Most women get cramps a few days before their period, and occasionally they last all the way through the menstrual cycle. Period cramps are among the most miserable experiences we have to endure each month, and for some of us, finding relief from them can be challenging. Did you know severe pain and cramping associated with your menstrual cycle is NOT normal? It’s a sign that something is not quite right and a suggestion there may be a hormonal imbalance, nutritional issue or underlying health condition that needs to be addressed. Ideally, your cycle should come and go with minimal disruption to your daily life, and minimal discomfort.
The contraction of your uterus, commonly known as the uterine lining, to shed its lining is what causes menstrual pains. Your lower back, upper thighs, groin, and stomach may all experience pain as a result.
What causes period pain?
Period pain can occur for a variety of causes, and if it happens frequently, it can be very uncomfortable. Some of the most common causes of painful periods are:
There are two types of dysmenorrhea:
Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by an increased production of prostaglandins from the uterine lining, which constricts the uterus' blood vessels and muscles. On the first day of a period, prostaglandin levels are typically high; however, they gradually decline over the course of the following seven days, which is why discomfort decreases after the first few days.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by a disorder in the reproductive organs, such as endometriosis, fibroids, or adenomyosis. This discomfort frequently lasts longer than typical menstrual cramps, thus it may start a few days before a period starts or last after a period finishes.
ome of the simpler causes include:
- Magnesium deficiency (resulting in cramping of the uterine muscle)
- Estrogen excess (resulting in heavy menstrual bleeding, meaning the uterine muscle needs to work harder to expel the blood)
- Inflammatory diets (due to an increase in the production of inflammatory prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that produce uterine contractions and pain.)
- Zinc deficiency (because a lack of zinc is linked to both an increase in inflammatory prostaglandin production and a heightened sensitivity to pain).
Menstrual cramps can be severe and frustrating at the same time. The good news is that there are numerous therapies that could relieve period pains. However, they can provide relief for mild to moderate period pain. It’s important to remember that these techniques won’t always work, especially for chronic conditions, but they can offer relief for mild to moderate period pain.
Apply heat to calm cramping
Your muscles can relax, blood flow can be improved, and tension can be relieved with a little heat. Try resting in a hot bath, using a heating pad while sitting, or taking a hot shower.
Exercise for muscle relaxation and endorphins
Exercise may be the last thing on your mind if you're in pain. However, even light activity causes the release of endorphins, which improve mood, lessen pain, and relax muscles. You could only need fifteen minutes of yoga, simple stretching, or strolling to experience the advantages of exercise on your body and mind. And if you currently engage in fitness, did you know that keeping track of your period can enhance your athletic performance?
Skip the treats to avoid extra bloating
Whole foods high in sugar, trans fat, and salt may seem great, they can also induce bloating and inflammation, which causes severe muscle pain and cramps. Grab a banana or another piece of fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth, or reach for some unsalted almonds for something saltier.
Drink more water and hot water to reduce bloating
Bloating can be painful and worsen period cramps. Although it might seem contradictory, drinking more hot water might lessen bloating and some of the pain that comes with your period.
Take over-the-counter (OTC) medications
Muscle contractions and discomfort may be brought on by the prostaglandin hormone. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs work quickly to relieve pain by lowering prostaglandin levels in the body. Only take OTC medications when cramps begin to occur for optimal results. OTC medications can frequently greatly reduce pain while not always magically curing period cramps, but with doctors’ suggestions.
Try an alternate drug
Alternative medical procedures like acupuncture and acupressure can provide healing for some people. By inserting needles under the skin, acupuncture stimulates the body. By applying pressure to specific body locations, acupressure stimulates the body without the use of needles. You may relax, relieve tension in your muscles, and enhance blood flow throughout your body with the aid of these techniques.
Menstrual discomfort varies from person to person and, within a single person, even from period to period. Menstrual cramps might be a subtle discomfort in your lower back or stomach, or they can be such severe spasms that you feel dizzy and faint. They typically start as soon as your period begins and finish after the third day1. While some menstruators seldom ever experience cramps, others consistently experience dysmenorrhea.