Inside This Article
- 1 Should You Be Concerned About Menstrual Cramps?
- 2 So What Should You Do to Get Relief From Menstrual Cramps?
From the age of puberty to that of menopause, a lot of ladies experience monthly pain associated with their menstrual period spanning over a few days. This pain is generally known as menstrual cramps and is medically termed as dysmenorrhea .
As a lady, menstruation occurs to prepare your body for a possible pregnancy. This leads to extra thickening of your uterus. If intercourse and fertilization do not occur, the extra thickening is no longer needed, thus it will be shed as menstrual blood.
To ensure that this happens, the blood supply will be cut from reaching the extra thickened layer, thus depriving it of oxygen and other essential nutrients. Without blood, it will begin to die off and the body will respond by releasing some hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins. This, together with the spasmodic movement of the uterus to expel the ‘unneeded’ extra uterine layer is the reason for the pain experienced especially in the first few days of menstruation.
Should You Be Concerned About Menstrual Cramps?
While there are diseases that can cause severe menstrual pain eg. Endometriosis, Ovarian cysts, cervical stenosis, adenomyosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease, menstrual pain is normal and to some extent shows that your organs are functioning as expected.
So What Should You Do to Get Relief From Menstrual Cramps?
A lot of ladies while experiencing the period pains, rush to take ‘Over-The-Counter’ drugs like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Feldene, and Diclofenac. While this will provide temporary relief from the pain, its long term usage — especially without a prescription— is likely to do more harm than good. These drugs, known as NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs), could lead to diseases like peptic ulcers, aggravate gastric bleeding, and cause indigestion, diarrhea, heartburn among others.
Now that you know this, it will be wise to switch to natural methods that will provide relief from the menstrual cramps without exposing you to more harm.
Natural Menstrual Cramps Relievers
While some of the methods are yet to be proven scientifically, a lot of ladies have attested to its effectiveness in getting relief. These include;
1. Use of Heat
This is done by gently applying a heating pad over the area of pain. You can do this locally by filling a bottle with hot water, wrapping the bottle in a piece of clean cloth then rubbing it gently on your lower abdominal area — and sometimes back and thighs. A hot water compress (using a piece of clothing) or hot shower can also be done. There are other ways of locally making a heating pad here.
The heat helps to relax the spasmodic uterine muscles and also improves blood flow. This helps a lot with the pain. A lot of women who use this method have found it to be effective.
2. Drink Lots of Water
Body water is sometimes lost through vomiting and diarrhea during menstruation. The cramps can be made more severe as a result of dehydration. Therefore, taking enough water helps to reduce the symptoms and is generally good for health.
NB: Alcohol consumption should be avoided because it also causes dehydration
3. Exercise Regularly
While exercise is generally recommended due to its numerous health benefits, it also helps to prevent menstrual cramps or lessen its effects. Performing exercises especially a few days before the period and within the first few days of the period has proven to be helpful. Yoga can also serve as a good substitute.
4. Acupuncture Can Help
This age-long Asian practice has been recorded to help reduce body pain by calming the nervous system. The practice of puncturing certain areas of the skin (acupuncture) and applying pressure on certain parts of the body (acupressure), both helps to get relief from menstrual cramps. It is recommended that one gets an expert first before going for this method.
5. Massage the Area Where Pain is Felt
Massaging the areas where the pain is felt, I.e. the lower abdominal area, thigh, and lower back is also helpful. This is because blood flow is improved and the muscle is relaxed. Massaging the area by using essential oils like lavender is said to give better results.
6. Tea Can Do Wonders Too
Drinking warm tea has also proven to be helpful. However, the tea must be caffeine-free, because caffeine worsens the symptoms. Herbal tea is preferred due to the antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects of the herbs. A good example is ginger and mint tea. Herbs like Fenugreek have also been proven to alleviate menstrual cramps.
7. Watch the Kind of Food You Eat While on Your Period
Food rich in nutrients like Vitamins, Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron reduce the bloating, ease the pain, and replace nutrients lost during menstruation. Food rich in fiber is also recommended.
You also need to avoid or reduce the intake of excess sugar, fats, and salts as all these aggravate the symptoms. You should consult a dietician to design a suitable meal plan for you based on your financial strength.
Is there any other natural method you know of getting relief from menstrual cramps? Please do let us know in the comments section below.