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The monthly menstrual cycle for many women can be a painful experience which
ranges in intensity from mild discomfort at best, to a state of complete
incapacitation for up to fifteen days of the cycle. Too many women suffer this
common but debilitating condition unnecessarily.
Dysmenorrhea (painful or difficult menstrual periods) may be attributable to a
variety of possible causes. There are many theories, and the excessive action
of a small endocrine structure within the ovarian follicle known as the corpus
luteum, which secretes progesterone is often considered to be at fault. An
excess of prostaglandins are thought to be a possible cause also.
Prostaglandins are a group of biologically active fatty acid derivatives which
are present in many tissues and which affect the cardiovascular system, smooth
muscle and stimulate the uterus to contract. Hormonal imbalance or instability
has also been considered a possible antagonist as it causes the endometrial
lining of the uterus to become thickened, later detaching from the uterus in
large pieces during the period. The associated pain is considered to result
from spasm of the uterine walls.
There is also the possibility of dysmenorrhea being the result of an emotional
factor such as depression, anxiety or some unresolved internal conflict or
stress which seems to interfere with the normal estrogen/progesterone balance.
In situations where there is an underlying emotional factor, it is obvious that
effective treatment must be targeted to include the emotional imbalance before
the dysmenorrhea will abate.
The conventional treatment of dysmenorrhea recommends warm applications and rest
together with a variety of analgesics to control pain but which may cause
stomach irritation. Antispasmodics such as atropine which relax smooth muscle
are also routinely used. To correct the hormonal imbalance the contraceptive
pill is sometimes employed to suppress ovulation so that progesterone build-up
does not occur. Anti-prostaglandin drugs such as Naprosyn, which inhibit their
build-up are also tried. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used in an attempt to
relieve inflammation and subsequent pain.
Throughout history ill health has been viewed from two fundamentally different
perspectives. The first view-point is that illness is a malfunction of specific
components of the body and symptoms are seen as the disease itself. Treatment
is aimed at removing the symptoms through suppressive drugging or removing the
actual suffering parts surgically. Orthodox medicine works with this concept
and patterns its treatment accordingly.
The second viewpoint is that disease is a result of a deeper disturbance or
imbalance of the vital life energy affecting the person as a whole, of which
symptoms are simply the outward manifestation. In a state of health the vital
energy controls all sensations and functions of the organism and keeps
everything in harmonious balance. It causes cells to reproduce and regenerate,
organs to function, hair and nails to grow, etc. When it leaves us at death our
bodies then begin to degenerate, disintegrate and decay. Homeopathic medicine
recognizes the concept of a vital energy and focuses its treatment on resolving
the underlying imbalance of that energy so that the organism may return
naturally to healthy functioning. When the organism is rebalanced the symptoms
go away of their own accord.
Symptoms, whether physical, emotional or psychological, are expressions of the
imbalance. In homeopathy, treatment is based upon the totality of symptoms
expressed on all levels and not solely on the specific condition or disease.
The task of the homeopathic doctor is to match the total picture of symptoms and
individualizing characteristics provided by the patient with the indicated
The matching of remedy to patient is done via a comparison of the known curative
action of the remedy to the similar total symptom picture presented by the
patient. The result of this matching of ‘similars’ is to stimulate the vital
or life energy of the organism to return to normal functioning, thereby
ameliorating symptoms and restoring health.
With this approach to healing it follows that two people presenting with the
same disease-label, i.e. asthma, arthritis, dysmenorrhea, etc., would probably
be given quite different homeopathic remedies because they would almost surely
express their illness differently and uniquely. Their symptoms would differ
somewhat from one another. Their heredity, metabolism, personalities, likes and
dislikes, psychological and emotional states would be unique to them. These are
factors of great importance when deciding upon a homeopathic prescription for an
So, women presenting with dysmenorrhea may be prescribed one of several possible
remedies depending on the total symptom picture (psychological, emotional and
physical) of that person.
