Aromatherapy is ideally suited to alleviating problems associated with menstruation. Although the idea of menstruation as a malady is now outmoded, a sizeable number of women experience some difficulty, either long term or temporarily.

Probably the most commonly experienced problem is period pain, or menstrual cramps, caused by spasm or contraction of the uterine muscles. Very gentle massage over the abdomen with one of the antispasmodic oils will almost always disperse the pain. Another method, which some women find even more comforting, Is a hot compress over the abdomen, renewed as often as necessary as it cools. The most effective of the antispasmodic oils are Marjoram, Lavender and Camomile - in that order according to many observations. Some women may get more relief from massage or Compresses over the lower back, and for others both lower back and abdomen will need to be included to get maximum relief.

Several antispasmodic oils are also emmenagogues, i.e., they will bring on a period or increase scanty menstruation. Women whose menstrual flow is normal or heavy need to avoid these when choosing an oil to disperse period pain, as their use may cause the period to become very heavy. The oils most likely to have such an effect are Clary Sage, Myrrh and Sage, though Basil, Juniper, Fennel and Rosemary might also do so.

Obviously, all the oils classified as emmenagogues can be a great help to women whose periods are scanty or delayed, but these oils must be avoided if there is any chance at all that the women may be pregnant, and none of them should be used once pregnancy is established until after at least the fifth month when risk of miscarriage is diminished.

Some women suffer from periods that are always abnormally heavy. For them, either Cypress, Geranium or Rose can have a regulating effect.

Rose, indeed, can be beneficial for all kinds of menstrual problems, since it does not intrinsically reduce or increase the flow or frequency, but has a regulating effect on the cycle, and is a uterine tonic. It is particularly valuable for women whose men­strual cycle is irregular and unpredictable, in helping to establish a predictable rhythm. This can be of great help to women who have been trying to conceive, as it makes it possible to predict the time of ovulation more accurately.

Any abnormality of the menstrual cycle which is prolonged or severe, such as extremely heavy or painful periods, absence of menstruation or bleeding between periods, must be checked by a gynaecologist to make quite sure that there is no serious medical condition that needs treatment. When such a condition is found, there is no need to discontinue aromatherapy treatment, which will almost always be a valuable adjunct to any treatment advised by the gynaecologist, but obviously this must be discussed with the doctor concerned.


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