Menstrual cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, are the throbbing sensation felt in the lower abdomen. It occurs before and during a woman’s menstrual period and can last for a few days. The cramps can also be intense enough to hinder normal activities.
Are Menstrual Cramps Normal?
Menstrual pain is common because prostaglandin, a hormone associated with pain, is released from the uterine lining. The pain decreases with age and after childbirth. However, certain medical conditions can also cause pain during menstruation. These include endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cervical stenosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Learning pain management for menstrual cramps is a smart thing do to for women because they will experience the pains probably until menopausal. Fortunately, these can be alleviated by inhaling certain essential oils.
Listed below are essential oils recommended by a Natural Med Doc as alternatives for relieving menstrual cramps:
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is obtained through the distillation of the flower spikes of a lavender species. There are two forms of lavender essential oil:
Lavender flower oil: a colorless oil that is insoluble in water
Lavender spike oil: a distillate from Lavandula latifolia.
This essential oil is a favorite in pain management Phoenix due to its inflammatory properties. During menstruation, the uterus sheds out the inner lining and then tries to push it out the vagina through contraction and expansion. As a result, the uterus and surrounding tissues and blood vessels become inflamed.
The lavender essential oil contains active ingredients that reduce inflammation and relax the muscles.
2. Rose essential oil
According to aromatherapy experts, when essential oils are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, they stimulate the brain region that influences emotions.
When rose essential oil is combined with cinnamon, clove, lavender, and almond oils and used for abdominal massage, the intensity of menstrual pains can be decreased. According to a study published in 2013, women who massaged their abdomen using this oil blend once a day for 7 days before their period experienced less painful menstruation. The duration of the cramps was also shorter.
Another research published in 2015 discovered that had aromatherapy using rose oil experienced a less painful second cycle compared to those who applied unscented almond oil.
3. Clove Essential Oil
Clove essential oil’s earthy with a hint of spice scent can be comforting especially during menstruation. It is essential to include stress relief in your pain management because stress tends to intensify the pain.
This essential oil is used by numerous women to relieve menstrual cramps because it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties. When absorbed by the body, it is believed to reduce inflammation, resulting in less pain and bleeding. Some also claim that aromatherapy using clove essential oil shortened the duration of their periods.
4. Ylang-ylang Essential Oil
This essential oil is extracted from the Cananga tree, a tropical tree native in the Philippines, India, Malaysia, and Australia.
In a 2019 study, participants who applied ylang ylang oil experienced an increase in skin temperature and a decrease in blood pressure. On a behavioral aspect, the ratings on feeling calmer after the experiment are higher compared to the control group. These reports can support that ylang ylang oil can contribute to relieving stress and mood swings associated with menstruation. Furthermore, its ability to decrease blood pressure can also help reduce menstrual pains.
5. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is obtained from the extract of a spearmint-watermint plant hybrid. It has been recorded to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can be extremely helpful for women suffering from insufferable menstrual pains.
The minty scent of this essential oil can put you in a more relaxed mood and can improve you to cope with pain better. Some people are claiming that it relieves headaches.
Furthermore, studies found out that peppermint oil improves gastrointestinal irritation and helps control natural flora within the GI.
How to Use Essential Oils for Menstrual Pain
There are 3 ways to experience the benefits of the aforementioned essential oils. Take note that their efficacy may vary depending on the application.
Essential oils can relieve pain when massaged on the affected area. You may use one essential oil or an oil blend.
Drop some oils in the diffuser, or into your tub before a warm shower. A good bath and a natural scent should put you in a better mood.
It is crucial to make certain that the essential oils you purchased as safe for consumption or in the food grade. Consulting a healthcare professional first is advised. Also, purchase only from licensed distributors.
Many studies support that essential oils have various health benefits. However, as of now these are only considered alternatives. If the cramps are unbearable every menstruation and last longer than usual, it is advised to visit a gynecologist right away.