Have you every wondered: “how much period pain is normal?” If so, you are not alone. It is one of the common questions I am asked by womb massage and nutrition clients. If you (like me) have ever been doubled up with a hot water bottle having taken more painkillers and evening primrose tablets than a well stocked pharmacy, praying and pleading with the great unknown, you will have asked this question to yourself on a regular basis.
I remember in my Fertility and Womb Massage Therapy training to finding out: “period pain ISN’T normal, it’s a symptom” which gave me a huge sense of relief as that means that there is something you can do about it.
Period pain is either going to be hormonal, inflammatory, emotional or structural and can be caused by several things, diet, a womb that is too far forward, backward or to the side, sanitary products, particularly regular tampons and sanitary towels, and various medications including the pill.
Let’s look at the various aspects here and what you can do:
Nutrition For Period Pain
Whilst nothing replaces advice from a naturopathic doctor or nutritional therapist, there are a few things that can really help:
• Avoid processed foods (which tend to be rich in refined sugars, gluten, salts and soy – all of which are known hormone disruptors)
• Eat plenty of whole foods such as fruits and vegetables – which tend to mop up excess hormones and take them to the liver to be processed and eliminated from the body
• Avoid soy products unless fermented such as miso – soy products usually contain xeno-oestrogens which mimic oestrogen in the body causing an imbalance
• Reduce your red meat intake if you eat meat to no more than twice a week – this has been found to be associated with the increased production of a chemical called PGE2 in the body, which is more prevalent in women with period pain
• If you are going to “cheat” and eat processed foods such as chocolate, try and do it in the first half (proliferative phase) of your cycle where they have less effect on your PMS and period pain.
Womb Position and Period Pain
There are several things that can really help womb position:
• Get an womb massage from a specialist – there are several different types out there, all of which really help. I am based in Surrey, in the UK, if you want to book, you can contact me, otherwise you can search for someone near you.
• Learn self abdominal or womb massage – I teach this online via Zoom or to my face to face clients, but there are other online packages available. You can book here.
• Strengthen your abdominal structure by doing yoga, pilates or swimming regularly – which will help encourage your womb into a more upright position.
• Avoid heavy exercise and lifting the 5 days before your bleed and the first few days of your bleed – this avoids putting extra strain on the ligaments holding your womb in place.
And finally, if you haven’t already, check out my blog post on how sanitary products can be causing you period pain.
I tried all these myself and the reason I recommend them is because they worked. I now get a very mild feeling of discomfort in my back the morning my bleed starts, to the extent I am surprised that it has started in such a pain free fashion.