Why are my periods painful?
The answer to that can vary, here are a few common reasons why periods are painful.
3 Reasons For Painful Periods
1. Mineral Imbalance
Calcium, magnesium, and potassium regulate the function of all the muscles in your body. An imbalance in these minerals can lead to abnormal muscle function or spasm, which causes pain.
The wall of your uterus is a muscle that contracts to expel the contents each month when you have your period. If the balance of calcium, magnesium and potassium are off, periods will be more painful due to spasm of the uterine wall.
2. Inflamed Gut
The large intestine sits right behind the uterus. If your gut is inflamed, as the uterus is contracting with your period, the inflamed gut will be further irritated and cause pain. Food sensitivities like dairy and gluten can aggravate the gut. Removing these foods, sometimes, help relieve menstrual cramps.
3. Hormone Imbalance
An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, also called estrogen dominance, can cause abnormal function of the uterine muscle. Factors that contribute to this imbalance include diet, liver function, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies.
A diet that is higher in carbs and sugars can increase the activity and/or level of estrogen. The liver is responsible for processing extra estrogen so that it can be excreted, as well as removing chemicals, pollution, and pesticides that can act like estrogen.
Progesterone acts as a muscle relaxant, relaxing the muscles of the uterus. Deficiency of vitamin B6 can contribute to lower progesterone production.
- Leafy greens – The balance of calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc in these foods can help restore healthier mineral balance for normal uterine muscle function.
- Whole, unprocessed foods – Vegetables, fruit, protein-rich foods like eggs, fish and poultry, nuts and seeds, legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans.
- Healthy fats – Eat more fish, raw nuts and seeds, and eggs. Healthy fats help your body produce its own natural anti-inflammatories.
- Processed grain – Reduce your intake of bread, pasta, cereal, cookies, cakes and anything else made from flour.
- Dairy and gluten – Try a strict 4 weeks of gluten and dairy elimination from the start of one period to the following one, and see how the second period is in comparison to the first. If there is a noticeable difference in pain, you would be better off to avoid dairy and gluten longer term.
- Red meat – Red meat contains arachidonic acid which promotes inflammation.
- Sugar or other sweeteners – These foods create hormone imbalance and increase inflammation.
Remedies For Pain
Regular exercise can help ease menstrual cramps by balancing hormones and reducing inflammation. Aim for some sort of physical activity every day.
Yoga may be beneficial for relieving menstrual cramps because it helps free up and relax muscles and releases the internal organs. During your period, avoid inverted positions like headstands and downward dog.
Natural Remedies For Menstrual Cramps
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. Taking 150-200 mg of magnesium bisglycinate at bedtime often helps muscles relax, but also helps people sleep better as it also calms the nervous system. Some forms of magnesium (oxide or citrate) may cause diarrhea or loose stools.
The herb cramp bark gets its name because it helps muscles relax and relieves cramps. Take 30 drops every 30-60 minutes until symptoms subside and then decrease the dose to 30 drops every 3 hours until cramps have subsided completely. Cramp bark should not be taken by those who are sensitive to aspirin.
This substance that is found naturally in vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage is involved in phase I detoxification of estrogen in the liver.
It can help your body rid itself of excess estrogen that may be contributing to cramping. Take 150 mg per day for one month. Those on prescription medications (including birth control pills) should avoid taking DIM.
Glucuronidation is the final step of removing excess estrogen. Glucarate is required for this step. Take 300 mg per day for one month. Those on prescription medications (including birth control pills) should avoid taking calcium-d-glucarate.