A: Most women accept pain with their period as normal or something they have to live with. The truth is, you do NOT have to live with painful periods.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners address painful periods the same way we address any other health issue: we go to the root of the problem.
To get to the root, let’s look at what is causing your period cramps.
When you have strong uterine contractions, the blood supply to the uterus is momentarily shut down, depriving the uterine muscles of oxygen. When your uterus is deprived of good circulation the lack of warmth, blood, and energy cause the muscles to get tight and spasm. This is why you experience cramps and pain.
If the cramping pain is due to an identifiable medical problem such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease, your cramps may be even more extreme. All of this is caused by a blockage of blood and energy.
If you chill easily or eat a large amount of cold food or drinks, then you have what Chinese Herbalism calls a “cold uterus.” This will make your cramps even worse, because coldness restricts the free flow of blood and energy, as well as tightens the muscles.
So, this means one of the key ways to resolve your cramps is to introduce warmth into the uterus. The best way to do this is by adding Cinnamon & Poria to your herbal program for one month. This formula adds warmth, as well as increases circulation of blood and energy in this area. Cinnamon directly affects the uterus.
If you feel cramps coming on, then we recommend taking our formula, Peony and Licorice. Take 3-5 capsules as soon as you feel the pain beginning, or even beforehand, when you anticipate you might have pain. Repeat every few hours. This should get rid of or greatly reduce the cramps.
There are also some adjustments to your lifestyle you can make to rid yourself of cramps.
What to Avoid to Get Rid of Cramps:
1. Smoking – constricts the blood vessels
2. Alcohol – adds a lot of stress to your body and is known to prolong cramps
3. Cold drinks & food – restricts circulation of blood & energy, causing the uterus to tense up and cramp
4. Sugar – causes inflammation & negatively affects your blood sugar (limiting sugar also reduces mood swings)
Ideally, you would avoid these things all together, but we realize that’s not always realistic!
So, the most important time to avoid these foods and drinks is the week before your period and the week during your period.
Always apply heat (a heating pad or hot water bottle) to your abdomen before & during your period. Also, drink warm drinks (like tea or hot water with lemon) to really support your circulation and prevent cramping.
If you experience severe cramps, we have a few more steps you can take. First of all, start preparing in advance. We recommend taking Cinnamon and Poria all month long.
Then, the week before your period is due, take A Woman’s Vitality (2 capsules 2x/day). You can take it until the cramping is gone, but if you notice your bleeding is increasingly heavy, then stop. The formula is mean to warm and move blood and energy. It can’t harm you, but we don’t want you to unnecessarily bleed to heavily. If you use this formula regularly for 1-2 cycles, your cramps will be greatly reduced.