HOME REMEDIES FOR MENSTRUAL CRAMPS RELIEF: HOW TO REDUCE, STOP PERIOD PAIN DURING PERIOD.
What is menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps also known as dysmenorrhea is pain experienced by women at the onset of menstruation and during the period.it is estimated that 50% of all women experience cramps and one out of every seven women have intense cramps. The intensity of the pain varies with individuals and ranges from dull to severe and extreme. The pain occurs in the abdomen and lower back and can be so serious that it leads to vomiting, fever, headache, dizziness and in extreme cases fainting. The pain is throbbing in nature and due to the rhythmic contraction of the uterus to remove the uterine lining. The contractions are triggered by prostaglandins which are similar to hormones and higher levels of these in the blood increase the severity of menstrual cramps. Cramps may be primary if there is no complication with the reproductive system or secondary if there is a gynaecological problem associated with the pain.
How to stop cramps during menstrual period
Many ways exist to reduce or eliminate menstrual cramps which include over the counter treatment using drugs from pharmacies such as pain killers or anti-prostaglandins that reduce the intensity of uterine contraction by relaxing the musclesthus reducing the blood flow and pain. Depending on suitability of the patient, a doctor may prescribe hormonal birth control pills or any other birth control method that reduce pain by preventing ovulation. These may be administered throughout the month without any break to stop ovulation completely and thus eliminate cramps until the medication is withdrawn and ovulation returns. If the pain is secondary (due to a medical condition) such as fibroids, medical attention must be sought to deal with the condition. Another method of reducing menstrual cramps is through natural home remedies which we will discuss in detail in this article.
What are home remedies for reducing menstrual cramps?
Eat the right food and watch your lifestyle
Women usually eat the wrong kind of food during their period which can worsen menstrual cramps. Some medical experts say the appetite for the wrong kind of food including alcohol actually heightens during menstruation and studies have shown that these foods actually bring relief when eaten but they end up worsening the condition of the woman by causing bloating and thus increasing cramps. Therefore it is necessary to curb one’s appetite and reduce intake of these foods during your period or stay away from them all together.
The following foods should be avoided during periods:
- Foods with high Sodium:
The commonly reported bloating during periods can actually be worsened by eating food that is really salty. Salty foods are rich in Sodium which causes water retention in the gastrointestinal tract thereby increasing menstrual cramps. Try to stay away from salty food during the few days of your period to reduce some of the symptoms associated with menstruation such as cramps, bloating, dizziness and vomiting. Instead drink a lot of water and remain well hydrated.
- Caffeinated beverage:
beverages that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, chocolate and carbonated soft drinks have been known to worsen menstrual cramps by causing bloating. Apart from this, caffeine intake can cause anxiety and inability to sleep. It should be avoided at least few days before the commencement of your period. Caffeine intake during periods however does not affect those who take coffee regularly but if you don’t, it is better to avoid it during your period to reduce cramps and other unpleasant symptoms.
High sugar levels have the tendency to increase menstrual cramping and should be avoided. Sugar should be cut down at least two weeks to your period because too much sugar in the body triggers to secretion of prostaglandins which are the primary cause of pain. Instead of taking sugar from processed foods, you should eat something natural like dates or sugarcane to reduce the inflammatory effects of refined sugar thus reducing cramps.
- Meat rich in fat:
Remember I said cramps are caused by prostaglandins? Fatty meat has the tendency to increase the level of this hormone-like substance in the body which can increase your cramps and pain so avoid them days before the period commences. It is better to eat white meat or fish with very little fat which should be baked or cook but not fried.
- Dairy products:
Dairy products like yoghurt, and ice cream contain fatty acids that can cause inflammation and worsen cramps if consumed before commencement of your periods. It is advisable to avoid them in order to reduce menstrual pain. In addition, oily foods like fried things and processed grains such as bread, cakes, cookies and pasta can cause alternating blood sugars so stay away from them to reduce your cramps. Instead of eating the above foods, find things that are high in fibre and plant components such as vegetables and fruits.
The following are food you should eat to reduce menstrual cramps
Cinnamon has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a muscle relaxant that helps to relax the muscles of the pelvic floor thus reducing cramps and reduces bleeding during the period. Cinnamon is a spice and can be taken in many different ways for the purpose of reducing cramps. It can be used on snacks by sprinkling or taken with tea or coffee few days to and on the first day of menstruation to keep cramps at its lowest level.
Ginger is generally a good source of medicine for many things and has been shown to reduce menstrual pain. Consumption of ginger before and during periods leads to considerable reduction in crampsby lowering the level of prostaglandins at the onset of menstruation. It is also a good option for reducing menstrual bleeding. Ginger can be taken in form of tea with warm water or in meals. Whichever way, ensure you include ginger in your diet for alleviation of pain during your period.
Also known as paw-paw, this is a vitamin rich and delicious fruit scan help to drastically reduce menstrual cramps because of its anti-inflammatory components such as iron, carotene Vitamin A and Vitamin C. these vitamins help to reduce the intensity of muscular contraction which will then reduce intensity of pain and make menstrual flow easier. The more of it you consume the better.
- Food rich in Boron:
Boron is a mineral that essential for reducing of menstrual cramps and is found in foods such as banana, pear and pea nuts. Eating this food will give the body a rich supply of the mineral which will significantly reduce cramps.
Water is essential for life and is also effective for reducing cramps. Drinking warm water can relax your muscles thus reducing cramps. Alternatively water can be gotten from foods such as water melon, cucumber and lettuce and this will help reduce pain during periods.
- Fish or fish oil supplements:
Fish and fish oils have been proven to relief menstrual cramps because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil and including it in diet significantly reduces severity of cramps. An example is cod liver oil which is an excellent natural anti-inflammatory oil because it contains Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish can be consumed on the go but consult your physician before taking supplements to ensure it is safe to do so.
- Foods rich in magnesium:
Magnesium is a mineral that helps to reduce inflammation and increase energy. Food rich in magnesium that can help to reduce menstrual cramps are almonds, cashew and kidney beans. Magnesium rich foods are anti-inflammatory and also help to maintain stable moods so they can be useful especially during menstruation when moods tend to swing.
Studies have shown that heat can be used to reduce menstrual cramps and this has the same effect as some drugs. This can be done using a towel soaked in hot water at 40°C and dabbing the abdomen and lower back with the hot cloth. Another option is to take a warm bath use a hot water bottle to apply heat in the areas of pain. Heat can also be applied using a bottle containing a hot or warm substance such as water to reduce pain.
Getting a massage around the abdomen and lower back can significantly reduce cramps. Studies have shown that this brings instant relief and keeps the pain down throughout the period even in the case of secondary dysmenorrhea. You can use essential oils in the therapy for greater effect. The massage is done by holding down specific points on the abdomen and someone else, preferably a therapist moves his/hands around the abdomen, lower back and sides of the abdomen. Only a 20 minute session is enough to bring instant relief.
Exercise is a great way to reduce menstrual cramps before and during your periods because it triggers the release of endorphins, a group of chemicals known to ease pain. This is an effective method that can be used as a natural home remedy rather than taking drugs from pharmacies. The exercise may be as simple as walking some distance or engaging in some more strenuous activity but it doesn’t have to be very strenuous to be effective.
You can use over the counter painkillers to combat menstrual cramp.
There are many different options for reducing menstrual cramps as discussed above. You can at least do a few of them to see that you reduce your experience of menstrual pain or menstrual cramps.