Are you one of the thousands of women who regularly have to take over the counter pain medications to help you through your cycle? On average, 84% of women report menstrual pain and about 50% report having pain with every cycle. With this type of prevalence, the use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatories is pretty high. In this class of medications are the usual suspects:
- Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
- Naproxen (Aleve)
If you get regular headaches, migraines, or menstrual pains, you have likely used one of these medications. We’re a pill-popping culture, so it’s not abnormal for you to want to suppress any sort of pain you feel. I was one of those women. When I was 12, I started getting severe migraines- about 1 per week. And, unless I took an Advil, that pain was guaranteed to continue… sometimes for upto a week. Imagine a 12 year old with severe head pain on a 8/10 scale. That was me. And, at 15, my dad found out about my little Advil dependence and threw them out. That was the end… but, that was not the end of my headaches. I switched to taking tylenol which also seemed to do the trick, and continued to have those headaches well through medical school. It’s only more recently that I got to the root of the problem and haven’t been having headaches that frequently. So trust me, I get what it’s like to be in intense pain.
The pain is a sign of your body (and mind) wanting attention– wanting you to pay attention to something. This root cause may be mental-emotional, old traumas, etc., or it may actually be physiological– an imbalance in the hormones of the body which may trigger pain, or it could even be related to a nutritional deficiency. As you can see, it’s pretty important to figure out the root causes and treat those — eventually. But, if you’re trying to get pregnant, or you hope to some-day, it’s probably wise to avoid the use of the aforementioned pain-killers.
Why? After just 10 days of use, these NSAIDs were found to decrease progesterone levels. Progesterone is a hormone that is crucial for ovulation and maintenance of a healthy pregnancy.
Here’s the study in case you want to read about it for yourself. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611082124.htm