Definitive Guide To Managing Menstrual Cramps

Definitive Guide To Managing Menstrual Cramps

Best Way to Manage Menstrual Cramps

If you suffer from menstrual cramps, you're not alone. Many women wonder how to manage their cramps and find relief. This article will explore the causes, symptoms, and diet options for menstrual cramps. Read on to discover the best ways to manage menstrual cramps and find out what's working for other women.

Symptoms

Symptoms of menstrual cramps include dull, throbbing pain in the lower abdomen. Sometimes they also feel like a radiating pain. Other symptoms include nausea, dizziness, sweating, and loose stools.

Generally, menstrual cramps begin for women when they are between ten and fifteen years old. Women can experience mild to severe pain during their period. These cramps can last a few hours or even a few days. While the pain can be uncomfortable, the symptoms usually improve over time. During your first period, you might experience cramps for up to three days. You may have fewer cramps after your first child, but this is still not a pleasant experience.

Women who suffer from menstrual cramps should seek medical attention if they are too severe to tolerate. It is important to note that menstrual cramps are caused by the muscles of the uterus contracting to expel the lining. These contractions are triggered by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. The more severe they are, the more likely it is to cause an ache.

Causes

There are many causes of menstrual pain, but some women are at higher risk for severe menstrual cramps than others. Inflammation and low magnesium are two main culprits. Inflammation, as well as high stress, can contribute to cramps. Dr. Tanya Kormeili, a clinical instructor at UCLA, agrees with this assessment and says stress is a significant contributor to menstrual pain.

Other causes of menstrual pain include uterine fibroids and endometriosis. Women experience menstrual pain throughout their lives, but only five to ten percent of them have severe cramps. Many women experience other symptoms prior to their periods, including heavy bleeding. 

Certain foods and drinks can also increase your risk of suffering from cramps. Sugary and processed foods may increase your body's water retention and make cramping more intense.

Other causes of menstrual cramps include secondary dysmenorrhea (a condition in which the endometrium is outside the uterus), adenomyosis (inflammation of the uterus), and pelvic inflammatory disease, which is caused by bacteria and can result in stomach pain. Furthermore, cervical stenosis (narrowing of the cervix, the opening to the uterus), can result in painful menstrual cramps.

Treatments

A painful cramp during your period is nothing new for women. About twenty percent of all women experience some form of menstrual pain each month. These painful cramps are caused by the uterus shedding its nutrient-rich lining every month. 

A combination of natural remedies may be effective. For instance, chamomile tea may reduce cramping, and a hot water bottle or heating pad may relieve pain. Certain herbs, such as Szechuan lovage root, Chinese angelica root, and red and white peony root, have anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. However, researchers have found that these natural treatments are not without side effects. Some women have found relief by using over-the-counter pain relievers or taking vitamins.

While natural remedies are available, a woman should still see her doctor if her period is particularly painful. A doctor can rule out more serious conditions and prescribe appropriate treatments. However, it is important to note that severe menstrual pain may signal an underlying medical condition, so it is important to seek help if your symptoms persist and are affecting your daily life.

Diet

Taking a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids and dairy products can help alleviate the symptoms of menstrual cramps. Calcium, an essential nutrient for women, reduces the occurrence of cramps and helps to prevent water retention. Women who suffer from heavy periods should also limit their intake of saturated fats.

Avocados, pepitas, and collard greens contain magnesium and vitamin B6 that can help alleviate PMS symptoms. Bananas are also high in zinc, which reduces painful menstrual cramps. Also, avocados can help relieve abdominal cramps and can be added to yogurt or muffin batter. And collard greens and bananas are great sources of potassium.

Incorporating more fiber in your diet can also help reduce the pain associated with menstrual cramps.

Herbal remedies

Herbal remedies for menstrual cramps are effective in preventing menstrual pain and in treating the symptoms after they've started. You can use essential oils in teas, apply them to your back, or take warm baths. These are not cure-all remedies, but they can provide you with relief from the cramps and ease nervous tension. Various herbal teas, such as chamomile and dandelion, have been shown to help relieve painful menstrual cramps. But you should always talk to your healthcare provider before trying any herbal remedies!