Every month about 80-85% of women experience throbbing pain in their body and about 50% of the women of reproductive age experience periods that bring on painful cramping and pelvic pain. The pain may impact females before or during the period, and while some experience light pain, for the majority of the women it can get excruciatingly painful. This pain can make a serious dent in your daily life and requires attention.
What happens in the female body that causes cramps?
- The body of the female prepares itself for a possible pregnancy and secretes the hormones which thicken the uterus lining from inside and causes the ovaries to release an egg which potentially will be fertilized by a sperm.
- When this fertilization doesn’t take place, the hormone levels take the downward path.
- The falling hormones result in two things- The thickened uterus lining is no longer required and secondly, chemicals named prostaglandins get released.
- These prostaglandins trigger contractions within the uterus which helps the body to shed the excess uterus lining leading to the symptoms of period cramps- pain, cramping, mood swings.
Potential reasons that gives rise to cramps during and before periods-
- Total load of several imbalances that go inside your body.
- High consumption of vegetable oils, refined grains, sugar and alcohol is almost guaranteed to make your periods miserable. These foods damage your cells, disrupt your hormones and interfere with cell communication.
- Another reason can be the high level of insulin in your body. Insulin, apart from causing pain, can lead to clotting and interfere with your ovulation.
- Imbalance in the thyroid level can cause heavy bleeding, very light bleeding or painful bleeding.
- Researches show that smoking even 1 cigarette per day is an important risk factor for painful periods.
6 Step Solution To The Period Cramps-
Hot water bottle or a heat patch/pad-
- Research has shown that heat therapy works in easing period pain. It relaxes the muscles of the uterus. The heat also boosts blood circulation in the abdomen which can help in reducing the discomfort.
- According to a 2004 study, wearing a heat wrap or using a heated patch is more effective than taking over-the-counter pain relievers. The study also showed that in addition to easing the pain of cramps, participants who used the heat wrap had fewer mood swings and less fatigue compared to those who didn’t.
Take over-the-counter pain reliever-
- According to American college of obstetricians and gynaecologists, over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are effective against period cramps.
- These work against the prostaglandins that cause the period cramps.
- These medicines exhibit their best performance when taken at the first sign of cramp or pain.
- As they have side effects, it makes sense to consume them after consultation with the doctor, especially if you have heart, kidney or liver problems, or ulcers.
Bust period pain with mild Aerobic exercise-
- According to a recent study, low to medium intensity aerobic exercise can help reduce pain caused by period cramps.
- In this study, scientists found that women who did thirty minutes’ aerobic exercise, 3 days per week for 8 weeks showed a significant reduction in period cramps.
- Possibly exercise increases oxygen availability in the uterus and relieves the spasms, which effectively controls these cramps.
- Go for a Brisk walk or bicycling or play any sport you enjoy.
Find your way out of period cramps through Yoga-
- One study suggests that, like aerobic exercise, yoga can also be helpful in reducing period cramps. Yoga helps to release muscle tension.
- In the study, it was found that women who participated in 60-minute yoga class per week for 12 weeks, observed low period pain in comparison to those who did not participate.
- Stretch your back and your abdomen or any place on your body where you feel tension. It aids in easing your pain and makes you feel a lot better.
Key role of Supplements-
- Several studies suggest that different types of dietary supplements may help lessen period cramps though their work isn’t exactly known.
- Take supplements of Calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, magnesium, zinc, fish oil. It is better to consider advise from doctor before taking them.
- Researchers believe that consumption of magnesium may inhibit painful contractions by relaxing muscle cells in the uterus. However, more research is needed in order to recommend an effective dosage.
How necessary diet changes help to ease period pain-
- If there an extra oestrogen in women’s blood, the thickening of the uterus lining goes on too much, and that causes heavier flow, more pain, more cramps and more menstrual symptoms, in general. This can be changed by food. Researches have shown, a long time ago, that if you change your food, you can change how much oestrogen is in your blood and if you change that, you can reduce the intensity of cramps.
- The wise thing to do is to avoid foods that cause water retention, bloating and discomfort.
