Every time there is a scare about the Pill or HRT there follows as night the day a positive take on them for some new way they can be helpful for a different function than the one they were designed for. This time it is relief for period pains, which is certainly needed by many women with between 50 and 75 per cent suffering at any one time.
There is ‘convincing evidence’ that the medicine can lessen the effect of painful menstrual cycles according to a Swedish study published in the journal Human Reproduction. Many GPs already prescribe the Pill to women who are affected by PMS and the lead researcher of the study, Dr Ingela Lindh, said the Pill can improve working ability and reduce the need for painkillers among women suffering from period pain. She says:
‘Our study has clearly indicated a beneficial influence of COCs [combined oral contraceptives] on the prevalence and severity of dysmenorrhoea. Period pain is known to decline with age but oral contraceptives have an independent and greater role in relieving pain.’
So far nothing to argue with, but the common misconception is yet again repeated in the accompanying press release which states that ‘Contraceptive pills, which contain oestrogen and progesterone’ – well no they don’t. They contain synthetic progestins which are not at all the same thing.
The role of bioidentical progesterone in helping with PMS
The dangers of synthetic progestins and their associated health risks are well known and before taking the Pill to deal with them it is worth exploring other avenues. Certainly using supplemental progesterone has been well established for PMS as Dr. John R. Lee, found when using Transdermal Natural Progesterone Cream in his practice for more than 17 years.
In twenty years of clinical practice Dr. Lee observed the consistent benefits and safety of natural progesterone therapy. He said:
|“Though not completely understood, PMS (PMT) most commonly represents an individual reaction to oestrogen dominance, secondary to relative progesterone deficiency. Appropriate treatment requires correction of this hormone imbalance and the most effective technique, at present, for achieving this is supplemental Transdermal Natural Progesterone Cream”
Two excellent articles that shed further light on this can be found here: first Dr David Zava, and then by Dame Dr Shirley Bond:
Additional Help – The Influence of Diet
If you want to give yourself the best chance of minimizing period pains then it is worth paying attention to your diet and particularly the role of prostaglandins. These are both good and bad: the bad news is that they can cause pain, inflammation and fever and the good is they can relax blood vessels (thus helping cramping), improve circulation, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation and improve nerve function.
What you want is to encourage the good prostaglandins and you easily can do this by reducing the ‘bad’ ones found in caffeine (all sources including coffee, energy drinks and colas and chocolate) so reduce that and also cut out saturated fat as they encourage the body to produce the prostaglandins that affect cramping.
Increase the good ones by eating more essential fats from foods such as oily fish, as well as nuts and seeds, as essential fats are vital for your body to produce good prostaglandins. The Omega 3 fatty acids contain vital nutrients that provide the raw materials for the production of good prostaglandins so supplementing with these. You could also add in a multivitamin and mineral containing good levels of the B vitamins as research has shown that the B vitamins can significantly reduce the intensity of period pains), as has vitamin E which has been shown to reduce painful periods. On the mineral front magnesium is helpful as it acts as a muscle relaxant for your womb and zinc which converts essential fatty acids into beneficial prostaglandins.