This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Dysmenorrhoea can generally be cured by the adoption of proper means, provided the real cause is ascertained; though when due to fibrous tumors of the uterus, the treatment often fails. The most that can be done, however, in the domestic treatment of the difficulty, is to palliate the symptoms at the time of the menstrual period. Curative treatment can be best managed by a competent physician. The patient suffering with any form of dysmenorrhoea should take care to keep the bowels quite free by a carefully regulated diet, and the use of the warm water enema when necessary. Laxatives and purgatives should be carefully avoided.
The patient should rest quietly in bed or upon the sofa for a day or two before the time for menstruation to begin. On the day it is expected, or as soon as the pain commences, the patient should take a hot full bath or a hot blanket pack, and should afterward be covered with warm woolen blankets, with hot water bags or heated bricks to the feet and back and over the lower part of the abdomen. The patient should be kept as quiet as possible. Severe pain, when not relieved by these measures, will often yield to hot fomentations when rapidly applied; or the application of the hot blanket pack. Especial pains should be taken to keep the feet and limbs thoroughly warm. The use of both faradic and galvanic electricity is in some of these cases very advantageous. We have often secured almost immediate relief from pain by their use. A large, hot enema will sometimes give relief. The water should be injected slowly, and should be retained for some time, half an hour at least if possible to do so. In some cases, hot sitz baths give speedy relief. Fomentations across the lower part of the back are also very advantageous. Opium is very frequently resorted to in these cases, but it should be avoided as much as possible, as the opium-habit is very likely to be contracted.
We have met a number of cases in which the habit was produced in this way. If anodyne remedies of any sort must be used, gelsemium hyoscyamus, and conium are much to be preferred. These remedies should of course not be used unless prescribed by a physician. We seldom find it necessary to resort to their use, almost invariably securing relief by the measures described.