Disturbances in the menstrual cycle can be of various kinds and can be due to a wide number of factors, so it is essential to take a broad, holistic view of health. For persistent problems or if self-help does not correct matters, do seek professional help.
Home remedies for Menstrual Problems
Aromatherapy - In order to get relief from painful periods, with cramping pains, a gentle and slow abdominal massage may be needed. Using oils which aid relaxation of muscle spasm, such as Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon Balm or Marjoram, will help a great deal. If massage cannot be tolerated, try using a few drops of one of these oils in a hot ; the abdomen. Lemon Balm, often called Melissa oil after its Latin name, also has a generally balancing effect on the menstrual cycle.
Many essential oils have an stimulating effect on the uterine muscles, and need to be avoided in pregnancy, or suspected pregnancy - used as above; they may be useful in scanty or irregular bleeding. Avoid all essential oils if in doubt that pregnancy is a possible cause and get professional advice and treatment.
Herbalism - Menstrual disorders are an area where herbal medicine comes into its own for two reasons: firstly, many herbs have quite significant hormonal effects and, secondly, the holistic approach of herbalism means treatment can help restore overall balance much better than simply using synthetic hormones.
Painful periods may be relieved in the first place by taking infusions of either Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) or Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita). More severe cramping can be eased with a decoction (see page 12) of either Cramp Bark (European Cranberry Bush) (Viburnum opulus) or Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) - both of these taste quite disgusting, so may be better in tablet form (up to 5 g).
Heavy periods may be regulated by infusions of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) or more strongly by Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) or White Deadnettle (Lamium album) - these are also all useful to drink to reduce leucorrhoea, or discharge, between periods; if anaemia is suspected, try drinking ordinary Nettle tea regularly. Some herbal remedies are perhaps best left to professional practice, especially when hormonal imbalances are behind the symptoms.
TYPES OF MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS
Lack of periods altogether (or amenorrhea) can happen due to emotional traumas, excessive exercise, sharp swings in weight such as loss brought on by anorexia or physical debility; irregular periods may result from similar causes, and of course both disturbances can happen when going into the menopause. More commonly for many women, periods may become too painful (dysmenorrhoea) - this may be due to a hormonal. Excessively heavy menstrual bleeding (or menorrhagia) may happen without any obvious cause, but can also indicate more complex disorders such as fibroids or pelvic infection. A potential problem with menorrhagia is the risk of becoming anemic. Finally, don't forget one of the most obvious reasons for lack of periods - pregnancy!
Homeopathy - The need for professional help in complex cases also applies to homeopathic treatment, but here are a few possible remedies for occasional problems:
ACONITE: for suppressed menstruation due to a sudden shock or from getting thoroughly chilled (getting cold feet, literally or metaphorically).
NAT MUR : for irregular periods, which may be profuse when they do start; associated with feelings of general sadness and when possibly the delay is due to emotional upset.
PULSATILLA: for painful, spasmodic and scanty periods most often linked to tension; can be helpful when periods have failed to start in puberty.
Naturopathy - Exercise is beneficial in improving blood flow through the pelvic basin. During a period this may speed up the bleeding but will also probably shorten the length of the bleeding, and reduce muscle spasm. Hot and cold applications to the lower abdomen and back will have similar effects - these can be done by finishing a shower by reducing the temperature for a few seconds, or by splashing with cool water at the end of a bath, or even using hot/cold compresses. A diet high in natural fiber from vegetables, fruit, pulses, beans and whole grains will not only provide nourishment for the reproductive system but will also help to avoid constipation which can accompany painful periods.
Useful supplements may include calcium, preferably with magnesium, to ease painful cramps if taken just prior to and during the period (around 500 mg). Vitamin E, up to 300 iu daily, may be useful during this time of the cycle too, especially if periods are scanty and painful. Both iron and folic acid may be required if there is any sign of anemia.
Self-help Measures and Other Home remedy for Menstrual Problems
A major factor for many women in producing disturbances of the menstrual cycle is excessive stress. This can cause irregular, scanty or painful periods for instance. Changes in lifestyle, to include more opportunities for relaxation, perhaps increased exercise and an improved diet, can have a dramatic effect on hormone levels and menstrual patterns. Another potential cause of irregular periods is sudden and drastic dieting. Excessive dieting is never a good idea, and can result in the temporary loss of period's altogether. If you need to lose weight, do it gradually and under the guidance of a professional dietician or your family doctor. Natural forms of medicine and treatment may be required alongside self-help, but don't neglect the latter.
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