Can CBD help with period pain?
If you suffer from menstrual cramps, you are not alone. About 80% of women around the world experience pain at various stages of their periods. What’s more, some women experience gut-wrenching pain that seriously disrupts their lives. It’s no wonder that individuals have been searching for ways to relieve their period cramps for a long time. While some women have settled for traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, others might stop using them after experiencing side effects or digestive system problems. The medical community is looking for more natural solutions that are well-tolerated and, in addition to the physical pain, also help to relieve the psychological symptoms caused by changes in hormones.
Causes of period pain
Period pain (or menstrual cramps) occurs when the walls of the womb tighten to help shed the uterus lining.
In order for the walls to contract, our body increases levels of prostaglandin chemicals which is the source of the pain.
These muscular contractions are a completely normal part of the menstrual cycle – however, there are times when period pain can be more severe, arising from medical conditions including endometriosis or from contraceptive devices such as the IUD (intrauterine device).
Period pain tends to be at its height when the bleeding is at its heaviest, usually when our period starts, and can last between 48 to 72 hours. More than half of all women who menstruate experience this so you’re not alone if you find yourself struggling with discomfort each month.
The medical name for period pain is dysmenorrhoea.
It is a condition that causes severe and frequent cramping and pain during menstruation. There are two types of dysmenorrhoea: primary (occurs during the first onset of the menstrual cycle and continues throughout a person’s life; it can cause severe and frequent menstrual cramps due to strong and abnormal contractions of the uterus) and secondary (caused by a physical condition such as pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis, and usually starts at a later age).
Dysmenorrhoea persists throughout menstruation, in contrast to premenstrual syndromes.
Can CBD help with period pain relief?
Firstly, CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system. CBD has been shown to influence the CB1 and CB2 receptors that perform several important roles in the human body: regulating immune and inflammatory responses, coordination, movement, pain, anxiety, fear, appetite, memory, mood, energy and others.
Pelvic inflammation can be one of the underlying reasons for dysmenorrhoea. Moreover, inflammatory symptoms caused by an infection can similarly cause pain and migraines during periods. Interestingly, the pelvic region contains one of the highest concentrations of cannabinoid receptors in the body. CBD is able to interact with the receptors in the body’s systems, activating the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that speed up the process of tissue repair.
According to evidence presented by The Clinical Journal of Pain, medicinal cannabis has been shown to promote pain-relieving effects for those with long-term chronic pain.
During the first part of our cycle (from day 1 of our period until ovulation), we tend to have a higher level of antibodies and an increased response to inflammation so taking CBD could be beneficial.
However, since there is a lack of long-term clinical trial data, commercially available CBD products can’t be marketed with medical claims (so we do not say that CBD can be used to treat, cure or prevent illnesses).
On the other hand, there are over a million people in the UK currently using CBD in the UK as a holistic approach to wellness.
What is the best way to take CBD during your period?
The method of delivery depends on your preference but in terms of bioavailability (the rate and extent to which CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream), CBD oils and sprays which are administered under the tongue tend to be absorbed faster.
More tips for period pain relief
Whilst our changing hormone levels can make us feel fatigued during our period, exercise releases endorphins – acting as both a natural pain-killer and an energy-boosting hormone.
The type of activity matters too, especially because of the changing hormone levels during the two stages of your cycle.
During the first phase of your cycle, oestrogen levels are low which can lead to increased muscle strength, making it the perfect time to engage in some resistance training.
During the second phase of your cycle following ovulation, oestrogen levels increase which is your cue to rest.
Why not incorporate some yoga in the days leading up to your period? You may find it helps you to relax and reduce cramps.
Dehydration can make abdominal cramps more likely.
Aim to drink around eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day (about 2 litres) to help alleviate period pain and prevent bloating which can make symptoms feel worse.
Hot water bottles may seem old-fashioned, but they can bring as much relief from menstrual cramps as pain killers from pharmacy. Placing a heat patch or hot water bottle over your abdomen can help boost circulation and relax the walls in your uterus, thus reducing pain
Do you ever crave chocolate around this time of the month? Women who take magnesium supplements during their periods have reduced pain and reduced inflammatory prostaglandin levels. Foods like chocolate, lentils and avocados are high in magnesium — so go ahead and feed the craving.
Interestingly enough, multiple studies have demonstrated that daily fish oil supplements decrease pain during periods. It turns out that prostaglandins are synthesised from omega fatty acids, and a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids could shift your body away from producing inflammatory prostaglandins. CBD contain omega-3
Many doctors suggest that it’s best to start taking painkillers an hour or more before the cramps start. This is true whether you’re using Ibuprofen, CBD, or other cannabinoid blends. If you hold off treatment until you’re in excruciating pain, the prostaglandins will already be in full demolition mode and harder to bring under control.
Is it okay to have sex during your period?
Yes. For some women, libido increases during menstruation, while for others, it decreases. The risk of infection during your period is slightly higher, so you may need to use contraception even if you normally do without it.
CBD can make sex more pleasurable during your period by reducing the tension in your pelvic floor area and reducing pain from cramping or penetration. Also, increased sensitivity and relaxation can result in stronger orgasms and, in some cases, an increased libido.
It is very important to keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and therefore may have different experiences with CBD products.
Checkout Foria CBD Intimacy collection here.