It has been estimated that nearly 70% of women suffer from severe menstrual cramps during their periods. These cramps occur when contractions occur to expel the lining of the uterus during every monthly cycle. The cramps occur when the muscular contractions in the uterus are greater than normal. The lining is prepared every month in the eventuality that conception occurs and the fertilized embryo attaches itself to this thick lining.
When that does not happen, the uterus sheds its lining. The cramps can be moderate or severe so here are some steps you can take to deal with the pain.
Ways to Reduce Menstrual Cramps
Stick to a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can go a long way in keeping the hormones in check that are causing the painful cramps. Take a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.
These help to flush out the excess estrogen from the body of the woman and this in turn helps to reduce the severity of cramps and bleeding.
Take a Multi-Vitamin
Taking a course of multi-vitamins that contain thiamine, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids are known to help women who suffer from severe and debilitating menstrual cramps. Take a multi-vitamin along with a calcium supplement for at least a few months before you begin to see a noticeable difference.
Taking painkillers like ibuprofen and disprin can really help to reduce the pain and discomfort that one has to suffer during the periods. Do not overdose on painkillers without speaking to your doctor though.
Tell your problem and let him/her write out a proper prescription for you. Painkillers should be had in advance so that you get the much needed relief.
Hot and Warm Compresses
Sometimes using a heating pad, a warm compress or a hot water bottle can give a lot of relief from the menstrual cramps. Take a moderately hot bottle, wrap a towel around it and place it on your belly while sleeping. The warmth from the bottle should give some relief from the painful menstrual cramps.
A lot of women swear by sexual intercourse in giving relief from mild to moderate menstrual cramps. When you have an orgasm, your body releases the endorphins or ‘feel good hormones’ which help to reduce menstrual cramps.
So if you are feeling up to it, engage in some pleasurable sexual intercourse. You can also stimulate yourself to receive an orgasm.
A Warm Shower
Sometimes a warm shower or a soothing bubble bath can reduce the achiness that one feels in the abdomen and the limbs during a severe menstrual cramp.
A warm shower promotes muscle relaxation and helps to reduce the dull ache that you may experience in your back and abdomen. You can also let some of that soothing hot water fall on your belly during a shower and feel the difference.
A massage with some clary sage oil is said to reduce the excess production of estrogen and acts on the pituitary gland to prevent very severe cramps. Ask a friend or partner to gently massage the oil into your abdomen. The warmth from the oil and the hands will help to reduce pain and discomfort.
Cut Down on Your Intake of Salt and Sugar
Do not take excess of salt or sugar during your menstrual periods. This only makes you feel bloated and promotes water retention in the body, which can lead to severe cramps. Eat potassium rich foods like bananas and more of other fruits to stay healthy and reduce the severity of the cramps.
It is very important to take rest if you are suffering from heavy bleeding and painful menstrual cramps.
Take a day off from work and just stay in bed. Try to sleep off the cramps. Sometimes stress and fatigue too can lead to very severe cramps.
Engage in Physical Activity
If your cramps are not very severe, engaging in some form of physical activity may actually be good for you. Try to go for yoga or a moderately brisk walk.
This promotes blood flow to the uterus and reduces the severity and intensity of the cramps. In fact, women who consistently engage in some form of physical activity do not suffer from very severe menstrual cramps.
Strengthen the Abdominal Muscles
Some women reportedly suffer from very severe menstrual cramps after the birth of a baby. In such cases, it is best to take some form of physical activity that helps to strengthen and tone the loose abdomen muscles.
Stronger uterine and abdomen muscles are less likely to suffer from the deluge of pain felt during periods. You can also do the popular kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Keep Your Legs Elevated
Keeping your legs elevated as you lie down is also said to reduce the severity and the intensity of the cramps. Lie down on a couch and keep your legs elevated on some pillows or cushions.
Black cohosh is said to be excellent in reducing the monthly discomfort that some women experience during their menstrual cycle. You can easily avail of this herb at natural pharmacies.
Chamomile tea has a very relaxing effect on the mind and the body and is great for curing stomach related ills. You can sip on some chamomile tea and see if it gives you some relief from painful menstrual cramps.
Drink Enough Fluids
Make sure you keep yourself well hydrated by taking in plenty of fluids like soups, fruit juices and water during your periods. These reduce the cramps and also keep you well nourished.
Do not go Hungry
Make sure you keep eating healthy snacks especially if you are taking painkillers as this enhances the efficacy of the pain medication that you are taking to reduce the cramps.
Bananas, pretzels and crackers are some of the good options to have as snacks. Just go less on the salt. With the help of these tips, you can easily treat and remedy severe menstrual cramps especially during your period.