Dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful menstruation or menstrual cramps is a common symptom during menstruation. Most women during their entire menstrual period experience varying degrees of menstrual cramps, younger women being the worst sufferers. This is not an abnormal condition during the periods, but severe cramps and uterine spasms can paralyze the normal activities. Many women do not experience menstrual cramps at all throughout their life. Various NSAIDS are quite effective in providing relief from this disorder. Menstrual cramps gradually subside with aging or after first pregnancy. It can be experienced few days before the start of periods that last for 1-2 days of the period.
1. Moderate to severe pains in the lower abdomen. 2. Nausea and vomiting followed by headache. 3. Fatigue or tiredness 4. Dizziness 5. Loss of appetite.
The hormone prostaglandins released during the periods is mainly responsible for the painful menstruation. This hormone stimulates the uterus, shedding the endometrial lining causing cramps and spasms.
Other causes for secondary dysmenorrhea may be
1. Uterine polyps and fibroids. 2. Ovarian cysts 3. Ectopic pregnancy 4. Any inflammatory disease in the pelvic region.
Herbs, especially the Chinese herbs have been quite effective in reducing menstrual cramps to a considerable extent and these remedies are preferred by many to the NSAID’s.
1. The herb, Chinese Angelica Root, popularly known as Dong Quai has been extensively used in treating various menstrual disorders. This herb relaxes the uterine muscles and reduces menstrual cramps.
2. Dried Szechuan Lovage Root, taken in mild doses helps in reducing the pain during menstruation.
3. Extract from the bark of Cinnamon is popular in treating diabetes. This is also very effective in reducing menstrual cramps.
4. Tea prepared from Raspberry leaf is very effective in reducing menstrual pains by relaxing the uterine muscles.
5. Taking ginger tea or raw ginger throughout the periods is very effective in reducing this disorder. It is recommended to take 4 cups of ginger tea every day during the periods for best result.
6. Pycnogenol, a compound extracted from the bark of Pine trees has been found to be very effective in reducing menstrual pains.
7. Tea prepared from the herb Chamomile also helps in reducing this disorder.
8. Massaging the abdominal area with the essential oils of the herbs Chamomile, Lavender, marjoram, clary sage and ginger help in relaxing the uterine muscles reducing the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
9. The herbs Blue Cohosh and Black Cohosh are very useful in reducing the uterine spasms and cramps.