Isn’t it true that women are warriors? They carry on their daily tasks despite experiencing fatigue, headaches, bloating and cramps every month during menstruation. While this pain is an inevitable side effect of the menstrual period, there’s no need to suffer from it unreasonably. There are various treatments for menstrual cramps, many of which are available in your own home.
What are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are actually one of the most common and most annoying stages of having a period. They may strike during or right before the menstrual period, with many women experiencing them routinely.
These cramps are usually felt in the lower belly, with the pain ranging from mild to severe. This usually happens for the first one or two years after a girl first starts her period. With age, they normally become less painful (although not always), and they may stop entirely after giving birth for the first time.
Here are some of the symptoms of menstrual cramps:
- Pain in the hips, inner thighs and lower back
- A feeling of pressure in the belly
- Mild to severe pain in the belly.
Severe menstrual cramps may have the following symptoms:
- Loose stools
- Upset stomach
Causes of Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps occur due to contractions in the womb or uterus. When there is a strong contraction during the menstrual period, it may press against the nearby blood vessels. This briefly cuts off the supply of oxygen to the uterus, which may in turn cause cramps and pain.
It is common to feel discomfort around the belly, thighs, lower back and abdomen when you are on your menstrual period. Some girls also experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and headaches.
Doctors are not actually sure why some women experience painful menstruation while others do not, but here are some factors associated that intense stomach pain:
- Overproduction or sensitivity of prostaglandins – a hormone which influences the womb
- Just starting the period, or being under the age of 20.
- Bearing your first child.
- Having a heavy blood flow
Some other factors include growths in the womb, endometriosis and the use of birth control or contraceptives.
What Can You Do?
If you are experiencing mild menstrual cramps, you can take pain relievers. Later we’ll be discussing different treatments for menstrual cramps, like which foods help relieve the condition. Beyond that, you must also do the following things:
- Massage your lower abdomen or belly and your lower back.
- Do not drink any alcoholic beverages or use tobacco.
- Avoid eating foods that contain too much caffeine and salt.
- Rest when you need to.
- Get regular exercise.
- Lie on your side and put your knees up to your chest to relieve back pressure.
- Lie down and raise your legs by putting a pillow under your knees.
- Apply heat to the abdomen using a heating pad or hot water bottle.
Treatments for Menstrual Cramps: Food
Here are some of the foods that you might want to consider eating to relieve menstrual pain:
Foods rich in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps boost your mood and keep away the blues. Consuming foods rich in vitamin B6 also helps prevent bloating and treat menstrual cramps.
Foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is important in supporting women’s eggs and reproductive system. This helps reduce muscle pain and aches.
Calcium-rich foods. Women are required to consume 1200 milligrams of calcium, per RDA. Try adding kale, yogurt and broccoli to your diet.
Water. This is an essential component in treating menstrual cramps. Water helps flush out the excess sodium in the body that causes migraines and bloating.
Dark chocolate. Research states that dark chocolates satisfies cravings for junk food and boosts serotonin levels.
Caffeine. Caffeine must be avoided during periods because it may lead to painful cramps. Ginger water, however, helps treat an upset stomach.
Beans and legumes. Our digestive systems actually become irregular during menstrual periods. Since beans and legumes are rich in fiber, they help regularize the digestive system.
Nuts and seeds. Since these foods are rich in magnesium, they help reduce cravings for junk food and chocolate. This is beneficial in preventing bloating and other correlated discomforts.