Symptoms Of Menstrual Pain
Besides cramps in the lower abdomen, you may also have some of these symptoms with menstrual cramps:
- Current medications
- What things seem to improve or worsen the pain
The doctor will perform a pelvic exam to check for any problems. If there are concerns about a possible infection, cervical cultures and a blood test will confirm the diagnosis. You might get these tests, too:
- The doctor may order a pregnancy test if your periods are irregular or you are not using birth control regularly.
- An ultrasound exam is necessary if the doctor discovers any abnormal masses during the pelvic exam or there is a new onset of menstrual pain.
- A doctor may recommend a laparoscopy, which is a minor surgical procedure allowing the doctor to look directly into the pelvic cavity with a fiber-optic scope. This is an outpatient procedure using very small incisions.
- A hysteroscopy is another possible procedure. By inserting a hysteroscope through the vagina, the doctor can see inside the cervix and the inside of the uterus without incisions. This can be done in a doctor’s office or a hospital.
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 .
How Long Period Pain Lasts
Period pain usually starts when your bleeding begins, although some women have pain several days before the start of their period.
The pain usually lasts 48 to 72 hours, although it can last longer. It’s usually at its worst when your bleeding is heaviest.
Young girls often have period pain when they begin getting periods. Read more about starting periods.
Period pain that does not have an underlying cause tends to improve as a woman gets older. Many women also notice an improvement after they’ve had children.
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Herbs For Menstrual Cramps: 7 Ayurvedic Medicines For Immense Relief
Have you ever tried Ayurvedic herbs for menstrual cramps? Ayurvedic plants are packed with medicinal properties, making them excellent home remedies for various kinds of problems including menstrual cramps, PMS as well as general hormonal imbalance in women. To ease the discomforts of menstruation, here are the best herbs to try:
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Pack Some Oats Into Your Breakfast Or Snacks
Oats are delicious and nutritious whether you enjoy them as oatmeal, in cookie form, or in a healthy batch of homemade granola.
Not only are they full of fiber which helps you feel full for longer after eating but they’re also a good source of zinc and magnesium. Magnesium can reduce cramps by relaxing blood vessels and also helps regulate serotonin, a chemical in your brain related to mental health.
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What I Can Do To Relieve Pms
Many of the things that help ease cramps can also help with PMS. Here are some different ways to relieve PMS symptoms:
Take 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.
Do aerobic exercise, like walking, running, riding a bike, swimming, or any activity that gets your heart rate up. Regular exercise is ideal.
Do breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
Get plenty of rest. Sleeping regularly every night can help with stress, mood changes, and feeling tired or fatigued.
Eat healthy foods like fruits, veggies , whole grains, and yogurt.
Limit fat, salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Make sure you get enough vitamins in your diet, or take vitamin supplements. If you dont get enough calcium, take a supplement of 1200 mg of calcium daily. Magnesium and Vitamin E might also help.
Use hormonal birth control . Your doctor can help you find a birth control method that can help with PMS.
Pms Symptoms & Relief
PMS symptoms include cramping, bloating, and mood swings just before your period. While not all women get PMS, a large majority of women deal with one or more of these symptoms monthly. If you experience period bloating , you may want to try a diuretic. Diuretics work to reduce bloating by increasing urine output. However, diuretics are not appropriate for everyone. You should talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to use diuretics, especially if you are taking any medications, have low blood pressure, or have high potassium levels. Alternatives to diuretics that may help reduce bloating during PMS include exercise and watching your salt intake.
If you experience mood swings during PMS, herbal remedies may help. Talk to your doctor about which ones may be right for you. Exercising regularly, eating well, and getting enough sleep are all ways that can help reduce your stress levels and may be worth trying. Similarly, meditation, journaling, yoga, and other calming activities can benefit you at any time of the month, but can be especially helpful when fighting PMS-induced irritability and mood swings.
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Care Advice For Menstrual Cramps
Get More Calcium Into Your Diet
Studies have shown that calcium not only helps reduce mentstrual cramps, but it can also alleviate other PMS symptoms such as moodiness and fatigue.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium. If you’re lactose intolerant or prefer a dairy-free dairy, non-dairy sources of calcium include fresh dill and dark, leafy greens.
