Dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramping is simply a painful period. The pain may be cramping. The pain may be gnawing. The pain may be deep and sharp. The pain may be aching. Usually I find two reasons for painful periods.
1. Xenoestrogens are chemicals or herbs that act like strange estrogens. Xenoestrogens cause painful periods.
2. A magnesium deficiency causes cramping in the uterus.
The solution is very simple. Remove all xenoestrogens from the patient's environment. Take some progesterone to balance out weak xenoestrogens. Take some magnesium to relax the muscles to keep the uterus from cramping.
Endometriosis can cause dysmenorrhea when cells that normally bleed in the uterine lining and up in the abdominal cavity. These bleeding cells cause pain in the abdominal cavity when they bleed and set up an inflammatory process. Xenoestrogens can stimulate these bleeding cells to proliferate. Thus, the deep-seated pain that varies with a cycle is stimulated by xenoestrogens to grow.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals or herbs that act like strange estrogens. The body thinks that these chemicals or herbs are estrogen. Xenoestrogens are not really estrogen but they kind of act like estrogen. They do not appear on your hormone tests either in your saliva or in the blood. The hormone tests do not detect xenoestrogens.
For instance, lavender is an herb that causes gynecomastia or "man boobs" in young men when given topically. However, lavender will not show up on the hormone test. Thus, I do not give hormone tests to my patients because it does not detect xenoestrogens.
Typically, the hormone tests for the woman is normal for her age unless she is drinking coffee, eating chocolate, or putting cocoa butter on her skin. In these cases, her estradiol is elevated. I used to give hormone tests to women. However, her endogenous hormones are almost always normal for her age. If the estradiol is elevated, I will ask her whether she is eating chocolate, putting cocoa butter on her skin, or drinking coffee. After she stops these habits, estradiol returns to normal and she feels better. Now, instead of doing the hormone test, I simply ask whether she's eating chocolate, putting cocoa butter on her skin or drinking coffee and tell her to stop.
Bloch M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist in Denver, Colorado, had three young boys with gynecomastia or "man boobs". He found that the boy's parents were giving them tea tree oil and lavender as a topical on their skin. He took away the tea tree oil and lavender and in three months the "man boobs" when away. Bloch M.D. measured the boy's endogenous hormone levels and found them to be normal. He wanted to test the tea tree oil and lavender in the test tube to see if they acted like estrogen so he put the tea tree oil and lavender in test tubes with breast cancer cells that were sensitive to estrogen. The tea tree oil and lavender made these breast cancer cells proliferate proving that tea tree oil and lavender acted like estrogen. Also, he put the tea tree oil and lavender into breast cancer cells that were sensitive to testosterone. He found that the tea tree oil and lavender blocked testosterone. Thus, these young boys were getting a one-two punch of estrogen stimulation and testosterone blocking. Essentially, the tea tree oil and lavender were turning the boys into girls.
Similarly, different synthetic chemicals can cause hormone disruption as well. Dave Feldman, Professor of Medicine from Stanford University School of Medicine, in 1993, found that polycarbonate bottles used to hold drinking water leached Bisphenol-A into the water. The Stanford team found that 2 to 5 PARTS PER BILLION of Bisphenol-A was enough to cause breast cancer cells to proliferate. This concentration was below the detection level that the manufacturer of the plastic bottles could detect.
A Dartmouth University study found that plastic wrap, when heated in a microwave oven, released xenoestrogens into food. The xenoestrogens released were 500,000 times the smallest amount needed to stimulate breast cancer cells to proliferate. The implications for breast cancer, endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, premenstrual syndrome, ovarian cysts, and breast cysts are staggering. It may be that heating plastic in a microwave may be making these conditions much worse. More experiments and testing should be done to see if this hypothesis is correct.
Personally, as a medical doctor, I have found that cutting out xenoestrogens out of the person's environment seems to stop and relieve deep sharp pain that occurs during a period, otherwise known as dysmenorrhea. The question becomes where you can put in the 20% effort to get the 80% effect. I have found that anything you put on the skin goes directly into the body. Nicotine patches and estrogen patches that you can buy at the drugstore release nicotine and estrogen directly into the body. Similarly, anything you put on the skin goes directly into the body. Anything you put on the skin is 10 times the oral dose in potency. The reason why this is true is because anything you put on the skin goes directly into the body, however, anything you take orally is 90% pre-filtered by the liver. Therefore, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lipstick, mascara, cosmetics, deodorant, toothpaste, and laundry detergent are extremely important to change to products that do not contain xenoestrogens. Eating something that contains xenoestrogens may be less important to your health. As of 2014, and over 20,000 patients I have found that changing topicals are much more important than changing the food you eat.
