Period cramp remedies
PERIODS! This phenomenon that occurs every month to all women between the ages of 13-55 (average) is stressful, annoying and above all, painful! It is a biological process, designed by nature in such a way that we can’t avoid it, and if we try unnatural methods to avoid it, it is not safe for the body. So by default we women have to put up with this for 3-7 days every month, but does it have to be so difficult? The answer is absolutely NO! We live in a day and age where there is a solution to almost everything and likewise for period cramps. So let’s take a look at what can be done to make our lives slightly easier on “those” days.
Cause of period cramps
One might wonder as to what is the reason behind this unbearable pain during periods. Is it all in the mind? Well no, not completely. The pain is caused due to the physical process of your uterus contracting/ squeezing which makes the lining on the walls of the uterus come out easily. So ironically, it can be said that period cramps are a part of the process to make the blood flow out of the vagina with more ease. Now that the cause is established, it is time to get a clearer picture of the solution.
Home remedies for period cramps
There are a bunch of thing one can do to ease period cramps. Here are some:
- Hydration: Drinking more water can only do you good. Periods cause major bloating and drinking water helps reduce bloating, thereby reducing discomfort. Also consuming warm/hot water can help relaxing the muscles and hence contributing to easing pain.
- Applying heat: Using a heat patch or a hot water bag on your abdomen can help get rid of period cramps by relaxing the muscles of the uterus. It also helps improving blood flow and relieving tension. Studies have proven that applied heat can also reduce fatigue and improve moods. If you don’t own a heat patch or hot water bag, a hot water shower will also do the trick. Just be careful not to burn yourself.
- Massaging using essential oils: A 15-20 minute massage on the pain relieving pressure points can be quite helpful. Try to focus the massage to abdominal area. It helps relax the muscles. Essential oils are one of the most effective remedies for period cramps as they increase circulation. Best essential oils to use are:
Be sure to include a few drops of these essential oils in carrier oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil etc. This will help distribute the oils at the time of massaging.
- Over the counter medications: Although these should be avoided on the regular, in cases of unbearable pain, you can opt for them. The prostaglandin hormones cause muscle contraction which in turn leads to pain. OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin (Bufferin) are anti-inflammatory in nature, which helps reduce the prostaglandin and hence relieving the pain. It is advised that you take these medications only when the cramps start and not as a precautionary step. If you have any other co morbidity then please check with your doctor before you take one of these medicines. As alternative medication, one can also go for anti-spasmodic/ muscle pain relieving medicines, which are not specifically targeted at menstrual pain.
- Exercise and Yoga: Doing any form of light exercises at the comfort of your home, will help in relieving pain. One can opt for stretching exercises, light walking and yoga to not just help in easing pain, but also refreshing the mind, helping it get out of that zone.
Foods to help with period cramps
Now that we have talked about some period cramp solutions, one should also know what foods to include in their diet during their leak week to make them feel better and ease out the cramps. Here are some superfoods which will surely help with menstrual cramps:
- Chamomile tea: Herbal teas usually have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-spasmodic compounds which help in reducing muscle spasms and uterus contractions. Chamomile tea would be one of the best option, as apart from the above stated reasons, chamomile also helps with relaxing the nerves, stabilizing mood and reducing stress and relieving insomnia.
- Herbs and spices: Some herbs and spices are known to help with inflammation and hence reduce pains. Most important ones are fennel seeds (saunf), ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and dill
Fruits and vegetables: Some fruits and vegetables are naturally helpful in relieving pain, like
- Papaya: High in vitamins.
- Broccoli: Rich in Vitamin E
- Green leafy vegetables: Rich in iron which make up for all the iron lost during menstruation.
- Avocados and Bananas: Rich in Boron which helps reduce the length and intensity of the cramps.
- Fruits and vegetables which are high in water content like watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, celery etc
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Foods like fish, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds etc. which are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, help in easing pain and reducing inflammation and swelling.
Consuming these foods is the best and most natural way to combat menstrual pain. Having said that, there are some food one must consciously avoid in order to have a smooth and painless period, like salty foods, fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages etc. These foods will only cause bloating and discomfort.
Let’s face it, periods come and go every month and it can be really difficult but that shouldn’t be a reason for you to pause your life. If there’s a problem, most likely there will be a solution, Find it, implement it and move forward. Here’s wishing all the women out there a HAPPY PERIOD!
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