How To Relieve Painful Menstrual Cramps
Period cramps are annoying, aggravating and at times, downright terrible – and they may be a regular part of the menstrual cycle for more than half of women who have periods.
When you’re having menstrual cramps , you can have pain in your belly, hips, lower back, and even your inner thighs. The pain in your belly may also be accompanied by pressure, and in severe cases, loose stools, upset stomach, and vomiting.
Even though your menstrual cramps may be normal, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to relieve the pain. Here are a few things you can do .
When Should I Get Medical Help For My Period Pain
For many women, some pain during your period is normal. However, you should contact your health care provider if
- NSAIDs and self-care measures don’t help, and the pain interferes with your life
- Your cramps suddenly get worse
- You are over 25 and you get severe cramps for the first time
- You have a fever with your period pain
- You have the pain even when you are not getting your period
Can Bad Period Cramps Be A Sign Of Something Else
Period cramps usually dont signify that something is wrong with your health. But in some cases they can be a symptom of a medical condition:
- Endometriosis This disorder occurs when tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus, often adhering to your bladder, ovaries, or even your bowels.
- Uterine Fibroids These are noncancerous growths that emerge inside the uterine walls. They can range in size from one tiny speck to several bulky masses.
- Adenomyosis Tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow inside the organs muscle wall.
Pain from these conditions may seem like period pain, but it typically lasts longer and can be more severe than your usual menstrual cramps.
If you experience this type of pain, its important to see your doctor, Thielen says.
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The Power Of Pycnogenol
Pycnogenol is a plant extract derived from the maritime pine tree found in the southwestern region of France. The extract contains several potent antioxidant compounds. In one study of women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old, those who experienced dysmenorrhea who took a supplement containing 60 milligrams of pycnogenol during their periods had significantly less pain and needed less pain medication compared to when they didn’t take the supplement. They also needed pain medication for fewer days when they took the pycnogenol supplement. Surprisingly, women still needed less pain medication during their periods even after they stopped taking the pycnogenol. However, women who had low levels of menstrual pain weren’t helped by the supplement. Ask your doctor if pycnogenol may help relieve severe pain associated with your period.
Your Cramps Don’t Feel Normal
If youre worried your period cramps arent normal, then you should take that concern seriously. Worrying isnt a sign that something is wrong, but it could suggest things might be wrong. Many people are afraid to talk to their doctors about symptoms that cant easily be quantified.
If you have a fever, your doc can confirm that by taking your temperature. If youre experiencing pain, your doctor has to take your word for it. This keeps a lot of people from seeking help.
Additionally, complaints about pain are sadly sometimes dismissed by those in the medical profession. If you brought up your pain to a doctor in the past, and they brushed it off as not serious, you may be remiss to bring it up again. But you should bring it up again. Especially if youre concerned about it.
Some of the possible causes for painful crampslike endometriosisare diseases that take years to get properly diagnosed. Keep asking for help until someone hears you
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Birth Control For Period Cramps
When you have period cramps you just can’t seem to relieve with the methods mentioned above, your doctor may prescribe birth control, which provides your body with hormones that may reduce your menstrual cramping. Talk to your doctor about your birth control options. They include birth control pills, injections, a patch, or an intrauterine device. Such a wide array of birth control options are available that there should be something that will work for your lifestyle and individual needs. Just make sure to let your doctor know youre hoping to find a birth control option that will provide relief from your menstrual cramping.
Can You Heal Menstrual Cramps With Home Remedies
Most of the time, menstrual cramps can be treated by women at home.
But if your pain is severe and impacts your lifestyle, dont be afraid to talk to your doctor. You might need medicines that are only available by prescription or some other treatment to help.
To help reduce period pain, here are 10 safe and effective home remedies for menstrual cramp relief.
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Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping
Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps, says Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the San Francisco Bay area.
Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, but teas have been used by menstruating women in numerous cultures for centuries.
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Is Milk Good For Periods
Dairy isnÄôt a smart choice. Dairy is a major part of a well-balanced diet, but eating too much cheese or consuming too many milk-based products on your period can cause your period cramps to worsen. In fact, dairy can lead to bloating, gas, and diarrhea, according to Healthline. So, play it safe and skip the ice cream.
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Try Some Yoga Poses To Ease Menstrual Pain
Whether it’s the stretching of your muscles or the relaxing effect of the poses, a regular yoga practice can indeed help your cramps.
When 20 undergraduate students did an hour-long yoga program once a week for three months, they had less menstrual cramping and period distress than 20 women who didnt, according to researchers for a study published in September 2016 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
The Journal of Physiotherapy review that sanctioned heating pads also found benefits for yoga.
You can practice during your period or between them, but some instructors advise women against doing inverted poses in the midst of menstruation, so as not interfere with your natural flow.
What Helps With Cramps
Here are a some things that can help ease cramps:
Over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen . Always follow the instructions on the bottle. Talk with your doctor before taking pain medication if you have an allergy to aspirin or severe asthma.
Hormonal birth control .
Acupuncture and acupressure.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation therapy that uses mild electric currents to stimulate your nerves to relieve pain.
Certain vitamins and herbs like vitamin B1, fish oil, fenugreek, ginger, valerian, zataria, and zinc sulfate.
Cramps are a pretty normal part of getting your period, but sometimes people have period cramps that are so painful its hard to do everyday things . If your period pain is really bad, and over-the-counter medicine doesnt help, talk with your doctor. They can help with other ways to manage the pain, or they may want to check to see if theres something more serious going on.
