful period.

-Taking a high-quality fish oil every day is a wonderfully natural way to help ease dysmenorrhea. Just be sure it is cold-pressed and of good quality.

Relief Help

-Red raspberry or chamomile tea is a wonderfully soothing and relaxing way to try and curb the edge off the pain. Drink 3-4 cups per day as long as pain persists. (Note: Red raspberry may decrease absorption of ephedrine, theophyline, atronine, and codeine.)

-Cramp bark, Viburnum opulus, and black haw, Viburnum prunifolium, tinctures are great muscle relaxants and aid greatly in subduing pain. These are both readily available at any health foods store, and can be taken as needed for pain. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging. There are several herbalists out there who became herbalists simply because of the amazing affects of these two herbs! (Note: though not scientifically proven, it is advised for people with a kidney stone history be careful when using the herb, black haw.)

-For nausea and vomiting, ginger root, or even peppermint tea may provide some tummy relief.

And for those of us who are still skeptical about the whole herbal thing, but want some relief, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are commonly used.

The two most commonly used NSAIDs are:

Naproxen (Naprosyn or Aleve): 500 to 550mg twice daily. Only as long as pain lasts!

Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil):800mg three times daily. Only as long as pain lasts!

If pain gets worse, changes locations, or is accompanied by fainting, heavy bleeding, or any other abnormal symptom, Please contact your healthcare provider immediately.


-Shonda Parker, Naturally Healthy Woman, published 2007 by Dewdrop Publishing
-Aviva Romm, Botanical Guide for Woman's Health, published 2010 by Churchill Livinstone, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
-The Merk Manual, 18th edition, published 2006 by Merck Research Laboratories


Dysmenorrhea, Severe Cramps, Womens Health

Meet the author

author avatar Rebecca Tero
Certified Master Gardener in LA, student in herbs & nutrition, music teacher, ASL (American Sign Language) enthusiast, Christian Newsletter contributor, and self sufficiency promoter.

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author avatar Ivoh Christian
16th Mar 2013 (#)

What a discovery I am interested.

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