Despite what you were told whilst growing up and what you may have matured to believe: Period pain is not normal. Cramping, severe period pain and related symptoms are a sign that something isn’t quite right. These ‘flags’ act as your body’s warning sign—in their way demanding you pay attention and (hopefully) change some of your current contributing behaviour.
What Causes Period Pain?
When you have your period, tiny molecules called prostaglandins are released by your body to help the muscle of the uterus contract (the same muscles that aid in child birth!). These contractions occur allowing the uterus to expel its lining (endometrium) if a pregnancy has not been achieved.
The strength of the contractions depends on the amount of prostaglandins your body produces and whether they are in balance with their anti-inflammatory counterparts.
If your body produces a lot of inflammatory prostaglandins but not enough anti-inflammatory ones, or if you are particularly sensitive to the changes in this fine balance, you will feel pain.
Some other reasons behind period pain include:
- Uterine (blood flow) stagnation
- Excessive inflammation in the body
- Missed or ectopic miscarriage
It’s important to see a medical professional if you have excessive pain or symptoms that are very different to what you are accustomed. In addition, it’s vital you understand that taking pain relieving medication is not an effective form if you are seeking lasting results. It simply acts as a band aid solution or quick fix. Ultimately you will attain much better results in the long-term when you address your body holistically.
7 Ways How to Stop Period Pain
For lasting results you will need to take some action towards that goal and here are some steps to help you do just that.
1. Quit junk food
These foods cause inflammatory prostraglandins to be created and released. This in turn creates inflammation in the system, which for some women is translated into period pain. One thing is for sure, if you experience period pain—avoiding junk food will help to reduce it dramatically (almost irrespective of its cause).
2. Choose fresh and unprocessed foods
On the other hand these foods are incredibly soothing to the system so be sure to choose them as much as you possibly can! Be sure to organise yourself ahead of time—this way you ensure healthy foods really are a solid part of your day to day. This is a great way to increase health and decrease pain.
3. Stop smoking
Smoking has been shown scientifically to damage the female egg and cervical cells; it has also been linked to women experiencing early menopause. The chemicals associated with this drug also increase general inflammation; when you quit your give you body the change to heal, regenerate and improve the intensity of any symptoms you may be experiencing.
4. Drastically decrease sugar and caffeine intake
Although at certain times of the month (sadly the ones you are most likely to reach out for this sweet evil) you may experience greater sugar cravings: Aim to refrain! Indulging, particularly around your period really increases the chances sugar will exacerbate what you want to avoid: Inflammation and pain. And caffeine plays a very similar role so aim to avoid caffeinated energy and soft drinks, coffee and tea—and no, ‘decaf’ is not better.
5. Avoid all fried foods
This is extremely important! Unfortunately as tasty as those fried chips may be, the oxidated and trans-fats found in them are not helpful to aid in reducing your period pain at all. In fact, if you are eating them at any time throughout the month you will hurt more come period time! Avoid these damaging foods, ideally, completely if you can.
Physical activity that helps you move your pelvis is perfect for increasing blood flow and circulation to your reproductive organs. This in turn helps to reduce stagnation and improve pain. So be sure to dedicate some time daily for exercise. Choose activities that will help you move your whole body such as walking, running and/or swimming; and do something daily. This will really help reduce the pain during period time.
7. Herbal medicines and nutraceuticals can help!
These are two extremely powerful tools I use in my practice with incredible success for my patients. If you are experiencing period pain, seek the help of a qualified naturopath or herbalist. Self prescribing is not likely to give you the best result because instead of working holistically you are likely to end up addressing issues too symptomatically.
Your naturopath will be likely to prescribe herbs to nourish and improve circulation to your reproductive organs and surrounding structures. The effects will help reduce inflammation to dramatically reduce pain when it counts.
Your general health dictates your reproductive health and ultimately how fertile you will be. When you make positive changes in an area (especially this one), benefits ripple to every aspect of your life. Choose to make positive changes today and in a few cycles from now you will not have to wonder why you feel so fabulous!
To learn more about optimising your natural fertility join the next free #FertilityChallenge.