Menstrual cramp (Photo Credit: Social Media)
It's quite common to experience discomfort in the abdomen, thighs, and lower back during menstruation. Menstrual cramps can be very uncomfortable and painful. These cramps occur as a result of the muscles in your uterus contracting and relaxing to facilitate the shedding of the uterine lining.
Typically, they manifest as throbbing pain in the lower abdominal region. They often begin a couple of days before the period starts and may persist throughout the menstrual cycle. These cramps tend to be most intense during the initial days of your period when the flow is heaviest. Fortunately, there are various ways to address and relieve period cramps, effectively managing the associated pain and discomfort.
Application of Heat
Using heat can be quite effective in relaxing the muscles that contribute to cramping and offering relief from discomfort. Applying heat to your abdomen or back can help mitigate period pain. You can achieve this by using a heating pad or indulging in a warm bath, which are excellent methods for easing menstrual pain. Alternatively, if you prefer a discreet and on-the-go solution, then heating patches are also a reliable option for relief.
Pain Relievers OTC pain relievers like meftal spas are a common and easily accessible option for managing menstrual pain and heavy menstrual bleeding. These medications work by reducing the production of prostaglandins, which are hormones responsible for triggering contractions that cause menstrual cramps.
Amongst these, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) take the lead. Popular NSAIDs available over the counter include naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is another option that can help alleviate discomfort, although it doesn't specifically address inflammation that may contribute to the severity of period cramps.
To maximise the effectiveness of these pain relievers, it's advisable to start taking them at the onset of your period or as soon as you notice symptoms. Continue following the recommended dosage for a couple of days or until the symptoms have subsided.
Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control methods, such as oral birth control pills, comprise hormones that serve the dual purpose of preventing ovulation and reducing the intensity of menstrual cramps. These hormones can be administered through various means, including injections, implants inserted under the arms, skin patches, flexible vaginal rings, or intrauterine devices (IUDs). It is important to note that this approach to pain relief should only be exercised under the guidance and prescription of a medical professional.
Stress Reduction Stress can have various effects on your body, including making you more susceptible to pain. Psychological stress may elevate the likelihood and severity of menstrual cramps. While managing stress can be challenging, it is essential for procuring relief from period cramps.
Here are some methods to reduce stress:
Light Exercise While experiencing pain, your instinct might be to rest and relax. However, engaging in light exercise can be beneficial for relieving menstrual cramps. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which act as natural pain relievers and can alleviate menstrual discomfort in some individuals.
Additionally, exercise is known to reduce stress, which can help ease menstrual cramps. You can opt for moderate activities like walking, swimming, yoga, or cycling during your period, as these are more suitable than strenuous exercises.
Nutrient-rich Diet A diet aimed at relieving menstrual pain should primarily consist of foods that have undergone minimal processing, a variety of plant-based foods, and high fibre content. Several studies suggest that supplements like vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamin), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, and magnesium may help soothe menstrual cramps.
Consider incorporating these nutrient-rich foods into your diet:
Herbal Remedies Certain herbal remedies, including fennel, pycnogenol, and combination products, have shown potential for alleviating menstrual cramps. These all-natural herbal remedies possess strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce muscle contractions and swelling linked to menstrual pain.
Consider trying the following herbal options:
While menstrual cramps are common and typically not a cause for concern, it is a good idea to consult your doctor if the pain persists or worsens despite trying everything, hindering day-to-day activities.