Period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea occur due to inability of oxygen to reach the uterine tissue.
They just put the lifestyle in a bit of crimp.
There are few effective ways to reduce this discomfort.
- Improve Diet: Eating a good healthy diet helps improve period cramps. Research shows, reducing fat and increasing vegetables in the diet help ease menstrual cramps (2). A low-fat diet reduces the level of overall inflammation in the body. Along with bringing improvement in cramps, it is also good for overall health. Remove the less healthy fats such as saturated fats and introduce healthier unsaturated fats to the diet. Pick fat-free dairy products. Foods containing healthy fats are fishes, nuts, and vegetable oil.
- Herbal Tea: Certain herbal tea helps relieve menstrual cramps. Though not much research has been done, experts say these teas, have been used traditionally and can help. Cramp bark tea has been used by many for menstrual pain relief. Few doctors also advice peppermint tea which may help. You can start sipping on whichever tea benefits you a week before the period day.
- Fish Oil and Vitamin B1: Taking fish oil supplement and vitamin B1 is another natural way to relieve menstrual pain (3). It was found teens who took either fish oil or vitamin B1 or both have lesser pain than the placebo group.
- Acupuncture: It can help relieve cramps by relaxing the nervous system which causes robust blood flow to the internal organs. Acupuncture also helps relieve inflammation. 6 studies compared the effects of acupuncture versus no treatment found that both acupuncture and acupressure could reduce pain (4).
- Essentials Oils: There are certain essential oils such as lavender oil, clary sage essential oil, and marjoram essential oil which can provide relief from menstrual cramp pain (5). Make sure you use these oils safely. Always dilute the pure essential oil before using to avoid skin irritation and other problems.
- Heating Pads: Heating pads work effectively in reducing pain during periods. They on being applied topically were found to be equally effective as ibuprofen (6). A group of women who had cramps were studied. One group was given heated patch and ibuprofen and another unheated patch and ibuprofen. Third group was given placebo and fourth group unheated patch and placebo. The females who were given heated patch and ibuprofen reported greater relief than the only placebo group. One more study published in March 2014 found a good relief in period pain on using heating pads (7).
- Exercise: Physical activity boosts endorphins. Endorphins boost mood and also have pain relieving effects. A research indicates that both aerobic exercise and stretching help soothe period pain and cramps (8).
- Magnesium Rich Diet: Dietary magnesium eases pain and cramps. A review of dietary remedies published in 2001 showed that enough magnesium in diet can help alleviate pain (9). It helps regulate nerve and muscle function and is effective in treating menstrual cramps. Magnesium can be obtained from foods and can also be taken as a supplement.
- Drink Plenty Of Water: Drinking water during period can keep you hydrated. It regulates the proper functioning of the body cells. A dehydrated body can dispose a female to physical and mental stress and thereby improper functioning. Therefore, to keep body active it is advisable to drink enough water.
- Vitamin D intake: Vitamin D helps reduce prostaglandins which are responsible for painful menstrual periods.
If you are suffering from bad menstrual cramps consider starting a vitamin D supplement.
If you have a heavy flow with unbearable pain, seek medical advice. Also, serious problems such as endometriosis, fibroids, and pelvic inflammatory diseases need special treatment. Self medication can be harmful and can predispose you to health issues.
Consult a doctor, know the cause and get treated for the condition.