By Alexandra Bérard-Nicol, Ac.

The term “dysmenorrhea” refers to the uncomfortable pain experienced by a large number of women around the first day of menstruation. Indeed, more than 50% of women report feeling physical discomfort of varying nature and intensity at specific points in their cycle. They can occur a few days before menstruation or during the first days of menstruation due to various causes, and sometimes, the ovulation period also can be problematic. 

For some, the pains are not worthy of mention while for others, menstrual cramps lead to being bedridden with great suffering. There is a wide range of symptoms that can accompany dysmenorrhea. These symptoms are sometimes felt as a slight distention in the lower abdomen, lower back, sacrum, legs, etc. Sometimes, abdominal pains are violent and very intense (on one side or both sides) and they feel like stabbing pain; some also experience a burning sensation or heaviness in the pelvic area.

In the medical field, dysmenorrhea is categorized as primary or secondary, depending on whether or not it is the result of an underlying pathology. Although it may cause severe pain, primary dysmenorrhea is not a symptom of a more serious health problem or illness. This is what distinguishes it from secondary dysmenorrhoea. It could be a symptom of sub-health, for example. This type of menstrual cramp is the result of uterus contractions and a reduction of blood flow to the myometrium, the uterine lining of the uterus. Age, since it tends to be worse among teenagers, but it can still occur in a later time, and family history, among other things, seem to be predisposing factors. The same is true for secondary dysmenorrhea. As mentioned above, what differentiates it from primary dysmenorrhea is that, it is a manifestation of an underlying pelvic conditions such as endometriosis, uterine adenomyosis, fibroids, etc.

Whether it is caused by primary dysmenorrhea or secondary dysmenorrhoea, the pain can be sharp and disabling and the main treatments offered in Western medicine are anti-inflammatories, which relieve pain, and anovulants, which inhibit ovulation. Many women who use these medications still experience discomfort at different times, and acupuncture is a proven approach to treating this problem. It is a natural medicine that aims to regulate hormones and the cycle to reduce or even eliminate negative symptoms.

Tips for reducing menstrual discomfort

Avoid stress, not just during menstruations!
Stress experienced throughout the cycle can contribute to pain at the time of menstruations, as it affects the production of hormones that have an impact on overall inflammation in the body.

Avoid stimulants!
Tobacco, sugar and caffeine are stimulants that can increase or prolong the pain, so it is a good idea to reduce their consumption, especially at the approach of menstruation.

Move!
Any exercise or movement will help you, because you want to promote a fluid circulation of liquids in the body. More specifically, Qi Gong exercises can help circulate the blood and energy in your uterus.

Did you know?

In Chinese medicine, ginger is a very popular medicinal plant. Despite its warming properties, it is known to have a great anti-inflammatory power that can be very useful during menstruation! The consumption of ginger, for example in herbal tea, two to three days before menstruation and during the first days of menstruation can have a good impact on dysmenorrhea.

Références :

-Pinkerton, JoAnn V. (2017). Dysménorrhées. -JEAN COUTU, Qu’est-ce que la dysménorrhée primaire.

 -Passeport santé. Des solutions naturelles contre les règles douloureuses.

-Passeport santé. Règles douloureuses: quel rôle joue l’alimentation?.

-Rahnama P, Montazeri A, Huseini HF, et al., Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary 

 

 

 

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