Women's Health

Relief From Period Pain – Avoid Drugs With These Natural Remedies

Date: 19 August, 2005

For some women the time of the month can mean mild discomfort. For others it can mean excruciating and crippling pain. Many reach straight for over-the-counter (OTC) remedies such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and paracetamol without a second thought. But as I have mentioned in previous emails, these so called harmless quick fixes can wreak havoc on your gastro-intestinal system.

Todays e-alert was prompted by one of my work colleagues. She is one of the unfortunate women whose monthly cycle affects her so badly that she has to take time off work. I searched for natural alternatives to harmful OTC pills and came across the following studies which show promising results.

Vitamin E may ease the pain

Dysmenorrhoea (period pain) is very common in young women and 90% of all cases are classed as primary dysmenorrhoea. This means that the pain is not caused by a medical condition which requires further tests. Typical symptoms include cramping, lower abdominal pain, and may also include backache, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, headache and lightheadedness. Sometimes these symptoms cause so much discomfort that they interfere with peoples everyday lives.

The first study was conducted by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Tarbiat Modarres University (TMU), in Tehran, Iran to study the effect of vitamin E in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea.

The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was held at a secondary school in Tehran, tested 278 girls aged 15-17 who suffered from primary dysmenorrhoea. The girls were given 200 units of vitamin E or placebo twice a day, beginning two days before the expected start of their menstruation and continued through the first three days of bleeding. This treatment was continued over four consecutive menstrual periods.

The TMU researchers were measuring the severity and duration of pain, and the amount of menstrual blood loss, at two and four months. A visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to record pain, and a validated Pictorial Blood Loss Assessment Chart (PBLAC) to measure menstrual loss.

The results in the vitamin E group were:

  • Pain severity was lower with vitamin E at two months and four months
  • Pain duration was shorter at two months and at four months
  • Blood loss assessed by PBLAC score was lower at two months and at four months

The researchers concluded that vitamin E relieves the pain of primary dysmenorrhoea and reduces blood loss. This study did not mention which form of vitamin E was taken in the study.

So if you do suffer from dysmenorrhoea, increasing your vitamin E levels may help. And as we have reported before it also has many other beneficial antioxidant effects.

Pine bark decreases pain levels

Another trial in Japan tested the effect of Pycnogenol, the French maritime pine bark extract on menstrual pain.

The Japanese researchers treated 47 patients aged 21-45 with 2 capsules (30mg) of Pycnogenol twice a day. This began on the eight day of the first menstrual cycle and continued until the seventh day of the third menstrual cycle. The improvement was evaluated using the Wilcoxon rank sum test during the first, second and third menstrual cycle.

The results showed that continued treatment with Pycnogenol during the second cycle significantly lowered abdominal pain scores compared to pretreatment values. The number of days with back pain decreased.

This led to the conclusion that Pycnogenol has a potential analgesic effect on menstrual pain.

This is great news for women who suffer from dysmenorrhoea. Pycnogenol can only be bought on a private basis at good health food shops and Internet sources.

As always we urge you to consult a health professional before starting a new supplement regimen.

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Comments

  1. Celia Posted December 30, 2011

    Midol works wonders for me, I only get real bad pain the first day and the rest if my days are fine and I usually take nothing but when I do Midol takes care of it all. also a heating pad on the back or lower abdomen helps quite a bit and in the days before your period don’t eat constipating foods and try to keep your bowels clear because that helps too, but I am going to give the vitamin E a try.

  2. Jenny Posted September 5, 2011

    I cut down on drinking cows milk, which helped a lot, for a couple of years. I don’t really like soya milk, but would alternate, and make sure I only drink soya milk the week leading up to my period. My theory is, cows have the same female hormones as people, so their hormones are bound to mess with ours. Recently though the pain has got worse again, so I’m going to the doctors.

  3. Amy Posted March 9, 2011

    Jiggy – It’s all psychological.

  4. cat Posted January 13, 2011

    after the birth of my daughter i began to suffer from very bad pmt and period pain (surprisingly). i spent a small fortune every month looking for something that worked for me. i found the miracle cure, a product called antal-pre, sold in chemist’s containing various herbs and flowers, magnesium and other substances (can’t remember now) and then they took it off the market! now, for two weeks a month i become this whining, whingy pain-racked vessel, and i can’t do anything about it! i’ve tried magnesium supplements, b vitamins, evening primrose oil, starflower oil, vitamin e and they help to a certain degree. but the last cycle was excruciating. i’ve found that for some reason magnesium supplements combined with potassium work best. and also a bit of relaxation and “me-space” helps, a little stroll alone, although instinctively you want to curl up into a ball and stay in bed. i’m dreading next month to the point that i have knots in my stomach. i’m going to try homeopathy next . i’m open to suggestion if you’ve got anyhting to suggest! thanks!

