January 22, 2021
By Christine Cheng, R.Ph. and Fred Cheng, R.Ph.
Painful cramping associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle is a symptom that any woman who experiences would happily do away with! In most, the pain comes from increased uterine muscle contractions due to higher than normal levels of prostaglandins and/ or flare up of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus due to the fluctuations of hormones in a menstrual cycle. Some causes of menstural cramping can be mediated with a combination of prescription items (such as birth control pills), herbal options (such as chasteberry), and/or nutraceuticals (such as indole-3-carbinol). Although effective, these options may take a few months to provide any benefit.
For more acute control, there are herbal and nutraceutical options that can be considered. One of our favourite all round anti-inflammatories is Curcumin. Derived from turmeric, this supplement is potent enough to take the edge off of the pain associated with menstrual cramps and even migraine headaches!
CanPrev, a Canadian company has come up with a combination of herbal, vitamin and mineral ingredients that is targeted towards reducing the pain of menstrual cramps. Aptly named, “CRAMP RELIEF”, this product contains cramp bark, Skullcap, and Sweet Fennel, all of which have been found to have anti-spasmodic effects on smooth muscle. These are combined with ginger and cassia cinnamon which have been shown to improve dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps) symptoms. With the addition of magnesium and vitamin B6, this herbal combinational also aims to help relieve other pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS) such as anxiety, irritability and mood swings. It is interesting to note that skullcap acts on GABA receptors thereby causing an anxiolytic effect.
Interestingly, because of how these herbs, minerals and vitamins work in the body, Cramp Relief can also provide relief to those with digestive cramping as well as muscle cramping.
CRAMP RELIEF can be dose at 1 capsule taken four times daily on as needed basis when the pain and cramping is felt. This type of dosage would be appropriate for some using it to relieve PMS or for those using it for relief from pain due to physical strain. However, it can also be taken at a lower dose for reducing the pain of digestive cramping.
This product should be used cautiously in those taking blood thinners and certain blood pressure medications. Please speak with your Integrative Health Pharmacist before using this product.
Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore.
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