Do you dread your monthly cycle due to painful cramps? It’s estimated that 50%-70% of all women experience some degree of period pain and cramping.
What causes these painful cramps in the first place?
The explanation lies in the fact that a woman’s uterus must shed its lining each month– and this job requires uterine contractions. As the uterus contracts, blood vessels that supply the uterus become constricted, reducing blood flow – sometimes painfully. For some women, the hormonal changes that trigger menstruation may be more pronounced, causing the uterus to contract even more vigorously – and more painfully.
Happily – homeopathy can really help.
Remember - the key to choosing the correct/helpful remedy is always the same. One must match the “characteristic symptoms” (i.e., unusual or peculiar) of the person you are caring for (not the common ones like headache, sore throat, cough, fever, etc.) to a remedy capable of producing similar characteristic symptoms to have success. If you choose a remedy with characteristics most similar to the characteristic symptoms of your family member, you should have a happy outcome every time. If you don't - you or they will either feel no effect or one that is mildly positive at best, but there is never a bad effect from choosing the “wrong” remedy.
Here is a list of the homeopathic remedies most often recommended for this problem:
- Belladonna: A woman needing this homeopathic remedy will generally feel throbbing pains that can be worse on the right side. The cramping often comes on very suddenly and violently. There can be a sensation of fullness in the uterus as well. The flow is often profuse, bright red and at times, gushing. Motion of any kind will exacerbate the pain.
- Cactus grandifolia: Someone needing this homeopathic remedy suffers with extremely painful cramps – the cramps feel as though there is a tight, gripping band across the abdomen. In some cases, your patient will actually cry out with pain. The flow tends to be clotted - with pain as each clot is passed. There may also be throbbing pain near the ovary.
- Chamomilla: A woman needing this homeopathic remedy will experience intense, labor-like pain with the flow. The pain can be felt extending down the inner thighs. The flow itself is often profuse, dark and clotted with occasional gushing of bright red blood. Patients needing this remedy are often hypersensitive to pain and exceptionally irritable and cranky. They often feel better from rocking and from cold applications and worse while lying in bed.
- Colocynthis: Someone needing this homeopathic remedy will experience cramping that is less painful if they bend double or put hard pressure on the painful area (this is a keynote for this remedy). The pain may be so intense that they vomit. This patient may also be irritable and cranky. They are often worse from anger and from lying on the painless side (better from pressure).
- Magnesia phosphorica: In my experience this is the pre-eminent remedy for period cramps – if the picture fits... a woman needing this remedy will have cramping pain that is particularly relieved by heat (perhaps the key to this remedy) – and to a lesser degree pressure. Most of the painful cramping occurs before the onset of menses – with relief coming with the flow. The flow is often dark in color. Hot baths typically bring relief.
- Nux vomica: Someone needing this homeopathic remedy will have the classic Nux vomica picture – irritable, impatient, easily offended and chilly (this last point being perhaps more pronounced with the pain). The cramping can at times extend over the whole body and they may also feel an urge for a bowel movement with each painful cramp. The flow is typically early, profuse and lasts too long.
How to dose:
Dose with either a 30C or 200C potency to start - placing one pellet under the tongue or one pellet in water, stirring vigorously and taking teaspoon doses as needed. Always cease dosing when relief begins and only redose if symptoms again worsen. As with any medical condition, consult with your physician if you have any concerns about the severity of your condition as it may first require medical diagnosis and/or intervention and monitoring.
Remember - the key to choosing the correct remedy is ALWAYS the same. Match the characteristic symptoms of the patient to the characteristic symptoms produced by our many remedies – choosing the remedy with the most similar characteristics. If you try a few remedies with disappointing results, don’t give up! If you can see a professional homeopath and determine the “general” remedy you need overall, this step will surely help with the cramps and any other PMS symptoms you experience.
About Dr. Lisa Samet:
Dr. Lisa Samet N.D. provides Washington Homeopathic Products with a weekly column on using homeopathy for the family. She's a naturopathic physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine and she's a partner with Dr. Andre Saine N.D. Dr. Samet graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and has been practicing in Montreal since then. She was born and raised in New York.
Dr. Samet has chosen to focus on homeopathy because in her experience it is the deepest healing modality available in that it does not just soothe or palliate symptoms but can actually stimulate the body to start to heal itself. Dr. Samet sees patients in her Montreal office as well as remotely using Skype. Learn more here: Dr. Lisa Samet