Menstrual pain can range from slight discomfort that you can forget about by staying busy to debilitating pain that keeps you curled up in the fetal position praying for it to pass. For those in the latter category, it can be hard to find relief, particularly if you want to avoid painkillers. One surprising option that has been gaining a lot of attention recently is fish oil.
Already touted for its ability to help those with heart problems, this natural supplement has also shown promise for dealing with severe menstrual pain. This is great news for women who find themselves forced to choose each month between staying in bed and suffering or taking side effect-laden pain pills so they can get on with their day.
A survey of 181 women between the ages of 20 and 45 in Denmark found an association between a low intake of fish products and menstrual pain. They also found a link between a low omega-3 to omega-6 dietary ratio and menstrual pain.
This was supported by a crossover study that looked at 42 adolescents who suffer from the most severe type of menstrual pain, which is known as dysmenorrhea. After taking fish oil for two months, the symptoms of these women diminished significantly, while those in a placebo group did not note any improvement.
How does fish oil help with menstrual pain?
It is believed that the healthy fats found in fish oil, namely the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, are responsible for this effect. They are known to be anti-inflammatory, which also makes them suitable for inflammation-related illnesses.
A similar mechanism is responsible for the oil’s ability to help relieve back pain. A study of 125 back pain sufferers found that more than half of those who consumed a diet that was high in EPA fish oil were able to stop taking their prescription pain meds. The results have since been confirmed at by at least 17 clinical trials. Just 2 to 3 grams of DHA and EPA daily over the course of three months can lessen joint pain and tenderness as well as the need for prescription pain medications.
Other benefits of fish oil
Fish oil also has a number of other benefits that will be of interest to women. The oil is believed to play a role in the prevention of cancer and diabetes, and it can also help protect against mental illness. This is a far healthier alternative to taking antipsychotic drugs.
In addition, a study of more than 35,000 women found that those who took fish oil supplements on a regular basis had a 32 percent lower likelihood of developing the most common form of breast cancer. It can help build muscle and lubricate your joints, and it can even help you to build lean body mass. In addition, it helps promote brain health, improving issues like dementia, depression, brain fog, and neurological disorders while protecting the brain’s nerves and cells from the effects of inflammation and stress. It can also help slow the aging process.
You can get fish oil from fatty fish like salmon, but it’s important to be certain of the source to ensure it does not contain mercury or you could be doing more harm than good. Many people take the supplement route in order to get the right ratio. If you choose to take this approach, it is vital to ensure you are getting quality fish oil supplements. Many commonly available supplements contain pesticides and heavy metals, as discovered by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, when writing his book Food Forensics.
If you get hit hard by menstrual pain every month, fish oil holds a lot of promise and can help you avoid the side effects of pain medicine. Even over-the-counter options like NSAIDs have a scary list of short and long-term effects, so why not give fish oil a try instead?