When they say that it isn’t easy being a woman, there is some truth to that statement. Women have to go through the brunt of childbirth and physical changes that follows after, among many others. Being a woman would also mean getting her monthly visitor. Most of the time, the experience before and during a woman’s period can be unpleasant. These are the days she becomes moody, irritable, and sometimes the craving for unlikely foods and many others. Then, there’s also noticeable physical changes like tender and swollen breasts, headaches, fatigue and the feeling of constant bloating, as well as abdominal cramping.
Understanding Menstrual Cramps
For a woman, this event popularly known as menstrual cramps or period pains. The scientific term for this female experience is dysmenorrhea. More than half of the female population in the world would experience dysmenorrhea at some point in her life.
Most menstrual cramps would usually last for a few days. However, about ten percent of women would see this as an agonizing experience. Menstrual cramps or period pains are just some reasons women incur absences at work or at school.
Women’s experiences with menstrual cramps vary. Some women may feel abdominal pains during her period while most experience them before she starts bleeding. Some may even continue until the end of her menstruation. The level of pain felt when a woman has menstrual can be just a mild discomfort or unbearable pain. These painful experiences generally happen when a woman’s uterus would literally contract to help eliminate the uterine lining when her egg is not reproduced.
The severity of menstrual cramps is because of prostaglandins. According to research, women who have increased levels of this kind of hormonal chemical messengers have a bigger chance of experiencing intense pain and cramping. Menstrual pains come in two types: primary and secondary. The primary dysmenorrhea occurs when a woman is as healthy as the uterus narrows. However, when a woman has an underlying reproductive problem that is contributing entirely to the menstrual pains, it is called secondary dysmenorrhea.
What are the signs and symptoms of menstrual cramps?
When dysmenorrhea happens, there are certain physical conditions that indicate its onset. The common ones include:
– An uncomfortable pressure felt around the abdomen
– Pain in the lower abdomen
– Mild pains in the hips, back, and inner thighs
– Nausea and vomiting
– Mild to severe headaches
– Moody and irritable
– Fatigue and mild fainting
Who are at risk of menstrual cramps or period pains?
When a woman’s egg is not reproduced, our uterine muscles contracts and starts to shed in the form of blood and body wastes. However, the risks of severe menstrual cramps are because there are certain factors that contribute to it. These factors are usually lifestyle and habits. Other factors would be genetics.
These risk factors include:
– When a woman is below 30 years old
– When a woman gets her menstruation below the age of 12
– When a woman has an irregular menstrual cycle or experiences heavy bleeding during menstruation
– Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol
– When a woman is overweight
– When a woman has not given birth
– When a woman has a traumatic past in sexual abuse
Having dysmenorrhea is usually not a condition that should be a cause for worry. Usually, a doctor would recommend over-the-counter medication to relieve the pain and ease the discomfort. However, it is highly advised to seek medical attention if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
– Bleeding excessively with painful cramps
– If there are chills and fevers that accompany the bleeding
– If there are unusual tissues that flow with your menstruation
– If you suspect you are pregnant
Otherwise, there is no need to be alarmed if you’re experiencing menstrual cramps. Fortunately, there are natural treatments that you can try to help remedy the problem and relieve menstrual cramps effectively.
Below are six natural treatments:
Traditional medicine or alternative therapies are famously known for their wide scope of treating ailments. These include allergies, headaches, blood pressure, and chronic pains. Research now stands for the acupuncture as a means of effectively relieving menstrual cramps. It is because acupuncture targets certain points in the body that connects to the ailment and effectively reducing the pain.
It is said that working out regularly can significantly help reduce menstrual cramps. Although exercising during your period may seem unappealing, studies say that it releases a happy hormone called endorphins. Yoga and meditation are good ways to work out those endorphins that are easy on you during your period.
- Heat pads
Placing heat pads on your abdomen is said to have useful results in reducing menstrual cramps. You can also include putting one on your lower back to relieve pain. This is also an easy to do remedy if you do not have heating pads at home. You can use an old sock and fill it with uncooked rice. Sew up the opening in the sock and microwave it for a few minutes. Don’t let it overheat or let it cool if necessary. Alternatively, you can also take warm baths or use a soak a hot towel and place it on affected areas.
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- Avoid certain habits and foods
When you’re on your period, it is probably a good idea to cut out certain types of foods and habits. It is because they can increase chances of water retention as well as unpleasant bloating. The common culprits include:
o Junk and fatty foods
o Sweetened and carbonated drinks
- A change in diet
When we switch to healthy eating, the chances of menstrual cramps are less. Increase your fiber and green, leafy vegetable intake. Additionally, foods that have high contents of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are also ideal for reducing menstrual cramps and easing the discomfort. Alternatively, you can also look for dietary supplements that contain these essential nutrients to relieve menstrual cramps or period pains.
6. Try herbal beverages
Nothing beats the power of being hydrated with water, especially during your period. Alternatively, some experts also said you can also turn to herbal teas to help relieve menstrual cramps.
Having menstrual cramps can certainly impact school and work productivity. However, having it shouldn’t be a reason to worry unless you have an underlying health issue that is adding to your menstrual cramps. Make sure to have that looked into by your health specialist for good measure.
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