When approaching any case, Naturopathic Doctors are always looking for clues in a patient’s history that can help us understand the “why” or the “root cause” of the symptoms a woman is experiencing. And although it’s ideal to focus on righting the wrongs from the ground up, for women experiencing menstrual cramps, [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][let’s be honest] they need relief now.
Cramps are one of the most common reasons women seek support from their family doctor. Naturopaths have safer alternatives to chronic pain medication use, which can be equally as effective, especially when combined with simple diet changes and nutrient supplementation.
Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory, that has been shown in head to head trials against ibuprofen for menstrual cramps(1). In the direct comparison study, the women in the trial couldn’t differentiate between the two medications because they both equally improved their pain.
Multiple trials have compared multiple dosing strategies, with the most success coming from women who start ginger capsules 3-5 days before their expected period(2–6).
Our doctors prescribe ginger to women for the first few months of their treatment plan, as we work on the underlying causes of their menstrual cramps. Cramps can be a sign of excess inflammation, estrogen and progesterone imbalance, or deficiencies in nutrients such as Vitamin D. While addressing these root causes gives the ultimate relief, the short-term value of ginger can reduce reliance on pain medication, and reduce the number of days women are ruled by their cramps. Ginger is a safe and inexpensive treatment option, but like anything, should be prescribed by an experienced practitioner to ensure it’s the right choice in your case.
- Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med N Y N. 2009 Feb;15(2):129–32.
- Chen CX, Barrett B, Kwekkeboom KL. Efficacy of Oral Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid-Based Complement Altern Med ECAM. 2016;2016:6295737.
- Daily JW, Zhang X, Kim DS, Park S. Efficacy of Ginger for Alleviating the Symptoms of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Pain Med Malden Mass. 2015 Dec;16(12):2243–55.
- Jenabi E. The effect of ginger for relieving of primary dysmenorrhoea. JPMA J Pak Med Assoc. 2013 Jan;63(1):8–10.
- Kashefi F, Khajehei M, Tabatabaeichehr M, Alavinia M, Asili J. Comparison of the effect of ginger and zinc sulfate on primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo-controlled randomized trial. Pain Manag Nurs Off J Am Soc Pain Manag Nurses. 2014 Dec;15(4):826–33.
- Rahnama P, Montazeri A, Huseini HF, Kianbakht S, Naseri M. Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo randomized trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012;12:92.