Suffer from period pain? This tried and tested practice could ease it
If you’ve ever experience period pain before you’ll know it’s no laughing matter.
Along with a backache and/or stomach cramps, headaches, dizziness, loose stools and nausea are some of the other menstrual symptoms you might experience.
And according to one study, these symptoms aren’t uncommon. It’s believed that just under 90% of women experience menstrual pain during their cycle.
So, what are menstrual cramps and why do we get them?
Menstrual cramps, which are more formally known as Primary Dysmenorrhoea, can occur because of the raised levels of the hormone Prostaglandin F2X. This hormone causes the womb to contract and shed its lining.
It’s an action that compresses the uterine blood vessels and temporarily cuts off the supply of blood – and hence oxygen – to the womb.
Pain triggering chemicals are then released, causing cramps and pain which can be felt as intense spasms or a dull, constant ache. The pain is often at its worst when the bleeding is heaviest, around 48-72 hours into the period.
What can you do for period pain?
There are a range of methods you could try to ease period pain. This includes:
- Heat therapy — A hot water bottle can prove beneficial for easing stomach or back pain. You could also try a warm soak in the bath.
- Try and relax — This might be easier said than done, but stress can worsen period pain so you could try meditation or relaxation exercises.
- Try to exercise — Gentle physical activity, particularly yoga, can ease menstrual pain by relaxing the muscles and improving blood flow to the pelvic area.
- Get comfy — Wear loose-fitting clothes just before and during your period for greater comfort.
- Have a healthy diet —Include plenty of high-fibre foods, fruit and vegetables, have less salt (to reduce water retention) and sugar.
But you could also try the ancient-old Chinese practice of acupuncture.
How does acupuncture help?
This safe and natural alternative medicine works by stimulating certain pressure points within the body. The stimulation of these pressure points releases endorphins and allows the free flow of energy continue.
Plus, a 2018 journal found: “Acupuncture might reduce menstrual pain and associated symptoms more effectively compared to no treatment or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and the efficacy could be maintained during a short-term follow-up period.”
Acupuncturist and Osteopath Denise Callaghan, who has just completed a year-long diploma course in fertility and acupuncture to refresh and expand her knowledge on the topic, has been treating people for period pain for more than 20 years.
“No one should have to be in pain each month because of their period,” Denise says. “There are numerous studies which demonstrate that acupuncture can be effective for pain management — including for the treatment of menstrual cramps. Acupuncture is also safe and has a very low risk of adverse incidents if carried out by a trained and accredited practitioner.”
If you have any of the symptoms outlined above, why not get in touch? We’ll take a look, discuss treatment options with you and start helping to ease your painful periods.