Dysmenorrhoea is the technical name for pain and cramps during menstruation. Pain during periods is a common occurrence, with 80% women suffering from the same during some stage in their lifetime. It can strike during your teen years when your body is adjusting to menstruation, or even during the stages of menopause. While most women are able to deal with the discomfort menstruation pain brings along, it can be severe for about 5% to 10% of women. Let us discuss menstrual cramps in detail, and know how to minimize the discomfort and get fast relief without using any medicines.
According to research studies on menstrual cramps, more women in their late teens and early 20s experience this severe uterine pain prior to their menstruation. 67.2 percent women report of this pain in their lifetime and look out for how to get rid of menstrual cramps. Only after the age of 40, the severity of the pain declines.
What are menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps are pretty much what they sound like, sharp or dull throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdominal area, which are annoying, to say the least. Some women are able to pass them by as ‘slightly disturbing’, while some have them to the extent that they interfere with the normal routine life.
Why do I get cramps on my period?
The cause of why menstrual cramps are different for different women has not yet been ascertained, but science has it that the extent of cramps depends upon the hormone prostaglandins. These are basically some chemicals that cause the uterus to contract and expel the lining that the uterus builds up in anticipation of a pregnancy. This contraction along with the pushing out of blood from a woman’s vagina causes cramps- which can be mild to strong and intense. The strength of the cramps depends upon the levels of prostaglandins – because these are the same chemicals and muscles that are involved in childbirth. The higher the level of prostaglandins present in a woman, the severe the menstrual cramps.
The other causes of severe menstrual cramps have been linked with Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and Cervical stenosis. If your menstrual cramps are severe and are disrupting your day-to-day life, with pain extending to thighs and back, it is best to seek medical advice.
What do menstrual cramps feel like?
Pain during menstruation is mostly described as dull, throbbing cramps that come and go in the lower abdominal area. The pain is mostly constant, sometimes radiating to lower back and thighs. One may experience menstrual cramps before, during or after the periods. Women who get mild period pains report them to last a few hours only, but women who have heavy menstrual blood flow, or have irregular periods may have them much longer. Some women also describe period pains as the same when you have to poop but are not able to. Menstrual cramps mostly go away or tone down after giving birth, but this is not true for everyone. These period pains somehow become a part of life for most women, month on month.
What can you do to help cramps?
Cramps during periods are quite a common occurrence, with many women facing the issue month on month. Unless there is a medical complication, period pains can be dealt without using any medicines or drugs. Heat therapy, dietary considerations, an active lifestyle, warm beverages and leading a stress-free life can help reduce the intensity of period cramps. However, if menstrual cramps are bothering your day to day life, it is best to seek a medical opinion.
How do you get rid of period cramps fast without pills?
While it may be easier to pop a pill or some medicine to get rid of period cramps, it is often not advisable. We bring to you 12 home remedies that can help you get rid of menstrual cramps fast, without any medicines or side-effects.
Though it is difficult to move, let alone exercise, but a small session of a brisk walk or anaerobic may actually help to ease period pains. Exercising releases endorphin hormones or “feel good” hormones in the body and they work like magic as natural painkillers. Physical activity is actually a must during periods. If you are not in a very active mode, use meditation or breathing exercises such as pranayama to your benefit
2. Heat therapy
Use a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower abdomen and there is a good chance that the cramps will reduce if they do not completely go away. Heat around the pelvic area helps the muscles to relax and reduces the pain.
It is important to rest and sleep during the days of your period to ease the cramps. -Though it may be difficult to rest with the pain, yet try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Make up for lost sleep in the night during the day with power naps.
4. Warm beverages
Herbal teas have been traditionally used for easing period pains. Teas like cramp bark or those having peppermint oils can help ease period pains to a large extent. If you do not have herbal teas handy, have a few glasses of warm water to reduce period pains. You may even have warm milk or a freshly brewed cup of green tea.
