Menstrual cramp is a pain that occurs in the lower abdomen, which is most common between the first and second day of the menstrual cycle. This cramping occurs as a result of contractions of the muscles of the uterus as it expels its unwanted materials.
It can range from mild to severe pain. The pain can be very annoying for some women and goes as far as disrupting your life and daily activities
This cramps occur when your uterus contracts as it prepares to shed its lining. It is caused by the release of prostaglandins which usually help the uterus contract and relax. This process is important but when it occurs in excess, it can cause pain. Higher levels of prostaglandins are associated with more severe menstrual cramps.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
These are emotional and physical symptoms felt by some women a week or two before their period starts and continues into their period. It usually occurs due to hormonal changes.
Some physical symptoms include
- Back pain,
- Cravings for sweet things,
- Pain and Cramping in your belly,
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Breast tenderness
- Loss of appetite
- Loose stools
Some emotional changes include,
- Easily irritable and angry
- Mood swings
- Tearful outburst
- Not feeling very social or wanting to be around people
- Difficulty concentrating
- Being alone
CAUSES OF SEVERE MENSTRUAL CRAMPS
Some causes include
- Uterine fibroids
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Ovarian cysts
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
WAYS TO RELIEVE MENSTRUAL CRAMPS
1. Drink water:
Bloating causes a lot of discomfort. This makes menstrual cramps worse. Drinking water can reduce this process and relieve some of the pain. Try drinking warm or hot water to decrease the cramps and improve blood flow.
2. Anti-inflammatory pain medication:
Some over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) can help relieve pain. Speak to your doctor to know which medication is best for you.
Exercise can help boost your mood and decrease fatigue. A research was done to determine the effects of exercise participation on menstrual pain and result showed that exercise participants reported less pain than sedentary women during menses. Another research showed that exercise participation decreases the frequency and severity of PMS and primary dysmenorrhoea. Also, studies have shown that clinicians suggests exercise in women for symptom management.
4. Diet changes:
Research has shown that eating foods that decrease inflammation in the body will help to tame menstrual cramps. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Research has shown that both a vegetarian and plant-based eating pattern work to decrease inflammation in the body. Avoid things like salt (may cause bloating), caffeine, sugar, alcohol, which can increase pain.
5. Decrease Stress:
Relieving stress may go a long way to decrease period cramps. When you are stressed, there will be an increased secretion of cortisol (stress hormone) which can decrease the release of reproductive hormones, eventually affecting ovulation and menstruation. Research has found that people with high levels of stress are likely to have menstrual cramps. High stress levels is associated with menstrual irregularities which can cause a difference in the level of pain and length of menstrual period. Different people’s body responds differently.
6. Try massage therapy:
Massages may reduce uterine contraction by relaxing the uterus. This massage should focus mainly on the abdominal area. The massage therapy technique consisted of pressuring 24 specific points of the abdomen and 10 points on the sacrum, each one for two minutes while hands keep moving on the abdomen, sides, and sacrum. Here is a video to guide you. In a research conducted, the result showed that massage therapy can help in reducing the menstrual pain caused by endometriosis.
7. Watch those cravings:
I usually experience high sugar cravings during my period. A certified dietician nutritionist, Justine Roth, R.D., said that during your period, your body goes through some physiological changes. She also said your hormones are out of whack, causing you to crave certain nutrients. Try to avoid food high in sugar, trans fat and salt because they can cause bloating and inflammation.
8. Avoid smoking:
Women who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk for experiencing menstrual pain. According to a new Australian study, smokers were found to suffer more severe menstrual cramps when compared to nonsmokers and the pain increased as the number of cigarettes they smoked per day increased.
9. Hot water bath/ Heat press:
Applying a little heat using a heating pad or having a hot bath can help the muscles of your uterus relax. It also increases blood flow through the vessels.
10. Treat any underlying condition:
If you are experiencing severe cramps that affect your daily activities and the cramps are not relieved by pain medications, please see your doctor. Severe menstrual cramps or chronic pelvic pain can be a sign of an underlying medical conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cyst, adenomyosis, etc.
A lot has been said about having sex while menstruating but research has shown that. The belief that sexual behavior must be avoided while menstruating is unfounded. There is nothing “dirty” or dangerous about menstrual blood. There’s no need to avoid sexual activity during your period. Though period sex can be a bit messy, it is safe and having sex when you’re menstruating can relieve menstrual cramps. Some women even notice increased arousal during their period.
Dealing with cramps can be very painful and hard and i hope this few tips help you with managing the pain. If none of this tips are helpful, please see your doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.
BELOW ARE AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS TO ORDER HEATING PADS FOR CRAMPS.
Click on the product and it will send you to amazon where you can make a purchase
DISCLAIMER: All content/ information on this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. These contents are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical care, diagnosis, or treatment. In as much as we try our very best to provide the right information, you should not rely solely on these information. Ensure you seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or in the case of a medical emergency.