Dysmenorrhoea (Painful Periods)

Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I am 28 years old and suffer from painful periods. I don't like to miss work but sometimes it is necessary. What can I do?

A. Up to 50 percent of menstruating women experience dysmenorrhea (painful periods). Regular exercise throughout the month reduces period pain. I find that many sufferers are low in magnesium, especially stressed people who rely on coffee and sweet foods to get through the day. In these cases, I ask the person to take magnesium all month, but double the dose in the days leading up to the period.
Others need chamomile tea with chopped ginger root – this provides a warming antispasmodic tea which takes about 20 minutes before alleviating the pain. A good B complex is also worthwhile.
Focus on a fish/vegetarian diet, which promotes the anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which in turn reduces the pain. A quality fish oil supplement would also help in this way.

If the pain persists after these measures, there are stronger herbal medicines for which you would have to seek advice from a registered herbalist (www.nzamh.org.nz to find a practitioner). Herbal medicine such as corydalis ambigua for deep organ pain and others would be prescribed accordingly.

If the pain is very severe, you may have endometriosis, which can be diagnosed by your doctor. At this time, they might treat it with laser therapy. If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, naturopathic treatment is also beneficial in order to prevent it growing back again.