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What you should know about painful periods

Ancient Medicine for Modern Health

What you should know about painful periods

Painful periods (also referred to as dysmenorrhea) are extremely common amongst women. Most women dismiss this as being “normal” and feel that they just have to “deal with it.” Mild discomfort during your period is normal but anything more is not. Symptoms such as back and abdominal cramps as well as headaches, migraines and moderate to severe digestive upset or mood changes should be investigated. There are several causes of pain and mood alterations during your period which can be assessed by your health care practitioner. These causes can include hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, infections, endometriosis, and excess inflammation in the body. It is important to identify the root cause of menstrual pain before treating it.

Some things that may be considered for helping with pain during your period:

Ginger:

Helps reduce nausea.

Magnesium:

A muscle-relaxant that may relieve cramping and headaches.

Anti-inflammatory Foods:

Reducing inflammation overall in the body may help reduce pain associated with your period. During your menses, inflammation increases in the body which causes increased pain & discomfort. Some foods to avoid include sugar, processed foods, dairy and gluten.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

These are potent anti-inflammatories that may help reduce inflammation and therefore reduce pain. Food sources rich in omega-3s include certain fish, such as mackerel, herring and salmon. They are also found in walnuts and seeds, such as chia and hemp seeds.

B-Vitamins:

B vitamins (especially B6 or pyridoxine) are involved in hormone metabolism. If your dysmenorrhea is caused by hormone imbalances, this may help reduce pain and discomfort associated with your period.

**Please see your licensed naturopathic doctor or other health care practitioner before taking any supplements or medications.

Dr. Michelle Gaucher

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