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✔ dull, throbbing, cramping pain in the lower abdomen
✔ pain in the lower back and thighs
✔ loose stools
✔ bloating abdomen
✔ feeling faint
✔ tender breasts
All of these are some of the signs and symptoms women can get when they have their period.
Most females have experienced some form of menstrual pain or discomfort in their time.
It can hurt!!!
The experience of one person will be completely different to the next. Sometimes the pain is so intense that it interferes with work or school for one or more days and sometimes there is no pain at all.
Each month the lining of the uterus builds up in preparation for a pregnancy. If there is no fertilisation of the egg then the thickened lining, no longer being required, sheds. This is the process of menstruation. Menstrual cramps put simply is the uterus contracting to shed the lining. The cramping is either barely noticeable or different levels of intensity for different people.
Is there a reason for the pain?
There are different reasons behind pain and there are two main types of pain. One type of period pain called “primary” exists without any underlying medical conditions and another called “secondary” is caused by an underlying condition.
With primary pain, it can begin just before your period commences when the lining of your uterus is being formed and can intensify as the lining breaks down during menstruation.
There is a fatty acid that scientific research has found at higher levels in women and girls who have intense pain. This fatty acid ends up having a “hormone like” effect and can be the cause of pain. Reducing the presence of this fatty acid forms part of the treatment plan that is put into place by me that is designed just for you to help reduce pain.
Secondary pain is associated with an underlying medical condition that you may or may not be aware that you have. Conditions such as fibroids, low thyroid, ovarian cysts and endometriosis, liver issues such as fatty liver and gut issues all of which can lead to even more painful intense periods.
Some signs and symptoms include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Clots in the blood
- Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
- Spotting between periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain in the lower back and upper legs
- Painful bowel movements
- Painful urination during menstruation
- Difficulty becoming pregnant
Another reason for pain can be nutrient deficiencies and gut issues leading to poor absorption of nutrients.
Whether it is a primary reason or a secondary reason,
Period pain is NOT normal!!!
What can be done.
It is very typical for a young female to be put on the oral contraceptive pill to help get rid of the pain and heavy flow each month. Whilst this may help with the pain and flow, what it does not do is fix the underlying problem. It will still be there when you eventually come off the pill or the underlying condition may even be worse.
Leaving any underlying conditions that are causing the pain untreated may lead to a difficult experience falling pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy when the time comes to do this.
In addition to the oral contraceptive pill just covering up what is underlying, it also changes human pheromones which are the odors that are subconsciously detected between humans. A research paper was written in 2018 by Angela Lanfranchi who was a breast surgical oncologist and the President of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. She wrote that there is evidence to show that the pill can cause humans to change what they find attractive in a mate and that it can result in choosing an unsuitable mate which has led to more unstable and violent unions. The realisation of choosing the wrong partner is often only evident when the pill is ceased usually after childbirth.
As a Naturopath I use both herbal and nutritional medicine. What I see in women with menstrual pain are often issues with both the liver and thyroid, this is assessed through blood test results. These areas will also need to be incorporated into a treatment plan. We are very lucky to have amazing herbs which work in the area of the reproductive hormones and I always see amazing results working with women of all ages.
It is important to address this pain as soon as you can. Especially prior to needing contraception (teen years). Often, I am addressing this when women book in to see me after they have been struggling for years to fall pregnant.
Who am I?
I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers. As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house.
Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
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