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Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) is defined as a condition of severe uterine pain during menstruation. Some women may experience periodic pains during or prior to, or after menstrual periods in the lower abdomen as resulting of over production of certain hormones in the prostaglandins family. In traditional Chinese medicine, dysmenorrhea is defined as a pain in the lower abdomen, appearing with menstrual cycle that can spread over to the whole abdomen and lumbosacral region, depending to diagnosis.
Types of dysmenorrhea
1. Primary dysmenorrhea
Primary dysmenorrhea is defined as no underlying cause for menstrual cramps or difficult menstruation occurring just before or during menstruation. It occurs about 90% in the girls in the first 2 years of menstruation. Some researchers suggested that it may be caused immature of the reproductive organs.
2. Secondary dysmenorrhea
Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by gynecological diseases. including hormone imbalance, endometriosis, fibromas, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc.
B. In Herbal Medicine Perspective
Ginger is most commonly used in western medicine in treating dysmenorrhea for a long period of time due to its stimulated function of anti- inflammation, spasmolytic, and circulation. Ginger helps to inhibit cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes that cause menstrual cramps.
2. Herbal tea
Herbal tea contains high amounts of phytochemicals that helps to relax stomach and uterus muscles resulting in reduced or no menstrual cramps. Drinking herbal tea until the cramping subsides is recommended.
3. Cramp Bark
Cramp bark is a a uterine tonic. It is used to relieve cramps and spasm of all kinds, to treat uterine and ovarian pain, dysmenorrhea as well as relaxing uterine muscle.
4. Raspberry leaf
Raspberry leaf has been used in traditional herbal therapy for a variety of conditions relating to the female reproductive tract, especially during pregnancy and to facilitate delivery. It is a uterine tonic that helps to relax the uterine muscles resulting in reduced menstrual cramps.
Pennyroyal is a relaxant and stimulant. It has the same property of relaxing the uterine muscle like raspberry leaf, and has been used for treating menstrual cramps.
Mugwort has been used in Chinese medicine to relieve pain by promoting blood circulation, restoring depressed liver by invigorating the flow of qi , regulating menstruation and alleviating pain as well as irregular menstruation and dysmenorrhea.
Cinnamon is a highly antioxidant and anti-inflammation herb enhancing inhibition of the metabolism of prostaglandins, intake of cinnamon tea will help to reduce menstrual cramps. Overdose of cinnamon is toxic to your kidney and liver.
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