Many of us suffer from painful periods every month. They say that 1-in-10 women have pains so severe that it effects their day-to-day lives. Well, I’m here to tell you that homeopathy can help to ease or even remove the pain completely in many cases.
Doctors call it ‘dysmenorrhea’. As usual with medical terms the word obscures more than it informs! They further split dysmenorrhea into ‘primary’ & ‘secondary’. Put simply, primary is pain with no known cause, secondary is pain partly or wholly as a result of some underlying problem that can be detected (such as endometriosis, fibroids, an infection etc).
What causes it?
For primary dysmenorrhea, one theory is that prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals produced in your body) build up in the lining of the womb. These help the womb to contract, and remove it’s lining during a period. In women with period pain there may to be a build-up of too much prostaglandin, or the womb may be extra sensitive to the prostaglandins. This may cause the womb to contract too hard. This reduces the blood supply to the womb and leads to pain.
The reasons for secondary dysmenorrhea are beyond the scope of this short article, however homeopathy doesn’t need to know the reasons to be effective. Our remedies are selected according to the symptom picture. Note: if you suffer from secondary, it is unlikely that the remedies below will fix the cause of the problem (though they may help alleviate your pain every month).
As a homeopath I believe that the cause of a lot of period pain is simply our modern stressful lifestyles. Women’s hormone-systems are much more complex & finely tuned than men’s, & consequently they’re more easily put out of balance. Prolonged stress in particular can play havoc with sex-hormones. Women in tribal societies don’t tend to suffer these pains, which is perhaps a clue to their cause (and a sign-post to their cure!). Toxins in our cosmetics, food & environment also play their part.
How the pain is treated conventionally?
One word: Ibuprofen. Doctors may also suggest the various oral contraceptives if the ibuprofen is ineffective at suppressing the symptoms.
How can homeopathy help?
Well, just like the saying, “never ask a hairdresser if you need a haircut”, inevitably I’m going to recommend treatment with a qualified homeopath as the most effective way of dealing with the underlying causes of period pain. However there are useful remedies you can try yourself to ease the pain.
My Golden Tip: Dissolve 1 pill of the remedy Mag Phos 6X in a little water & sip it. You can repeat this 3 or more times during the days when your pain is at it’s worst. This one simple remedy often brings great relief. In fact if everyone was taking it, there’d probably be a few million less ibuprofen popped every year! This remedy can be taken alongside the other remedies I mention below.
I’ve listed the remedies that I have found most useful in easing painful periods. Select the remedy that most closely matches your symptoms, & take 1 pill 3 times a day on the days when you have pain, stopping if the pain ceases. For severe pain you can increase your dose to 1 pill every 15 minutes . However, if after 6 doses the pain is un-diminished, then the remedy is not the correct one for you. This is not a definitive list.
Pain: Severe, spasmodic, in all directions. Needle-like pain in cervix.
Nausea, vomiting & pain in lower-back before periods.
Better for: warmth.
Worse: motion, being outside in the fresh air.
Generally: Chilly, great hunger & very thirsty.
Cimicifuga 30c (known as ‘squawroot’ by the North American Indians.)
Pain: Sharp, stiching, cramping, squeezing, twisting.
The heavier the menstrual flow, the worse the suffering. Can have labour-like pain in the small of the back.
Better: Bending double, motion.
Worse: Applying pressure
Generally: Can feel hysterical, morose, gloomy, talks a lot, may be sighing a lot too.
Pains so bad you feel you cannot cope
Better: Heat, sweating, warm wet weather
Worse: After coffee
Generally: Very irritable, oversensitive
Pains: Pain with anger, sudden, violent, cramping, restless from the pain.
Better: Bending double, hard pressure, lying on tummy.
Worse: From anger or strong emotions, any motion, twisting
Generally: Feels emotions in stomach, nausea.
Magnesia Phosphorica 30c
Pains: Cramping, or shooting, wandering, stitching, radiating. Sudden, comes in waves, can disappear suddenly. Sensation like electric shock. Pains decrease when menstrual flow starts.
Restless from pains, exhausting.
Better: Warm, hot bath, hot water bottle. Doubling-over, pressure
What else can I do to help?
-Taking large doses of essential fatty acid (fish or flax seed oil) is often very beneficial.
-Trying to take less stimulants – these increase our stress-hormones.
-Taking time for yourself to relax & unwind (treat yourself to a pamper or massage on Wahanda perhaps)
I hope some of you try the remedies that most closely match of symptoms that I have listed above. I would love to get feedback.