Related Topics: Features, Hormones, PMS

The Pill and Period Pain – Read The Small Print

Can synthetic hormones help or is it bioidentical natural progesterone that really works?

AnnA Rushton

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.

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Alena | 1:08 pm, October 24th, 2012

It’s probably not PMS as your cycle isn’t nramol yet. It sounds like it could be PPD. I had it too, for a long time after I had my son. I went to a therapist (my work paid for it as it was affecting my performance) and she had a checklist of signs for PPD, and I was off the chart! I mean, I still felt like me, but I was so sad, disconnected, not happy, lack of concentration, anger- lots of anger at the world, and overall melancholy. I got some anti-depressants and they helped a lot. I was only on them a few months. Anyway It’s been two years and I am my old happy nramol self. So, I would totally recommend you call you OBGYN and tell him/her how you feel and you will get the help you need.

kicia | 7:36 pm, August 29th, 2012

I had massive painful periods ( i was vomiting from pain and always was on a drip in hospital) on top of that I had acne on my back and hair was growing on my chin. Yasmin pill saved my life and it seems that it solved my problems, however I red an article which indicated that there a loads of risk in taking this contraceptive pill. I have been on Yasmin from the moment it came on Polish market and I am scared that I might have some illness that I might don’t know about but also I have trauma from not taking the pill because of massive pain. I was told that I am missing certain hormone and I need to take them and there is no other method. To be honest I don’t want to take the pill anymore as I am putting myself at risk but I am afraid to quit as I don’t have any other alternative (I don’t want to take any contraception) method. I am scared to be in agony again….please, can you advise what to do? is there any other method, anything which will help me out with skin and painful period. Please, help….

wound healing | 1:55 pm, April 8th, 2012

Usually I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

wellsprings | 6:21 pm, February 16th, 2012

Jackie – we don;’t have specific details on your coil but we know Mirena contains a synthetic progestin (chemical progesterone) and your doctor or pharmacist should be able to give you a leaflet with more information on it. It is not possible to use Serenity alongside it as they will compete for the same receptor sites but you may find this article by Dr Jeffrey DAch of interest as it contains information about an alternative coil which is not hormone impregnated:

jackie | 6:08 pm, February 16th, 2012

would it be possible to tell me a little bit about the coil mirena) and painfull ovulation…..every single month its hell and cant take it out because of too heavy bleeding 🙁

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