Period pain or menstrual cramps are undoubtedly the absolute worst, but because so many of us get them, it’s easy to assume they’re just something you have to deal with when you’re on your period. Menstrual cramping is a very common problem experienced by 50-90% of reproductive-aged women.
Pain during menstruation results from muscle cramping in the wall of the uterus. Strong, lengthy contractions of the muscles in the uterus lead to cramping of the muscle. Period pain or cramping usually begins 1-2 days before the onset of bleeding, and then diminishes 1-2 days after the onset of bleeding.
It’s generally a lower abdominal or pelvic pain that is sharp, intermittent, and varies in intensity, but it can sometimes be a continuous, dull ache. The pain can also radiate into the back, thighs, and upper abdomen. If you have moderate to severe cramps, you can reduce your period pain using proven home remedies, diet, and physical activity.
1. Massage With Essential Oils for Pain Relief
Massaging your abdomen for as little as 5 minutes a day may be able to help relieve menstrual cramps. Massage encourages blood flow. Massing cream containing essential oils like clary sage, lavender, and marjoram has additional benefits for the body. These oils contain compounds that have been reported by many to help relieve pain and soothe dysmenorrhea.
2. Apply Heat
Applying a heating pad, heat wrap, or hot water bottle to your abdomen works wonders for relieving period pain or cramps. You can find these items in the drugstore or online. The continuous application of heat may work as well as ibuprofen for the relief of dysmenorrhea pain. Heat helps muscles relax.
One study of women between the ages of 18 and 30 who had primary dysmenorrhea found that those who applied a heat patch that heated to 104 degrees Fahrenheit experienced similar pain relief benefits from the patch as those who relied on ibuprofen for cramps. If you don’t have a heating pad, heat wrap, hot water bottle, or heat patch handy, a hot shower or warm towel can be used instead.
3. Stay Hydrated
Stay hydrated because bloating can cause discomfort and make menstrual cramps worse. Drinking water can reduce bloating during your period and alleviate some of the pain it causes. Also, drinking hot water can increase blood flow throughout your body and relax your muscles. This can lessen cramps caused by uterine contractions.
4. Take Over the Counter (OTC) Medication
No surprise here, but taking a pain reliever can, um, relieve pain. OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin (Bufferin) are effective treatments for period cramps.
These medications work best if they’re taken at the first sign of cramps or pain.
You can find ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, at any drugstore. Be sure to take only as directed, and talk to your doctor first if you have a history of heart, liver, or kidney problems, or if you have asthma, ulcers, or bleeding disorders.
5. Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Some foods can offer natural relief for cramps and they taste great. Anti-inflammatory foods can help promote blood flow and relax your uterus. Try eating berries, tomatoes, pineapples and spices like turmeric, ginger or garlic. Leafy green vegetables, almonds, walnuts and fatty fish, like salmon, can also help reduce inflammation.
6. Reduce Stress
Stress may make cramps worse. Use stress relief techniques like meditation, deep breathing, yoga or your own favorite way to relieve stress. If you’re not sure how to relieve stress, try guided imagery. Simply close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine a calm, safe place that’s significant to you. Stay focused on this space for at least a few minutes while you take slow, deep breaths.
7. Increase Your Sexual Activity
Some women experience relief from menstrual cramping with orgasm. The reason behind this is not well understood, but may have something to do with endorphins released during sexual arousal. Much like with exercise, the endorphins released during orgasm can help relieve the menstrual cramps and inflammation. Just be careful while having sex on your period as it isn’t hygienic, and can lead to infections.
8. Yoga Poses to Relieve Cramps
Experts found that women who participated in a 60-minute yoga class once a week for 12 weeks showed significant reductions in their period pain. If you feel like a giant hand is squeezing your insides, yoga is a great way to stretch and soothe your muscles.
- Half Camel Pose: Kneel upright on the floor (so your butt isn’t resting on your heels) and reach back with your right hand to touch your right ankle, keeping your hips pressed forward. Repeat on your left side. This can stretch the muscles around your hips and help release some negative energy.
- Seated Forward Fold: Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and bend forward as far as you comfortably can. “Deep folds massage the organs in your abdominal cavity. So, it’s kind of like a backrub for your achy uterus.
- Child’s Pose: Start on your hands and knees, with your knees about hip-width apart and your big toes touching each other. Keeping your hands on the floor and arms outstretched, rock your butt back towards your heels and lower your torso to the floor. “Try this if your cramps are causing lower back pain
9. Do Some Light Exercise
Light movement induces endorphins into your system which will definitely help with the pain and mood swings. Stretching and aerobic exercise help with the production of endorphins, which are your body’s feel-good hormones. Hence, make sure to do some light exercise for 30 minutes which can include, light jogging, or even dancing to your favorite tunes.
10. When all else fails, call the doc.
You should contact your doctor if you have severe pain and very heavy bleeding. See a doctor if:
- the pain consistently prevents you from doing day-to-day activities
- the pain worsens, or bleeding gets heavier, over time
- you’re over 25 and severe cramps are a new development
- OTC medication doesn’t work
For severe cases, the best way to get treatment is for a doctor to diagnose the cause of your menstrual pain.
The bottom line
Period cramps are very common, but there are times when they can interfere with your day-to-day life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease the pain and discomfort caused by these pesky cramps.
If, however, the pain doesn’t go away after a couple of days, or is so extreme that you have difficulty functioning, be sure to follow up with your doctor.
Source : Wikipedia