Menstrual cramps, almost every woman is familiar with this pain. It is the most dreadful part that comes every month. As annoying as it is for some, it is extremely painful for others. Fortunately, it is curable and can be prevented in most with the right diet and lifestyle.
What is Menstrual Cramps?
Period pain occurs shortly before or during the periods. It felt in the lower abdomen and can range from a dull ache to severe cramps. These cramps tend to begin during ovulation.
Menstrual cramps usually begin one or two years after a woman start to get periods. These cramps become less painful as the woman ages and stop entirely after the woman has her first baby.
Dysmenorrhea is the medical term used for painful cramps. It is basically divided into two categories:
Primary Dysmenorrhea: It is the most common type of period pain usually felt in the lower abdomen and lower back. It usually occurs 1 or 2 days before the periods and lasts for 2-4 days. In this, pain can be mild to moderate. This type of pain is normal during periods.
Secondary Dysmenorrhea: This occurs due to the underlying medical problem in woman’s reproductive organ. During periods, pain is extreme disturbing your daily life. Typically, cramps begin early during the periods and last longer than normal pain.
Consult a doctor if pain continues beyond the second day of periods. What are the symptoms of Menstrual Cramps?
What are the symptoms of Menstrual Cramps?
Including pain, there are many other symptoms of menstrual cramps:
- Dull pain in lower abdomen
- Pain in lower back, hips and thighs
- Bloated stomach
- A headache
In severe cramps, symptoms are:
- Loose stools
What causes Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps are basically caused by contraction of the uterus to expel its lining during the periods. And Prostaglandins is a hormone that is responsible for this process and the pain is the aftermath of this contraction.
Other than that there are several medical conditions that can be the reason for severe menstrual cramps like:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease(a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria)
- Uterine fibroids(a noncancerous tumour that grows on the wall of the uterus)
- Endometriosis(it is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus develop outside of it)
Consult your doctor for this kind of pain.
Who gets Menstrual Cramps?
Almost every woman is familiar with the menstrual pain at some point. It affects 40-90% of woman. And about 15% of woman experience severe pain.
There are many physical and psychological factors that increase the likelihood of painful periods:
Lack of physical exercise: Study proves that woman who exercises regularly experience less pain.
Hormonal Imbalance: Painful periods are often associated with hormonal imbalance.
Emotional stress: According to a study chance of painful periods are more common in women with a high level of stress.
Early Puberty: Girls who hit puberty at a young age of 11 or less are more likely to face uncomfortable periods.
Food: Too much sugar, salt and caffeine can make your cramps worse.
Heavy bleeding during periods.
A woman who has never given birth also encounter episodes of pain their periods.
Medication for Menstrual Cramps
To relieve mild menstrual cramps, you should:
- Take some rest and apply a hot water bottle or heating pad on your belly and lower back.
- If the pain does not go then take some pain reliever like ibuprofen or aspirin. It is best to take pain reliever immediately before the periods start to avoid the discomfort.
- In the case of severe pain, consult your doctor.
Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
A herbal tea can be your saviour in mild menstrual cramps like:
- Turmeric tea – Add a half teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of warm milk to make turmeric tea. You can also add a pinch of cinnamon and ginger to it.
- Ginger tea – Boil ginger in a cup of water and sip it slowly. You can take it 2-3 times a day.
- Chamomile tea – Add some clean chamomile flowers to 2 cups of boiling water and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Strain it and drink it twice a day for relief.
- Use of Essential Oil relieves mild menstrual cramps.
These herbal drinks are easy to make and serves their purpose as an anti-inflammatory herb.
Food Habits during Menstruation
- Eat fibre rich diet a week prior to your periods like lentils, broccoli, peas, raspberries, pears, avocado, barley, oatmeal, whole wheat, flax seed, chia seed, spinach and carrot.
- Include vitamin E, omega3 fatty acid along with vitamin B-12 in your meal. They significantly reduce the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
- Add some sugar-free chocolate to your sweet craving. It is high in magnesium that helps with mood swings and irritation.
- Sugar: sugar induces inflammation that is directly related to cramps.
- Salt: too much salt will make your stomach bloated.
- Caffeine: It contracts blood vessels making your periods more painful.
Prevention of Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps are common but can be eliminated with simple diet and lifestyle changes:
- Exercise regularly, if not every day then at least twice a week. 5-10 minutes of exercise per day can keep your cramps away.
- Yoga and relaxation therapy helps a great extent in painful periods. Stress is unavoidable sometimes, so do some stress relieving exercise.
- Stress is unavoidable sometimes so do some stress relieving exercise.
- Eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin E, Omega3 and fibre.
- acupuncture also helps in reducing menstrual cramps.