What is it?
Dysmenorrhoea is the term used to describe very painful periods. It is more frequently reported by women of childbearing age, who are smokers or who have mothers or sisters already suffering from this condition.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the name for recurrent menstrual cramps that aren’t due to other diseases. Secondary dysmenorrhea means that another condition is involved..
The main pathologies that can cause secondary dysmenorrhea are the following:
- Uterine fibroids;
- Cervical strictures or infections.
Symptoms of dysmenorrhea are very characteristic and common:
- Cramping and Lower abdominal pain;
- Diarrheal episodes;
- Lack of appetite;
- Intense sweating.
In general, pain can typically last 12 to 72 hours.
To diagnose dysmenorrhea, your health care provider will evaluate your medical history and do a complete physical and pelvic exam. A gynecologic ultrasound examination can be ordered, to evaluate probable abnormalities of the reproductive system.
In pharmalogical therapy, NSAIDS appear to be a very effective treatment for dysmenorrhoea . Also the use of oral contraceptive pills suppress ovulation, which could result in a reduction in dysmenorrhoea. Although very often magnesium could be very helpful, since it works to calm the physical symptoms by relaxing the smooth muscles of the uterus and reducing the prostaglandins that cause period pain..
There are several natural remedies with antispasmodic properties, having the ability to relieve spasms in the pelvic organs having the ability . There are plants having the capability to produce prostaglandins, stimulating uterine contractions.
The most important plants are:
- Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties on the smooth muscles of the uterus;
- Yarrow can relax smooth muscle in the intestine and uterus, which can relieve stomach and menstrual cramps.. It also appears to be useful for reducing symptoms of the premenstrual phase such as nervousness, irritability, exhaustion, mood swings and fatigue;
- Calendula can also be used as a vaginal douching, thanks to its antibacterial properties. It also increases the menstrual flow in case it is scarce;
- Agnycastus has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is excellent for mitigating all the symptoms associated with the premenstrual phase such as irritability, nervousness, fatigue and headaches;
- Sage has an estrogenic action, and is excellent for alleviating pain in the premenstrual and menstrual phase.
- Evening primrose or borage oil is indicated in case of mastalgia, or severe breast pain typical of the premenstrual phase;
- Raspberry helps regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal raxis. It is excellent for hormonal imbalances in women.
Dysmenorrhea can be treated with a targeted diet. Starting from 15 days preceding the menstrual cycle the following recommendation shall be followed:
- Avoid simple sugars and saturated fats that have a pro-inflammatory action;
- Reduce white meat, such as poultry or turkey, treated with estrogen;
- Enrich your diet with foods rich in magnesium such as peas, almonds, walnuts, cashews and dark cocoa.
During the menstrual cycle it is very important to include in the diet foods with a relaxing and anti-inflammatory action, such as green beans, boiled potatoes, whole grains, zucchini, beets, spinach, red meat from lean cuts, legumes, organic eggs, fresh blue fish.
But the main recommendation during the menstrual period is to use fresh and not frozen products, such as meat, fish, vegetables and legumes, in order to balance the losses of mineral salts and water that occur due to menstrual flow.
Furthermore it is also important to treat the bacterial flora, with the use of probiotics, foods with probiotic action, such as whole grains, fiber, miso, natto, kefir or low-fat white yogurt with no added sugar. Because, in the long term, a condition of dysbiosis and a diet low in fiber can lead to hormonal imbalance , especially in the female sex.