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A homeopathic approach to period pain

From: The Homeopath's Blog,

13
March
2012
A homeopathic approach to period pain

Many of us suffer from painful periods every month. They say that 1 in 10 women have pains so severe that they affect their day-to-day lives. Well, I'm here to tell you that homeopathy can help to ease or even remove the pain completely in many cases.

Doctors call period pain 'dysmenorrhea'. They further split dysmenorrhea into 'primary' & 'secondary'. Put simply, primary is pain with no known cause and secondary is pain partly or wholly as a result of some underlying problem that can be detected (such as endometriosis, fibroids, an infection etc).

What causes it?

For primary dysmenorrhea, one theory is that prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals produced in your body) build up in the lining of the womb. These help the womb to contract, and remove its lining during a period. In women with period pain, there may be a build-up of too much prostaglandin, or the womb may be extra sensitive to the prostaglandins. This may cause the womb to contract too hard, reducing the blood supply to the womb and leading to pain.

The reasons for secondary dysmenorrhea are beyond the scope of this short article - however homeopathy doesn't need to know the reasons to be effective. Our remedies are selected according to the symptom picture. (Note: if you suffer from secondary, it is unlikely that the remedies below will fix the cause of the problem - though they may help alleviate your pain every month.)

As a homeopath, I believe that the cause of a lot of period pain is simply our modern stressful lifestyles. Women's hormone systems are much more complex and finely tuned than men’s, and consequently they're more easily put out of balance. Prolonged stress, in particular, can play havoc with sex hormones. Women in tribal societies don't tend to suffer these pains, which is perhaps a clue to their cause (and a signpost to their cure!) Toxins in our cosmetics, food and environment also play their part.

How is the pain treated conventionally?

One word: ibuprofen. Doctors may also suggest various oral contraceptives if the ibuprofen is ineffective at suppressing the symptoms.

How can homeopathy help?

Well, just like the saying, 'never ask a hairdresser if you need a haircut', inevitably I'm going to recommend treatment with a qualified homeopath as the most effective way of dealing with the underlying causes of period pain. However, there are useful remedies you can try yourself to ease the pain.

My golden tip: Dissolve 1 pill of the remedy Mag Phos 6X in a little water and sip it. You can repeat this 3 or more times during the days when your pain is at its worst. This one simple remedy often brings great relief. The remedy can be taken alongside the other remedies I mention below.

Remedies

I've listed the remedies that I have found most useful in easing painful periods. Select the remedy that most closely matches your symptoms and take 1 pill 3 times a day on the days when you have pain, stopping if the pain ceases. For severe pain, you can increase your dose to 1 pill every 15 minutes. However, if after 6 doses the pain is undiminished, then the remedy is not the correct one for you. This is not a definitive list.

Caulophyllum 30c

Pain: severe, spasmodic, in all directions. Needle-like pain in cervix. Nausea, vomiting & pain in lower-back before periods.

Better for: warmth.

Worse: motion, being outside in the fresh air.

Generally: chilly, great hunger and very thirsty.

Cimicifuga 30c (known as 'squawroot' by the North American Indians)

Pain: sharp, stiching, cramping, squeezing, twisting. The heavier the menstrual flow, the worse the suffering. Can have labour-like pain in the small of the back.

Better: bending double, motion.

Worse: applying pressure.

Generally: can feel hysterical, morose, gloomy, talks a lot, may be sighing a lot too.

Chamomilla 30c

Pain: so bad you feel you cannot cope.

Better: in the heat, when sweating, in warm wet weather.

Worse: after coffee.

Generally: very irritable, oversensitive

Colocynthis 30c

Pain: pain with anger - sudden, violent, cramping. Restless from the pain.

Better: bending double, hard pressure, lying on tummy.

Worse: from anger or strong emotions, any motion, twisting.

Generally: emotions in stomach, nausea.

Magnesia Phosphorica 30c

Pain: cramping or shooting, wandering, stitching, radiating. Sudden, comes in waves, can disappear suddenly. Sensation like electric shock. Pains decrease when menstrual flow starts. Patient restless from pains, exhausted.

Better: after warm, hot bath, hot water bottle. Doubling-over, pressure.

Worse: cold.

What else can I do to help?

  • Taking large doses of essential fatty acid (fish or flax seed oil) is often very beneficial.
  • Try to take less stimulants – these increase our stress-hormones.
  • Take time for yourself to relax and unwind (treat yourself to a pamper or massage on Wahanda, perhaps!)

I hope some of you try the remedies that most closely match of symptoms that I have listed above. I would love to get feedback. I am also available for consultations - please see my profile for more information.

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I am a graduate of the Centre for Homeopathic Education in Regent's College, London. I've been practising homeopathy for three years now, specialising in people with long-term chronic health problems. I practise from rooms on Harley Street, Euston & Muswell Hill for part of my time, as well as working several days a week in a homeopathic pharmacy. I have also run courses to give beginners the confidence & abilities to use homeopathic remedies to treat common illnesses in the home. Currently, I am designing a course for an ante-natal group to empower mums-and-dads-to-be to use remedies during pregnancy, the birth itself, & during the early days.

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