Menstruation occurs when an ovary
releases an egg, as soon as this happens the lining of the uterus grows and
becomes flooded with blood. If the egg is not fertilized, the ovary will release
progesterone, which causes the menstrual flow. This occurs every 28 days unless
it is interrupted by pregnancy or ended by menopause.
The symptoms of the onset of the
period as well as her own period may vary occasionally in each women. This is
usually normal, but it can sometimes be the result of something more serious.
There are three main categories of menstrual irregularities, they are painful
periods, lack of period and heavy periods.
Lack of period
There is often no cause for
concern, but occasionally it can be sign of an underlying problem. Menstruation
may not begin at puberty or for some reason periods stop during your adult life.
If periods have never occurred it may be hormonal problems, or it may signal ill
formed or non-existent ovaries, although this only occurs in very rare cases. If
periods have just stopped, it might be an indication that you have low levels of
oestrogen in your body, or there may be a lack of progesterone. Another common
reason for your periods ceasing is pregnancy. Sports injuries, stress, ovarian
cysts, excessive exercise, very low body fat and Anorexia nervosa can also cause
Eating foods rich in zinc (fish,
lean meats and poultry), and taking supplements such as Vitamin B complex (wheat
germ, brewer’s yeast), C, E, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and evening
primrose oil. Aromatherapy remedies include geranium, fennel or rose to regulate
your period. Put several drops into a carrier oil and then massage clockwise
into your abdomen. Fennel should not be used on epileptics or near them, and it
should not be used during pregnancy either.
Painful periods are quite normal
even though it is a slightly unpleasant problem. Painful periods can signal a
more serious condition though.
Doctors are not sure what the
exact cause of painful periods, although they believe that it may be the result
of an excess of prostaglandins, a substance which is released from the cells
lining the womb. It may also be caused by an underlying condition, such as an
infection, growths in the uterus or endometriosis.
Try eat a balanced diet consisting
of small meals throughout the day and try avoid salt, sugar and caffeine, rather
than eating three large meals a day. A multivitamin supplement containing
calcium, vitamin B complex, and magnesium may give you relief. Caffeine and
other stimulants should be avoided.
A heavy period can be classified
by a menstrual flow that lasts longer than 8 days, includes large clots of blood
or saturates tampons within an hour. Pelvic infection, use of an IUD, hormonal
imbalances, uterine growths or endometriosis can often cause heavy periods. Low
levels of progesterone, an excess of prostaglandins, or problems with ovulation
can also cause heavier periods.
Magnesium and calcium are known to
stop uterine muscle cramps and lessen the flow. A warm, relaxing bath, taking
analgesics and drinking herbal teas containing yarrow can help control the
bleeding and ease the discomfort.
Take a multivitamin supplement
that include vitamins A, B complex, C and E, calcium and iron. Try to also keep
within your normal weight range.
When to seek further professional
If you ever experience any sharp
abdominal pain before periods or during intercourse. You have a heavy menstrual
flow that fills a sanitary pad or tampon within an hour.
Lack of Period Natural
This herbal remedy helps initiate
menstrual flow - make a tincture of one part chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus),
two parts mugwort leaf (Artemisia argyi) and two parts blue cohosh (Caulophyllum
thalictroides); take 2 ml of this tincture three times a day until menstrual
Painful Period Natural Treatments
Most alternative therapies for
menstrual cramps focus on reducing tension in general or promoting the
relaxation of tense muscles. Chamomile rubbed on the lower abdomen, back and
legs is usually very helpful. A herbal remedy used to relieve cramps is to drink
a hot tea of 2 teaspoons cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) simmered for 15 minutes in
1 cup of water, use this 3 times daily. Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and
bromelain will also help relax muscles. Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) and
feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) can relax uterine muscles. Valerian
(Valeriana officinalis) helps relax cramping muscles, however, Valerian should
only be used for a limited time. A professional should be consulted for correct
dosage. Applying evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) over the painful area
can also bring relief, but do not use it if there is a chance that you may get
pregnant. Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), black haw (Viburnum lentago) and
black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) might help relieve tension, painful spasms
Heavy Period Natural Treatments
Aromatherapy practitioners find
that oils of juniper (Juniperus communis), geranium and cypress rubbed on the
abdomen, sometimes bring relief for women experiencing a heavy menstrual flow. A
herbal tea made from yarrow (Achillea millefolium) might help control bleeding.
A tincture made of equal parts of life root (Senecio aureus), wild cranesbill
(Geranium maculatum) and shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) have been
found quite beneficial.
Lack of Period Traditional
Waiting to see if nature takes its
course is usually the treatment for lack of periods. For a woman who exercises
strenuously or who is very thin, a doctor may advise that she try a lighter
training regimen or make an effort to gain weight. Treatment for anorexia
nervosa may be necessary. If you are worried make sure you see your doctor. All
possibilities should be looked into if your periods have stopped, stress is
often to blame so reducing the stress in your life often helps. If you are
underweight, try gain some weight and try maintain it. Treatment should be
sought if you have been diagnosed with some other condition that may be causing
amenorrhoea such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis, your doctor should be
consulted first for his advice.
Painful Period Traditional
Aspirin and other analgesics can
relieve mild discomfort, but if the pain is more intense you can try an over the
counter analgesic. If this treatment does not ease the condition see your
Heavy Period Traditional Treatment
Treatments usually consist of iron
and folic acid tablets to prevent anaemia and other deficiencies. Analgesics are
given for the pain and hormones are given to correct the imbalance in your
hormone levels. Minor surgery can be performed which often relieves the symptoms
of heavier periods. Your doctor should be consulted and more information should
be given before a decision is made though.
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