- Some of the foods to stay away from when you have period cramps include, salty foods, caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods,
- According to a 2000 study, a low-fat vegetarian diet can reduce period cramp and pre-menstrual syndrome, but it’s crucial to know that taking a vegetarian diet can lead to vitamin deficiency. Hence, following a balanced diet is the right thing to do.
- Also, according to experts, you are prone to experience abdominal cramps if you are dehydrated as dehydration stresses the body. Remain hydrated, even on normal days. 8 glasses of water per day, should be the aim.
- According to 2005 study, women who eat more fibre and low fat diet tend to report less menstrual pain.
- Consume fish oil which contains omega 3.
Combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications can help ease the pain and reduce discomfort before and during periods. Apart from this, studies have shown that getting the sleep you need is associated with less period pain.
Home Remedies For Overcoming Period Cramps: –
- This tea is extremely soothing for your entire body and helps the muscles to relax. It also acts as a natural sedative so it will help you get some sleep through the pain.
- Fenugreek has pain-relieving properties and also relieves water retention and bloating. Soak two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in one glass of water overnight and drink it to reduce cramping.
Healing power of Ginger: –
- Like fenugreek, ginger has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce your cramps for sure.
- Take 1/8 teaspoon of ginger powder three times a day for the first 2-3 days of your period to get benefits.
- You can also take ginger extract capsules after consulting your doctor.
- Eating ginger 2-3 times a day is recommend while you are on your period to reduce pain.
Ayurvedic use of Sesame oil: –
- Sesame oil is rich in linoleic acid and traditionally it was used in Ayurveda for pain-relieving massages.
- Use it to massage your lower abdomen whenever you experience cramps.
Essential oil blend:-
- Using soothing properties of essential oils to massage your abdomen is also extremely helpful.
- Mix two tablespoons of coconut oil and three drops of lavender oil and 3 drops of peppermint oil.
- Coconut oil in this mixture acts as a carrier oil for the safe application of essential oils.
- Lavender oil is relaxing and menthol in peppermint oil is numbing and pain-reducing.
Pain relief balm:-
- Pain-relieving balms and gels are available online. They contain ingredients like eucalyptus and menthol, just like peppermint oil and can be used as often as needed just by applying it onto the area of pain.
Ease your periods with this homemade drink: –
- Take 3 spoons of sesame seeds and 1 spoon of cumin seeds.
- Pound these into a slightly coarse powder. Once done, soak in water for around 30 minutes in a bowl.
- Strain the water out and have this mixture.
- You can have this with water or make an addition of some jaggery to it for taste.
- Have this 3-4 day before the commencement of your cycle.
Parsley and coriander seed mixture for period cramps: –
- Add a handful of parsley leaves to a cup of water in a pan.
- You can use some coriander leaves instead of parsley leaves. Then put 1 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds.
- Grate 1 inch of ginger in this liquid and boil it for around 10-12 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, strain this out and have the drink in case of any uneasy feeling. You can consume it around 2-3 times a day.
Cinnamon and Lemon drink: –
- In 1 cup of water, put ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Squeeze half a lemon into this mixture. Boil well. Strain and drink.
Chia seeds as a good source of Omega-3:-
- Chia seeds are good source of omega 3. Soak 2 teaspoons of chia seeds in half a cup of almond milk overnight or at least for an hour. Then add coca, dates and almonds and drink it.
- A recent study at a university of Berlin published exciting results in the American journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, demonstrating that self-acupressure could be a strategy for reducing pain from menstrual cramps.
- Apply pressure in the joints between your foot and leg (heel) and the upper part of your foot.
- Massage well onto the joint where the thumb is connected to the index finger.
In the nutshell, medium intensity pain during periods is considered normal but if you are popping pills after pills every month, it might be something serious and a doctor’s consultation is a must. Having a painful period or dysmenorrhoea is not normal.
One should never ignore severe pain. Having severe pain before and during periods may be due to underlying health issue which needs medical attention such as endometriosis, pelvic, inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted infections, uterine fibroids and adenomyosis, cervical stenosis.