Period pain is a common visitor during women’s monthly menstrual cycles. Cramping in particular can leave some women bed ridden and others struggling to get through the day. If you are facing menstrual cramping, pain meds might feel like the only option.
However, a study has uncovered a natural remedy for menstrual pain that is proven to work: Omega 3s. These polyunsaturated fatty acids provide the body with many benefits, from strong vision to a lower incidence of chronic diseases (like heart disease).
Omega 3s may provide period pain relief
More recently, omega 3s have been thought to alleviate period pain. It is thought that omega-3s can reduce pain by reducing inflammation. A study published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics has proven that the pain reduction abilities of omega-3s are real.
The study examined 95 women between 18 and 22 years old. A group of 47 of them were given an omega-3 capsule every day for 3 months, and then given a placebo for 3 months. The rest were given the placebo first, then the omega-3 capsules. At any time, the women could take 400 mg of ibuprofen if they felt their menstrual pain was too much to bear.
The results of the study showed that in each group, the 3 months of omega-3 capsules resulted in much less pain.In particular, the women needed fewer doses of ibuprofen to get through their periods during those three months.
The omega-3s EPA and DHA can be produced naturally in the body from an omega-6 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA can be obtained through the diet.
Foods to supplement Omega 3s
However, the amounts of EPA and DHA that can be produced in this manner are small. In order to enjoy the full pain relief (and other health) benefits of omega-3s, you need to get them more directly from other foods. Foods such as fatty fish, supplements, fish oil, algae oil, and krill oil are all good sources of these omega-3s. In the study, the women received EPA and DHA in their omega-3 capsules.
That said, before you begin taking omega-3s to ease your period pain, check with your doctor to make sure your pain is not a symptom of uterine fibroids, adenomyosis or other issues (such as endometriosis). Your doctor can then help you determine how much omega-3 to take to give you relief from menstrual cramping.
Viva Eve may help alleviate period pain, too
If your cramps are worsened by the presence of uterine fibroids, VIVA EVE can help. We have years of experience in the treatment of both uterine fibroids and adenomyosis through uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). What’s more, we provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient. We’ll partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic symptoms.
Sources for information referenced in this post
- Linus Pauling Institute. (2014).Retrieved from Essential Fatty Acids.
- Tokuyama, S., & Nakamoto, K. (2011). Unsaturated fatty acids and pain. Biol Pharm Bull, Feb; 34(8): 1174-1178.
- Rahbar, N., Asgharzadeh, N, & Ghorbani, R. (2012). Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on intensity of primary dysmenorrhea. Int J Gynaecol Obstet, Apr; 117(1): 45-57.