While the effects of menstrual cramps or period pains vary from women to women, for many they can be debilitating and cause considerable pain and discomfort for at least twenty four hours. The medical term is dysmenorrhea and your period pains are caused by the uterus contracting. In addition to severe stomach pain, some women may experience extreme tiredness, back ache, vomiting, diarrhea and pain down the inside of the thighs. The good news is that there is much you can do to ease this pain and discomfort.
Do some planning before your periods are due to start
- Avoid salty foods and alcohol as these can increase bloating by retaining water, making the cramping pain worse.
- Drink lots of water – you may be surprised to know that this helps in avoiding bloating. Add lemon juice, a natural diuretic to decrease bloating.
- A healthy diet including lots of greens is a good way to avoid a sluggish feeling.
- Avoid dairy and caffeine as many find these increase period pains.
- Avoid soy products as these are likely to affect the hormones.
- Try to eat less before periods.
You can help by taking supplements including cell salts, extra calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Vitamin B complex helps to reduce muscle spasms. In addition herbal treatments such as evening primrose oil will reduce or even prevent cramps while an anti spasmodic herbal treatment such as herbal teas drunk from the start of your period a few times a day will be beneficial. Blanched ginger or lemon balm teas can also be drunk. Above all, avoid stress. Let those around you know that you are not feeling yourself so that you can relax in peace! This can be a tall order if you have young children.
Feeling pain and discomfort? Helpful ideas and some natural treatments too
- An old fashioned hot water bottle is very comforting for stomach cramps or the more modern heating pad can be used. Soak in a warm bath a couple of times during the day too.
- Warm a small amount of olive oil, cool and rub on stomach. Lie down for 15-20 minutes. An alternative is Clary Sage.
- A home remedy is to take a cotton wool pad that covers most of the abdomen, soak with Arrack and place on the painful spot for half an hour.
- Another home remedy using Arrack is to swallow a tablespoon of cumin with a glass of Arrack.
- Once you feel cramps, eat a banana plus a tub of natural yogurt daily.
Acupuncture and Aromatherapy are two other treatments that might be helpful to you. Acupuncture is said to ease all gynaecological problems, helping to unblock energy channels in the reproductive system.
Period pain and exercise
Interestingly, although exercise is often recommended for period pain, a recent study by Birmingham University researchers in the UK found no link with the amount of exercise participants did and the alleviation of period pain. They carried out a questionnaire among 18 to 25 year olds to find out what age they started their period, how often these occurred, what contraception they used and whether they had children or any conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids. They were also asked what type of exercise they did and how often plus other general lifestyle questions. You might like to find out more about this by going on to the site. The general consensus among medical practitioners is that women should do exercise regardless but that drugs are available for those with period pain. Gentle exercise such as walking, swimming or yoga is certainly not going to do any harm.
Drugs for period pains?
We are trying to cut down on the use of drugs for every condition and ailment and go the more natural route! Unfortunately, all too often doctors will try to put you onto hormonal birth control or prescription pain killers as the answer to severe period pains. Instead, by trying out the various methods listed, you will be sure to find one that suits you and your particular menstrual problem…naturally!