Cramps that are really bad may be a sign of:
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease an infection in your reproductive organs.
Endometriosis a condition where the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus.
Adenomyosis when the tissue that lines your uterus grows into the muscle wall of your uterus.
Uterine fibroids non-cancerous tumors that grow inside your uterus, in the walls of your uterus, or on the outside of your uterus.
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The 7 Best Ways To Deal With Cramps
Here are pro tips from doctors on how to deal with the monthly menace.
Period symptoms vary from woman to woman, but cramps is a classic harbinger of that special monthly time. While some luckier ladies might just feel an achiness or slight tension in their backs or abdomen at the onset of their periods, other women can get menstrual cramps so bad their lives are disrupted by the pain.
Menstrual cramps closer to the time of your bleeding, and during, is because of a rise in a hormone-like chemical called prostaglandins, says Ja Hyun Shin, MD, an assistant professor at the Department of Womens Health and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the director of the Pelvic Pain Clinic at Montefiore Health System in Bronx, New York. This substance causes a contraction type of pain because it is doing exactly that helping to contract and squeeze out your uterine lining which is your menstrual bleeding.
Since your uterus is essentially one large, pear-shaped muscle, those pangs can radiate through the entire lower back and belly area, explains Sherry A. Ross, MD, a womens health expert in Santa Monica, California and the author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Womens Intimate Health. Period.
NSAIDs , which you can find by the names Aleve, Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen, should help with the discomfort.
Drink plenty of H2O and cut back on alcohol and caffeine, Shin adds, which can dehydrate your cells.
Improving Your Diet Will Help Alleviate Period Cramps
Research has shown that reducing fat and increasing vegetables in your diet may help ease monthly cramps. A low-fat diet actually decreases overall levels of inflammation in the body, says Aldo Palmieri MD, an ob-gyn at UCLA Health and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles. A low-fat, vegetarian diet not only helps your health generally, says Dr. Palmieri, but it can have an indirect yet noticeable effect on menstrual cramps, too.
Trying to achieve a healthier diet? To start, swap out less healthy fats like the saturated fats found in animal products, and choose healthier ones like unsaturated fats found in olive oil, suggests the American Heart Association . And if youre having dairy, pick low-fat or fat-free products. Overall, try to get 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories from healthier fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils, the AHA suggests. A balanced plate is essential examples can be found at the healthy eating plate site from Harvard University in Boston.
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Menstrual Cramps Last Too Long
Its normal for the bleeding during menstruation to last anywhere from two to seven days. Its not normal, however, to have bad period cramps that entire time.
Two or three days of menstrual discomfort is considered to be normal.
Cramps may start the day of or day just before the bleeding starts, but they should not continue all the way until the end of your period. They certainly shouldnt still be there after your period ends.
What Can I Do For Cramps
If cramps bother you, you can:
- Take a pain reliever. Talk to your mom or dad or your doctor about which medicine is best for you. They can help you figure out how much to take and how often.
- Exercise! Being physically active can ease cramps, probably because exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the body that make you feel good.
- Get warm. Try placing a warm water bottle, warm heating pad, or warm compress on your belly or take a warm bath.
If these tips dont help, talk to your parent or your doctor about other treatments.
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Treatment Of Period Cramps
Treatment for period cramps includes medical treatment, lifestyle changes, and home remedies.
- Pain relief medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, etc. can help reduce the pain of cramps. Prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be advised for women with severe pain.
- Oral contraceptive pills : Oral contraceptives contain hormones that prevent ovulation and reduce period cramps. These hormones may also be administered in other forms such as injection, skin patch, or intrauterine device .
- Surgery: Surgery may be required to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis and reduce associated symptoms.
Relief From Menstrual Cramps
What helps cramps naturally is exercise. Exercise provides a double dose of benefits to relieve cramps. First, when you exercise, your brain releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins block pain receptors in your brain, helping to stop pain signals from your cramping, contracting uterus. Aerobic exercise, even a brisk walk, can release endorphins and provide some pain relief.
Exercise also improves circulation throughout your entire body, including your uterus. When you have cramps, your uterus is contracting so hard that it is cutting off some blood flow, which sends pain signals to the brain. By opening up these blood vessels with increased circulation, you may be able to relieve menstrual cramp pain.
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How Do I Know Whats Causing Them
If you have very painful menstrual cramps or cramps that last longer than two or three days, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Depending on your other symptoms, they may recommend additional tests, including:
- an ultrasound to check the size and thickness of your uterus as well as detect fibroids or cysts
- a CT scan, which can provide a detailed view of your reproductive organs
- gynecologic laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, to confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis
Severe menstrual cramps are typically hard to treat on your own, but these tips may help while you work with your healthcare provider to narrow down an underlying cause:
- Get regular exercise. Results of a
The Sunshine Of Vitamin D
Cramps associated with dysmenorrhea can be disabling. Painful cramps associated with dysmenorrhea occur due to increasing levels of prostaglandins, which cause the uterus to contract. These contractions cause the shedding of the uterine lining. Vitamin D reduces the production of prostaglandins. In one study of young women who had primary dysmenorrhea and low vitamin D levels, high weekly doses of supplemental vitamin D decreased pain intensity significantly both 8 weeks into treatment and 1 month after the end of treatment. The women taking vitamin D also took less pain medication to treat period pain. You can ask your doctor to measure your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test.
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