Progesterone can be used to balance out small amounts of xenoestrogens that are weak. The typical therapy that I use in my patients is to change all the things that touch the skin including laundry detergent. Then, sometimes the patient allows some things to get through. In this case, progesterone can be used to balance out these weak small amounts of xenoestrogens.
Progesterone is the opposite of estrogen. Estrogen pulls one way and progesterone pulls the other way. Progesterone can be used to balance out small amounts of xenoestrogens that are not strong. However, if progesterone is taken with strong xenoestrogens that are potent and many, then the patient will get much worse. Also, if you continue to take progesterone with some of these strong potent xenoestrogens, the progesterone may "stop working" after two months.
Also, if you take progesterone with herbs like aloe or mint, etc., the progesterone will be ineffective or impotent. This is because herbs like aloe or mint block progesterone.These are herbs like aloe or mint is used to create miscarriages in certain cultures (I do not agree with this morally). Progesterone is used to maintain the pregnancy. Anything that blocks progesterone receptor will therefore cause miscarriage. The morning after pill called "Plan B" or RU-486 blocks the progesterone receptor and causes a miscarriage. "Plan B" goes into the progesterone receptor and fits into the progesterone receptor without stimulating the progesterone receptor. "Plan B" blocks progesterone from going into the receptor and stimulating the progesterone receptor. Thus, Plan B creates a miscarriage. Certain herbs like aloe and mint can also do the same thing. Therefore, if you take these herbs with progesterone it will render the progesterone ineffective. Something as simple as using mint toothpaste will make progesterone therapy not work.
If you take progesterone and strong xenoestrogens simultaneously, it may actually have an opposite effect. The dysmenorrhea or pain with periods could actually get worse with progesterone if you take strong xenoestrogens at the same time. Why is this? If you have a chronic xenoestrogens load, your body tries to protect itself by shutting down the estrogen receptor. You become less sensitive to estrogen and xenoestrogens. Then, when you take progesterone the estrogen receptors wake-up, and it seems that you are even getting more estrogen even though you're not.
Let me further explain. Suppose you go to a rock concert. The music is very loud. But, after half an hour, it doesn't seem so loud anymore. This is because your ears have become less sensitive to the rock concert noise. This biological phenomenon is labeled as down regulation. Your body is trying to protect itself by becoming less sensitive to the noise. However, when you take progesterone, the ears wake-up and it seems that the rock concert is loud again. Patients typically blame the progesterone when this happens.
The correct therapy is to eliminate all xenoestrogens from the patient's environment for one to three months and then take progesterone. The xenoestrogens will have time to wash out of the body. One to three months seems like a long time. However, many of these xenoestrogens are oil soluble and are stored in the subcutaneous fat. Because of this, it takes one to three months for them to clear out of the body. Furthermore, if you are losing weight, xenoestrogens are stored in the subcutaneous fat and are released into the body when the subcutaneous fat is metabolized and lost. I have had several patients that lost weight and had altered menstrual cycles or a recurrence of adenomyosis because of the xenoestrogens released from the decreasing subcutaneous fat that was metabolized.
I did have a friend that works for Outward Bound in Colorado. He took pot addicts hiking in the mountains. As they walk and sweated, they began to get high from the THC being released from their subcutaneous fat. Fat soluble toxins can be very tricky to deal with.
Xenoestrogens cause a magnesium deficiency. Whenever you have a magnesium deficiency, the muscles begin to tense up and tighten. Thus, the uterus is simply an inverted muscular bag. This muscular bag begins to tighten and tense and for some people, the menstrual cramping is due to a magnesium deficiency from xenoestrogens exposure. You can take 400 to 600 mg per day of a good chelated magnesium. I prefer to give magnesium glycinate. Do not use magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide has absorption rate of only 4%. However, magnesium glycinate may have absorption rate as high as 40%.
The magnesium deficiency will also cause muscle tensing in other areas of the body. The neck and shoulders may be tight. You may have cramping in the legs or a "Charlie horse". Your intestinal walls make cramp and you may get constipation. The muscular walls of the arterioles will constrict and limit the blood flow to the feet and hands resulting in cold hands and feet. In extreme cases, the muscular arterioles may actually spasm and cause a Reynaud's syndrome. Running the hands under cold water may precipitate a spasm and cause restriction of blood flow to the hands.
