Women’s Health: What Homeopathy Can Do For Menstrual Cramps
I’ve often wondered why some women have very little trouble with their monthly cycles but for others, it can be quite an ordeal! At least 50% of women will experience painful menses at some point in their reproductive years, causing a significant disruption in their quality of life as well as increased absenteeism from work, school, and social activities.
Painful periods can fall into 2 categories; primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is thought to be the result of an excessive number of prostaglandins being released from the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) during menstruation therefore causing strong contractions of the uterus. Generally, the higher the level of prostaglandins, the higher the degree of menstrual pain. Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by an underlying abnormal condition, such as endometriosis, infection, uterine fibroids or ovarian cysts.
Symptoms and degree of pain vary, but they may include the following:
Abdominal cramping or dull ache that moves to lower back and legs
Heavy menstrual flow
Constipation or diarrhea
Your doctor may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) like Ibuprofen or naproxen or he/she may suggest an oral contraceptive (birth control pill). Anti-inflammatory medications work to reduce the amount of prostaglandins and aid in reducing the contraction of the uterus. Oral contraceptives inhibit ovulation which in turn reduces the amount of prostaglandins produced in the uterus. Both are effective but also have unwanted side effects. Though NSAIDs vary in their potency and duration of action, generally speaking, they have a negative impact on your gastrointestinal lining, promoting bleeding and leading to the formation of ulcers. Thromboembolism (blood clots), jaundice, and amenorrhea (absent menstrual cycles) are the most frequent complications reported by oral contraceptive users however, prolonged use of oral contraceptives will also increase your risk of breast, cervical, and liver cancer.
Homeopathy is an excellent way to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps without the risk of negative side effects. Though nutrition, exercise and sleep are always helpful in dealing with menstrual pain, homeopathic medicines can actually relieve those painful menses once and for all. Since the primary goal of homeopathy is to balance your body’s internal systems, and the production of excess prostaglandins indicates that your body is not in balance, menstrual pain is the perfect time to reach for a homeopathic remedy!
However, in order for homeopathic medicine to be effective, it is imperative that the remedy be properly selected and based on your mental, emotional, and physical signs and symptoms. In other words, homeopathic remedies are best prescribed by an educated and experienced homeopath. When used correctly, homeopathic remedies are gentle, safe, non habit-forming and have no permanent side effects. Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding how homeopathy could help you!
-Christina Bujouves, BA, DHMHS
References: Obstetrics & Gynecology: August 2006 – Volume 108 – Issue 2 – pp 428-441; doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000230214.26638.0c.