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I don’t know if some realize how lucky they are that they don’t experience menstrual pain. They are a favored group but they probably don’t know it yet.
For those of us that are not so lucky, it can range from mild discomfort that lasts for few hours to excruciating pain that requires hospitalization or makes you feel like you are going to die.
The pain is mostly felt around the lower abdomen, thighs, and back.
There are other health conditions that can cause those familiar monthly cramps such as pregnancy, cysts, etc.
When young women (mid-20s) suddenly start experiencing menstrual cramps they have not experienced before, it should ring some alarm bells because it can be an indication of a health problem especially if the cramping is away from the usual menstrual period date.
For today, we will discuss the most common stomach cramping which is period pain and cramping that arises from a woman’s regular monthly circle.
Why we experience menstrual cramps
As the time for our monthly cycle draws near, our body produces a hormone-like substance called prostaglandins that aids in shedding the lining of the uterus.
We tend to feel cramps when this hormone causes contraction on the uterus to shed its lining. The severity of our cramps depends on the amount of prostaglandin produced and our sensitivity to it.
More of this hormone leads to more pain and cramping and vice-versa.
Menstrual cramping can differ from month to month due to some changes in perhaps your environment, exercise, diet and nutrition, hormones, etc.
Some experience pain during every monthly circle while for some, it happens only during some months in the year.
How long do menstrual cramps usually last?
Menstrual cramps tend to begin about a day or two before your period and may last or linger until the end of the cycle.
They may also cause fever, chills, nausea, fatigue, bloating, tender stomach, mood swings, etc. The good news is that the pain improves as we grow older and after childbirth.
Teenage and young women tend to have the most severe menstrual pain.
Tips for menstrual cramps
You have probably heard of much advice on a range of remedies that people say will improve or stop menstrual pain including avoiding some types of foods, eating certain foods, being more active and exercising well, back and stomach massage, taking a warm bath, managing stress, etc.
While cramping, Doctors advise that it is best to eat more plain foods such as raw vegetables, bread, black tea, warm liquids, yogurt, chicken, fish and avoid spicy, processed, sugary, and greasy foods
Ibuprofen is a popular over-the-counter painkiller that people use but when taken continuously for months, it can have negative repercussions on the body. You can read more about the menstrual cycle and its treatment options from this study.
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Menstrual Cramps relief Remedies
There are many suggested methods of managing menstrual cramping but this is the one method that I find being recommended almost by everyone. You might also be familiar with it.
It involves placing a heat source such as a hot water bottle, heated head wrap, towel dipped in warm-hot water, a heating pad, or another heated object and placing it directly on the skin or on top of your shirt to the lower abdomen.
Using the heat source, gently move it around the cramping area like a massage. Once it cools down, reheat it again. Some sources recommend it in place of ibuprofen.
The issue with heat therapy from my experience is that its relief does not last long only for a few minutes and then you are back to square one but that might not be your experience.
Try it and let me know how effective it was for you. If you have used heat therapy before, please let us know how effective it has been for your cramping in the comments below.
Where to get it:
If you suffer from frequent menstrual cramps, you will need to get a hot water bottle. It is really effective for relief. It is available on Amazon for $11
Fenugreek – Menstrual Cramps prevention
Fenugreek is a wonderful and powerful herb with much studies and research on its benefits to women and their body function.
One of its major benefits includes hormonal balance which is the main cause of painful menstrual as we said earlier, the more the hormone prostaglandin is produced, the more severity in your menstrual cramps.
When this hormone is well balanced in the body, you might not even feel a thing.
For this remedy to be effective, you will need to take it days before your cycle begins when the prostaglandins hormone is being produced. It will then balance its production to not be excessive.
This remedy and heat therapy are the ones that I have had experience with and they worked.
How to use:
- Take fenugreek seeds, powder, or capsules about 4-5 days before you expect your menstrual cycle to begin.
- Take a teaspoon in the morning and evening. Use a maximum of a tablespoon a day.
If you have already started cramping, then it is best to use any of the menstrual cramp teas below as it is rather too late for the fenugreek to work.
If using it in a capsule form, take it as prescribed on the bottle. You can also swallow the seed if you can. Make it a teaspoon of the seed in the morning and evening.
Where to get it:
Health and natural products stores should have it available as it is a common supplement.
Other hormone-balancing foods and practices will be very helpful in ridding yourself of this pain before it begins.
Note** Fenugreek can cause weight gain in some people but that is usually for people taking it for a long period like 2-4 weeks. Here, it is recommended that you take it for just a few days before your period.
All of them have been successful and have deemed ginger as a safe and helpful food that significantly reduced menstrual pain and cramping.
Some have even gone as far as to say that it can be used as a substitute for ibuprofen. So before you run to the pharmacy for some pain killer, try some ginger tea first.
It also helps with reducing heavy monthly periods that leave you pale, weak, and anemic based on a study of 92 girls. These combined advantages make it a good option to at least try once and see how your body reacts to it. As we know allergies and reactions to raw ginger are rare.
How to use:
- Grate about 2-3 inches of fresh ginger and add it to a cup of hot water.
- You want the tea to be strong/concentrated and not weak
- Allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes,
- Add some honey to make a tea or just drink it as is preferably warm.
- You can also take other forms of ginger such as ginger capsules, teas, powder, etc. if you are not able to get the raw ginger but raw is best.
Some studies conducted on the efficiency of cinnamon in relation to pharmaceutical drugs have shown that it has similar effects in reducing menstrual cramps.
Other studies have shown that it can even shorten the period of menstrual cramps. There are claims that cinnamon can induce menstrual flow but I have not found the research paper yet.
How to use:
- Boil 2 inches of cinnamon stick or 1.5 teaspoons of the powder for 5 minutes
- Allow it to cool down.
- Sieve and drink the tea
- Add some honey to sweeten it (optional)
- You can repeat it again after about 3-4 hours
Where to get it:
It is easy to find in the supermarket under the spice section. Both powder and the stick can be used.
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how to use these remedies properly
Apart from heat therapy, there are three oral remedies. If your period is about to come, then begin taking the fenugreek 4 days prior to its arrival.
If it is already here and you are in pain, I will suggest that you try the ginger and cinnamon remedies and see which works for you best. You can also use the heat therapy to lessen your pain and discomfort
If using the ginger and cinnamon tea, space them in between taking for about 2-3 hrs so you can assess their effectiveness or lack of properly.
Most cramping starts before or at the onset of the menstrual flow. It peaks about 12-24 hours after the menstrual cycle begins and mostly ends by the third day.
This might seem like a short period but I know how difficult it is to withstand the pain sometimes which is why we need some help in dulling the pain.
This might seem like a shortlist but I don’t want to repeat other advice I have heard or saw on other sites because I don’t know of their effectiveness. This small list is what I am positive will help you during these difficult few hours or days, especially the fenugreek.
Some try to find ways of fixing this problem forever but they should be careful because this is a very natural process for the body. When they stop it, it can lead to other health issues that might be more severe than cramping for 2-3 days a month.
You can in a way fix it forever if you decide to be conscious of your hormone levels and you keep your remedies close by before that time of the month.
Don’t forget, menstrual cramps are not forever, they get better with age and after childbirth as I said earlier. The unbearable pain you are feeling now can subside to a mild ache that will not interrupt your life in the future. Be a little more patient 🙂
I hope you were able to get a solution to your problem from this post. Don’t forget to continue to try to eat healthily and exercise even if it is only a few minutes a day. This will help you not just in menstrual cycles but for your overall and general well-being.
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Bye for now.