Most, if not all, females have experienced some type of menstrual problem in their life. Such problems can run the gamut from heavy cramps, to irregular cycles, to heavy bleeding, to unusually long or short periods. In many cases, women may feel as though they must just learn to accept these problems because they are simply part of what it means to be a female. Conventional drug treatments may come with unacceptable side effects such as severe mood swings or bloating, while surgical treatments may not be effective and result in excessive scarring, which may increase pain and menstrual flow irregularities.
What Are Some Causes for Menstrual Problems or Irregularities?
Menstrual problems can be caused by a variety of conditions, some of which may occur simultaneously. Perhaps the most common cause of menstrual irregularity is breastfeeding. It may take a woman’s menstrual cycle longer to return to normal following childbirth the longer she breastfeeds her infant.
Certain eating disorders (such as anorexia) or heavy exercising can cause the menstrual cycle to become irregular or stop altogether. It is not unusual for elite female athletes to not menstruate while they are intensively training or competing.
Women with ovarian or uterine cysts may also experience unusually heavy or painful bleeding. They may also have irregular menstrual cycles.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help with Menstrual Problems?
It is not unusual for women who suffer from menstrual problems to also have problems with their lower back (lumbar and sacral regions of the spine). In fact, what they think may just be back problems may actually be displaced pain from the reproductive organs. These organs depend upon a healthy nervous supply from the lower spinal column. If these nerves going between the reproductive organs and the spine are somehow blocked, it can lead to menstrual pain, cramping, and irregularities. Putting the lower spine back into proper alignment with chiropractic adjustments will relieve the pressure on these nerves going to the reproductive organs, relieving both menstrual and lower back pain.
What Does the Research Say?
An article in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics looked at a group of 16 women with abnormal menstrual cycles (dysmenorrhea) and stiffness to the lower back. Patients were asked to rate their levels of abdominal, pelvic, and lower back pain before and after a series of chiropractic adjustments performed over two consecutive menstrual cycles. At the end of the treatments, the women reported reduced pelvic and abdominal pain associated with menstrual irregularities. Although this was just a small sample of patients, the researchers were encouraged that their results show that chiropractic care can be effective for treating pain associated with abnormal menstrual cycles.
Dr. Horst believes that women who have chronic menstrual problems should not feel as though their only recourse is to simply grin and bear it. Chiropractic care can offer safe, effective symptom relief from a variety of menstrual problems, with none of the adverse side effects that come with drugs or surgery.