Periods sometimes can be women’s nightmares. Asides from the cravings, nausea, fatigue, heavy bleeding, constant having to change pads and staining clothes in extreme cases, there’s also the gnashing pain in the lower belly. During menstruation, the uterus contracts to shed its lining, and if the contraction is too strong, it can result in period cramps. Here are five things to do whenever you get period cramps.
How to relieve period cramps
1. Heat: Applying heat to the lower belly and back could help relieve pain. It does this by easing up the contraction that causes cramps. To do this, place a hot water bottle on your lower stomach for a few minutes until you feel better. You can also use heating pads, dip the towel into a hot water bowl, or take a warm bath.
2. Watch your diet: During menstruation, it’s essential to watch your diet and stay away from meals that could trigger cramps. Avoid saturated fats, and caffeine, increase your magnesium, and eat more fruits. Eat foods such as yogurt, beans, strawberries, pineapples and salmon fish
3. Drink water: Staying hydrated during your period goes a long way in helping to help the muscles to contract. During their period, some women feel a kind of swelling or heaviness in their abdomen. This swelling is called period bloating, and drinking enough water during your period could help relieve bloating and the pain it causes.
4. Exercise: As stressful as exercise might seem, it helps relieve period cramps. Exercise causes endorphins to be released. Endorphins are hormones that the body produces when it goes through stress. These released hormones ease stress and generally relax the muscles, which in turn help to release cramps. The next time you feel that discomfort in your lower belly, try exercising. Exercises such as mild yoga, jogging, or walking around go a long way in easing period cramps.
5. Take medicine: pain relievers are a safe go-to option when cramps get too serious. NSAID(Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are your best bet for relieving cramps. These drugs work by reducing the hormones that cause uterus contraction. Examples are ibuprofen and naproxen.
There are however severe menstrual cramps that wouldn’t go away even with the use of medications. This may be a sign of other medical conditions.
Medical conditions relating to severe period cramps
- Endometriosis: This is a medical condition where endometrial cells grow outside the uterus. Warning signs of endometriosis are Bleeding between periods, a period that lasts longer than seven days, painful intercourse, and pelvic pain.
- Fibroids: They are abnormal growths that develop inside or outside the uterus in different sizes. Symptoms include heavy bleeding, period that won’t stop, constant urge to pee, and lower back pain.
Other underlying medical conditions are polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
The severity of cramps varies from one woman to the other. Some women have cramps before their period, while some experience them during their period. Cramps are usually very severe during the first few days of the period and could interfere with one’s daily activities. However, learning how to manage cramps would not only result in a healthier period but would also allow you to carry out your routines without disruption.