Period pain is something that many women and girls experience in their menstrual cycle. This pain can be so excruciating that it may put a brake on your daily lifestyle. You might miss an important date or lunch or any other event because of this pain.
This pain is such that doctors have named it dysmenorrhea. It is a very common condition. More than half of the women experience pain from period cramps each month. The degree of pain differs from person to person.
The pain from the period can make a dent in your daily life.
Why are period cramps painful?
A compound called prostaglandins is thought to be the cause of dysmenorrhea. The level of prostaglandins in the lining of the uterus increases, before menstruation starts each month.
Your level of prostaglandins is highest on the first day of periods. This is a primary reason for the severe pain on the first day of your menstrual cycle. As your period progresses and the level of prostaglandins decreases. This leads to relief from the cramp.
Why do menstrual cramps happen?
As mentioned earlier period cramps are painful due to the compound called prostaglandin. The uterus contracts and expands during the menstrual cycle. This procedure might lead to cramps.
Some people also experience other symptoms. They are:
The reason behind this is still not known to perfection why some experience extreme symptoms while others do not experience severe symptoms.
Some factors associated with more intense pain are:
- having a heavy menstrual flow
- having your first child
- being under the age of 20 or just starting your menstruation.
- having an overproduction of or sensitivity to prostaglandins.
Other factors could be:
- growth in the uterus
- use of birth control
Some ways of treating period cramps at home
Usually, period pains can be treated at home without needing the doctor’s attention. Feel free to try them if you feel discomfort during your menstrual cycle.
Try these yoga poses to ease menstrual pain
Research has proved that yoga is beneficial to your overall health. There are various yoga poses that you can do to get relief from various health issues. The bound angle pose is one such pose that provides you relief from period pain. This pose even soothes your digestive system. It also stimulates your ovaries making it a reproductive health power pose.
The reclined bound angle pose is also beneficial in your menstrual cycle. In this pose, you have to lie on your back. This pose helps you with insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and headaches.
Yoga doesn’t focus only on external flexibility. Internal organs also benefit from yoga poses as these poses act as a natural massage activity. Child pose is yet another pose that benefits you in your menstrual cramps.
Some other favorable poses for dysmenorrhea are:
- Wide-angle seated forward bend
- Reclining twist
- Inverted leg pose
- Head to knee forward bend
A heating pad could provide you with relief
The uterus is a muscle, so anything that helps in relaxing the muscle like heating would be beneficial to the uterus.
You could use a hot water bag and several companies have come up with a heat patch these days. No hassle of heating water and putting it in the bag. When you are using a heat patch or a hot water bag, the blood circulation increases. This leads to a reduction in pain.
A gentle massage with essential oils
Some essential oils when massaged on the abdomen mixed with a carrier oil can also relieve the pain.
Some essential oils that ease menstrual cramps are:
When these essential oils are mixed with carrier oils like almond or jojoba then they spread over a larger area. Also, they do not harm the skin. As we all know that essential oils are in concentrated form and thus can sometimes cause some reactions on to the skin.
Acupuncture may help by relaxing the nervous system
Acupuncture can help relieve cramps as it is an ancient Asian healing method. This method relaxes the nervous system and allows more blood flow to the internal organs. Acupuncture also quells inflammation. An added advantage of this procedure has no side effects.
Some herbal teas can relieve you from cramping
Chamomile and peppermint teas have a calming and soothing effect on the mind and body. Other teas like ginger, cramp bark, and fennel are also associated with dysmenorrhea.
Avoid caffeine and salty foods
Few food items might lessen or increase the period pain.
Some food items that may help in reducing inflammation are:
- fatty fish
- extra virgin olive oil
You can also avoid foods that can cause water retention, bloating and discomfort like:
- salty foods
- fatty foods
Hydration is the key. If you are dehydrated, abdominal cramps might feel more painful.
Your goal should be to drink at least 3-4 liters of water daily. If it’s too hot you might need more or simply if you feel thirsty.
Improving your diet may alleviate period pain
Eating habits and diet may have an impact on your period pain. Researchers believe that including healthy fats in your diet can be beneficial to your menstrual health.
You should avoid unhealthy fat and can opt for fish and nuts. They have healthy fats in them.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain-relievers. They relieve pain and thus when you work out your pain is relieved.
Aerobics, Biking, and brisk walking are some of the exercises that you can do.
Consult a doctor if the pain persists
Although period pain is common if you are experiencing heavy flow then you should consult a doctor. You will make an appointment with the doctor if:
- Your periods are so painful that it hinders your day-to-day activities.
- Previously you didn’t have period pains, but after the age of 25 if you have them then you can consult your doctor.
Extreme pain during your menstrual cycle could be due to:
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- sexually transmitted infections
- uterine fibroids
- cervical stenosis
Period pain is quite normal and can be handled with the above measures. However, if the pain is too much and hinders your daily lifestyle then you can consult a doctor.