One of the things that you need to endure as a woman is the pain and discomfort that accompany your monthly cycles. And if you are one of those unlucky ladies who experience acute pains during periods, then not to worry! For with some simple tips and measures, you can relieve yourself of this troublesome issue that threatens to disrupt your daily activities every month.
What Causes Pain And Discomfort During Periods?
Also called as Dysmenorrhea, painful periods are experienced by many women who often contract the issue from their mothers who usually contract it from their mothers and so on. Usually starting at the onset of puberty, the pain and discomfort usually accompany ladies until they reach menopause.
During periods, the extreme changes in the hormonal levels in the body lead to the secretion of a chemical substance called prostaglandin that temporarily shuts down the blood supply in the uterus and causes the same to contract to abnormal levels. These powerful contractions in turn give off the cramping stomach pains that you feel during your periods. Usually starting with your monthly periods, the pain does not abate for at least 3-4 days.
Some Precautions That Need To Be Followed
Painful periods can disrupt your entire system and can restrict you from doing even the simplest of chores. However, there are some timely precautions that can help you overcome the issue. Do not opt to carry heavy weights during periods. The pressure exerted on your body would be transferred to the uterus which in turn would cause more shedding and pain. Avoid all kinds of rigorous trainings and workouts until your periods end.
Try to opt out of using tampons during the first few days of your periods. Tampons, although effective in helping you control leakages, can cause more uterine contractions which would increase the pain and discomfort to a great extent. Practise good hygiene during periods. Make sure to clean your private parts whenever you change tampons or use the bathroom. If not, the bacteria present in the anal and uterine openings can cause infections, leading to more troublesome issues.
Effective Ways To Reduce Menstrual Pain
The best way to reduce the pain and discomfort that accompany your periods is to opt for small changes to your daily routine, including incorporating miniscule changes in your diet, exercise regime, and lifestyle.
Foods That Need To Be Considered
Stay away from caffeine and its by products during your periods. Caffeine is known to enhance the contractions of the uterine walls during periods, thus causing more pain. Avoid spices as well which may lead to painful issues like increased gastric motility or acidity. It is also advised that women refrain from eating fried foods, fatty foods, foods that contain refined sugars and red meat during their menstrual cycles. These foods both directly and indirectly lead to stronger uterine contractions, thus causing more pain and discomfort during periods.
One of the most important things that you need to note in periods is that your body would tend to become dehydrated quickly due to the loss of blood, water and minerals from the body. And so, it is advised that you consume plenty of fresh, juicy fruits, fluids and water on a daily basis. This would keep your body hydrated enough (including the uterus) to combat the pain that accompanies your menstrual cycles.
If you suffer from constipation during your menstrual cycles, then include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Try to keep your colon wholesome and well balanced right before your periods start in order to prevent constipation and minimise the effects of the same. Although spices need to be avoided, you can sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper in your dishes. Cayenne pepper helps to increase the blood circulation in the body, thereby reducing pain and discomfort during periods.
Foods like cinnamon, mint, ginger, turmeric, chamomile tea, basil and bilberry (found in dark skinned fruits) etc, contain ingredients that possess medicinal, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which if included in the diet; effectively reduce menstrual cramps and pains.
Foods that are rich in iron, calcium, minerals, fiber and antioxidants need to be taken during periods in order to replenish all the nutrients lost by the body. These include foods like cashews, broccoli, almonds, apples, oysters, salmon, spinach, cabbage, leafy vegetables, and milk (and it’s by products) etc.
Exercises You Can Opt For
A good fitness regime will be able to relieve you painful cramps during your menstrual cycles. Opt for light exercises that do not exert much pressure on the uterus. Even a small walk will do wonders in increasing the blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body, thereby offering you comfort.
Medications You Can Opt For
If natural remedies don’t work for you, opt for prescribed medications or treatments that could help you get relief from painful menstrual cramps. Accordingly, Ibuprofen is a standard drug that is used to reduce the uterine contractions and abate the pain that occurs due to them. Taken right before the day of the onset of the monthly cycles, Ibuprofen effectively restricts the prostaglandin receptors (which secrete prostaglandin) in the uterus, thus reducing the discomfort and painful cramps to a great extent.
Oral contraceptives can also be used to reduce menstrual cramps and pains. These pills significantly reduce the lining of the uterus, thus inhibiting the quantity of menstrual tissue that is formed in the area right before the start of the periods. This action would cause less shedding, as a result of which the contractions and discomfort that occur during periods will decrease significantly. Some oral hormonal pills also limit your menstrual cycles to once in 3 months or so, thus leaving you with minimal discomfort and pain as and when the period occurs.
However, the usage of oral contraceptives should be limited to women who are above 40 years of age, do not smoke, and know how to use these pills. The hormonal pills may also cause irregular spotting in between and so need to be taken under the guidance of a qualified physician only.
Other Remedies You Can Opt For
If you want to stick to natural remedies for treating painful periods and find that none of the above mentioned home remedies work well; then here are some alternate treatments that you can follow. Some women experience acute pain in their abdomen and back during their periods. This can be effectively combated by placing warm towels, hot pads or hot water bottles on the affected area. Hot water herbal spas can also help relieve you off the pain that accompanies your monthly cycles in addition to relaxing your muscles and rejuvenating your entire system.
The Last Course Of Action
Face it! If none of the remedies mentioned above (both natural and medicinal) work well for you, then you need to realise that the pain you experience during periods might be caused by some other reason that needs to be clinically evaluated. For example, endometriosis is a common disorder that leads to painful periods in women. In this situation, the small areas within the pelvis grow new uterine cells which contract and bleed during periods; thus causing more pain and shedding.
If you find it difficult to control the pain that occurs during your monthly cycles, then there might be a strong chance that you are suffering from endometriosis. A thorough check by a professional gynaecologist would help you find the root cause for your menstrual cramps.