Menstrual cramps which is also called as dysmenorrhea are giving a lot of troubles and pain and effecting the daily life routine.When menstrual blood is brown, it is good to consult to a doctor.The pain occurs generally in the lower abdomen and also might be felt on the lower back and thighs. However, menstrual pain does not cause any other medical complications. The only problem that comes with the pain is that it lowers the everyday life quality. There are actually two main causes that trigger the menstrual pain.
What Are the Causes of The Pain?
Primary pain is like the most common period pain. The reason is that the body contains so much of prostaglandins, which are type of chemicals that are released by uterus. The pain usually starts around 1 or 2 days before the period and will take up to 2 or 3 days.
Secondary pain comes actually a bit later in life. The pain is mainly related with the conditions of uterus or other reproductive organs.
What Are The Solutions to Reduce The Pain?
There are some common ways to reduce the menstrual pain such as using a heating pad or how water bottle in lower abdomen, doing work-outs, taking a hot bath, yoga etc. It is also possible to take some pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which include ibuprofen and naproxen. These drugs will not only reduce the menstrual pain but also reduce the amount of prostaglandings in the system. These drugs should not be taken without doctor’s notice. Otherwise, some unexpected side effects might occur.
Although, there are some medicines that are available and can be used to reduce the pain, they always come with some side effects and these medicines are not opt for everyone. Menstrual pain has been treated naturally for centuries and now studies also back it up. The natural solutions are also showing some significant results.
Ginger, Chinese herbs, fennel and pycnogenol are the natural solutions for the menstrual cramps.
Ginger for Menstrual Cramps
Most of the Ginger plants can be found in Asia, countries like India, China and Japan. In the past years, it has become a growing trend to plant it in the Middle East to use it as medicine and with food in order to have some change in flavour.
Usage of ginger is actually appropriate with stomach problems which has some types like morning sickness, upset stomach, gas and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is also being used with nausea caused by several other ailments.
It is also a well known pain reliever for the sicknesses like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, menstrual pain, and other conditions but the science is not really backing up with the possible cure that can come with the remedy of ginger.
It can be a good treatment for the skin care. It can also be used to flavor the food.
The ginger fragrance is also being commonly used in the cosmetics.
Why to Use Ginger for Menstrual Cramps?
As many researchers suggest that the compound found in ginger might be the key to protect against the increase in inflammation by reducing the body’s release of a chemical called prostaglandins. The pain in the menstrual cramps are actually linked with the production of prostaglandins. Since the compound found in ginger help reduce the increase productions of this chemical, it will help reduce the pain during this period.
What Does Research Say About Ginger on Menstrual Cramps?
A report that was published in Pain Medicine in 2015 suggest that after scientists going through the former trials conducted from other researches, it was concluded that it was more effective than being a placebo effect. Other two studies compare a drug called NSAID with ginger for which it was found to be more effective on reducing the pain.
Not only that but also it is being proven that it might control heavy menstrual bleeding. In a clinical trial that was published in Phytotherapy Research in 2015, it was shown that among 92 women with menstrual bleeding who were treated either with a placebo or ginger, those who took it had less menstrual bleeding.
What Are The Side Effects?
It may cause heartburn or diarrhea. It is also thinners the blood so for those who are having heavy bleeding disorder should consult their doctor before using it.
Chinese Herbs for Menstrual Pain
Like ginger, Chinese herb is no doubt that magical cure for the menstrual pain. There are few common chinese herbs used for relieving the pain.
Chuan Xiong (Chuanxiong Rhizoma)
This herb helps to improve blood circulation and gives more vitality. Back in the era of Song Dynasty, Chinese women used this herb in their diet by adding it to their soup. This soup is known as Four Substance Decoction and contains three other herbs: red peony, angelica and Chinese foxglove. Four Substance Decoction soup with its tee version is still common today to relieve PMS and menstrual pain.
Dong Gui (Chinese Angelica or Angelica Sinensis)
This specific herb is the ginseng for women. It helps improve the menstrual cycle and reduces the pain that comes with it. It will also help reduce the symptoms for PMS and anemia and regulate the menstrual cycle after stop using birth control pills. It is one of the best Chinese herb for gynecological disease because it helps to harmonize the blood. It is also antispasmodic. It relieves the uterus muscles and give relaxation during the menstrual cycle.
Yi Mu Cao (Chinese Motherwort)
This herb also helps improve the blood circulation in the body. It also removes blood clots occur in menstrual disorders after child birth.
Bai Shao (White Peony Root)
White Peony Root also improves the circulation of the blood throughout the body. It also has some detox effect in the body. It strengthens the liver and increases the efficiency of fat and protein metabolism which will prompt the reduce of prostaglandins which causes the pain during the menstrual cycle and thus will relieve the pain.
Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis Rhizome)
This herb will help relieve the pain and aches overall in the body. It will also improve the blood circulation in the body. It contains the chemical called THP that helps relieve the menstrual pain.
Primary source: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Source; Zhu X, et al “Chinese herbal medicine for primary dysmenorrhoea” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007;3: CD005288.
1. Chinese Medicine Program at the University of Western Sydney.1 (fourth issue for 2007 of The Cochrane Library).
2. Yin, J. Modern Research and Clinical Application of Chinese Materia Medica (2) pp 218-219 Beijing: Chinese Medical Classic Press.