At last, Red Light Therapy for Menstrual Relief
Ladies, this one is for you! It’s time to revamp and upgrade your feminine care. Let’s break the silence on the taboo topic of your monthly period pains and be prepared to pamper your monthly flow into a bliss of comfort with Red Light Therapy. As we ladies know, not all women experience the same symptoms with their periods, some have undoubtedly uncomfortable symptoms than others and some have no symptoms at all, lucky them!
Jokes aside, according to this 2012 study, “Menstrual pain was reported by 84.1% of women, with 43.1% reporting that pain occurred during every period, and 41% reporting that pain occurred during some periods.” It's obvious to see that there is not a linear experience for every women when it comes to their monthly cycle, however, I write this blog post with an inspiration to provide possible solutions to those with significant discomfort.
Although there is seldom research on this particular topic, a growing body of research indicates that Red Light Therapy may be a safe and effective alternative to medication in the treatment of menstrual cramps. There are many conditions and disorders associated with our menstrual cycle such as irregularities, hormonal imbalances and diseases that are far too complex to cover. To keep it relevant, I will cover the most common amongst us women, and the ones that can be the most debilitating.
Usually, we have about two or three days of menstrual discomfort per month, and almost a week of PMS symptoms. Sometimes this can effect our ability to be social and/or productive.
I will dive into some studies I came across, but first wanted to outline some disorders that you may resonate with:
Scratching the surface of many menstrual disorders, here are some that come to mind in terms of the average women:
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Physical symptoms that will vary depending on age and external factors. Some symptoms include tender breasts, irritability and oversensitivity.
- Dysmenorrhea: known for painful menstrual periods. Two types known as Primary dysmenorrhea and secondary. Primary is subject to frequent pain, while secondary is from symptoms from reproductive system disorders. Please note: dysmenorrhea may look like other medical problems. Always consult your health care provider if you are concerned with symptoms.
- Endometriosis: although this is a full body condition, 70% of pain occurs during menstruation. This is a condition where tissue similar to that which lines the inside of the uterine wall grows outside of the uterus. This condition can be debilitating as it's known to be long term and causes inflammation and scarring
- Hormonal imbalance: PCOS is an example of hormonal imbalance and is associated with prolonged periods among many other symptoms. Please note, hormonal imbalance can be a very complex and broad topic and has many health associations that will not be discussed here. Always consult your primary physician or OBGYN if you have any concerns with this disorder.
So how can we incorporate Red Light Therapy into our feminine care routine?
Red Light Therapy is a natural way to decrease inflammation and boost cell functioning as well as assist in soothing PMS related symptoms by aiding in an endorphin (aka the “happiness hormone”) release throughout the body. Red light therapy can help combat PMS symptoms, decrease pain, alleviate discomfort, and also help reduce inflammation/scarring you may experience from such disorders, such as endometriosis.
I will discuss the research on light therapy for period cramps and common findings. But first, let's understand what causes these cramps in the first place. Menstrual cramps are caused by hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins released by the uterus while expelling its lining that cause the uterine muscles to contract. It has been found that red light therapy can assist the body by decreasing these substances and helps to balance this inflammatory process.
Now let’s dive into the research:
- As seen in this study, we see the link between painful periods and blood flow. To even begin to cater to the idea of decreasing pain, we also need to understand the role of consistent blood flow throughout the body and how important it is to keep it constant to prevent constriction of any blood vessels and in this case, of the uterine blood vessels. With the use of red light therapy we can assist in improving what is referred to as “microcirculation” in targeted areas of poor blood flow. The photons emitted from a LLLT (low laser LED Therapy aka red light therapy) is absorbed into the skin and will help increase the body’s cellular form of energy called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This will allow for an improved cellular vitality and cellular regeneration. As you can read, in this study, red light therapy provided some natural relief of menstrual disorder symptoms such as pain.
- Although there is no definitive treatment for PCOS, as seen in this study, LLLT was used to address this condition as well as insulin levels, estrogen and progesterone levels thus preventing interference with a woman’s cycle.
- This 2012 study concluded that the effects of red light therapy assisted 47% of participants to get off their thyroid hormone medications completely. That’s a cause for celebration!
- In the case of endometriosis; low level laser therapy resulted in a decrease in scar tissue and adhesions that may have been caused by pelvic inflammation.
- And for those who suffer from primary dysmenorrhea (frequent pain) red light therapy can relieve some pain by targeting specific acupuncture points. This study utilized red light therapy in combination with exercise and found complete relief in 76.67% of thirty women who participated after three months of treatment. And to add to this, this 2012 study found that red light therapy was able to decrease average menstrual pain of 8.3 to a 3.8 after just three menstrual cycles from 44 participants.
As we reflect from the findings listed above, we can see that red light therapy may aid in relieving your menstrual cycles symptoms, such as PMS, with the influence of endorphins throughout your body. Red Light Therapy can help to support and regulate hormones and ease PMS.
So next time that Aunt Flo makes her monthly visit and the dreading feeling of staying in bed all day creeps up once again, don’t despair - we have the solution to help comfort you. Consult with your healthcare provider today to see if Red Light Therapy is the missing piece to your menstrual relief.