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Option #: The Implant
Surprise! The Nexplanon implant works almost identically to the Shot and hormonal IUDs. Itâs a small rod thatâs placed into your arm. After that, it works to slowly release progesterone into your body to increase mucus in the cervix and decrease the uterine lining.
âOne thing to know about the Implant is that it is less effective than hormonal IUDs and the Shot at making your periods disappear,â explains Dr. Jackson-Bey. Your periods could also become more irregular and you may experience spotting in the first three to six months of use. But those cramps? Oh yeah, you can say goodbye.
Things That May Help With Period Cramps
Dealing with menstrual cramps every month can be as frustrating as it is painful. The good news is there are many remedies that might help you relieve period cramps. Its important to remember that these techniques wont always work, especially for chronic conditions, but they can offer relief for mild to moderate period pain.
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When To Contact A Doctor
A person may wish to speak with a doctor if home remedies do not help reduce cramps or if they are experiencing very severe cramping.
A doctor can suggest other home remedies to try or prescribe medications, such as birth control pills or some types of pain reliever, to manage the symptoms.
Other symptoms that may warrant contacting a doctor include:
- cramps that get worse over time or with age
- severe pain or discomfort
- cramps that interfere with daily life
These symptoms may indicate an underlying condition, for which a doctor will be able to suggest an effective treatment.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about home remedies for menstrual cramps.
Best Supplements For Period Cramps
Painful period cramps can range in intensity from a dull, achy sensation in the lower abdomen for 1-2 days, to debilitating belly and back pain, sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting. For many women, the cramping is intense enough to keep you from work, disrupt social plans, or keep you at home rather than being active or climbing mountains. If youre looking for ways to treat your menstrual pain naturally, let me tell you how. I want you to be able to feel like your optimal, productive, creative and strong self no matter what day of the month it is. In previous articles, Ive covered what foods to focus on, which herbs to choose, and now I want to discuss the best nutritional supplements to help reduce your period pain.
First and foremost, its important to be clear about what type of period pain you experience: primary, or secondary . It is critical to ensure that youre treating the pain with the right medicine. If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, you may need some help from your health care provider to explain your treatment options. For now, I want to highlight some nutrients that have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. I like to use these nutrients in combination with herbs, castor oil packs, and sometimes acupuncture for a holistic approach to healing pain. Without further ado, here are 6 of my go-to nutritional supplements for period cramps:
- Green leafy vegetables
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Acupuncture May Help By Relaxing The Nervous System
Acupuncture can help relieve cramps, says Jeannie Bianchi, a licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco. This ancient Asian healing method is thought to relax the nervous system, allow more blood to flow to internal organs, and quell inflammation, Bianchi says.
In a review published in April 2016 in the CochraneDatabase of Systematic Reviews experts looked at 42 studies that observed the effects of acupuncture on period cramps. Each compared acupuncture with no treatment, conventional treatment , or a sham acupuncture procedure. Many of the studies found that the acupuncture group had less period pain and no side effects. The researchers emphasize, however, that the quality of all of the studies was poor.
The Luteal Phase And Athletic Performance
During the back half of your menstrual cycle, your body is preparing for your next period or pregnancy, if you happened to conceive during this cycle. This means your hormones are running at a higher level, due to an increase in estrogen and progesterone. More hormones means a decrease in anabolic, or muscle-building, capacity. This means that its time to take it easier, focusing on lower-intensity workouts with more recovery time.
Also, rather than being able to easily access stored carbohydrates, your increase in hormones has that energy locked up tight. Now, your body needs fuel from extra carbs and calories from the outside . Plus, your body also needs more water during the luteal phase more hormones means a greater risk of dehydration.
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How Can You Relieve Mild Menstrual Cramps
To relieve mild menstrual cramps:
- For the best relief, take ibuprofen as soon as bleeding or cramping starts. Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . They reduce the output of prostaglandins. If you cant take NSAIDs, you can take another pain reliever like acetaminophen.
