Women turn to grass to treat dysmenorrhea
Almost 90% of women of childbearing age worldwide suffer from dysmenorrhea (better known as menstrual cramps). It is the pain that precedes, accompanies or follows menstruation. Most women say they use cannabis to treat menstrual cramps and other types of gynecological pain, according to a new survey.
A cross-sectional online survey was disseminated via social media between October and December 2017 in Australia to endometriosis advocacy and support groups. Women could participate in the survey if they were between the ages of 18 and 45, lived in Australia and had a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis. The survey questions focused on the different types of self-medication used, improvement of symptoms or reduction of medication, and safety.
Four hundred and eighty-four valid responses were received. Self-care strategies, consisting of self-care or lifestyle choices, were very common (76%) among women with endometriosis. The most used forms were heat (70%), rest (68%) and meditation or breathing exercises (47%). Cannabis, heat, hemp / CBD oil, and dietary changes scored highest in terms of self-reported efficacy in reducing pain (mean efficacy of 7.6, 6.52, 6.33, and 6, 39, respectively, on a 10-point scale). Physical interventions such as yoga / Pilates, stretching, and exercise were found to be less effective. Adverse effects were frequent, especially with alcohol (53.8%) and exercise (34.2%).
Women using cannabis reported the highest self-rated efficacy. Women with endometriosis have unique needs compared to women with primary dysmenorrhea, and therefore any self-care strategy, especially those of a physical nature, must be considered in light of the potential for “flare-ups.”
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Effective CBD for the treatment of menstrual pain
The use of cannabis for PMS dates back to the 16th century when Chinese women used it to treat PMS. For centuries, women have tried different remedies to ease this pain, but to no avail. It wasn’t until recently that women began experimenting with CBD to ease cramps and control hormonal imbalance.
In gynecology, menstrual disorders represent more than 12% of the total number of visits to the emergency room. The most common menstrual complaints are heavy menstrual bleeding and crampy pelvic pain.
80% of women experience noticeable menstrual cramps, originating in the lower abdomen but sometimes affecting the thighs, back, and chest. There is no cure other than taking ibuprofen, which for some could mean six pills a day for a week a month. One in 10 people experience pain so severe that it would be comparable to a heart attack. Regular intake of acetaminophen or Advil can irritate the gut, exacerbate bloating and indigestion, making period pain worse.
Common emotional symptoms include mood swings, depression, insomnia, tantrums, feeling overwhelmed, etc. While the behavioral signs include: loss of mental concentration, forgetfulness and feeling tired.
Researchers from the Oregon Health and Sciences University interviewed more than 1,000 women in the United States: 60% had used cannabis, 36% to treat pain, depression, and anxiety. This research conducted at OHSU has resulted in new treatments for women seeking relief from heavy menstrual bleeding and other menstrual complications. Doctors say urgent clinical trials are needed
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The findings, presented at the American College of Gynecology annual conference, come as many states take years to consider whether to add dysmenorrhea as a condition for which doctors might prescribe herbal medications in the form of CBD cannabis flowers. .
Nearly two-thirds of women who have never used cannabis (63%) said they would take the drug to relieve menstrual pain or while having a contraceptive implant.
What states have approved medical cannabis for certain gynecological conditions?
Although no state has approved medical cannabis for the treatment of menstrual cramps, North Dakota includes endometriosis as a qualifying condition. Additionally, all states with comprehensive legislation allow cannabis for the treatment of pain. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia have approved cannabis to treat “chronic pain.” The states of Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, and Vermont allow medical cannabis to treat “acute pain.” The states of Arkansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia have approved cannabis for the treatment of “incurable pain.”
The environmental aspects of menstrual hygiene provide an additional argument. The most used sanitary protection products are tampons and disposable sanitary pads. Each year, more than 6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, end up in landfills or sewers in the United States, and more than 170,000 tampon applicators are collected in American coastal areas.
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