5. Light massage
Diluted, aromatic essential oils like lavender or clary sage can be used to self-massage the lower abdomen during periods. However, make sure that you carefully use the essential oils in a diluted to a 3 percent concentration overall in unscented creams.
Acupuncture can also help one deal with pains during monthly cycles, though research on the subject is limited. It is believed that acupuncture relaxes the reproductive muscles and the nervous system, easing the pains without the need for any medicine.
7. Eating right
A right diet can work wonders to help ease period pains. Have foods that are rich in proteins, calcium, magnesium, iron, B vitamins, and minerals. Choose leafy greens and fatty fish, avoid white sugar, processed flours and dairy items. Also, reduce your intake of caffeine and salt to fight period pains naturally.
8. Warm bath and shower
A warm bath and a shower or a soak in the tub can relax both your mind and body. This may provide some relief from period cramps.
9. Dietary supplements
Vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-6, magnesium, fish oil with omega 3, and vitamin E supplements have been proven to effectively reduce period pains. They also help alleviate other deficiencies, but it is recommended to check with your doctor first.(Source)
10. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
Women who drink alcohol and smoke have intense and severe pains during their periods. Steering clear of them can help ease menstrual cramps.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and helps relax the muscles and uterine contractions. Having cinnamon tea can help to reduce the discomfort during periods. Cinnamon also helps in regulating the cycles. Just add some cinnamon to boiling water and brew it lightly. Have it warm.
With antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, fennel seeds can relax the muscles in the pelvic region and reduce cramps during periods. Fennel tea also improves the pelvic blood flow, making itself a perfect way to treat lower abdominal pain during menstruation.
Parsley is considered as a mild emmenagogue; it can stimulate menstrual bleeding. You can drink parsley tea either made from dried herb (a teaspoon for a cup of boiling water) or from fresh leaves (two tablespoon per cup). You may drink 3 to 4 cups of parsley tea every day for a week. Alternately, you may also drink half a cup of parsley juice every day for 7 days
It is suggested that ginger can be effective in relieving cramps and in promoting menstrual bleeding. You may chop a fresh piece of ginger root and boil it in water for about 10 minutes. Allow the drink to cool for sometime before drinking it. You may want to be cautious before taking ginger if you have history of gallstone
Experts believe that being a rich source of iron and calcium, rosemary can stimulate menstrual flow. Rosemary is also known as an abortifacient (can stimulate abortion). To prepare an infusion, you can take about half ounce of dried rosemary powder in a container having a tight-fitting lid. Pour a quart of boiling water over the powder into the container. Leave it for 30 minutes, strain the liquid before drinking
It is suggested that being a diuretic, yarrow can purify your system by removing toxins. Yarrow also has anti-spasmodic property; this property can help in smoothing smooth-muscle cramping, thereby treating menstrual cramps. For treating a delayed menstrual problem, you may take 3-4 cups of cold yarrow tea in a day.
They stand for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Though these drugs are effective in providing the relief from pain, studies mention that prolonged use of these drugs can have adverse to severe adverse effects on health.
18. Hormonal Contraceptives
Symptoms of menstrual cramps can be relieved by the usage of these contraceptive pills. However, according to a 2001 study on the efficacy of these pills, nothing conclusive could be drawn on the modern combined oral contraceptive pills of the lower dose.
19. Behavioral Therapies
These treatments on based on the belief the bodily changes associated with the menstrual cramps are related to environmental and psychological factors. Addressing the symptoms of this condition and ways to curbs them are beneficial rather than modifying the underlying processes is what these therapies aim at.
A 2007 study did find some pieces of evidence on the effectiveness of these therapies. But there are concerns on the quality of data available on the topic.
This discipline of medicine also claims to reduce the symptoms of period cramps by manipulating the spine. However, no such claims very found to be true by a 2006 study owing to lack of evidence.
Before taking herbs as home remedies, you may want to consult with your physician to avoid any possible side-effect. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also go a long way in alleviating menstrual problems in women.
Are there any other natural remedies that can help ease the period pains? Tell us what you tried in the comments and help others!
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