It’s that time of the month again, and here you are curling up like a ball on your bed, writhing in pain and agony. Menstrual cramps are not a surprise for women since more than half of women who menstruate has reported pain from period cramps for a day or two each month, which is according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Menstrual cramps also called dysmenorrhea, is usually not a sign of a serious health condition but is just one of menstruation symptoms. However, it can affect your daily activities making you unable to do what you usually do in days without your period — looking for ways to alleviate the pain? Here are some home remedies that you can do to ease your menstrual cramps.
What Causes Menstrual Cramps?
Let us first know as to why and what causes menstrual cramps, to understand better on how to fight it off. To start with, menstrual cramps happen because during your period, your uterus contracts—in layman’s term, it squeezes up to make the lining com off the walls of your uterus and leave your body. Then, the blood discharge from the breaking down of the lining will flow out from your vagina.
What a woman would usually feel during menstrual cramps are throbbing pains in the lower belly, and this might start a couple of days before the period occurs, and sometimes it can continue throughout the period. Look out for the first few days of your period since it is the time when your flow is the heaviest making cramps usually worst!
If you are worrying if ever your period cramps will leave you, well it may get more or less painful throughout your life. But for many people, pains have become less painful as they grow older. Surely it can be painful and irritating, but there are a lot of ways to treat them.
Take Over-the-Counter Medications
Well, here’s the fastest way to help alleviate the pain: taking up OTC medications. NSAIDS or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the main over-the-counter form of pain relievers that are recommended for menstrual pain and heavy menstrual bleeding. Examples of this medication are ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).
How do these medications help? Well, these drugs help lower your body’s production of prostaglandin, which are the ones responsible for uterus’ contractions during menstruation. This type of medication may not be as effective as oral contraception; however, they can help alleviate pain during your period.
Improving Your Diet
Improving your diet definitely help alleviate period cramps. Studies have shown that reducing fat and increasing vegetables in your diet will help ease monthly period cramps. An ob-gyn at UCLA Health, Dr. Aldo Palmieri MD, stated that a low-fat diet decreases overall levels of inflammation in a woman’s body, thus alleviating the pain felt during this time.
Not only that, but a low-fat diet helps your health generally and can have an indirect yet noticeable effect on menstrual cramps. Now, if you are trying to achieve this or a healthier diet, then start by swapping out less healthy fats like the saturated fats found in animal products and choose healthier food like unsaturated fats found in fish, fruits like avocado, and nuts.
Applying heat to your abdomen and lower back is the most common method of easing your menstrual cramps. There’s even a 2012 study which proves its effectivity wherein 147 women whose ages ranges from 18 to 30 years old that experiences regular menstrual cycle, shows a result that a heat patch at 40 degrees Celsius was as effective as ibuprofen.
Now, if you do not have any heat patches then you can use a hot water bottle, heating pad, take a warm bath, or use a hot towel.
Using Essential Oils
Massaging with essential oils for about 20 minutes can help ease menstrual pain. A 2010 study has found that massages significantly reduces pain immediately and afterward. With this said, massage therapy for menstruation involves pressing specific points like abdomen, side, and back.
Moreover, essential oils like lavender, clary sage, and marjoram ease a significant reduction amount and duration of pain. Not only that but it will also uplift your mood and relieve overall body tension.
Menstruation is an inevitable natural disposition of a woman’s body. Thus, what we can only do is to help ourselves by doing the best that we can to help ease any issues or complications during menstruation. With this said, you should use what’s best for you during your period.
For example, if you are debating over menstrual cup vs tampon, then you should look for more information on both on which menstrual hygiene product best fits your needs.