AWhen I was 17, I took the pill. Partly because I knew I was going to college and that in all likelihood I would do the deed soon enough, but mostly because it was recommended to help with my menstrual cramps. After endless hours in the school nurse’s office and one particularly bad day when I passed out from the bathroom to the bedroom, I realized that my period pains weren’t “normal”. The word endometriosis has been tossed around even though a diagnosis has never been made. But the pill helped ease the pain and made a uterus bearable.
A study published in the British Medical Journal found that 20 percent of women under 25 had missed school or work because of period pain, and another 40 percent found it severely affected their ability to concentrate. Although there are no statistics showing how many women take the pill specifically for menstrual pain relief, it is widely touted as a positive side effect of hormonal birth control. An article from 2017 even analyzed how the individual forms of contraception rank in pain relief.
But what if there was another option – one without hormone-altering drugs and the associated disadvantages? CBD has had a moment in healthcare lately where its potential benefits have been discussed, including pain relief, anxiety relief, and treating cancer side effects including nausea. Studies on this are still in their infancy, but the positive effects have yet to be confirmed, but the one published so far looks promising.
Cannabidiol (also known as CBD) is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in marijuana. Discussing the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD, a study published in the Journal of Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings notes, “We are only just beginning to understand the effects of phytocannabinoids and their clinical uses. It is important for healthcare providers to be aware of CBD use in their patient population. “
On average, it takes a woman in the UK seven to eight years to be diagnosed with endometriosis
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Researchers are beginning to draw a link between the pain relieving properties of CBD and its potential for treating menstrual cramps. Dr. Leila Frodsham, consultant gynecologist and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, says that “there is some evidence to support its use in persistent pain conditions and effective treatment for anxiety. There is less evidence to support it [its effectiveness against] Menstrual cramps, but since its effectiveness is similar to that of ibuprofen, it can help with both menstrual cramps and the unstable mood of premenstrual syndrome. “
While the oil’s benefits for menstrual pain have been little explored, there are some products that use it directly for specific purposes.
Daye is one such company. Founded in March 2020, the company specializes in CBD-infused tampons that claim to reduce menstrual pain in hyper-targeted ways. The idea for the product arose “from reading research on industrial hemp – the mother plant of CBD”. Valentina Milanova, founder of Daye, told The Independent, “I found through research that the fibers of the plant are extremely absorbent and the extract from its flower can be pain reliever.” But the brand does not label its products as pain reliever for regulatory reasons .
I thought I was going to put the products to the test. I waited until I felt the tell-tale signs of brewing pain – aching back, dull throbbing stomach, a general contraction around my upper body – to try the tampons. What happened can best be described as nothing. I didn’t feel anything. The pain never occurred and I had the first pain-free period in my memory. I wondered if it was a coincidence – a swallow doesn’t make a summer, and all that jazz. But a second month visit from Aunt Flow brought the same results – nada. No pain. Zilch. Zero.
Dr. Addressing the lack of research on CBD oil in general and its relationship to period symptoms in particular, Frodsham says, “It appears that CBD taken orally is slower to work and less effective than topical use. All drugs that are taken orally are metabolized by the liver, so so much of the active ingredient is lost in the process. “She continues:” Gynecologists often use suppository pain relievers in gynecological operations because the blood supply in the pelvis is abundant and This can theoretically be more effective. ”In further correspondence, she tells me that after our conversation she continued researching CBD, particularly its effectiveness on menstrual pain and women’s health, and came across a study that specifically looked at it Subject is carried out, the results for which she is eagerly awaiting.
Research on women’s health is hopelessly underfunded. On average, it takes a woman in the UK seven to eight years to be diagnosed with endometriosis – with around 40 percent of women requiring at least ten visits to their general practitioner before they are diagnosed. It is estimated that 1 in 10 women will have endometriosis. As such, it may be groundbreaking to conduct an entire study on the effectiveness of CBD on menstrual pain. It remains to be seen what the results will be, but based on my personal experience and the expertise of Dr. Frodsham seems that CBD could well be a huge step towards an effective pain solution for period pain, especially when applied topically in products such as tampons.