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  • Writer's pictureKayla Ruschkowski

Menstrual Cramps: Naturopathic Approaches

Menstrual cramps are one of the most common problems affecting women. The medical term for menstrual cramps is Dysmenorrhea, and the condition is divided into primary or secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs without an identifiable underlying condition, whereas secondary dysmenorrhea occurs as a result of another disease or pelvic condition. It is important to see a licensed primary healthcare practitioner to rule out underlying causes of dysmenorrhea. As a Naturopathic Doctor serving Kamloops, BC, and Merritt, BC, I have helped many clients with their menstrual cramps.

Causes of menstrual cramps can vary and include hormone imbalances, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, congenital malformations, narrowing of the cervical opening, uterine fibroids, and polyps. There are also lifestyle factors that are risk factors, including smoking and being overweight or underweight.

Naturopathic approaches include nutritional modifications, natural anti-inflammatories for pain relief (such as curcumin and ginger), antispasmodic herbs (such as viburnum and valerian), hormone balancing, acupuncture, and physical medicine. Naturopathic doctors treat the individual as a whole person and work towards correcting the underlying causes of dysmenorrhea. For example, spinal alignment, irregular bowel movements and high stress may all contribute to dysmenorrhea. A good medical history will uncover contributing factors such as these.

Naturopathic guidance can help you make nutritional, exercise, and lifestyle changes to help relieve dysmenorrhea. ND's can also provide supplemental and botanical treatments for evidence-based pain relief. Viburnum Opulus (Crampbark) and Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) are two examples of herbs that significantly reduce dysmenorrhea pain. Always discuss safe and appropriate dosing with your naturopathic doctor.

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