Painful menstruation is difficult to treat, not because the disorder will not
yield to therapy, but because women have about the worst record of noncompliance to
medical counsel with this disorder that with any other. The reason for noncompliance will
become obvious as the causes of dysmenorrhea are discussed.
1. Balanced circulation
One important cause of dysmenorrhea is that of wearing improper clothing. Tight bands around
the waist, hips, or thighs impede the circulation to the pelvic organs and increase the likelihood
of painful menstruation. Also, the clothing of the extremities must be proper. There should not be
one inch of chilled skin on the extremities any time during the month, not only during the menstrual
period itself. The extremities should be covered with as many layers of clothing as is the trunk. To
fail to do so is to cause the circulation to be imbalanced, and increases the likelihood of pelvic
congestion and painful menstruation.
Most American women do not get sufficient exercise; this fact is second only to improper clothing in
the causation of dysmenorrhea. A study showed that 75% of a group of 5,000 junior high school girls
were either cured or had definite improvement of menstrual discomfort with simple bending and stretching
exercises. The first exercise was stretching, done by touching the fingers to the ankles with the knees
held straight. The second exercise was thrusting the leg backward as the arms were swung high over
the head. These two exercises performed 4-10 times daily, four times weekly for several weeks resulted
in a 75% improvement rate. In our experience, one hour of useful vigorous labor out-of-doors daily has
been more effective in curing dysmenorrhea than have calisthenics.
Posture is also important as a cure for painful menstruation, as reported in Archives of Surgery 46:611-613,
May, 1943. The contracted ligaments give rise to compression of the nerves which increases the symptoms of
Dietary measures can be of great benefit, particularly since many of the things that irritate the gastrointestinal
tract reflexively irritate the genitourinary tract. All irritants in the gastrointestinal tract such as spices, alcohol,
aspirin, other drugs, hot pepper, vinegar, overeating, failure to chew properly, and any other matter known to
irritate the gastrointestinal tract should be eliminated. Constipation should be corrected, particularly just prior
to the onset of the menstrual period.
5. Rest and regularity
Rest and regularity are mandatory for the sufferer from dysmenorrhea. After the age of 20, eight hours of sleep or
bed rest daily should be obtained. From childhood a pattern of regular bedtime and rising time without weekend
or seasonal variation is the ideal order of life. Such a person rarely has difficulty with relaxing or sleeping.
Regularity in all things is essential. At least one bowel movement daily is ideal, two or more bowel movements
being preferred. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are helpful in maintaining good bowel health. The avoidance
of oil is advisable, particularly, since oil tends to cause red blood cell clumping, creating circulatory problems
through the rich meshwork of tiny capillaries found in the reproductive organs. Fats also alter the platelet function
of the blood, causing clotting of the blood to be improper, a condition which may lead to painful menstruation.
6. Good emotion
One should develop a good emotional outlook. A mature, vigorous, and healthy adult should be able to cope with
any problems that are presented to her during a 24-hour day. With Divine aid and sympathetic understand of family
and friends, the individual should have the emotional equilibrium to cope with all of life's trials.
7. Hot bath
When the painful menstruation occurs, a "hot half bath" in a bathtub, or a hot foot bath up to the upper portions of the
calf muscles using a deep bucket, tub or trash can will very often provide complete relief. Warm or hot water as
determined by experimentation are both acceptable for the hot water baths.
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