Pain associated with the menstrual cycle, also called dysmenorrhea, is extremely common but very treatable. Menstrual cramps are pains felt in the lower abdomen, occurring both before and during a woman's menstrual period. During each menstrual period, if there is no sperm to fertilize the egg, the uterus contracts to expel its lining. This process is driven by the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are associated with pain and inflammation in higher levels.
Painful periods fall into two categories: primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary is the most common type and is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen and lower back beginning 1-2 days before the period and lasting from 2-4 days. Beyond normal uterine contractions, there is no underlying problem that is causing the pain. Secondary dysmenorrhea is characterized by cramping pains due to an identifiable medical problem such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating, dizziness, headaches, and diarrhea are all symptoms associated with period pain. Emotional stress, lack of sleep, and overconsumption of alcohol and caffeine can also contribute to these symptoms.
Any period pain, whether mild or severe, is a medical issue that can be addressed. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are powerful tools to help alleviate cramps and regulate the cycle… In fact our clinic has two special herbal tinctures that deal specifically with period pain. In addition, our specialists at TCRA may recommend dietary and other lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms, as healthy eating and regular exercise can also be powerful tools in making the menstrual cycle pain-free.