  5. E-bRose Posted October 30, 2010

    I got my period when I was fourteen, I am now Sixteen and I get excruciating pain! to the point were I actually pass out!!! I have a very low pain tolerance.
    I take Nurofen plus to relieve the pain it’s works but not for long. I also bleed extremely heavy..I am going to give this vitamin E a go. My mother doesn’t get her period anymore but she’s not going through her change of life!They stopped because of medications she has to take for an Illness..Her hormones are out of wack and causes my moods to go from 1 to 10 very quickly! My mother said when she had her period she took evening prime rose oil everyday (EVERYDAY). If anyone knows anything else that could help could u please let me know? I’ll try anything!!!

  6. Tshego Posted June 24, 2010

    my pharmacist has recommended venteze to me, yes it is asthma medication but taking one or two of these pills when the pain starts, has really helped me. it is said that they relax every muscle in your body which is in spasm. i have tried anti- inflammetries but those can lead to ulcers so are not recommended but they do work. better than anything i’ve ever tried.

  7. jessica Posted May 31, 2010

    I suffer from excruciating pain for the first 3 days.. I have ended up in hospital more than twice.I’m only 14, and I’ve had my period since I was 9. I find that a heat bag/pad on the area and lower back massages works a charm. If that doesn’t work for you.. then try TENS. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) delivers tiny ,safe, electrical signals through conductive pads to stimulate the nerves under your skin. These signals act in two ways: They block the transmission of pain signals travelling in nearby nerves, stopping them going through the spinal cord to the brain, and they send their own message to the brain, triggering the release of endorphin – the bodys own natural painkiller. I reccommend it. (:

  8. jessica Posted May 31, 2010

    I suffer from excruciating pain for the first 3 days.. I have ended up in hospital more than twice.I’m only 14, and I’ve had my period since I was 9. I find that a heat bag/pad on the area and lower back massages works a charm. If that doesn’t work for you.. then try TENS. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) delivers tiny ,safe, electrical signals through conductive pads to stimulate the nerves under your skin. These signals act in two ways: They block the transmission of pain signals travelling in nearby nerves, stopping them going through the spinal cord to the brain, and they send their own message to the brain, triggering the release of endorphin – the bodys own natural painkiller. I reccommend it. (:

  9. Elinor Posted May 25, 2010

    I don’t believe this. I’m 22 and suffer from severe pain each month, and I’ve tried several of these so-called natural treatments, to no effect at all. Also, there is only one painkiller that really helps me, which is dypirone. The problem is that this drug is not allowed in the UK, and I’m probably going to study there for 6 months. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Ibuprofen also helps a little, but I suffer from gastritis so it’s not an option.

  10. Sylvia Posted May 4, 2010

    I have found calcium Magnesium, helps a lot …it relaxes the muscles and provides necessary nutriests. Vitamin B, C and E are great too!!

  11. Sylvia Posted May 4, 2010

    I have found calcium & magnesium, helps a lot …it relaxes the muscles and provides necessary nutriants. Vitamin B, C and E are great too!!

  12. Bailey Posted March 17, 2010

    Since I have come off the pill 3months ago, I have gained horrible pain an fainted because of the pain each month and ended in hospital twice.. Is there anything that will help me?

  13. Claire Posted January 29, 2010

    I used to take pain killers but they are less effective each time. They make you less resistant to pain, and the subsequent ill health you get increases the severity and frequency of pain, not to mention all the other negative and sometimes deadly effects of pain killers. Yet another example of Big Pharma’s silent murder. I just started taking vitamin E. Will have to wait and see i it works, but I definitely only trust natural remedies. I’m never touching pain killers again

  14. Hayley Posted January 8, 2010

  15. Alice Posted January 2, 2010

    i suffer alot of pain, i have also passed out on occassions from the pain. i find that deep heat patch on my belly helps. on a personal level i always get relief from just sitting on the loo (i dont know why, but it does seem to help).

  16. Sylva Posted December 7, 2009

    Pineapple was recommended beacause it contains maganese & I found it helps lessen my pain. My close friend says camomile tea is worth a try, too.

  17. Fatima Posted November 1, 2009

    I find that hot water bottle on the area of pain eases the pain. Also pain killers do help me.

  18. AliceHatter Posted May 18, 2009

    Painkillers help me none at all, and I’ve tried OTC and prescribed varieties, and nothing has any effect…
    I’m gonna give that vitamin e thing a go…
    Something else that apparently helps is evening primrose oil…
    Haven’t tried it yet but my friend swears by it…

  19. Uch Posted January 16, 2009

    You might stop and consider that it may work for others and sadly not you, Jiggy. :)

  20. Ariel Posted November 23, 2008

    I am in the age 15-17 and I experience alot of of pain

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