Hi there. Don’t you just dread the idea of bleeding for days and going through pain only to find out that contraceptive worked? The worst part about getting your period is getting period cramps.
What causes period cramps?
Also known as primary dysmenorrhea, period cramps, are said to be caused by an excess of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are compounds in your body that are made out of fats and can also act like hormones in some cases.
Prostaglandins are required for ovulation, degeneration of the corpus luteum, certain immune functions, and uterine contractions during childbirth. Unlike hormones, these aren’t released by any specific glands. These prostaglandins are released from the uterine lining. Uterine implants and the endometrium of the uterus are the richest sources of prostaglandins in your body. Prostaglandins are said to cause period cramps when released in excess.
Primary dysmenorrhea is usually felt by people before the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Some people also start getting them at the beginning of menstruation.
How to relieve period cramps naturally at home
If your periods are heavy, irregular, or very painful, it is advisable to find out the root cause of the problems. Talk to a certified healthcare provider if the pain is enough to cause disruption in your daily activities.
Most people take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen (pain killers) to relieve the pain. There are other over-the-counter painkillers available to get relief. However, some people do not wish to take any kind of medicine to relieve pain. Here are some natural remedies to relieve period cramps.
1. Apply a heat pack
This is one of the oldest remedies out there to get instant relief for any pain. Applying a heat pack on your lower abdomen will help relax your muscles and increase blood flow. A how water bottle or a heating pad can prove to be beneficial in comforting the pain.
2. Excercise to relieve cramps
As crazy as it may sound, exercise helps relieve period cramps. Even when the very idea of exercising may not sound very appealing at this time, it helps improve circulation in the pelvic region and it also helps in releasing endorphins. Activities like yoga, walking, running, warming up, etc. can help your muscles relax and relieve pain.
Also read What is Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)? How to handle PMS
3. Drink water
Staying hydrated has more benefits than you can imagine. Make sure to drink enough water while menstruating. Moreover, drinking hot water, especially in the morning will help in relaxing your muscles. Increase the intake of foods with high water content in case you are unable to drink as much water.
4. Massage with essential oils
Massaging with essential oils will help release muscle tension and reduce pain. Massaging for 15-20 minutes will surely help you get some relief. Choose the oils with anti-inflammatory properties to make you feel better.
5. Eat healthy food
Eating healthy food will not only help you with your period cramps but will also help in improving your lifestyle. Do not eat spicy food or junk food especially when you are on your period. Reduce fat consumption and include more vegetables for your diet. Sometimes, deficiency of some nutrients like magnesium can be the root cause of your period cramps.
There are many more coping mechanisms you can take up in order to find relief like talking to a friend, or with your family or whoever you trust, taking a day off, getting some rest etc.
If you suffer from cramps that aren’t eased by a normal painkiller or hinder your ability to carry out daily activities, it is best to consult a doctor as it could be a symptom of an underlying disease like endometriosis