- Place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower back or abdomen.
- Rest when needed.
- Avoid foods that contain caffeine.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Massage your lower back and abdomen.
Women who exercise regularly often have less menstrual pain. To help prevent cramps, make exercise a part of your weekly routine.
If these steps dont relieve pain, your healthcare provider can order medications for you, including ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medication in a higher dose that is available over the counter. Your healthcare provider might also suggest oral contraceptives since women who take oral contraceptives tend to have less menstrual pain.
If testing shows that you have secondary dysmenorrhea, your provider will discuss treatments of the condition causing the pain. This might mean oral contraceptives, other types of medications, or surgery.
Engage In Gentle Exercise
Although exercise might be the last thing many people feel like doing when they have cramps, it may provide pain relief.
Strenuous exercise might not be beneficial if a person is in pain, but gentle stretching, going for a walk, or doing yoga may help. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are natures natural pain relievers.
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Ibuprofen Is No Longer Helping
Dr. Levine says if ibuprofen is no longer helping your period cramps feel better, thats another sign to talk to your doctor. We may need to evaluate you to see if there are secondary causes of the cramps. Or we might need to talk about other methods to help control your period cramps.
Hormonal birth control containing both estrogen and progesterone is a common remedy for severe period cramps. This takes the form of birth control pills, a patch or a ring. The way that estrogen works, it tends to prevent the endometrial thickening and shedding that can lead to the pain associated with periods, Dr. Levine explains.If youre dealing with serious period cramps, doctors might not diagnose you with something right away. Instead, theyll do a full examination to see whats going on and see what other symptoms youre having. For example, one major symptom of endometriosis is severe pain.
However, period cramps themselves are not necessarily a sign of endometriosis, says Dr. Levine. Thats why its important for us to do a full workup before we actually diagnose you with anything specifically.
She also adds that doctors might not start you on birth control right away. We might wait a few months to see, Was it just this month that things were really bad? Or is this a constant?
Birth Control Pills May Lessen Painful Cramping Too
Consider cramp relief a benefit to some types of contraception. Many women find relief from painful cramps when they start the pill, Thielen says. Hormonal birth control typically lessens the amount of bleeding, and less bleeding can translate into fewer cramps, she says.
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Putting Foods To Work
The key to success is to follow the diet strictly so that the beneficial effects are evident over time.
Eat plenty of:
- Whole grains: brown rice, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, etc.
- Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, etc.
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils
- Fruits: apples, mangoes, berries, oranges, etc.
- Animal products: fish, poultry, meats, eggs, and dairy products
- Refined grains: white bread, refined cereals, pastries, etc.
- Added vegetable oils: salad dressings, margarine, and all cooking oils
- Fatty foods: doughnuts, cheese, French fries, potato chips, etc.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Some studies have shown that complementary therapies, including massage, acupuncture, and yoga can help alleviate menstrual cramps, but more research is needed.
Other studies show promising results for some women who have taken certain supplements and herbs to treat their cream , but again none seem conclusive enough to endorse as a standalone treatment.
Remember that taking supplements or herbal remedies can cause side effects just like pharmaceutical drugs do. If you seek medical attention for your symptoms, be sure to disclose any and all supplements you take to your healthcare provider.
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What Causes Period Cramps
Period cramps are caused by contractions in your uterus. These contractions are triggered by changes in your bodys hormone levels, particularly prostaglandins. When you menstruate, your uterus contracts and sheds its lining, which is released as blood through your vagina.
Some people are more likely to experience period pain, particularly those who:
- are younger than 30 years of age
- bleed heavily during their periods
- have irregular bleeding
You can buy abdominal heat patches online or at any drugstore. Theyre super easy to use just peel and stick them on your abdomen.
Oils that seem to be most effective at reducing period cramps include:
Before using essential oils, youll want to mix them with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba oil. Carrier oils work by safely carrying the essential oil into your skin and helping to spread the oil over a large area. Youll also want to do a patch test before applying essential oils to your skin, just to check for an allergy.