Painful Menstrual Periods

I have mentioned before how I imagine a long line of women up in heaven wanting a chance to “discuss” a few things with Eve, particularly those around menstruation and childbirth. There have even been times when I thought it might be worth the ten thousand or so year wait. Thankfully, there are things that can be done to reduce the pain and the temptation to join that line.

There are several things that can cause pain, depression and   irritability  when the hormone shifts prior to menstruation. PMS is one, but problems with the ovaries and strong contractions of the uterus are also factors that can be attributed to this process. Many of them can be helped:

Cramps: There is a good reason you may feel cramping at this point in your cycle. After ovulation, the uterus is ready to receive a fertilized egg and begin pregnancy. No fertilized egg and the lining of the uterus needs to be expelled. To do so, contractions have to occur and they can be painful.

For this pain, we herbalists suggest the use of cramp bark, raspberry leaf and willow bark. The latter is similar to aspirin, so if you are allergic or are on an aspirin regimen, you may want to skip that.

Depression: If you are a women with depression, according to WebMD you have a good chance that your symptoms will worsen in the two weeks leading up to your period. If this is true, talk to your doctor as you may need to change the medications you use. This sort of problem is best dealt with medically, as herbs that could help in depression may interact with needed medications.

 Irritability : Part of it is the nuisance factor, but most of it is hormonal in nature. This problem goes hand in hand with the painful cramping that can occur, though the  irritability  may start at any point in the two weeks leading up to your period. If you are not on any medications, you may find chamomile or lavender useful at this time. You could also consider using the essential oils of these two herbs as aromatherapy.

PMS: All of the other components of this problem can be under the umbrella heading of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). They can also occur on their own, which could cause some confusion. Chaste berry (aka vitex) and evening primrose oil are two good home remedies that could relieve you of all the symptoms.

As with any medical problem, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor. Self diagnosis and self medicating can be dangerous. Be sure to mention any other medical conditions you have and any medications/supplements you use. That will help you avoid any drug/herb interactions.