Although PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) can be made up of many symptoms, for the sake of this article, we will be focusing on menstrual cramps (also referred to as dysmenorrhea).
Periods shouldn’t hurt! Yes, you heard that right. Although menstrual cramps are common, they are NOT normal or inevitable. When something is not right in the body, it is always a warning that we should heed. Heeding a warning is different than denying it, covering it up or ignoring it. It means to listen/pay attention to…once you have paid attention and gathered the appropriate information, you can adjust in the right direction.
Conventional treatments include ibuprofen or other pain relievers and sometimes birth control pills. Both options are a last resort as the side effects can be problematic and the long-term impact could be even worse (including organ damage and nutritional deficiencies that can lead to a myriad of other health problems).
Causes of menstrual cramps
If there is too much estrogen in the body, the lining of the uterus gets too thick and releases a great deal of inflammatory prostaglandins which can result in cramping, heavier blood flow and other PMS symptoms. So of course, that begs another question…how do you get too much estrogen in the body?
What can you do in the long term?
Ultimately, the goal here is to get your body super clean and healthy internally so that everything works as it should without pain or discomfort. This section is about getting to the real root (or roots) of the issue and preventing cramps down the road. This can take some time, so be in it for the long haul and be patient with yourself.
- Cardiovascular exercise can reduce painful cramping.
- Decrease fat in the diet (especially animal products but even nut butters, avocados, olive oil, etc)…this is not to say that fat is bad or that you should never eat it, but it may be a good reason to limit fat for a couple of months if you are suffering with this condition.
- Increase fiber- fiber helps the body get rid of excess estrogen (fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans/legumes, etc). Fiber helps bind to excess estrogen to remove it from the body. It also aids in the alleviation of inflammation (the cause of pain).
- Plastic as much as possible (water bottles, food storage, etc)
- High-fat foods (fried food, oils, trans fats, etc)
- Animal products: Cheese is especially high in estrogen
What can you do if you have menstrual cramps RIGHT now?
Of course, in this case, the goal is to reduce pain and discomfort as soon as possible, without causing undo side effects.
Cinnamon has been compared to ibuprofen for menstrual cramps and although may not be quite as strong, is worth trying as the side effects are nil and the benefits are great. I typically recommend for client to put a full tsp of organic Vietnamese cinnamon into hot water (to make a tea) or oatmeal.
Iron-rich foods such as dark leafy greens can be helpful especially if you have a heavy flow. The more blood you shed, the more iron you’re losing. Plus, iron-deficient anemia is often associated with painful periods.
Heat – Although there are multiple ways to use heat to alleviate cramps, my favorite is heating pads.
Hydration…It may not seem intuitive, but being well-hydrated can actually help with menstrual cramps.
Tea– There are lots of tea blends that have a combination of herbs that can be helpful. Plants such as fennel, peppermint, chamomile and many others can reduce the pain and duration of cramping.
Supplements that can help
If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that all of my supplement recommendations come with a disclaimer. It’s important to me that you’re never misled.
- Radiant Woman
- Estro Flavone
- Gesterone Cream
- Ultra Pollen
- Liver support products such as Gall Bladder ND, Liver ND, Fermented Turmeric, Turmeric caps and Max B can also be helpful.
If you are already doing these things and are still having challenges, please seek help. Don’t continue to suffer. There are lots of things that could be going on, and you may need to be tested for iron levels, fibroids, cysts, etc. But don’t go into fear! All of these things submit to your self-healing body.
Remember that everything is connected. You are made of yesterday’s diet choices…the good news is, you can make changes today that will help you have more comfortable tomorrows. If you need help, please feel free to reach out to the New Hope Health clinic 269-204-6525.
This article was originally published at New Hope Health Blog.