How to get rid of period cramps?Are you also experiencing period cramps every month? Those three to four painful menstruation days can be irritating and distressing for many women. Some experience menstrual cramps few days before the start of menstruation. The pain persists for at least two days which can negatively affect, work, studies, important activities and many tasks.
Period cramps, or dysmenorrhea in medical term, occur before or during the menstrual period. Some cramping, discomfort and pain during menstruation is normal but extreme pain may cause someone to miss school or work.
There are 2 types of dysmenorrhea. The primary dysmenorrhea is the term for the common menstrual cramps that usually start 1 to 2 years after a woman starts having period. The pain is commonly felt at the back or lower abdomen which can range from mild to severe. The pain can continue for three days but become less painful as a woman ages. Primary dysmenorrhea may also stop after a woman gives birth.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is a menstrual pain that is caused by a reproductive organ disorder such as the pelvic organs or the uterus. These period cramps commonly start before the menstrual cycle and may last longer than normal cramps.
Causes of Period Cramps
Period or menstrual cramps are caused by the contractions of the uterus muscles throughout a menstrual cycle. Extreme contractions of the uterus press the blood vessels in the area which block the flow of oxygen to the uterus’ muscle tissue.
Some women have higher risk of experiencing painful menstrual periods than others. The risk factors include:
- Being under 20 years old
- Irregular periods
- Heavy Bleeding with periods
- Family history of painful menstrual cramps
- No baby
- Early puberty, before 11 years old
Women with higher levels of prostaglandins are likely to experience more painful menstrual cramps than others. Prostaglandins are hormones that trigger the muscle contractions to assist the uterus in expelling the lining every month. The contractions may cause inflammation and pain.
In other cases like secondary dysmenorrhea, period cramps can be the cause of premenstrual syndrome, fibroids in the uterus, cervical stenosis, sexually transmitted infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and certain types of birth control.
When to Call a Doctor
If your period cramps prevent you from working or performing simple tasks every month, it could be the time for you to visit a gynecologist and talk about the symptoms you experience. If these situations occur, it is recommended to visit a professional:
- Passing blood clots
- Cramping with nausea and diarrhea
- Painful menstrual periods that last more than 3 months
- Pain after IUD placement
- Pelvic pain even when without period
Cramping or sudden pain in the pelvic can be signs of some infection. Without proper treatment, the infection may cause damages to the pelvic organ and can lead to infertility. Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of infection including:
- Severe pelvic pain
- Sudden cramping
- Foul-smell discharge
Home Care Treatments for Period Cramps
Home treatments can be successful in alleviating the pain of menstrual periods.
1. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea contains antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that can sooth the uterus while easing the spasmodic contractions. This tea can alleviate the cramps during menstruation.
- Soak one chamomile tea bag in a cup of hot water.
- Cover it and wait for at least ten minutes.
- Add honey or lemon juice but these are optional.
- Drink the chamomile tea to alleviate the pain. You can drink at least two cups a day before the week of your period to prevent menstrual cramps.
Chamomile tea can also relieve anxiety and can help in fighting bacteria and virus to prevent infection. It can also relieve muscle spasms in the intestinal tract as well as in blood vessels. According to studies, chamomile can reduce the incidence of stress-induced ulcers.
Another great remedy to get rid of period cramps is the flaxseed. It contains fatty acids that can stabilize the level of progesterone while improving the function of the uterine to treat problems in fertility. For women experiencing premenstrual symptoms regularly, including flaxseeds in your diet can alleviate the pain during menstruation. Aside from that, flaxseed can also reduce breast pain in the beginning of menstrual period.
- Take one to two tablespoons of flaxseed every day. You can also add ground flaxseed over your meals such as cereal, yogurt and salad or blend flaxseeds in your smoothie.
Eating flaxseeds regularly can also help the ovulation become regular. According to studies, the luteal phase, or the phase of menstrual cycle between ovulation and period, is longer when women consume flaxseed.
Ginger is also effective in alleviating period cramps and inflammation. It is also used for upset stomach, nausea and other symptoms associated with menstruation. Ginger eases the pain of menstrual cramps by lowering the levels of prostaglandins, which are the hormones that cause pain during contraction of the uterus lining. In addition, ginger can also make menstrual cycle more regular.
- Cut small pieces of ginger and boil it in water for at least minutes. Strain and add lemon juice and honey. Drink the juice 3 times a day. You can also buy prepackaged dried ginger teabags.
- You can also add ginger in your meals or eat ginger candies.
Do not use too much ginger as it can cause diarrhea, irritation and heartburn. Although ginger tea is effective in alleviating menstrual cramps, it should be avoided if you have peptic ulcers. Ginger should also be avoided if you are taking blood-thinning drugs or if you have bleeding disorders.
4. Raw Papaya
Papaya contains anti-inflammatory properties which can help in alleviating period cramps. It is also rich with iron, calcium, carotene, vitamin A and C that can soothe the uterine linings and reduce the pain of muscle contractions. Eating papaya before and during your menstruation can eliminate period cramps.
