Dysmenorrhea symptoms can be caused by the pressure of the uterine muscle contracting on nearby blood vessels. This pain can vary from light to severe and usually lasts 24-72 hours. However, it is not normal to suffer from debilitating menstrual cramps that stop you from living a normal life. It is generally considered that about 5% of women have sufficient pain to seek treatment but this is probably an underestimate. (Gascoigne, 1994)

Dysmenorrhoea can be spasmodic or primary. Spasmodic dysmenorrhoea refers to the sharp, gripping or cramping pains in the lower abdomen that occur just before bleeding, or just as it starts. An imbalance in prostaglandin levels increases muscle spasm and leads to period cramps. This form of dysmenorrhoea is most common in adolescents and young, childless women.

Primary dysmenorrhoea is usually the results of nutrient deficiencies (and not the result of an underlying condition) leading to the familiar imbalance in essential fatty acids and saturated fats, prostaglandins and hormones.

Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda can all be effective treatments. Other natural therapies can also be helpful, according to personal preference.

Aromatherapy Treatment

Useful Oils

German and Roman chamomile, cypress, clary sage, sweet fennel, geranium, jasmine absolute, lavender, sweet marjoram, peppermint, rosemary, rose otto.

Suggested methods – massage, compress and/or bath

Essential oils that are antispasmodic, emmenagogues and analgesics will be beneficial in treating dysmenorrhoea. These include essential oils such as aniseed, Roman chamomile, clary sage, cypress, sweet fennel, jasmine absolute, juniper berry, sweet marjoram, peppermint, rose absolute or otto, rosemary.

The choice of oil depends on the type of pain. For congestive pain, oils such as Roman chamomile and cypress are more useful, whereas spasmodic pain is relieved by oils such as peppermint, lavender or clary sage.

Davis suggests that some women may get more relief from massage or compresses over the lower back and for others both lower back and abdomen will need to be massaged to get the best possible relief. (P., Great Britian)

Beckman says many women will just want to lie down with a hot water bottle. If this is case, select essential oils which are of a warming nature such as sweet marjoram, aniseed, fennel or rosemary. Use these essential oils in a massage blend before using the hot water bottle.

Matricaria chamomilla (Roman chamomile). Matricaria, comes from the Latin word Matrix, meaning “womb”, reflecting the herb’s age-old use as a remedy for treating menstrual disorders. (G., 1996) Combined with cypress and clary sage, it is also useful for relieving both premenstrual tension and menstrual pain.

Period pain responds particularly well to body work. Having a massage just before your period, or on the first day of bleeding, can do much to alleviate primary dysmenorrhoea. Have a gentle massage may also be perfect for your frayed premenstrual nerves; a little tender loving care if you’re not able to get it from other sources. (A., 2001)

The ability of cypress oil to harmonize the flow of blood makes it important for menstrual problems. It is one of the main essential oils for dysmenorrhoea and menorrhagia.

Painful Period Mix

  • 100ml of cold-pressed almond oil
  • 10 drops of Clary Sage
  • 20 drops of Fennel
  • 20 drops of Cypress
  • 10 drops of Lemon

Massage oil clockwise over belly every day. This treatment, along with dietary and lifestyle adjustments, should balance out painful periods within three months.

pic Sydney Sims Unsplash