Period pains, menstrual cramps, whatever you call them, they are never fun, but nearly 50% of women report having experienced them. So what exactly are they and how can you treat them naturally and easily?
What are period pains?
Period pains are cramp like pains felt in the lower abdomen and lower back, usually one to two days before the start of your period, and for two to four days once your period has begun. Each woman will experience them differently but they have been described as slightly uncomfortable to extremely painful; 15% of women report them as being severe. Although healthy women experience cramps, for those with certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis and fibroids, the pain can be more intense.
Period pains are caused as the uterus contracts in order to expel the lining of the uterus each month. In addition, prostaglandins are released as part of this process and they can increase pain and inflammation. Other common menstrual symptoms are nausea, loose stools, constipation, bloating, headaches or dizziness.
Ways to ease cramps?
While you may not be able to entirely eliminate cramps, there are some things you can do to ease the pain:
1. Stress can aggravate cramps so practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
2. Women who don’t frequently exercise report more painful cramps so make certain to follow a regular exercise routine.
3. Chamomile tea has been shown to decrease menstrual cramps, possibly by relaxing the uterus.
4. Both acupressure and acupuncture can alleviate cramps.
5. A TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit can decrease cramps, perhaps by increasing pain threshold and stimulating the release of endorphins.
6. Studies have shown ancient Chinese medicines can decrease symptoms.
7. Various dietary supplements, such as vitamin E, magnesium, thiamin and omega-3’s are believed to reduce cramps.
8. Heat can also offer relief, whether through a warm bath, heating pads, or heat patches.
9. If your pains are very severe, you may wish to consult a doctor to make certain there is no underlying medical cause.
There is no doubt that menstrual cramps can be a pain, but with some natural techniques, you can find relief.
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