Try this alternative instead of your prescribed painkillers.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the condition where young girls in their adolescence or childbearing age suffer from unbearable period pains without any underlying health condition like PCOD, endometriosis, adenomyosis or any such similar condition. For some women painful cramps during periods are manageable and for some, it might be so debilitating that it could prevent her from doing her regular chores. For the later any remedy that promises some relief is welcome!
People do try various methods at home to get relief from period pains hot water bag, Epsom salt bath, yoga depending on what works for one. However, for some, the pains could become so unbearable that they might need prescription drugs like NSAID to bring the pain under control. It is not unheard of doctors who prescribe a dose of ibuprofen to control period pains. Some women have to depend on these medications during their periods to just function normally.
But long-term use of NSAID does have certain side-effects like it can harm the liver, kidney or other major organs. So here is an alternative to NSAIDs or your prescribed ibuprofen, fish oil supplements. Yes, it might not be the right choice for vegans or vegetarians but for people who do not limit their food preferences probably trying fish oil supplement can help and studies suggest that they are more effective than prescribed NSAIDs.
A study conducted in 2011 and published in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine tried to explore how fish oil supplements are more effective in treating primary dysmenorrhea than ibuprofen. Two groups of girls were chosen to conduct the study; each group had 60 girls who suffered from primary dysmenorrhea. One group was given a fish oil supplement (1000 mg/day) during every cycle for two months and the other was given ibuprofen during periods to ease the pain. At the end of the study, a t-test or paring test was done to compare the effectiveness of the treatment in both the groups. It was concluded that the efficacy of fish oil was better than ibuprofen for treating severe pain in primary dysmenorrhea.
Going by the study, it shows that having fish oil supplement throughout the cycle provides pain relief from period cramps. But it definitely doesn t say whether you have to continue with the supplements or stop taking them after a while.
Word of caution: If you are on painkillers and concerned about its side-effects talk to your doctor to know if you can try fish oil supplements for relief. Keep your gynaecologist in the loop before trying anything new to treat period cramps.