Papaya can also assist in regulating menstrual cycles. Raw papayas also offer a lot of heat which can stimulate the production of estrogens and leads to normal menstrual cycle. Raw papaya also increases blood flow during your period which allows the uterus muscles to function well. It can also cure premenstrual tensions.
Fennel contains anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and phytoestrogenic properties that can help in soothing the muscles of the uterus. This alleviates discomfort and period cramps.
- In a cup of boiling water, add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds.
- Let it simmer for at least five minutes before removing from the heat.
- Strain and add 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix it well.
- Drink fennel tea two times a day. You can start 3 days before your period starts to alleviate menstrual cramps. Drink the tea as long as when needed.
Parsley offers numerous benefits. Aside from being an ingredient to many dishes, parsley is also an effective home remedy for treating period cramps. It contains myristicin and apiol which are effective in stimulating the process of menstruation while alleviating period cramps. It can also help in making irregular cycles regular.
- Put 1/4cup of fresh parsley in a cup and add boiling water.
- Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and drink the tea.
- Repeat this treatment two times a day during your menstruation period to alleviate the cramps.
Another effective home remedy to get rid of period cramps is cinnamon. It contains anticlotting, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that can alleviate menstrual cramps. In addition, cinnamon is also packed with essential minerals such as iron, manganese and dietary fiber.
- In a cup of boiling water, add 1/4teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes. You can also add honey to make it more effective.
- Drink the cinnamon tea. It is best to drink cinnamon tea two to three days before your menstruation begins to prevent experiencing pain.
- You can also mix 1/2teaspoon of cinnamon powder and 1 tablespoon of honey with hot water. Drink it 3 times during the first day of menstruation to alleviate the cramps.
Another effective herb for getting rid of menstrual pain is basic. Basic contains caffeic acid that has pain-killing properties.
- Crush basil leaves to get its juice. Add 2 teaspoons of its juice to 1 cup of hot water. Drink the solution 3 times a day during your period.
- Another way is to add 1 tablespoon of basil leaves in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover it and let it cool down. Drink the solution to eliminate the cramps.
- You can also include basil leaves in your meal to alleviate the pain of menstrual cramps.
9. Warm Compress
Warm compress is an easy way to get rid of period cramps. Applying heat on your lower abdomen can calm the contraction of the muscles in the uterus.
- Use a heating pad and place it on your lower abdomen or lower back to alleviate the cramps. You can also use a plastic bottle with hot water.
- Soak a clean towel in hot water. Squeeze out the excess water and place the towel on your lower abdomen until it cools down. Repeat the process until the pain disappears.
- Taking a warm shower can also help you relieve the pain and it helps your body relax.
Other Treatments for Period Cramps
- Bioflavonoids – Eat foods that contain bioflavonoids such as mangoes, brussels, sprouts, broccoli and more.
- Calcium and Iron – Eat more foods that are rich in calcium and iron such as eggs, leafy vegetables, chickpeas, milk, soybeans, prunes, lentils and raisins.
- Green Tea – Green tea helps in relaxing the abdominal muscles to alleviate cramps.
- Wild Yam – Wild yam root is also an effective remedy to alleviate period cramps. It has antispasmodic properties that are also a great remedy for menopausal symptoms.
- Banana and Curd – For alleviating period cramps, you can also cook banana leaves and mix it with curd.
- Mustard Seeds – Steep mustard seeds in water or add mustard powder in warm water. Soak your feet in water for at least half an hour to get rid of menstrual cramps.
- Sesame Seeds – Boil two tablespoons of sesame seeds and strain. Allow it to cool down and drink the solution throughout your period.
- Essential Oil – Gently massage your lower abdomen with essential oils like peppermint, lavender, almond and cypress to get relief from period cramps.
- Carrots – Carrot juice is believed to relieve menstrual pain. Alternatively, consume raw carrots. This regulates blood flow.
- Blackstrap Molasses – Add two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses in one cup of milk. Drink it during your period to relax the muscles of the uterine walls.
- Milk – Drinking milk everyday can prevent the occurrence of period cramps.
- White Willow Bark – To get the benefits of white willow bark, boil the bark to make a tea and drink it on a regular basis before your period. It contains salicin which prevents the pain effectively.
- Aloe Vera – Adding aloe vera juice in your diet can prevent menstrual pain.
- Motherwort – Motherwort is also an effective remedy to reduce period cramps, uterine muscle spasm, heart palpitation, nervousness and stress. This remedy relaxes the muscles in the abdomen.
- Thyme – Boil thyme leaves in water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink the solution every 30 minutes. This remedy can give relief for menstrual cramps.
Here are some DO’s and Don’ts during your menstruation.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables with water content such as berries, celery, watermelon, cucumbers and lettuce.
- Get adequate amount of sleep.
- Drink plenty of water every day to alleviate the pain.
- Perform cardiovascular exercises to enhance the flow of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers.
- Take hot showers to relax the muscles especially the lower abdomen and lower back.
- Consume fish oil to alleviate hormonal imbalance.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes and belts during menstruation.
- Prevent consuming dairy-based products and stop eating salty foods.
- Avoid consuming sugar, processed white flour, red meat and vegetable fat.
- Relax and avoid being stressed.