Menstrual cramps occur when the uterus contracts, due to the release of a substance made by it called prostaglandins. This occurs on a monthly basis in the female human body. Usually, menstrual cramp pain is mild but to some women, it can be a severe pain (Dysmenorrhea) in the abdomen, lower back, thighs. In some cases, women experience headaches, nausea feeling, vomiting or diarrhea. Doctors till date has not been able to deduce exactly what causes these variations in women, but research has it that it could be as a result of
- Heavy flow of blood
- Below age 20, or first timer
- Overproduction of or sensitivity to prostaglandins
- Use of birth control
- Growths in the womb (Endometriosis, I.e. abnormal uterine tissue growth)
While there are medications to take in order to relieve yourself of these pain such as Ibuprofen (Advil), and Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)a these are Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs that are highly recommended. However, there are some other easy to do and natural remedies to ease off this pain.
Exercise: Taking a walk, little jogging, yoga or other mild exercises can be done before, during or after your monthly menstrual flow to ease off the pain caused by cramps. Exercise may not sound appealing to you then but it releases endorphins. Some research has it that exercise could reduce or eliminate the use of medications. Also in a more recent research, it was discovered that three yoga poses is a very good remedy. They include; cobra, cat and fish pose.
Heat application remedy: A hot bath, a hot cup of tea (chamomile or sorrel, lemon, and ginger), or direct application of heat to the abdomen or lower back, you could use a hot water bottle or a heating pad. A study was done in 2012 that sampled women 18- 30 years old with regular menstrual flow discovered that a 104*F (40*C) was as effective as Ibuprofen.
Massage: rub or massage your abdomen with essential oil, it helps relax your muscles. Massage for about 15- 20 minutes, pressing a point while you use the other hand to rub around your abdomen, waist, and back. It is very important to mix or dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil.
Watch what you eat: it is very vital to avoid certain foods that could cause bloating and water retention such as, salty food, fatty foods, alcohol, carbonated drinks, caffeine. You Snack on fruits such as strawberries or raspberries and take soothing teas like mint tea, ginger tea, lemon flavored water.
Diet: believe it or not, a diet for relieving menstrual cramps pain should be high in foods, fiber and plants minimally processed. Here is a list some of these foods, you might want to give this a try-
- Brown rice.
Nuts such as almond nuts, walnuts and also pumpkin seeds.
- Olive oil and broccoli.
- Fish, chicken, green vegetables.
- Bananas, avocados.
- Peanut butter.
- Water-based foods like, watermelon, celery, cucumber, berries (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries), and lettuce.
Foods rich in calcium like leafy green vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, dairy products such as milk and cheese. It is very essential to also eat food fortified with the essential vitamins and minerals.