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Dysmenorrhea is most commonly known as menstrual cramps. It is commonly associated with throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. A large number of women have menstrual cramps right before and during their menstruation period.

For some women, it could be nothing more than an annoyance. For others, it can be a serious problem that intervenes with their daily activities when they are menstruating. The pain can be spasms in the abdominal area that leads to the thighs. The pain could be dull and constant for some women while for others it can have intense spasms. This varies from person to person, and differs with every period.

Symptoms Of Dysmenorrhea

Some symptoms of menstrual cramps are:

  • Throbbing or cramping pain in your lower abdomen that can be intense or consistent
  • Abdominal pain that starts 1 to 3 days before the onset of your period, peaks 24 hours after the onset of your period and begins to subside in 2 to 3 days
  • Dull, continuous ache
  • Pain that radiates to your lower back and thighs

Some women may also experience:

  • Nausea
  • Loose stools
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Causes of Painful Menstruation

For most women, period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb begins to contracts. Minor contractions consistently occur in the womb, but it is usually so mild that most women do not notice them.

During menstruation, the wall of the womb starts to contract more consistently to help the womb lining shed.

When the uterine wall contracts, it compresses the blood vessels lining your womb. This temporarily removes the blood and oxygen supply to the womb. Due to the lack of oxygen to the uterine wall, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that trigger pain.

While the body is releasing these pain-triggering chemicals, it’s also producing another group of chemicals known as prostaglandins. These encourage the uterine muscles to contract even more, further increasing the amount of pain.

It is not known why certain women experience greater period pain than others. It could be that a build-up of prostaglandins in certain women causes this, which means they experience more severe contractions.

Certain women could experience severe period pains from medical conditions, but these typically affect women who are around the age of 30 to 45.

Ways To Reduce Period Pain Naturally

While painkillers are considered the normal method of treatment, there are natural methods that are not only safe, but can significantly improve the current situation for the individual suffering from dysmenorrhea. These treatment methods not only significantly reduce the discomfort, but also have little to no side effects when used appropriately.

Red Clover

Red clover was originally used as a tonic and a sedative. But over time the value of the plant has increased, especially for women. It is used by many for fertility due to its ability to help regulate female hormones. Red Clover is also seen as one of the best known herbs for acne and other skin conditions, especially hormone related acne.

Red clover aids in improving the circulatory function; which is important to have, especially circulation to the genitals for reproductive function. Red Clover has been shown to increase cervical mucus, aiding vaginal dryness.

Red Clover is high in both calcium and magnesium. These are essential to proper bone formation as well as smooth muscle function. Both calcium and magnesium consumed regularly in foods like Red Clover help to reduce menstrual cramps. This helps the smooth muscles to relax and as a result it helps to relieve pain.


Thyme is not just a wonderful herb to add to your foods. It is commonly used in herbal preparations and remains a treasured herb for herbalists.

What makes this herb especially important in this scenario is that it calms abdominal cramps. This is due to the antispasmodic effect of the key chemical in the plant- thymol.

Thyme improves progesterone production while naturally balancing hormones. This, along with the ability to thin blood and reduce spasms makes it a valuable herb for those suffering with period pain. In a study they found that thyme reduced painful menstruation by 68%.

Thyme also reduces the onset of menopause due to its hormone balancing effect towards the body.


Calendula is not only a pretty flower, its also a fantastic form of medicine!

Calendula is an anti-inflammatory and soothes painful inflammation by bringing oxygen to the affected area. This helps reduce the pain from the reduction of oxygen caused by the prolactin.

Calendula also helps to treat heavy periods by reducing the bleeding. This can be attributed to the antihemorrhagic effect of this herb. Calendula also helps to soothe muscle cramps in the abdominal area.

This little herb also has one more trick up its sleeve- its astringent. This means that it tightens tissues, which helps to cause the shedding of the uterine lining to happen faster, which will reduce the amount of time that the pain persists.

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds have been found to be effective for period pains. in 2012 a study found that women of multiple ages found relief from taking 30mg fennel seed extract 4 times a day. The reason for fennels ability to alleviate pain is due to it lowering the level of prostaglandins in blood circulation

So a cup of fennel tea might be the solution you need for severe period pain.

Add Heat

Adding pain could alleviate pain. A study in 2018 found that adding heat could help with period pain as effectively as pain medications. A simple bottle of warm water could be a great way to help treat pain when it feels overwhelming. If carrying a warm bottle isn’t your thing, then a hot bath is a great way to relax and to reduce the pain (don’t forget to add your epsom salts!).

Epsom Salts

Epsom salts (magnesium suphate) is a common remedy for period pain. The magnesium helps to relax the contracting of muscles and reduce stress levels due to it acting as a vasodilator. It reduces blood pressure and relieves any tension in the muscles.

To use Epsom salts for pain add half a cup in a bath of water. Sit in it for at least 40 minutes so that it can be absorbed through the skin.

When To See A Doctor

See your health care provider if:

  • Menstrual cramps disrupt your life every month
  • Your symptoms progressively worsen
  • You just started having severe menstrual cramps after age 25