Menstrual cramps are not a normal “curse” of the menstrual cycle. They are a sign of an out of balance system. Many times it is caused by a general hormonal imbalance, but many times it is simply some nutritional deficiencies.
While NSAIDs can be used to suppress the pain of cramps, there are nutritional alternatives that can be even more effective, get to the root of why the cramps are there, and best of all, safer.
First of all is calcium. Calcium is needed for healthy muscle contraction. If you’ve been through an evaluation in our office, you more than likely already know if you are low in tissue calcium (remember, this is not blood calcium, but tissue calcium). If so, it is probably an easy solution for you. If you don’t know if you are calcium deficient or not, that’s okay, you can just test for it, as follows.
The test is simple: take 10 Calcium Lactate tablets at the onset of cramps. Most of the time, the cramps will be gone. If you still have cramps 30 minutes later, take 10 more. You can do that one more time, 30 minutes later. If it doesn’t work then, calcium deficiency may not be the cause. Be sure to use calcium lactate only, as the other calcium types may not be as effective.
If the 3 doses of calcium don’t work, we test Essential Fatty Acids. They are also responsible for healthy muscle contraction, as well as providing the raw materials needed to make hormones. The test is the same: 10 perles of Wheat Germ Oil, Cataplex F, Black Currant Seed Oil or Evening Primrose Oil. Repeat once or twice in 30 minute intervals as above.
Occasionally, both are needed. Essential Fatty Acids help pull calcium into the tissues. 5 Calcium Lactate plus 5 of either of the above EFA’s.
After determining which of the above works best, in the future, you can start taking the supplements at 6/day the week before your cycle to ward off the cramps. Most of the time that is all you will need. If not, taking 6-10 of calcium or EFA’s as needed will generally suffice.
If the above doesn’t remedy cramps, you have more of a hormonal imbalance and further evaluation will be needed to find out exactly what that is.
©2012 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.