Dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation (as it is popularly known) is caused by excessive PGF2 (prostaglandin F2 alpha) – as high as 7 times more than normally required to prevent progesterone production – in women. So, each month when the uterine lining sheds with the onset of menstruation, excessive PGF2 is released into bloodstream thereby causing spasm in the uterus.
Most women have been switching to NSAIDs as a remedy for dysmenorrhea. However, to curb the condition from the scratch would require a holistic treatment mainly comprising of home remedies. Here are some of the best home remedies for menstruation pain.
Top 14 Home Remedies For Menstruation Pain
Magnesium is a well-known muscle relaxant and hence is extremely unavoidable for women with painful menstruation. In women with dysmenorrhea, the muscle cramps in the uterus is caused by strong contractions. Magnesium helps in relaxing the extremely smooth uterine muscles thereby reducing cramps.
In addition, magnesium relieves headache, fatigue, bloating, constipation, depression, anxiety, irritability, breast tenderness and other such PMS symptoms. Recommended dosage of magnesium is 360mg daily. One can take its supplements or eat foods rich in magnesium. Some such foods are spinach, pumpkin seeds, halibut fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, etc.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega-3 fatty acid has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that prove helpful in reducing menstrual pain and cramps in women with dysmenorrhea. The body uses omega-3 fatty acids to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and hence alleviate cramps along with other menstrual issues such as anxiety, hormonal imbalance, constipation, headache, migraine, depression, etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids prevent excessive clotting of blood and hence is very helpful for women who experience heavy periods. Some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fish like salmon and sardine, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
It has strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. It chiefly attacks and relieves constipation that accounts for cramps and pain during menstruation. It acts as a mild sedative and a nervine to reduce stress and relax the nerves. In most women, menstrual cramps are accompanied with irritability and anxiety. A sip of chamomile tea helps relieve all these menstrual problems.
It is well known that applying heat relieves pain and menstrual pain is no exception. Applying heat on the abdomen increases blood circulation to this area and helps in clearing out toxics. This process substantially reduces the cramps.
You can use a moist towel soaked in warm water or a heating pad to apply heat on the lower abdomen. It alleviates other common menstrual problems such as nausea, bloating, digestive problems, etc. Heat loosens tense muscles (abdominal and pelvic) and relaxes them.
This particular herb is probably the best when it comes to reducing spasm in uterine muscles and muscle cramps. It is generally used with black haw that has similar properties. These herbs also improve blood circulation to the uterus thereby removing toxins, relaxing the muscles and improving overall uterus health. It is much better to use these herbs than NSAIDs as they do not pose threat of liver damage.
This particular herb reduces uterine spasms, muscle cramps and improves the overall tone of the uterus. It acts as a mild sedative and helps relieve other menstrual problems like dizziness, headache and insomnia. Pelvic pain is often associated with heart palpitations, anxiety and stress and motherwort herb reduces them.
Menstrual pain is mainly caused due to poor circulation of blood to uterus, boggy uterus because of stagnation (absent period), and scanty period. This herb reduces tissue congestion in the lymphatic as well as circulatory system. It has strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Besides, it relaxes the nervous system and alleviates other menstrual problems like depression, irritability and anxiety. However, women with heavy bleeding (though accompanied with pain) should avoid its use.
This particular herb works wonderfully on smooth muscle tissues of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes and hence reduces the spasm in them. Wild yam ensures proper functioning of the uterus during menstruation to reduce menstrual pain. It also tones the ovaries and reduces the risk of ovarian cysts.
This particular herb has strong anti-inflammatory properties that prove helpful in reducing menstrual pain. It reduces spasm not only in smooth uterine muscles but also in skeletal muscles. Hence it alleviates the pain in abdomen as well as in thighs and lower back.
Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties and hence reduces menstrual pain and muscular cramps. It soothes the stomach and reduces other associated menstrual symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
Vitamin D reduces prostaglandin production in the body that causes inflammation as well as pain during menstruation. Vitamin D reduces cytokine production that increases inflammation. The best way to get vitamin D is to expose yourself to sunlight for at least 15 minutes every day.
Apart from herbs, vitamin and mineral supplements and dietary considerations menstruation pain can also be reduced by aromatherapy oils. One such oil is German Chamomile that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and hence is helpful in reducing spasm and pain in uterine muscles.
The active agent in the oil is azulene (which also gives the blue tinge to the oil) that helps in reducing pain, calming nerves, and reducing anxiety, irritability, anger and depression – all of which is associated with menstruation.
This particular essential oil is considered by all aromatherapists to reduce pain of all sorts. Its pain-relieving properties is due to anti-inflammatory chemical components such as eugenol sabinene, cymene, linalool, terpinen-4-ol, terpinolene, etc. These constituents also have antibacterial properties. Another benefit of sweet marjoram is that it is a good source of iron and is helpful for women who experience heavy bleeding during menstruation.
Considering the inflammatory nature of the disease, women suffering from dysmenorrhea should avoid all foods that increase inflammation such as high-glycemic foods. Some well known high glycemic foods are bananas, white bread and rice, pasta, and liquor. These foods increase PGF2 and other such inflammatory chemicals in the body.
An anti-inflammatory diet is the best way to tackle menstrual pain. An anti-inflammatory diet should not include foods high in sugar content (honey, agave, etc.), dairy, egg yolk and red meat. One should consume whole grains, millet, oats, brown rice, quinoa, and fresh vegetables and fruits.