Dysmenorrhoea is the medical term for painful periods or menstrual pain. It is not an uncommon occurrence but many girls and women who do suffer with dysmenorrhoea often do not realise that it is not the norm. Most women will not experience menstrual pain, except for mild discomfort at the time of ovulation and menstruation. Menstrual pain may occur for no known reason (primary dysmenorrhoea) but sometimes it is a symptom of underlying gynaecological disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or fibrois (secondary dysmenorrhoea).

It is always important that dysmenorrhoea is assessed by a gynaecologist. In this way serious female health problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome can be detected early and treated appropriately. When these conditions are managed effectively, the menstrual pain may then resolve. By leaving it unattended, the condition can complicate later in life and lead to problems conceiving a baby (infertility). However, with primary dysmenorrhoea, there is usually no associated risks.

Diet and Lifestyle

  • A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables seems to help.
  • Controlling body weight can also offer some relief – being overweight or underweight may be associated with painful periods.
  • Regular exercise for at least 150 minutes per week may be useful in easing menstrual pain.
  • Drink plenty of water – 6 to 8 glasses of water daily, or about 1.5 to 2 litres.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

Nutritional Supplements

  • Calcium
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Magnesium
  • Iron (preferably chelated) – for iron-deficiency anemia
  • Vitamin B2 and B6
  • Vitamin E

Herbal Remedies

  • Black cohosh (Cimicfuga racemosa)
  • Chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus)
  • Chamomile (Marticaria chamomilla)
  • Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus)
  • Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)

Homeopathic Remedies

  • Belladonna
  • Chamomilla
  • Cimicfuga
  • Colocynthis
  • Lachesis muta
  • Magnesia phosphoricum (tissue salts)
  • Natrum muriaticum
  • Natrum phosphorium (tissue salts)
  • Phosphorus
  • Pulsatilla