I am one of those chicks that doubles over in pain the first day of my period. When I first started menstruating, the pain would land me in bed for almost two days, and when I could get up to do anything, my whole entire body would feel sore and depleted of energy. Midol and Tylenol could not completely numb the pain, but I still used to hope to Glitter that I had a pill in my bag as I neared the end of the 6-8 hour cycle. I would pop so much Tylenol that my mother would joke about putting me in rehab.

So I was happy to spot a health news headline announcing that Vitamin D may ease painful periods. In a study done in Italy, 40 women with painful cycles were either injected with or swallowed 300,000 International Units of vitamin D. When they returned to the lab for results, most of the women reported that their pains had lessened about 1 - 2.5 points in intensity (on a scale of 1-10).  And the best part? The women felt awesome enough to stop taking painkillers.


But before you go throwing out your Midol, there is a catch: 300,000 IU of vitamin D is overdoing it. The average person should get between 1,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day; getting injected with 300,000 IU for a month rounds out to 5,000 IU a day (and that figure doesn't include any of the vitamin D these women may have eaten). The study also noted that these 40 women had low levels of vitamin D to begin with, and, as WebMD consultant Dr. Tarek Barawil adds, "The number of patients studied is very few...Before we jump to conclusions, we need further studies." That’s scientific talk for DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. 


This study does have me thinking about how women’s health research sometimes puts us in a difficult spot, whether it's the risk of kidney failure associated with Ibuprofen or the possibility that vitamin D might literally fall short of its healthy promises. I think I will add some D supplements to my diet anyway-- certainly not 300,000 IU worth, but your girl does need to stop feeling the cramps and start taking her vitamins.

Do you have painful periods? Got any tips you wanna share?

Vitamin D May Ease Painful Periods [CBS News via WebMD]

(Image Credit: johnnybertolo.files.wordpress.com)

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