Why Do You Have Cramps During Your Periods
The pain you are suffering from every period is called primary dysmenorrhea.
Mostly, menstrual pain happens because of the overproduction of inflammatory chemicals (prostaglandins). As a result, inflammation causes spasms, cramping, and pain in your uterus. When this happens, you likely will want to pop ibuprofen, lay on the sofa with a heating pad, and just watch TV until the pain is gone. The problem is that while ibuprofen may relieve period pain, the pills can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, which is dangerous and potentially harmful.
Unfortunately, doctors aren’t sure why some women have painful menstruation while others don’t. There are some possible factors:
- experiencing a heavy blood flow
- having your first child while under the age of 20
- getting your first period at a younger than average age
- overproduction of or sensitivity to prostaglandins
How to best deal with period cramps? Let’s learn more.
When Do People Usually Get Cramps
It is no secret that pain symptoms can appear at specific times in a woman’s cycle.
- Perimenstrual cramps. Pain starts before your period and lasts during menstruation. It can be felt in the lower back and thighs.
- Mid-cycle/ovulation pain. This pain can also occur in the middle of your cycle. Ovulation pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen. It may last from a few hours to even a couple of days.
How to Relieve Period Cramps: 17 Ways
The discomfort is merely annoying for some women. For others, cramps can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities for a few days each month. If you belong to the first group, you need to know how to reduce period cramps. Maybe you will be surprised, but home remedies are the best in these cases. You can relieve cramps naturally, without pills. Does a heating pad help with cramps? How can your diet help? Can vitamins help? Let’s discuss the details.
Add Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are extremely important for everyone who suffers from cramps. Just imagine, less than 16% of people are getting the number of fruits and vegetables they need for basic health, and less than 14% get the recommended amount of fruit. You may be wondering how does this relate to my period. The answer is quite simple. Fruits and veggies contain phytonutrients. They help us protect our bodies from environmental toxins, and prevent and reduce inflammation. What should you add to your meals immediately? Dark leafy greens, onions and garlic, yellow and orange vegetables (e.g sweet potatoes and winter squashes). These will support natural detoxification, reduce inflammation, and help clear excess estrogen from our systems.
Sugar stokes up the fires of inflammation throughout your body. It is a major cause of inflammation and with it period pain. So, get rid of sweets, including drinks like Coke and other junk food. We know, it can be hard, but stop. The reward for that is real. You will get more energy, a better mood, and it can even improve the quality of your skin. Clear skin without any imperfections is a brilliant reward, isn’t it? Plus, you will finally be able to lose some pounds. So, what do you think about this idea now?
You need to add oil-rich fish like salmon to your diet to get as much fat as you need. Try to eat it 2-3 times per week to get all the benefits. Doctors have found that fish oil leads to a reduction in menstrual pain. Moreover, you will forget about taking ibuprofen. If you don’t like eating fish or have an allergy, you can just take a daily supplement with Omega 3 fats.
Less Processed Foods
Processed foods increase inflammation in the body as much as sugar does. Therefore, you should avoid it not only during your periods. What rewards will you get? The quality of your sleep will be much better, your skin will be clean and fresh, your energy levels will feel steady all day long. It is not as hard as you may think. Just try it and your body will be thankful.
Some herbs can be used for relieving menstrual cramps. Black haw has been used for centuries for the relief of women’s monthly pain. Motherwort is also wonderful for emotional irritability during your period. Also, it helps ease discomfort or cramps. The dose of any of these alone, or the combination, is about 30-40 drops every few hours, or up to 5 ml three times per day.
Ginger Root and Cinnamon Bark
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, which is everything we need to stop period cramps quickly. It is also a good remedy for teenagers. The effective dose is 500 mg three times per day.
Many people have tried valerian for a good night’s sleep. But, did you know that it is a good remedy for period cramps too? One study found that 255 mg/day for the first three days of the period can reduce pain from menstruation. Moreover, it is also the safest herb ever.
Bloating can worsen cramps, therefore it is really important to be hydrated throughout the day. Try to drink more water than usual. You will see how it can ease pain and help improve your skin.
You may have heard that caffeine has the potential to increase cramps and make everything worse. So, try to avoid caffeine before and during your period. What is more, do not drink soda, energy drinks, or a lot of green tea. Avoid eating chocolate too. These products contain caffeine, surprise. If you need a ‘pick-me-up’ throughout the day, try a small smoothie packed with veggies instead.
Sip Chamomile Tea
It may help reduce cramps when you are menstruating. Chamomile tea is full of anti-inflammatory substances that inhibit prostaglandins. Prostaglandins in the bloodstream are responsible for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches during the menstrual period.
Yes, you can get rid of cramps easily with the help of a heating pad. Try starting with five minutes of heat therapy two times per day or when the pain is annoying. It will help you feel better and cope with cramps. Moreover, if you suffer from back, neck, or other pains, it will greatly help.
It’s hard to believe, but it works. Exercise releases brain chemicals called endorphins that make you feel good. So take a walk, jump on the treadmill, or go for a swim!
Massage with essential oils is another home remedy to get rid of cramps. Recent studies found that women who massaged their lower abdomen with essential oils noticed less pain and shorter duration of pain, compared with those who used a cream containing a synthetic fragrance. You can purchase scented massage oil or make your own. The best essential oil for such purposes is lavender, clary sage, and marjoram.
It is really helpful, everyone should try it. Touching key places on your belly, back, and feet can increase blood flow. Moreover, acupressure releases endorphins to soothe your body and mind for a little while. So, where is the spot that helps to get rid of the pain? It is in the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger. Applying pressure to this spot relieves aches and pain.
To get the most from your sleep, turn off the phone before your bedtime. Let fresh air into the room and try to sleep without nightlights. If you can, take a nap during the day and try a different sleep position to avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Take a Bath
Create a perfect relaxing evening. Take a bath with your favorite bubbles and then add some of your skincare rituals. The warm water will help calm your muscles and your mind. If you don’t have a bathtub, a warm shower can be soothing, too.
It is not the best option, but, if you need to get rid of pain quickly and do not have time for natural remedies, you can try to pop a pill. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium lessen pain and reduce cramps overall.
Talk to the Doctor
Can’t get enough relief? Does anything help? For most women, cramps are normal, but sometimes they’re a sign of a more serious condition. You should consult with a doctor to understand what is going wrong.
How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
During your period, you can feel discomfort not only in the lower abdomen, but also in the lower back, sacrum, or hip area. In most cases, period pain is the result of uterine contractions. Luckily, now you know how to get rid of such awful pains at home without any pills.