Although common, period pain is not normal. Many people tend to assume that period pain (medically termed dysmenorrhea) is a normal part of a women’s menstrual cycle due to how common it is, however if you’re experiencing dysmenorrhea, this is a clear indication that there's underlying inflammation and/or an imbalance.
Primary dysmenorrhea is as a result of prostaglandins (pro-inflammatory mediators) being released in the uterus. If your oestrogen dominant, this increases the amount of prostaglandins released and causes period pain. Primary dysmenorrhea tends to linger for the first one to two days of your cycle, whereas secondary dysmenorrhea is characterized by more severe pain at various phases throughout a menstrual cycle and is typically mediated by underlying medical disturbances such as endometriosis.
As a naturopath, I aim to investigate the underlying cause of period pain and treat it holistically through nutritional, lifestyle and herbal medicine. However natural remedies for symptomatic relief can be explored on your own including the following:
- Optimize your intake of cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables help to support oestrogen metabolism and excrete excess hormones via the liver. Focus on consuming broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, rocket, bok choy, cauliflower, and silverbeet.
- Magnesium! Consuming magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, whole-grains, legumes, almonds, and dark chocolate help with muscle relaxation. Alternatively, you can soak in a magnesium-rich Epsom salt bath.
- Reduce your consumption of refined, processed and artificially sweetened foods. These types of foods are inflammatory which exacerbate inflammation and pain. Opt for anti-inflammatory nutrients instead such as turmeric, ginger, and berries.
- Stretching and yoga help to stimulate blood flow to move stagnant blood/energy.
- Castor oil compress! Castor oil, when applied topically, has been shown to reduce inflammation, sensitivity and pain.
How to Make a Castor Oil Compress
- Castor oil
- Flannel fabric (enough to spread over your abdomen a few times)
- Bath towel
- Hot water bottle
- Glass roller container (to pour the castor oil into and apply directly onto the abdomen to minimize the mess!)
- Change into some old clothes as you can get slightly oily/stained!
- Place towel on a flat surface where you’ll be able to comfortably lay down
- Fill your hot water bottle with boiling water
- Using the glass roller container, apply castor oil onto your skin on your abdomen region
- Once you’ve applied the castor oil onto your abdomen, place the flannel fabric on top by wrapping it around your waist a few times (not too tightly though)
- Apply a hot water bottle on top of the flannel and rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Need individual support?
Contact Tayla via email email@example.com, Instagram @curawellness.co or book in for a naturopathic consultation (available to anyone in Australia).
Briden, L. (2017). Period repair manual 2nd ed.
Kennedy, D. A., & Keaton, D. (2012). Evidence for the topical application of castor oil. International
Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, 5(1). Retrieved from
Jo, J., & Lee, S. H. (2018). Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and
meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life. Scientific reports, 8(1), 16252.
Trickey, R. (2011). Women, hormones & the menstrual cycle. Fairfield, VIC