How many times do you wake up in the middle of your good night’s sleep only to figure out that your lower abdomen is bursting with excruciating pangs of pain? Let me guess, once in every month, yes that is 12 times a year for as long as you hit your menopause. Even the thought of the tormenting pain makes you want to wish that you were born a boy or that you could tear the uterus out of your body and throw it way. One could always adopt children, not a big deal is it?

It’s only a matter of awareness, how much you know about the menstrual cramps and what can you do to overcome it. Dysmenorrheal or Menstrual cramps or period pains as it is known are painful sensations that felt in the lower abdomen, before or during a woman’s menstrual periods. Further menstrual cramps can be categorized into two types:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea – this is the most common type and is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen and in the lower back. It may begin 1-2 days before the period and lasts uptom2-4 days. The pain can be slight or sometimes extremely severe.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea– these happen due to some identified medical problems like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease.

Though there are no identifiable causes of the primary form of menstrual cramps, certain women are more exposed than others.

  • Prostaglandins- women with higher level of hormone like substance, prostaglandins may experience more severe menstrual cramps as this hormone like substance help the uterus expand its lining each month. These contractions cause pain and inflammation.
  • Irregular periods
  • Early puberty i.e. puberty before the age of 11
  • Family history of painful periods
  • Smoking
  • Heavy bleeding through the periods
Young woman having stomach problems, holding hands on stomach

Young woman having stomach problems, holding hands on stomach

There are certain things that you should follow to escape the severe pain:

  • Exercise- physical activity in those days may sound ludicrous but it actually helps. Even doctors suggest exercising to avoid menstrual cramps. Any kind of physical activity like brisk walking or aerobics can help to ease the belly pain. While exercising, your body pumps more blood which helps in releasing the endorphins to counteract the prostaglandins, ergo reduce your menstrual cramps.
  • Hot water bottle– this might be the most used remedy to ease the pain. Heat helps to relax the contracting muscles in your uterus, which causes the pain. Take the hot water bottle and apply it to your abdomen.
  • Chamomile tea– drinking chamomile tea also helps in easing the pain. The anti inflammatory drugs in the tea helps to decrease the prostaglandin production, thus eases the menstrual cramps.
  • Have an orgasm– this may sound a little unconventional, but orgasms help to relieve all kinds of pain, including menstrual cramps. Before an orgasm the uterus is more relaxed and at the moment of climax, blood flow increases, which in turn increases the amount of endorphins which helps in relieving the menstrual And you will instantly feel better. So next time when your abdomen is aching, your partner might come to your rescue!
  • Intake of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium supplements and reducing the intake of salt, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar helps prevent bloating and thus eases the menstrual cramps.
  • Take anti inflammatory medication such as “ibuprofen” several days before your expected period.
  • Eat light and nutritious meal
  • Take a warm bath
  • Practice relaxation techniques or yoga.

Yet, if home treatment is not successful in relieving your menstrual cramps, opt for some medical treatment options after consulting with your doctor.

Start exercising, eat healthy and go stack up your bathroom shelves with the vitamin supplements and anti inflammatory drugs, because in the humdrum of life you might forget the fitness mantra i.e. ‘precaution is always better than cure’. Stay healthy and happy even in those not so happy days.