For example, Pulsatilla may be indicated if the person’s nature is shy, gentle,
easy-going but sad and moody with a tendency to cry easily. They have a need
for consolation. Their moods are changeable as are their physical symptoms. In
fact, everything is variable in the Pulsatilla patient. Their periods may stop
and start or be different every time. Shivering often accompanies the pain and
there is usually a lack of thirst. They are aggravated by heat and hot, stuffy
rooms and are improved by being outside in the open air and moving around. If
these signs are present and the specific symptoms of the case indicate
Pulsatilla, it can produce a remarkable amelioration of the condition.
Women who are very irritable during periods which are often late, scanty, and
last a few hours with cramps extending down the thighs may benefit from
Viburnum. They have bearing-down pains before the period and the ovarian region
feels heavy and congested. They may also have spasmodic or membranous
dysmenorrhea with aching in the sacrum and pubic region with a sensation of
Magnesia phosphorica may be appropriate for sudden, intolerable spasmodic pains
which make the patient cry out. They may lament about their terrible pains and
may be unable to think clearly. The pains begin and end suddenly and tend to be
erratic and cramp-like. They are improved by exposure to heat and by leaning
forward and doubling-up, and are aggravated by exposure to cold. The pains are
Colocynthis is another remedy with similar symptoms but the pains are
Another possible remedy is Platina. There is colic, together with a cramping
pain in the left ovarian region, associated with extreme vaginal
hypersensitivity and constipation. Periods are early, heavy and often dark with
clots. The overall mood is one of restless agitation, suspicion and haughty
authority, with underlying anxiety and an inability to relax.
A couple of case examples will illustrate the variety of symptomatology
experienced in cases such as these.
A woman aged 34, had painful periods with pressing down pains in the lower
abdomen as if every thing would pass out from her vagina. She would sit with
her legs crossed which made her feel somewhat more secure and relieved the awful
bearing-down sensation she was experiencing. The pain during menses increased
up to the third day and she could not move from the bed. She was irritable and
depressed because of this and would often lash out verbally at her partner with
little provocation. She also had abdominal distension and pain. Her menstrual
flow was scanty with colicky pain in abdomen for the first few days of her
period. Sepia cured her troubles quickly.
A 17 year old girl always had painful menstruation with backache as soon as it
started. During her period she would pass dark pieces of clotted blood. This
was because the endometrium or mucosa was also inflamed and received a greater
supply of blood but it shed into large or small pieces, or clots, during her
periods. She was quite depressed and gloomy during her periods which alternated
with loquacity. She would talk non-stop about anything and everything at these
She also had cramping, or griping pains in the lower abdomen with inflammation
of the ovaries with neuralgic pains which were worse in her right ovary.
Magnesia phosphorica partially relieved her symptoms, and this was followed by
Cimicifuga which cured of the dysmenorrhoea.
There are many different possible remedies which may be appropriate for any
given case. The ultimate choice is made after considering all the possible
factors, signs and symptoms. A remedy is chosen that is most similar to the
total symptom picture expressed by the woman concerned. It often requires
considerable skill and precision in order to make the appropriate choice and it
is wise to consult an experienced homeopath to assist you.
Homeopathy is a centuries-old system of natural medicine that was extremely
popular in Canada and the United States during the latter part of the 19th and
early 20th century. It was so popular in fact that homeopathic hospitals were
present in major Canadian cities including Toronto and Montreal, and Canada’s
first female physician, Emily Stowe, was a homeopathic doctor.
It declined in popularity, partly due to the advent of the so-called
‘wonder-drugs’ in the 1940s and 1950s, but is now making a distinct comeback as
more and more people are disillusioned with the mechanistic and impersonal
nature of modern medicine. Also the fact that homeopathy has a documented
history of over two hundred years of cured cases to its credit, as well as an
untarnished record of safety and gentleness of action, has provided the impetus
for many to rediscover what this amazing system of natural medicine can
Treating painful periods usually requires professional homeopathic treatment to
improve this condition substantially. It is recommend that you consult with a
well-qualified homeopath if you want to be pain free in your monthly cycle.