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Latest posts by Tamika Woods (see all)
(Originally published on the Nourished Natural Health blog)

Every month, so many women suffer horrific period-related symptoms. If your mum/aunt/sister also grew up with painful periods, you were likely told this was “normal”. The truth is, while period pain is common, it isn’t normal and is a sign of something that needs to be addressed.

Your body uses symptoms to communicate with you when something is out of balance or needs attention. Period pain is one of the loudest signals our body has to let you know it needs support.

To find out what’s causing your painful periods, book a free 15 minute chat with me here and we’ll investigate.

In the meantime, here are my top 5 natural treatments to begin reducing period pain:

1: Reduce inflammation through diet

Eating a diet that promotes inflammation in the body will increase your production of inflammatory prostaglandins, leading to more pain. The first step in reducing period pain is to improve your diet. This means reducing your consumption of sugar-sweetened foods (like cakes, pastries, soft drinks and confectionery) and overly processed foods (like fast foods and deep-fried foods). These foods are also low in nutrients so will not support your overall health.

Replace these foods anti-inflammatory foods like omega-3-rich oily fish (like salmon, sardines, mackerel), colourful fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, sweet potato and pumpkin).

 

2: Consider cow’s dairy elimination for 3 months

Cow’s dairy contains a protein called A1 casein. This particular protein causes inflammation in some people because it stimulates your immune system to produce inflammatory compounds.

How do you know if you have casein sensitivity? A common sign is recurrent middle ear, chest or tonsillitis infections during childhood. This is a sign of immune system reactivity.

You likely grew out of these infections but as an adult suffer from hay fever, asthma, eczema or chest infections. If this is you, try removing cow’s dairy for 3 months and record changes in your level of pain.

The good news is sheep and goat milk products don’t contain high levels of A1 casein, so you can replace your cow’s dairy with almond, coconut, sheep or goat milk cheese, yoghurt and milk.

Don’t have any signs of casein sensitivity? You probably don’t have the enzyme that converts A1 casein into inflammatory compounds and should be able to happily consume dairy.

3: Get your sweat on

Engaging in regular movement is hugely beneficial for your period as it reduces stress, improves blood flow to your reproductive organs, and reduces inflammation. The best kind of exercise is something that you enjoy and will keep doing.

Movement doesn’t have to be traditional exercises: it might be gardening, cleaning the house or playing with your kids – any movement is better than none.

4: Improve your estrogen to progesterone ratio:

Having higher levels of oestrogen and lower progesterone can lead to increased production of prostaglandins during your period which increases pain.

To support your body to clear estrogen after it has exerted its effect in your body, you need an efficient detoxification system. Estrogen is detoxified in two ways: firstly, the liver breaks down oestrogen into small compounds, then the bowel excretes these compounds in the stool.

Eating foods that are high in sulphur helps to support the second phase of liver detoxification which is responsible for breaking down oestrogen.

The best sources of sulphur are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and cauliflower.

Aim to include at least one serve of these vegetables (around 1 cup) daily. Support your gut detoxification by eating plenty of fibre-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains and beans.

5: Consider supplementing

The above 4 tips will go a long way to improving your period pain, however adding one or two of the supplements below to support natural reduction of prostaglandins can be a dramatic step in achieving pain-free cycles. My top 3 supplements for period pain are:

  1. Turmeric (or curcumin): reduces prostaglandins. Bonus: turmeric is also a treatment for heavy periods. Follow the instructions on the bottle as each formula varies.
  2. Zinc: supports the immune system to reduce to reactivity that leads to increased pain. Zinc works by reducing inflammation and also supports healthy ovulation. 30-50mg after dinner daily is an appropriate dose.
  3. Magnesium: reduces prostaglandins and is a natural muscle relaxant that helps to reduce the uterine spasm that occurs during your period. There are many forms of magnesium and some that are poorly absorbed, leading to diarrhoea or digestive discomfort. I recommend magnesium bisglycinate at a dose of 300mg per day throughout your whole cycle. This can be taken twice daily on the worst days of your pain

Note: this information is provided for information purposes only and must be approved by your health care provider before adding in to your routine.

As women, we have the right to experience pain-free periods and embrace our monthly cycles. I encourage you to take responsibility for your period health and remember that your body wants to be in balance.

When we experience symptoms like pain our body isn’t working against us, it is trying to let us know that something is out of balance. Listen to your body and treat the cause, rather than masking the symptom.

Book a free 15 minute chat with me to discuss your current health and menstrual issues, and how I may be able to help. 

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