Menstrual cramps or Dysmenorrhea refers to painful abdominal cramps during menses. Cramps are caused by abnormal uterine muscle contractions due to excessive amount of prostaglandin levels (a type of hormone) secreted from the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) during menstruation. Other symptoms of dysmenorrhea include nausea, vomiting, headache, backache or diarrhea. In this article I will be talking about the homoeopathic medicines for menstrual cramps along with some useful tips to reduce period pains.
Many women suffer a lot every month during their periods. It is not only the physical pain but also the mental and emotional changes under hormonal influence that are very agonizing. A well behaved women all of sudden becomes aggressive and starts speaking unpleasant words towards the approach of menses, she and the family members knows not why. Then her period begins and the picture gets clearer. Even though Homoeopathic medicine can effectively and safely relax the uterine muscles and relieve the pain associated with monthly periods, Homoeopathy has a lot to offer beyond just this. It is intended to treat the ‘distressed women’. Let us have a look at some of the commonly prescribed homoeopathic medicines for menstrual cramps.
One of the best and most popular homoeopathic medicines for menstrual cramps is Mag phos. Pains are colicy in nature. Patient feels better by rubbing the abdomen, warm application and by applying pressure. It is a great antispasmodic remedy with cramping of muscles and radiating pains. Pains are accompanied by excessive flatulence, bloating and full sensation of abdomen. Patient feels he must loosen clothing. She wants to walk and constantly pass flatus.
Dose: Mag Phos 6x. 4 tablets four times a day. Take it only during pain and can be repeated if required. Follow the same in your next periods. If the medicine suits you, the intensity and duration of pain in every period will be lesser until you will no longer have period pains.
Pains are cutting, twisting, grinding in nature as if clamped with iron bands. Menstrual cramps are relieved by pressure. Agonizing pain in the abdomen causing the patient to bend double is the characteristic symptom. Patient has a very irritable temperament and gets angered easily.
Pains are throbbing and intense in nature. Patient feels aggravated by slight touch, movement, noise, and in lying down position. She feels better in semi-erect posture. Pains are often accompanied by lower backache and headache. There is dryness of mouth with no thirst.
Patient weeps easily. Anemic females with scanty and delayed menses. The flow or blood loss is often less. And is usually not accompanied with passage of clots. Often indicated after abuse of iron tonics. Severe cramping pains during menstrual periods accompanied with nausea and vomiting. There is marked changeability in symptoms- no two periods are same. There is dryness of mouth with no thirst.
Delayed puberty. First menses begins late. Even if it begins there are menstrual irregularities and periods get suppressed easily.
Colicky pains in menses aggravated by lying down and bending forwards. Pains are better by standing erect, walking and putting pressure over abdomen.
This is suited to persons with feeble digestive powers with much flatulence.
Pulsating and constricting pains. Menses early with dark blood. Menstrual flow ceases on lying down.
Crampy pains immediately before menses. Menstrual blood flow is profuse, dark, clotted, offensive and always irregular. Pains accompanied with backache and nervourness. The more profuse the flow, greater the suffering. Patient feels better by warmth and eating.
Spasmodic menstrual pains with profuse, dark and clotted blood. Menses too early accompanied by purulent gushing leucorrhoea (white discharge) between menses. This is so weakening that patient can scarcely speak or stand. Nausea with faintness and vomiting. Aversion to food. Patient feels worse by eating, open air, touch, noise, after emotional disturbance.
The above mentioned homoeopathic medicines for menstrual cramps are some of the commonly prescribed ones, however the list is not limited to these. There are numerous medicines that can be given if symptom totality matches. The best homoeopathic medicine is the one which corresponds to the patient holistically taking into account the presenting complaints as well as the behavior and overall personality of the patient. The potency and number of doses to be taken is largely a matter of experience which your doctor knows best. Usually, a single dose is given and then we wait. If patient has relief, then doses are not repeated indiscriminately. The next dose is decided based on the available symptom picture.
Useful Tips to reduce menstrual cramps
- Diet: A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps in relieving the indigestion symptoms such as bloating and flatulence associated with menstrual cramps. Avoiding processed foods, sugars and excess fats especially trans fats during the menstrual periods can help in alleviating period pains. A research study has shown an association between period pain reduction and eating low fat vegetarian diet during periods2.
- Active lifestyle: Regular exercise or leading an active lifestyle not only gives a feel good factor but can also reduce the pains associated with periods. In contrast those with sedentary lifestyle suffer more from period pains. That being said, having an active lifestyle is not expected during periods. Have maximum rest as possible during the first 3 days of your periods because your body needs rest at that time.
- Vitamin B1: Vitamin B1 could be an effective treatment for reducing period pains.In a research study, 556 school going girls were given Vitamin B1 100 mg daily for 2 months. At the end of the study, It was found that Vitamin B1 was more effective in reducing pains compared to placebo3.
- Vitamin E: According to research, Vitamin E could aid in period pain relief by inhibiting arachidonic acid release and its conversion to prostaglandin. It could be a safer and effective way of reducing dysmenorrhea. According to a research, adolescent girls aged 15-17 were given Vitamin E capsules containing 200 I.U. 278 girls were included in the study and were given 2 capsules twice daily for 5 days (2 days prior and 3 days after the start of menses). At the end of 4 months, it was found that the pain severity and duration was significantly reduced as compared to the placebo group in the same study4.
- Heating pad: One of the oldest and most tested methods of period pain relief is applying hot water bottle over abdomen and lower back. A systematic review of 6 randomized controlled studies found that heat therapy can decrease menstrual pain in women5. Out of 6 studies, 3 found favorable effects of heat therapy in period pains compared with analgesics such as ibuprofen6.
Menstrual cramps are attributed to high amplitude uterine contractions owing to large number of circulating prostaglandins, therefore the treatment of dysmenorrhea is largely focused on decreasing the production of prostaglandins. Currently available pharmacological treatment for dysmenorrhea offers NSAIDS and contraceptives. Since both have side effects, therefore it is wiser to ameliorate menstrual cramps with safe and effective therapies like homoeopathy and aromatherapy.
- Kural M, Noor NN, Pandit D, Joshi T, Patil A. Menstrual characteristics and prevalence of dysmenorrhea in college going girls. J Family Med Prim Care. 2015;4(3):426–431. doi:10.4103/2249-4863.161345. [Pubmed]
- Barnard ND, Scialli AR, Hurlock D, Bertron P. Diet and Sex-hormone binding globulin, dysmenorrhea and premenstrual symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Feb; 95(2):245-50. [Pubmed]
- Proctor ML, Murphy PA. Herbal and dietary therapies for primary and secondary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001; (3):CD002124.
- Ziaei S, Zakeri M, Kazemnejad A. A randomised controlled trial of vitamin E in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea. BJOG 2005;112(4):466-9. [Pubmed]
- Jo J, Lee SH. Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):16252. Published 2018 Nov 2. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-34303-z. [Pubmed]
- Akin M, Price W, Rodriguez G Jr, Erasala G, Hurley G, Smith RP. Continuous, low-level, topical heat wrap therapy as compared to acetaminophen for primary dysmenorrhea. J Reprod Med. 2004 Sep; 49(9):739-45. [Pubmed]