Managing Period Pain

Period Pain is Not Normal

By July 3, 2017 No Comments

I’ve often heard it said, “There is a reason why women have the babies”.  Often said by a woman, in a sassy tone–usually in reference to woman’s ability to deal with pain better than men!

There is a phenomenal hormone reaction that occurs during childbirth, where the release of our natural pain-killers, endorphins and adrenaline, help “dampen”(!!!) the pain of this excruciating process (Buckley, S. 1999).
But just because we have this incredible ability to deal with pain, doesn’t mean we should….. Month-after Month!!
I’ve been fortunate enough to have two children, so I know the pain of childbirth—it’s not fun! But for me, it didn’t end there in the labour ward.

I would re-live this excruciating pain every month!!

With the onset of my period, I would have to take days of work. The pain would be so incredible, I would break out into a sweat, vomit, shake, and even the strongest of pain medication would not touch it.
I felt like I needed an epidural just to deal with my period pain. It sounds extreme right, but I know I’m not the only one to experience this.
For many women, period pain can be so excruciating and debilitating it effects their daily activities, and even their physiological outlook (Nag et al. 2013).

It’s hard to remain happy, friendly, and positive when your body is awash with pain!

A New Kind of Normal

It might come as a surprise to you, but these symptoms have become so widespread and common, that it is now considered NORMAL for menstruation to be accompanied by a variety of physical discomforts and even emotional distress!!

Ladies—this new interpretation of “normal” is in fact NOT NORMAL!

Period pain, like any pain in the body, is a sign there is something not right!  Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) is an indication of hormone imbalance in the body (Pick, M. 2016).

Women who experience extreme cramping may have higher levels of prostaglandins. These hormone like substances help the uterus to contract and shed its lining.

Excess prostaglandins= excess cramping! (Pick, M. 2016)

Put Up No More!

The good news….no, the GREAT NEWS is that you don’t need to continue to put up with the monthly torment of being a woman! …well, being a woman in pain!

If you experience debilitating pain during your periods, it is advisable to see your doctor first.  It is important to learn if there are other concerns in addition to a hormone imbalance, such as endometriosis, PCOS or fibroids or other underlying concerns.

Now, the common medical approach to treat painful periods, and even some of the above listed additional concerns, is usually in the form of pain medications, the pill or IUD.  I tried all of these methods for several years, but there are problems with this.

  • Firstly, is the obvious fact that you aren’t addressing the underlying problem of why the body is oestrogen dominant.
  • The second is that the body becomes dependent on drugs that mask the important pain signals in the body (the body is communicating with us for a reason, we shouldn’t ignore it).
  • The third, is that many of these options are also toxic to the body. The body is unable to efficiently metabolise artificial hormones (like that found in the pill and IUD) (Butter Nutrition 2016; Grigg-Spall 2016).  By now you’re probably already aware of the link between the pill and depression! (Butter Nutrition 2016; Grigg-Spall 2016). If not, get reading. It’s real, and it’s scary!! .

Being a yoga teacher with a PhD in Applied Science, I carefully designed a yoga practice specifically to correct a hormone imbalance. When I felt comfortable and ready, I had the IUD removed, stopped the pain medication and went  au naturale`.

I’ve never looked back!

Tell Me! Tell Me!!

A yoga practice that addresses the endocrine system (our hormone regulating system), supports the digestive and elimination processes in the body and reduces physical and emotional tensions in the body, can have profound results in managing women’s health issues (Nag et al. 2013, Swami Muktananda 2009; Connell, B. 2007).

Altering the practice appropriately as we go through each of the different stages in a women’s cycle, can help in managing pain, anxiety, moodiness, bloat, inflammation and hormone imbalance as these problems arise (Connell, B. 2007; Swami Muktananda 2009).

Pairing a yoga practice with subtle changes in the diet, managing stress and learning to honour the different stages in a women’s monthly cycle (see the first blog), can change things around significantly.


In addition, here are some helpful tips you might also like to try :

* Reduce or limit caffeine and alcohol, and keep the body well hydrated.

* Find good sources of potassium to help reduce cramps and bloat. I like to sip coconut water and add bananas to my diet during this time.

* Add turmeric to your diet. Turmeric is a fantastic natural anti-inflammatory property. It has recently shown to have more anti-inflammatory properties than medicinal drugs. I find this helps considerably with the cramps and with bloat (Jurenka. J.S., 2009, Rao, T., et al. 2013).

* Follow a well structured and sequenced yoga class that will help target the endocrine, digestive and circulatory systems—Hey, that’s exactly what I’m offering! 🙂
I’m now free to ride the ebbs and flows of being a Spiritual and Divine woman.