Q: I’m a 26-year-old and suffer from extreme pain and discomfort during menstruation. I take painkillers and use a hot water bag during this time, but the first two days leave me totally dysfunctional. Can Ayurveda help?

Primary dysmenorrhea is common throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen, back or thighs that is recurrent and is not due to other diseases. Pain usually begins one or two days before, or when menstrual bleeding starts, and can range from mild to severe. It typically lasts 12 to 72 hours, and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and even diarrhoea. Common menstrual cramps usually become less painful as a woman ages and may stop entirely.

Vata balancing approaches such as heating pad, sesame oil applications and certain internal medicines work very well in primary dysmenorrhea. Home remedies such as intake of fennel or cumin or dried ginger water reduces cramps. Intake of a teaspoon of castor oil (5ml) with warm milk gives quick relief. But take up home remedies only after consulting a physician.

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Secondary dysmenorrhea results from disorders of the reproductive system, such as:

• Endometriosis: tissue that lines uterus become implanted outside your uterus.

• Adenomyosis: lining of the uterus grows into the muscle of the uterus.

• Pelvic inflammatory disease: infection caused by bacteria.

• Cervical stenosis: narrowing of the opening to the uterus.

• Fibroids: noncancerous growths on the wall of the uterus.

Regular exercise and reducing caffeine are also found beneficial in reducing menstrual cramps.

Consult an ayurveda doctor, who may suggest you undergo an ultrasound or MRI scan before prescribing medication.

Dr VL Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.