Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
Some women have it tough each month as they get knocked down by menstrual cramps so strong, it leaves them almost incapacitated. For these women, these few days of the month are spent at home, writhing on the bed as no medication brings complete relief.
Menstrual cramps also called painful period or dysmenorrhea is a period that comes with a lot of discomforts and sometimes pain. This pain usually begins from a day before your period starts and could last up to three days.
From research, over 50% of women get some form of pain or discomfort during their period each month. For some women, menstrual cramp, which usually occurs in the lower abdomen, could either be mild or so severe, it leaves you bedridden for a few days.
What Causes Menstrual Cramps?
Each month, your womb expects to receive a baby and prepares for it by the uterine lining thickening. If no pregnancy occurs, this lining is shed and your womb goes back to its relaxed state.
Before the shedding occurs, a hormone, prostaglandins are released. It is this hormone that causes your womb to contract and relax, during which your uterine lining is shed.
The shedding of this uterine line is what causes menstrual cramps as the womb contracts to do so.
For some people, this contraction is usually so intense, it presses against the blood vessels and cuts off the oxygen supply to the womb, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Types of Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)
Menstrual cramps or painful periods are of two types:
- Primary Dysmenorrhea
- Secondary Dysmenorrhea
Primary dysmenorrhea is menstrual cramps that come when you get your period and as earlier said, it typically starts a day or two before you get your period and lasts for 2–3 days.
Secondary dysmenorrhea, on the other hand, is a painful period that could come later in life.
Women with secondary dysmenorrhea have this condition as a result of one or more underlying health conditions like endometriosis, uterine fibroid, cervical adenosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or adenomyosis.
Top symptoms of a painful period you should look out for include mild to the extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea.
Risk Factors of Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)
Dysmenorrhea most times doesn’t just happen, some women are more at risk of developing it than others.
Here are some risk factors of painful periods you should know:
- Haven begun your first menstruation before the age of 11.
- Having a family history of it.
- Being a young lady who’s never had a child.
- Having unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking.
- Being young of age; 20 years and below.
Read Also: 5 Things You Should Avoid During Your Period
How is Menstrual Cramps Diagnosed?
Menstrual cramps are usually diagnosed with the symptoms described. In some cases, an ultrasound would be performed to ascertain the root cause of it.
Natural Treatment for Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)
If you get saddled with such intense menstrual cramps each month, here are eight alternative remedies for menstrual pain you should try:
1. Apply a Heating Pad
Research has it that applying heat to your abdomen will relieve menstrual pain to bring you comfort as it helps to relax the blood vessels and increase blood flow.
Apply a heating pad or a hot water bottle to your abdomen and lower back. You can also opt for a hot bath and soak for upward of 20 minutes to get the much-needed relief.
2. Eat Some Carrots
Carrots help regularise bleeding, which makes it ideal for periods. It is also rich in iron which your body especially needs at this time of the month.
There are several ways you can take in carrot: you can decide to chew it raw, take it as a juice, or whip up some amazing carrot delicacies.
3. Perform Some Exercises
Exercising is one of the best natural remedies for menstrual cramps. When you exercise, your body releases beta-endorphins, an opioid and a kind of pain relief.
So no matter how painful the cramps, you should try to carry out some light to moderate exercises around the house or outdoors.
4. Aloe Vera and Honey Drink
Aloe vera has great healing benefits. It is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial and will help regulate your blood flow which makes it a great choice for relieving menstrual cramps.
To use, brew a cup of tea using the juice from the aloe vera plant and sweeten with a teaspoon of honey to reduce its bitter taste. Take this every few hours to get the much craved for relief
Ginger is also anti-inflammatory and will bring you soothing relief when taken. Like aloe vera, it can also be brewed into a cup of tea and sweetened with honey or peppermint.
You can opt for a fresh ginger root or brew a cup using ginger powder.
If using ginger root, peel and grate ginger, then steep in a cup of boiling water for 10–15 minutes. You want to make the water extremely hot so it extracts the ginger flavor and also remains sufficiently hot enough when you are ready to take it.
Once done, strain liquid into a cup and sweeten with honey (optional).
6. Drink Very Hot Liquid
Another great remedy for menstrual cramps is a very hot liquid (as hot as you can stand). This liquid can be anything: from soups to just hot water.
Take a cup of this as often as you want for fast relief.
7. Carry Out a Massage
A lot of women also report getting relief from the pain by performing some mild to moderate massage around their abdomen.
You should lay on your back and get someone to carry out this massage around your stomach region if doing it yourself isn’t comfortable.
8. Take Some Pain Relief Few Days Before Your Period is Due
While not a natural method, taking some over-the-counter pain meds like ibuprofen a few days before your period is due has also been proven to be super effective.
The Bottom Line:
The good news is that while menstrual cramps come every month. The pain does reduce in gravity as you age and soon you will have a pain-free period.
Also, giving birth has also been known to put a stop to this pain, so giving birth doesn’t just bring a beautiful gift into your life, it also eliminates a painful part of you.