Menstrual pain is a common experience for many women. Symptoms such sharp abdominal cramping and digestive complaints can be debilitating. As a nutritionist and herbalist, I have had a lot of success recommending natural remedies for addressing menstrual pain. These remedies are highly effective and safe, whereas conventional treatments such oral contraceptives and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen) can have serious side effects, may require increased doses to maintain efficacy, and do little to address underlying causes of pain.
In addition to recommending natural remedies for menstrual pain, I also advise eating an anti-inflammatory diet, which includes a lot of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, as well as healthy fats and high-quality proteins. I also recommend limiting dairy products, animal fats, sugar, caffeine, processed foods and simple carbohydrates. In addition, yoga and light exercise such as walking, stretching, and pelvic exercises also provide relief by increasing pelvic circulation.
My favorite natural remedies for relieving menstrual pain include:
• Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids – Eating cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut) one to two times per week and taking a high-quality fish oil supplement, such as Pathway Super Omega-3, daily is recommended to help reduce the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body. Taking two to four softgels per day (providing 1000-2000 mg) of EPA/DHA is what I suggest.
• Magnesium – Magnesium is an important mineral that many people are deficient in. It has been shown to help with back pain and lower abdominal pain during the menstrual cycle. Magnesium plays a role in relaxing skeletal and smooth muscles. Taking about 400 mg of magnesium glycinate daily, such as Metagenics Mag Glycinate, is what I recommend.
• Antispasmodic and Warming Herbal Formula – Herbs such as cramp bark, black haw, wild yam, cinnamon, and cardamom can provide immediate relief for cramps, lower abdominal muscle tension, diarrhea, and an upset stomach. Taking about one-half to one teaspoon of an herbal tincture, such as Herbs Etc. Cramp ReLeaf every 3 to 4 hours can provide much needed support.
• Pain Relieving Topical Support – Mix ½ tsp each chamomile, fennel, caraway and peppermint essential oils into a squeeze bottle of 4 oz of olive oil. Massage 1-2 tsp of this antispasmodic essential oil blend into the lower abdomen and cover with heat.
• Ginger and Chamomile Herbal Tea – Steep one to two teabags of Traditional Medicinals Ginger with Chamomile Tea in hot water for 10-15 minutes and drink two to three cups daily. Ginger and chamomile are warming and soothing herbs and can relieve pain, relax cramping, and enhance pelvic circulation.
Photo from here, with thanks.