Dysmenorrheal or menstrual cramps or gynecological is a medical condition of pain during menstruation that interferes with daily activities. Menstrual cramps are pains in the belly and pelvic areas that are experienced by a woman as a result of her menstrual period. Menstrual cramps can range from mild to quite severe. Mild menstrual cramps may be barely noticeable and of short duration sometimes felt just as a sense of light heaviness in the belly. Menstrual cramps tend to begin after an egg is released from the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube (ovulation). Severe menstrual cramps can be so painful that they interfere with a woman’s regular activities for several days. You must know how to treat menstrual cramps. Menstrual cramps are of two types: primary and secondary. Primary menstrual cramps occurs in most of the young women and is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen and lower back pain beginning 1-2 days before the period and lasting from 2 to 4 days. Secondary cramps are diagnosed when menstrual cramps are caused by other conditions such as endometriosis, fibroid tumors, pelvic adhesions, and ovarian cysts or by the use of an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control.
What causes Menstrual Cramps?
During each menstrual period, if there is no sperm to fertilize the egg, the uterus contracts to expel its lining. This process is driven by the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are associated with pain and inflammation in higher levels. These uterine contractions cause much of the pain felt during menstrual cramps because the contractions inhibit blood flow to the lining of the uterus.
During menstrual cycle, uterus muscles contracts. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain results when part of a muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.
How to Treat Menstrual Cramps
Staying hydrated is important all the time, but can really make a difference during your period. You can eat more watery fruits and vegetables which can add up to an equivalent of about three glasses of water a day or drink other fluids. Increase your liquid intake to preventing dehydration as dehydration aggravates menstrual cramps.
Stick to a healthy diet
Eating the right foods, such as those heavy in fiber, can make all the difference. Plenty of fiber is particularly useful in cleansing the body of excess estrogen which can lead to heavier and more painful periods and cramps. Certain dietary supplements, like vitamin E, vitamin B1, and vitamin B-6 have also been proven effective pain-relievers when it comes to menstrual cramps.
Avoid drinking caffeinated products whether its coffee and aerated drinks as they tend to cause irritation in the intestines. Caffeine can emphasize your cramps making them even more uncomfortable, and carbonated beverages can irritate an already-sensitive stomach.
Sip hot liquids
During menstruation, the pelvic area tends to get congested. Therefore, drinking more hot liquids promotes blood flow to the pelvic area and helps in relaxing the pelvic muscles. Try out hot soups throughout the day.
There are many natural herbs that can relieve your menstrual cramps. Ginger is one of the wonder herbs and has tremendous health benefits that even extend to easing menstrual cramps. Sipping mint or peppermint flavored tea throughout the day is known to ease the discomfort caused by menstrual cramps. You can also go for green tea.
Exercising not only keeps your mind off your cramps, but heals internally as well. Motivate yourself to swim, jog, hike, or play tennis and soon it will distract you from the pain. Stretching your arms and legs will help easing out menstrual cramps.
Placing a hot water bag on the stomach will help in easing the pain or a better option is to squeeze a towel in hot water and place it on the stomach. Use heat, such as hot water bottles, heating pads, or hot baths, to relax tense muscles and relieve cramping. Try lying on your couch or bed with a heating pad placed firmly under your lower back for about 10 minutes.
Do not feel embarrassed or stressed, it happens to every women or girl. The thing is to know how to relieve menstrual cramps. Women, whose bodies are weak, tend to suffer menstrual cramps in greater severity. Therefore, you need to curb the lack of vitamins and minerals in the body. There are various vitamin supplements available in the market today, but it is best to consult a doctor before opting for the choice of vitamin supplements. Lying on your side with your knees tucked into your chest can temporarily reduce the pain. Some people say to lie face down on the bed, with your face in a pillow. You can also go for pills but firstly consult your doctor.