Why Heat Can Help Ease Menstrual Pains

hot water bottle 2

I have countless patients that come to me to help them have more tolerable periods. A great deal of woman suffer from monthly menstruation pain and many are looking for alternatives to conventional oral pain killers.

Applying heat to the tummy to ease menstrual pain is advice women have passed down through the generations.

Now scientists have proved your grandmother really was on to something when she told you to use a hot water bottle.

Scientists say that placing a warm water bottle on the abdomen can not only alleviate menstrual cramping but can also relieve pain caused by cystitis. They say placing something warm on the skin above where the pain is felt can alleviate abdominal pain in a similar way to painkillers for up to an hour.

The scientists, from University College London, found that heat treatment works by blocking pain messages to the brain.

According to Dr. Brian King, when presenting his findings to the Physiological Society’s annual conference, ‘The heat doesn’t just provide comfort and have a placebo effect – it actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work. We have discovered how this molecular process works.’

The scientists found that if a warm temperature over 40 degrees Celsius is applied to the skin near to where internal pain is felt, it switches on heat receptors at the site of injury. These heat receptors in turn block the effect of chemical messengers that cause pain to be detected by the body”

Unfortunately, the relief from heat is only temporary, and many woman may need other solutions (like our many tips on periodmakeover.com or completing our Period Makeover Detox, that will be available on the Period Makeover  site soon!).

Lying down and using a hot water bottle can be very helpful, but sometimes our busy schedules do not allow for this! Luckily there are many over the counter, convenient, “on the go” heating pads available at drug stores that can easily be used under your clothes at work or throughout the day.

I would love to hear from you- have you found heat an effective way to decrease period pains?

In Health,

Dr. Emily

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