After removal of xenoestrogens from environment, the magnesium deficiency will go away.
Since chocolate is one of the foods that is highest in magnesium, the patient usually experiences a chocolate craving just before their period. The chocolate relieves the magnesium craving. However, the chocolate itself is a xenoestrogen and will cause a magnesium deficiency. Again, taking magnesium supplements will relieve the chocolate cravings. Thus, if you have a chocolate craving just before your period, this is a sign you have xenoestrogens in your environment, unless you are taking magnesium supplements.
Xenoestrogens also cause a vitamin B deficiency. A vitamin B deficiency may lead to a neuropathy (nerve disease). The neuropathy may feel like a burning sensation on the legs or arms or back, but, most commonly on the legs. It may also feel like a creepy crawly feeling on the legs as well. Taking a vitamin B 100 in the morning for three months usually solves this problem. The combination of burning sensation on the legs and a jumpy feeling from magnesium deficiency in the legs has been labeled as restless leg syndrome.
I usually tell my patients to take a vitamin B 100 in the morning. If you take a vitamin B 100 in the evening, you will have vivid dreams and difficulty sleeping. All Vitamin Bs are water-soluble. So overdosing on vitamin B's for the most part is not a problem because any excess vitamin B is just urinated out. The exception to this rule is vitamin B6. In rare cases, more than 200 mg of vitamin B6 taken every day can cause a neuropathy. However, a vitamin B 100 just contains 50 mg of vitamin B6. So, this is not usually a problem.
Again, after removal of xenoestrogens from your environment, the vitamin B deficiency should go away.
The exception to this is if you have impaired absorption in the intestines. If you can't absorb vitamin B in your intestines, then the neuropathy will obviously not go away. If you are bloating and belching after meals or after some meals, you might have intestinal malabsorption. To get rid of the bloating and belching after meals, I would suggest a number of probiotics. You may take live cultures of yogurt, Kiefer, cottage cheese, live sauerkraut, live kimchi and other traditional fermented foods to get bacteria that will kill the bad bacteria in your gut that's causing malabsorption. You want both quality and quantity. Many of the probiotics found in these fermented foods have natural antibiotics that will kill off the bad bacteria.
Iodine seems to make the patient less sensitive to xenoestrogens. According to Brownstein M.D., more than 90% of Americans are deficient in iodine. The gold standard to test whether you have an iodine deficiency is to give 50 mg of iodine orally to the patient. Then, take a 24 hour urine collection and measure the amount of iodine in the urine. If you get back 80% of the 50 mg of iodine in the 24-hour urine collection, then the patient is iodine sufficient. However, if you get less than 80% of the 50 mg of iodine back, then, the patient is up taking iodine, and is iodine deficient.
It is extremely important to avoid severe bromine toxicity. When taking iodine, bromine is forced out of the tissues, and bromine is toxic. This toxicity is blamed on iodine, but is really from bromine which is toxic. And where is this bromine coming from? The bromine is coming from soft drinks and sports drinks, commercial bakery products, sleep aids, asthma inhalers, as well as brominated pools (instead of chlorinated swimming pools). Bromine toxicity can look like a rash on the skin, loss of hair, increased cough, increased mucus production, and in rare cases, a sore thyroid. The sore thyroid is most worrisome because it indicates that the cells inside the thyroid are breaking up. These broken up cells release the insides of thyroid cells into the body. This may trigger a Hashimoto's thyroiditis when the body develops an immune response. If this is the case, then please stop iodine immediately.
Thus, it is important to start iodine very slowly and minimize the effect of bromine toxicity. I usually start my patients off with 3 mg of iodine and increase the iodine by 5 mg per week or two weeks. If they can get up to 50 mg/day of iodine for three or four months, then they reach iodine sufficiency. Then, they can cut back to 10 to 12 mg per day of iodine as maintenance.
If there is too much bromine toxicity, you can detox with sea salt. Take one quarter to one half teaspoon of sea salt per day with 2 L of purified water for several months. Then, try to take the bromine again. However, it does no good to try to detox from bromine, if you keep taking bromine.
It is important to take both types of iodide, the iodine ion, and iodine, the atomic form of iodine. Tissues in the human body need both forms of iodine. The easiest way to get this kind of iodine is to take Lugol's iodine or Iodoral. Lugol's iodine is cheap. However, Lugol's iodine stains and cause stomach upset. Iodoral is expensive. Iodroal does not cause stomach upset and does not stain. Iodoral is a pill. I do not recommend kelp, as it contains only one kind of iodine.