Dealing with Period Pain – The Evolution of Menstrual Pain Relief

6 min read

Period pain and the strive for menstrual relief is not an uncommon occurrence amongst women. In fact, 80% of women experience period pain at some point in their lives, and up to 10% have it so severe that it significantly hinders their everyday life quality. But as prevalent as this reality may be for women in their childbearing years, there are cutting-edge technologies that offer new levels of period pain relief unlike ever before in history.

Not to mention that with the rise of menstrual cups, women have the ability to lower their carbon footprint and save money by eliminating the need for disposable feminine products. This means that in the heart of the 21st century, women today are able to bolster the environment and their bank account, all while being pain-free along the way.

Now, as excellent as this is for women on a global scale, it may raise the question of how women dealt with period pain and management before innovations like Livia came into the picture. The truth is that the evolution of managing period pain throughout the centuries is an exceptionally complex and humbling one, but certainly worth understanding to see just how society has transformed into the resource-rich era it is now.

Ancient Civilization Mental Pain Practices

Starting with various ancient civilizations, menstrual pain relief was much more diverse and systematic than you may have originally thought. For example, ancient people in Mayan, Korean, and Aztec civilizations performed something called ‘vaginal steaming.’ This was a common ritual where women would stand open-legged over a pot of steaming water to ease cramps and pains from menstruation. During the same time, traditional Chinese medical professionals would stick pins (aka acupuncture) on women, which they believed was more effective than steaming.

Heading over to ancient Egypt, cannabis was a very widespread means for menstrual pain relief.  With this, the cannabis was actually inserted into the women’s vagina to solve their pain. Years later, cannabis was prescribed to Queen Elizabeth to solve her menstrual cramps as well.

Lastly, ancient and early Greeks would often leverage a notable painkiller called opium, which was also used in other civilizations globally, such as the Benedictine monks. Greek women in the 17th century would also use a plant called motherwort, which was used to speed up child delivery, menstrual cramps, and soothe the symptoms of menopause.

The Middle Ages

In the medieval/middle-aged era, period pain was actually viewed in a more religious light than medical. Due to ancient scholars like Elder and Pliny writing pieces that warned people of the “dangers” of menstrual blood, it provoked the churches to become suspicious towards women.

This then became the catalyst for them to believe that women should feel and suffer through every period pain they receive because it was the punishment of biblical Eve’s original sin. Furthermore, because the nuns in those churches were often fasting, they tended to have smaller or absent cycles, leaving middle-aged churches to believe that their work could transform a woman back to “divine grace.”

In short, this was when women were expected to feel their period pains as a means of original sin punishment, and menstrual pain relief resources were not often available via the churches. Nonetheless, it did not stop the use of things like catnip, caraway seeds, and lemon balm herbs, which were used to help cure pains with its nervous system sedative effects.

Victorian Times (1837 –1901)

The Victorian age was a time when women began experimenting more with chemical treatments, pills, and herbal mixtures like Styptic Balsam, as a means to remediate menstrual pain. This usually involved integrating things like willow bark and then later Aspirin, which was invented in 1897.

But there was another side to this effort that is a bit more off-putting – the removal of the ovaries altogether. In 1872, an American physician named Botanist David Stuart suggested removing the ovaries to stop menstrual pain, which was certainly the more drastic measure taken.

The 1900s

Towards the end of the Victorian era, black cohosh and black haw began rising in popularity as uterine relaxants, thus making it a heavily studied and utilized resource across the 1900s. In summary, these elements were found to have pain-relieving compounds that made them become active agents in innovative medicine like Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound to remediate PMS. Believe it or not, Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound became the best-selling drug in the 19th century for two reasons:

  1. It was proven to be effective with a specially formulated to help women with period pain; and
  2. It was a product created by a woman, instilling more trust in the consumers.

Keep in mind that this was not the only drug that surfaced during this time. Things like Ibuprofen and Midol were also invented in this period, which are still widely used today for various pain-relieving reasons.

The Present and Future

In terms of period pain relief and management, the 21st century is the ultimate time to be a woman, especially in comparison to the preceding eras. Not only do women today have access to much more eco-friendly sanitary solutions like Intimina menstrual cups, but they also have the ability to turn off period cramps with just a flip of a switch with Livia. You see, Livia does not use chemicals, ingredients, or drugs of any kind.

This is a device that uses electric micro-pulses that halt period pain sensory receptors from reaching the brain – resulting in instant relief. In short, this CE-certified and FDA-approved device gets placed on your waistband discreetly, offering risk-free menstrual pain support so you can carry on with your day.  

In the end, period pain relief has come a long way since the dawn of documented time. Going from medical herbs and rituals to high-performing technologies, it has all influenced the strive to better the environment, human health and improve women’s quality of life all in one.

Overall, period pain has always been an issue for hundreds and hundreds of years for women. The only difference is that now there are finally strategic and proven outlets that allow women to live the life they deserve without mother nature holding them back.

And though this may be a wonderful time to live in, for this reason, it will be exciting to see just what else the future has in store as more innovations and period management solutions arise. Because if there is one thing for sure, Livia is just getting started.


Resources:


https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/greg-jenner/history-of-menstruation_b_8899314.html
https://blog.mylola.com/menstrual-cycle/menstrual-pain-throughout-history/
https://www.healthline.com/health/painful-menstrual-period
https://www.vice.com/en/article/nz88zz/bloody-relief-the-evolution-of-period-pain-cures
https://www.wondersandmarvels.com/2016/10/period-pains-have-women-always-suffered-from-menstrual-
cramps.html
https://www.vice.com/en/article/nz88zz/bloody-relief-the-evolution-of-period-pain-cures
https://museumofhealthcare.blog/2015/09/17/treatments-for-menstrual-cramps-throughout-history/

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