You’re going about your typical day, when suddenly you start feeling back cramps and nausea.
So you quickly get out your phone and pull up your Clue app. You’re over a week away from starting your period and you’re already experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.
You know the kind: tender breasts, bloated belly, painful cramps, sugar cravings, irritability, problems sleeping, and that crippling feeling like someone is repeatedly stabbing your vulnerable uterus with fiery knives a million times over and over.
If you’re a female, you know this description is in no way dramatic or embellished. In fact, some women usually start noticing mood changes and physical symptoms 2 weeks before they actually start bleeding. Which may explain why some women seem on edge for more than half the month.
But menstrual cycles are a lot more complex than just painful cramps and extreme mood changes.
So the real question is...
What is menstruation?
Menstruation is often referred to as a “period”. It’s when a woman bleeds during a certain time each month.
Scientifically speaking, a woman's menstruation is where the female “body discards the monthly buildup of the lining of [their] uterus (womb). Menstrual blood and tissue flow from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and pass out of the body through the vagina.”
Now the whole purpose of menstruation is to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. But if a woman fails to get pregnant, then the levels of estrogen and progesterone (two prominent female hormones) begin to drop. And when these hormone levels drop, menstruation begins.
What is the menstrual cycle?
As we just mentioned above, the female menstrual cycle, also known as “the monthly hormonal cycle”, is what the female body goes through in order to get pregnant.
The first day of a female's menstrual cycle is the first day of their period, or the day they start bleeding. A full menstrual cycle is “the first day of your period to the first day of your next period.”
But here’s where things get tricky… Hormone levels, such as estrogen and progesterone, fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. Which explains why menstrual symptoms such as mood swings, physical cramps, nausea, fluctuating body temperatures, and other aches and pains can occur all throughout the month.
These menstrual symptoms can often be crippling, causing many women around the world to feel helpless, depressed, and in constant pain.
So how do women cope with these annoying and oftentimes debilitating symptoms every month?
The most common answer: They use over the counter medications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs for short.
Over the counter drugs and NSAIDs
Every woman has heard of Midol, the anti-inflammatory drug that helps relieve menstrual cramps, bloating, and other period-related symptoms.
But here’s the issue with Midol: it contains an antihistamine and acetaminophen which are known to cause multiple side effects, liver damage, and allergy issues after short or long term use.
Liver damage can occur after taking more than 6 caplets of Midol in a 24 hour period. It can also occur if other drugs containing acetaminophen are consumed along with Midol.
And despite the antihistamines found Midol, allergic reactions may still occur as well, such as:
Swelling in the face
Wheezing or asthma
Doctors even advise against consuming Midol if users suffer from the following:
Difficulty in urination from an enlarged prostate gland
Breathing problems (emphysema or chronic bronchitis)
Currently taking blood thinning drugs such as warfarin, etc.
Currently taking tranquilizers or sedative drugs
Now you might be wondering, do these side effects and allergy issues apply to other NSAIDs and over the counter pain relievers?
In fact, according to multiple studies, Aspirin, which is the most commonly prescribed NSAID, is linked to multiple gastrointestinal complications. And clinical research has proved that NSAIDs often cause small intestinal mucosal injury.
But that's not all…
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other NSAIDs can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and skin reactions.
And while it seems that the antihistamine found in Midol helps relieve period bloating, it actually offers side effects of its own, such as:
Low blood pressure
Rapid heart rate
So what are the other options women have for addressing their debilitating menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms?
Opioids for pain and menstrual cramps
Prescription painkillers and opioids are usually given to women who suffer from extremely debilitating menstrual cramps caused by health issues like:
Polycystic ovary syndrome
And while these prescription drugs are far more effective in relieving their debilitating pain, it’s only temporary. The real issue with painkillers and opioids is that most users suffer from horrible side effects and dependency to these drugs.
In fact, the side effects of these drugs include the following:
Delayed gastric emptying
But believe it or not, women who suffer from extreme PMS symptoms and decide to take painkillers or opioids, may be causing more damage to their hormones than they think. This is because opioids in particular cause hormonal dysfunction, or hormonal imbalances. And that’s the last thing women need, especially those who are already suffering from severe menstrual cramps.
How do you stop PMS symptoms naturally?
Here’s a not-so-fun fact that many females may not know, but feel every month. According to the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 90% of women with regular menstrual cycles will experience unwanted and unpleasant psychological and physical discomfort before, during, and even after their periods.
And while we know that NSAIDs and over the counter drugs like Midol have their place, they only target, to an extent, unwanted pain. They never really address the real issue or underlying cause of menstrual cramps or PMS symptoms.
This is where most conventional doctors tend to get it wrong. Instead of approaching menstrual problems with a more natural approach, they look for ways to either block the pain temporarily, or remove vital female organs, in the hopes of eliminating the issue altogether.
