Ginger for Menstrual Pain

salvia officinalis pic

Ginger for Menstrual Pain

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is a cyclic recurrence of a group of symptoms that happen a week or two before a woman’s period. In over 75% of the cases, too much estrogen relative to progesterone contributes to a range of PMS symptoms including: breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches and cramps or menstrual pain. Menstrual pain, or dysmenorrhea, is more common in younger women particularly since for the first 5 – 7 years from first starting our period, we don’t ovulate consistently and this sets us up for more estrogen relative to progesterone. The cyclic pattern of pain can leave us curling up on the couch with a hot water bottle and even ibuprofen within easy reach.

With all the increasing danger warnings about NSAIDs, increasing numbers of people are seeking safe, natural, non-toxic remedies to help with the pain of dysmenorrhea. Ginger is one such remedy!

Studies from peer-reviewed journals are confirming ginger’s long history of use as an effective pain queller. A recent double-blind study examined the efficacy of ginger, ibuprofen, and mefenamic acid (an NSAID) in relieving pain from dysmenorrhea in women 18 years and older. This study proved ginger to be as effective as the other drugs without any severe side effects. The study used 250 mg capsules of ginger powder 4 times per day for 3 days from the start of the period).

Another powerful, placebo-controlled and randomized study examining ginger’s pain relieving properties for moderate to severe dysmenorrhea concluded that even more significant reductions in pain severity could be achieved when ginger was taken in advance of bleeding starting from 2 days before the period and continuing for the first 3 days of bleeding. This study used 500mg of ginger 3 times per day.

Ginger has also been shown to significantly reduce nausea among young women with dysmenorrhea. On average, meta-analysis findings suggest that 750-2000mg of ginger during the first 3-4 days is an overall effective dose for pain relief from dysmenorrhea.

If you experience cyclic menstrual pain and are seeking relief, please seek advice from myself, your general practitioner, or Naturopathic Doctor first. I’m practicing in Vancouver and welcome new patients. In the interim, you could always try consuming extra ginger in your diet by adding it to your dishes (it’s great in stir fries) or drinking ginger tea!

Resources: available on request