Dysmenorrhea (Painful Menstruation)

Also indexed as:Painful Menstruation
Dysmenorrhea (Painful Menstruation)
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Primary Remedies

Belladonna

Symptoms that are very intense and come and go suddenly, accompanied by a feeling of heat, often indicate a need for this remedy. The menstrual flow is typically bright red, profuse, and may have begun too early. Pain and cramping are worse from jarring and from touch, yet applying steady pressure often brings relief. Walking or bending over can make things worse, and sitting may be the most tolerable position. A woman who needs this remedy may feel restless and flushed, with pulsing or pounding sensations, and eyes that are sensitive to light.

Chamomilla

This remedy is indicated when the person’s mood and nerves are so sensitive that pains seem almost unbearable. Anger and irritability may be extreme (or pain and cramping may come on after the woman has been angry). The menstrual flow can be heavy, and the blood may look dark or clotted. Pain often extends from the pelvic area into the thighs, and may be worse at night. Heating pads or exposure to wind can aggravate the symptoms. Vigorous walking or moving around in other ways may help relieve the pain.

Cimicifuga (also called Actaea Racemosa)

Cramping and pain that get worse as the flow increases, back and neck pain with muscle tension, and sharp pains like shocks that shoot upward, down the thighs, or across the pelvis, are all indications for this remedy. The woman is likely to be nervous, enthusiastic, and talkative by nature, yet feel pessimistic and fearful when unwell.

Cocculus

This remedy is indicated when a woman has cramping or pressing pain in the pelvic or abdominal region, along with weakness or dizziness. She may be inclined toward headaches or nausea, and parts of her body can feel numb or hollow. Feeling worse from standing up or from any kind of exertion and feeling better from lying down and sleeping are typical. (Cocculus is often indicated when a person has not been sleeping well and then feels weak or ill.)

Magnesia phosphorica

Painful cramps and pain in the pelvic region that are relieved by pressure and warmth often respond to this remedy. Periods may start too early, often with a dark or stringy discharge, and pain is usually worse on the right side of the body. The woman is sensitive and inclined toward “nerve pain”—feeling worse from being cold and also worse at night.

Other Remedies

Bovista

Women needing this remedy tend to have problems with puffiness and edema during times of menstrual stress, and can feel very awkward and clumsy. Pain may be felt in the pelvic region, often with soreness near the pubic bone. Menstrual flow increases at night (and may even be absent during the day). Diarrhea occurring at the time of the menstrual period is a strong indication for this remedy.

Caulophyllum thalictroides

This remedy relieves menstrual cramps occurring at the onset of periods, with scanty flow.

Colocynthis

This remedy relieves abdominal and menstrual cramps improved by bending over, strong pressure and heat.

Ipecac

This relieves heavy menstruation with many clots, associated with cramps and nausea.

Lachesis

Women who have intense discomfort and tension before the menstrual period begins and feel much better when the flow is established may benefit from this remedy. Symptoms include a bearing-down sensation in the pelvis, flushes of heat, headache, and an inability to tolerate the touch of clothing around the waist or neck. A person who needs this remedy may feel “like a pressure cooker”: intense and passionate, needing an outlet both physically and emotionally.

Lilium tigrinum

Indications for this remedy include great premenstrual irritability (making other people “walk on eggs”) and cramping pain with a bearing-down feeling during periods. The woman may feel as if her uterus is pushing out, and may need to sit a lot or cross her legs. She is likely to feel worse from strong emotions or excitement and be better from fresh air.

Nux vomica

This remedy may be indicated when a woman has irregular menstrual periods with constricting pains that can extend to the rectum or the area above the tailbone. The woman tends to be impatient, irritable, and easily offended. Chilliness and constipation are also common. Mental strain, anger, physical exertion, stimulants, strong foods, and alcohol are likely to make things worse. Warmth and rest often help.

Pulsatilla

Delayed or suppressed menstrual flow accompanied by nausea or faintness suggests the use of this remedy. Getting too warm or being in a stuffy room make things worse. Cramping pain with a bearing-down feeling, either with scanty flow or thick, dark, clotted discharge, can also occur—symptoms that are changeable often point to Pulsatilla. The woman’s moods are changeable as well, and a desire for attention and sympathy, along with a sensitive (even tearful) emotional state are typical. This remedy is indicated during many conditions involving hormonal changes and is often helpful to girls who have recently started having periods.

Sabina

This remedy relieves profuse and painful periods with red blood clots, and pain spreading to the root of the thighs.

Sepia

Indications for this remedy include painful, late, or suppressed menstruation, sometimes with a feeling that the pelvic floor is weak or as if the uterus is sagging. The woman may feel irritable, dragged out, and sad—losing interest temporarily in marital and family interactions, wanting to be left alone. Dampness, perspiring, and doing housework may aggravate the symptoms. Warmth and exercise, especially dancing, often brighten the woman’s outlook and restore some energy.

Veratrum album

Menstrual periods with a very heavy flow and cramping, along with feeling of exhaustion, chilliness, and even vomiting and diarrhea, are indications for this remedy. The periods may start too early and go on too long. Discomfort is often worse at night and also in wet, cold weather. Warm drinks, exercise, or moving the bowels may make things worse. Small meals, cold drinks, and wrapping up in warm clothes or covers will tend to bring relief.

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The information presented here is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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