Do you dread your monthly cycle due to painful cramps? Many women suffer from painful periods, unaware of the effective natural remedies that can make their periods more comfortable. In my practice as an acupuncturist, I’ve seen many patients go from taking maximum doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen during their periods to using little or none at all, just by implementing a few simple strategies.
You may wonder why you have to suffer through cramps in the first place. The explanation lies in the fact that your uterus must shed its natural lining each month–a job that requires your uterine muscle to contract. As it contracts, blood vessels that supply the uterus become constricted, which reduces blood flow and results in pain. For some women, the hormonal changes that trigger menstruation may be more pronounced, causing the uterus to contract overzealously–and more painfully.
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, excessive menstrual pain is considered a condition of “stagnation.” Stagnation refers to a lack of energy (in this case, blood) flowing through an organ. With menstrual cramps, stagnation is thought to lodge in the lower abdomen and become irritated or activated when the body tries to start shedding tissue.