Dysmenorrhea is a condition in which women experience pain during menstruation. One of the explanations can be due to the excess production of prostaglandins causing increased uterine contractions. Up to 90% of reproductive women around the world experience this menstrual pain at some point in their lives. Younger women struggle more than older women and it can lead to absenteeism to the tune of about $2 billion annually.
Common treatments are usually NSAID’s (Advil, ibuprofen) that reduce prostaglandin production through Cyclooxyrgenase-2 (COX-2) inhibition. But some women either prefer not to or cannot tolerate these medications. One alternative is ginger root. This is a spice that is used around the world and has been shown to inhibit COX-2 and has a role in reducing pain and inflammation.
A review of literature was conducted which included randomized trials investigating the effect of ginger powder on young women aged 13-30 years old. Women were excluded if they had irregular cycles, were using hormones, oral or uterine contraceptives, or had a history of pregnancy. Dosing was 750-2000 mg ginger powder capsules per day for the first 3 days of the menstrual cycle. Results of the studies suggested that ginger powder given during the first 3-4 days of the menstrual cycle was associated with a significant reduction in pain.
There are many options (dietary changes, fish oils, Niacin, B6 and magnesium, curcumin, etc) in reducing pain and improving quality of life for women suffering from dysmenorrhea. Using ginger capsules is one safe choice and one more thing that you can add to your arsenal.
Reference: Ebbert, J. Dysmenorrhea and Ginger, Familypracticenews.com. march 15, 2017, p. 15