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What Are Painful Periods?

Today I want to talk with you about a sensitive and personal issue. Periods. More specifically painful periods.

It is believed that 25-50% of women are affected by painful periods. 75% of adolescents experience them and 5-20% suffer from severely painful periods.


The medical term for this condition is known as dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a combination of symptoms that you experience during the monthly cycle that prevents you from performing day to day activities such as work, school, etc.

Common symptoms linked to dysmenorrhea are:

1. Pain and severe cramping in the lower pelvic and abdominal region.

2. Severe low back pain

3. Digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting


For those that have dysmenorrhea or suspect that they have dysmenorrhea, I have 10 tips that I myself have used to help with my painful periods and they may work for you.

1. Visit Your Doctor.

Although painful periods could be without a specific cause, there is a possibility that the pain you are experiencing each month could be a sign of an underlying issue. Keeping a journal and charting your cycles for 6 months and visiting your doctor and letting them know of the symptoms you’re experiencing can help them to discover if perhaps your painful periods are occurring because of an underlying issue that needs to be treated such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, or uterine fibroids. Your doctor can also prescribe medication that can help you manage your pain.


2. Consider Hormonal Birth Control.

In some cases taking a hormonal birth control pill can help ease the pain experienced during the monthly cycle. Causing menses to become lighter and less severe and you are able to function in your daily activities.


3. Take Over the Counter Medication.

Taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium before your pain becomes intolerable can decrease the severity of these symptoms.

Make sure you take your medicine with food to ensure that digestive upset doesn’t occur.

4. Avoid Common Triggers.

Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and excess amounts of caffeine can exacerbate cramping and discomfort.


5. Implement Nutritional Changes.

Try making these dietary changes to see if they help to reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms.

  • avoid processed carbs
  • avoid​ refined, highly processed foods
  • avoid excessively sugary foods
  • decrease dairy consumption if you are experiencing a lot of digestive upset
  • consume more fruits and vegetables
  • consume organic meat and eggs


6. Try Supplements.

Taking a whole food multivitamin/multimineral will ensure that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.

Taking an Omega 3 supplement will provide anti-inflammatory benefits.


7. Try Herbal Tea.

Top herbal teas to consider are:

Black Cohosh- because of it’s anti-inflammatory and it’s ability to reduce muscle spasms.

Chamomile- because it also has anti-inflammatory benefits and is great for reducing muscle spasms.

Ginger- eases digestive discomfort from diarrhea and nausea.


8. Look into Aromatherapy.

Including these essential oils in your hot compresses or creating massage oils with them to massage over areas of discomfort can provide natural pain relief and pain management.

The best oils to use to ease menstrual related discomfort are

German chamomile

Sweet Marjoram and Sweet Fennel.

9. Get Plenty of Rest.

Make time to rest and relax. Allow your body to recharge when it needs to. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to do nothing and just let your body relax.


10. Try Gentle Exercise.

Stick to simple, easy and very gentle exercise. Activities such as walking, yoga, stretching, and simple mobility based exercises are great for helping to increase circulation and stretching out the tight and inflamed muscles of the pelvis and low back. Stick to moves that focus on stretching and increasing mobility in areas that you are tight and stiff.


Find What Works.

Many of these tips I have used and the majority of them I still use today to help decrease the discomfort I experience during my monthly cycle. But I do believe that the most important of all of these tips is making sure that you find a doctor that listens to you regarding your concerns regarding your monthly period and not just brush your concerns off. If the doctor that you are currently going to isn’t giving you satisfactory answers and not helping you find one that will. Your reproductive health is important and you shouldn’t feel as though it was anything less. I hoped that these tips help you in some way and that you are able to find relief.