Many women suffer from menstrual period pain, however did you know that it is possible to have a period without pain?! In fact, a “normal” period should cause little to no pain! Shocked? Read on to learn more about how a naturopathic doctor can address your menstrual concerns.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to identify the cause of your period pain. From hormonal imbalances, to stress, to food intolerances, to conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, there is always an explanation. As an ND, I look at the whole body and use appropriate history taking, physical exam, as well as blood and salivary testing to get an accurate snap shot of how the body is functioning as a whole. We will then work together using various naturopathic tools to help restore balance in your body so that you can begin to experience pain-free periods!
Effective treatments to reduce and eliminate period pain may include:
- An Anti-inflammatory Diet. Reducing inflammation in the body is key to reducing pain associated with the menstrual cycle. Identifying and removing food intolerances are important as are increasing anti-inflammatory foods like fish, fruits, and most vegetables. Inflammatory promoting foods such as red meats, processed foods, nightshade vegetables (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant) as well as gluten and dairy containing products should be limited to reduce pain-causing prostaglandin levels.
- Drink Milk Thistle Tea. This mild-tasting tea helps promote healthy, pain-free periods and can be purchased at your local health food store.
- Increase Magnesium Rich Foods. Magnesium promotes relaxation of muscles, including the uterus! Leafy greens (like spinach, kale, dandelion leaves, etc.) and raw nuts and seeds are great sources of this mineral. In addition, taking a bath with a couple of cups of Epsom salts (a form of magnesium) can also promote relaxation of muscles as it can be absorbed through the skin.
- Get Active. Regular physical activity-particularly in the second half of the menstrual cycle (from ovulation to the onset of flow) can help relieve stress, promote relaxation, and balances hormone levels, which in turn can help eliminate period pain.
- Express Yourself. In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that unexpressed anger, resentment, and stress can trigger painful periods. Spend some time reflecting on what issues in your life you may have been ignoring. Writing in a journal or talking to your naturopathic doctor or counsellor can help you identify and address your triggers.
- Acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a highly effective treatment to reduce menstrual pain. Acupuncture is relatively pain-free and promotes a deep sense of relaxation in the body so that the body can rebalance and heal itself.
Interested to learn more? Consider booking an appointment with me or a naturopathic doctor in your local area and get to the root of your period pain!