Suffering from menstrual cramps can range from an annoyance to debilitating. Some women with cramps need to take over the counter NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) or prescription pain relievers to get through their day. If you’re experiencing intense menstrual cramps, there are natural steps to take to get back to feeling your best. In fact, a recent study shows just taking a calcium supplement can really help.
The study published in Pain Medicine was a randomized, double-blind trial of 85 women with severe primary dysmenorrhea. They followed three groups. One took 1,000 mg of calcium along with 5,000 IU vitamin D. The next group took calcium 1,000 mg by itself. The final group was given a placebo. The groups took the therapy from cycle day 15 until menstrual pain disappeared.
The results? Researchers found that the group taking calcium by itself experienced significantly decreased menstrual pain intensity. While research into menstrual cramp relief must continue, the results are very encouraging.
What Causes Menstrual Cramps?
Cramps are caused by uterine contractions and tied back to fluctuations in prostaglandin production (hormone-like chemicals) during the cycle. Problems like inflammation in the body, stress, poor diet or lifestyle worsen menstrual cramps for many women we work with.
Having a thick uterine lining, endometriosis, fibroids or adenomyosis can also lead to menstrual cramps. Severe cramps affect every area of your life: how you feel, how you function, and even your relationships. Finding relief is so important!
All About Calcium
Calcium is the body’s most plentiful mineral, with the teeth and bones containing especially high amounts. Yet, all your body’s cells need calcium to survive. Calcium is necessary for optimal enzyme activity and a healthy reproductive system. Calcium plays a role in conception, and in having a healthy birth and baby. A lack of minerals like calcium is well known to worsen cramps, like leg cramps, spasms, and menstrual cramps.
To help address the body’s high nutritional demand, calcium supplements are widely available and easy to take. Tip: If you think you need more calcium (many women do), I recommend learning about Coral Calcium, an excellent source of an alkaline, easily absorbable calcium and naturally occurring trace minerals.
Don’t Skip Calcium from Foods and Herbs
While people tend to associate calcium with dairy foods, calcium from fortified dairy products is actually hard for many people to absorb. If you choose dairy, organic raw milk and yogurt are the best choices for absorbability.
In addition, calcium can be absorbed through plant foods such as leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, figs, nuts and seeds like sesame seeds, white beans, seaweed and spirulina. Herbs like Nettles (Urtica dioica), Oatstraw (Avena sativa), and Red Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) are other good sources of calcium. In plant foods, calcium occurs naturally with magnesium, which offers a protective balance and increases its bioavailability.
If You’re in Pain from Cramps, Ask for Help
Very intense menstrual cramps are not normal and are a sign that your reproductive system needs support. If you’re experiencing severe cramps, work with your doctor, naturopath or Fertility Herbalist to determine possible causes and the best options for relief. We send you love and light as you heal and work towards vibrant reproductive health and an easy, more pain-free monthly cycle.
Resources to learn more:
12 Weeks to Improving Your Period
Menstruation Cramps: Benefits of Cramp Bark and Black Haw
UteriCalm for Painful Menstruation & Reproductive System Pain
Are You Getting Enough Calcium to Get Pregnant?
- Somayeh Z., et al. (2017, Jan.). Effects of Calcium-Vitamin D and Calcium-Alone on Pain Intensity and Menstrual Blood Loss in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine, Volume 18, Issue 1, Pages 3–13, https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnw121. Retrieved from:
- Menstrual Cramps. (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/symptoms-causes/syc-20374938
- Page, L. and Abernathy, S. (2012). Healthy Healing 14th Edition, Healthy Healing LLC.