Painful Periods: Dysmenorrhea

Painful Periods: Dysmenorrhea

by Blair Baker, LAc, DAIM, FABORM

What is dysmenorrhea?

4 out of 5 women experience painful periods, aka dysmenorrhea, at some point in their life.

Period symptoms usually begin 1 or 2 days before bleeding starts and last for 2 to 5 days. For some women, the pain is mild, but for many others the pain is severe enough to impact their lives every month.

Sometimes this discomfort may be due to an underlying condition, such as endometriosis or fibroids.

Symptoms of painful periods can include:

  • Cramps in the lower abdomen
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain that radiates down the legs
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools
  • Headaches

Period symptoms are not normal and can be our body’s way of telling us that something is out of balance.

Lifestyle changes combined with acupuncture can help to restore that balance and eliminate painful periods.

How to make periods less painful

There are several things you can start doing today to help manage your symptoms:



Magnesium relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus and reduces the contractions that cause cramping and pain during the menstrual cycle.

Fish Oil

Fish oil can help minimize period pain by lowering inflammation and increasing circulation.


Much like Fish Oil, turmeric contains blood moving properties that help to reduce pain and cramping. If you suspect you are pregnant, you should stop taking turmeric right away.


Avoid cold and raw foods such as ice cream, cold or iced beverages, and salads. These contribute to painful periods by slowing down blood circulation which leads to increased cramping and pain.

Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. Certain foods cause inflammation, which leads to pain. An anti-inflammatory diet eliminates these foods and can dramatically decrease aches and pains of all types. Typical inflammatory foods to avoid include highly processed foods, alcohol, and sugar.

Eliminating these foods from your diet has many health benefits in addition to reducing pain.


How Can Acupuncture Help?

Studies have found that acupuncture can reduce period pain in 91% of cases.

Acupuncture can help eliminate your pain in the following ways:

  • Improving circulation and blood flow
  • Regulating hormones that influence our menstrual cycles.
  • Reducing inflammation throughout the body
  • Mitigating the effects of stress

If you live in the Bay Area and would like to work with us:

We’ll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to address your painful periods.

Blair Baker, LAc, DAIM, FABORM
Fertility Acupuncturist Oakland
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Blair Baker Licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist Oakland HeadshotAbout Dr. Blair Baker

Blair Baker is a California licensed acupuncturist and herbalist.  She holds a Doctorate of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA and she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a focus in Botany, from East Carolina University. Blair is a fellow of the Acupuncture Board of Reproductive Medicine