When women of menstruating age experience irregular and/or painful periods, they are very commonly prescribed birth control pills (BCP). The high doses of estrogen found in BCP, taken on a specific schedule, will force a woman’s body to menstruate at a specific time of the month. Those taking BCP usually also experience less pain prior to their period.
However, a recent scientific conference held at the New York Academy of Sciences emphasized the importance of the menstrual cycle for overall health. As stated by Paula Hillard, M.D., professor of obstetrics & gynecology and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine “The menstrual cycle is a window into the general health and well-being of women, and not just a reproductive event.”
She went on to say, “It [the menstrual cycle] can indicate the status of bone health, heart disease, and ovarian failure, as well as long-term fertility.”
When medications such as BCP, Advil or others are used to suppress the symptoms women experience with their monthly period, this simply masks the underlying imbalance being reflected in the menstrual symptoms. In other words, BCP may cause irregular periods to become regular, but they do nothing to help the body re-establish balance and proper functioning so that the period regulates itself naturally.
Many studies have now shown the risks associated with hormones given to menopausal women. However, the dose of hormones contained in birth control pills is significantly higher than that found in hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While no studies have been done to determine if long-term exposure to BCP carries the same risks for stroke and heart disease as HRT, enough studies have been done on BCP to warrant caution with their use.
Many, many women present to our clinic with a complain of irregular, painful or absent periods. Instead of prescribing medications to suppress these symptoms, naturopathic physicians work to understand what imbalances exist in the body which cause the symptoms. Once the cause is identified and addressed, there is no need for synthetic hormones or other pain relieving drugs.
Painful or irregular periods are not a disease, they are a symptom of an imbalance. If you are a woman who experiences these symptoms and would like to know what options you have besides over-the-counter or prescription medications, make an appointment with a Nature Cures Clinic practitioner by calling 503-287-4970 or by visiting our New Appointments page.
The monthly period is a window into the functioning of the body, and discomfort or irregularity is an indication of imbalance. While various medications may treat the symptoms, overall health is best served by addressing the cause.