But Dr. Felice Gersh, an integrative gynecologist, approaches female health much differently. She says, “A woman’s menstrual cycle is a vital sign of female health… Instead of blocking the histamine response with antihistamines (that occurs when a woman is shedding her uterine lining), eating foods or taking supplements that nourish the body and are high in magnesium should be considered before pain medicine.”
While certain over the counter medications and NSAIDs have their place, they often cause more damage in the long run.
So is there a less invasive, more natural approach to addressing menstrual cramps?
CBD for menstrual cramps
Many women have shared their personal experience using CBD products specifically for their menstrual cramps, and guess what?
It seems that certain high-quality CBD products have been proven to be effective.
This is because every human has an Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for regulating and balancing the following:
Perception of pain
And much more
When CBD enters into the body, it helps stimulate our natural endogenous cannabinoids, which are responsible for regulating how our endocannabinoid system functions. And if we can get our endocannabinoid system to function properly, then the rest of our body will usually follow.
Studies also show that CBD is a pretty potent anti-inflammatory. In fact, almost every CBD study published online mentions that CBD helped to relieve inflammation. And if we know anything about inflammation, it’s that it’s one of the main contributors to most, if not all, diseases and unwanted symptoms.
Believe it or not, inflammation plays a big role in how the female body handles menstruation. This explains why so many women have found CBD to help with their disabling menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms.
But this doesn’t mean that CBD is a “cure all” for menstrual cramps and debilitating PMS symptoms. It is, however, a more natural approach to addressing certain female issues.
But we know what you may be thinking…
‘CBD is just another gimmick trend that makes PMS-be-gone promises and never fully delivers what CBD companies advertise.’
CBD oil for females
We get it! Some CBD brands overpromise. But we invite you to look at CBD from another perspective.
Take Charlotte Palermino, the co-founder of Nice Paper, for example. She suffers from debilitating aches and pains. And she speaks with women all the time who suffer from female issues like Endometriosis, vaginismus, PMDD, and PCOS.
These are very serious and crippling female health conditions, so speaking about the therapeutic properties of CBD is never just thrown around. These women are in desperate need of pain relief and normalcy.
But Palermino stated that “one really interesting case was vaginismus. People were able to use CBD lube to help them with their muscle contractions, so some were able to have penetrative sex for the first time. Or, non-painful sex for the first time. Women are often expected to live with pain, as if that’s just the cards we’ve been dealt, but at the end of the day, there is a pain gap we should be able to bridge, and cannabis is really exciting for that.”
She also suggested that “CBD is not a one-and-done. You need to take it every day. It’s not going to do anything if you take a 25 milligram gummy bear one time. I would suggest starting by testing, preferably when you’re not already on your period and your pain threshold is at its highest. I’ve personally found that CBD results in a dampening of pain — the pain won’t completely go away.”
So what specific CBD products are good for women who suffer from menstrual cramps and severe PMS symptoms?
CBD products for period pain
As we have learned, CBD offers the female body many therapeutic benefits. It helps relieve nausea, it can reduce stress and anxiety, and perhaps what's most compelling is that it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory.
So women consuming CBD throughout their menstrual cycle may find that their overall period symptoms and discomfort may lessen, the longer they consume CBD.
High-quality CBD oil, in particular, is perhaps the most popular way to consume CBD. This is because it’s a pretty versatile CBD product. It can be held under the tongue, added to drinks, foods, and creams, and even applied directly to the skin. CBD oil is fast-acting and for the most part it’s fairly bio-available to the female body.
CBD creams, lotions, and pain salves are another great way to receive the benefits of CBD. They can be applied to troublesome areas, like the lower back, stomach, and breasts. One really effective home remedy is to apply CBD pain salves directly to the troublesome area and then apply heat. The heat opens the pores and allows the CBD to enter the skin much easier and faster.
CBD vaginal suppositories are great products as well. Some users report feeling relief from pain during sex and even relief from constant pelvic floor aches.
CBD chocolates are a huge favorite for those girls who get intense chocolate cravings. They’re tasty, easy to dose, discreet, and highly effective. Just be sure to choose high-quality CBD chocolates that contain wholesome ingredients.
Which brings us to our next point…
Purchasing high-quality CBD for menstrual cramps
Be sure that the CBD company only uses organically grown, American hemp when formulating their CBD products. Look for high-quality and organic ingredients, and never purchase a CBD product unless it’s been third party tested.
Menstrual cramps, PMS symptoms, and other period pains can be absolutely crippling, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. While we know CBD is not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure female health conditions, it could help bring some relief when taken correctly.
We suggest that you give high-quality CBD products a try. You never know, it may just be what your body truly needs.