Menstrual cramps are a daily occurrence for many women, regardless of their age. But how can you relieve these sometimes disabling pains during your period? We explain where they come from and share with you 7 tips to relieve them!
Where do menstrual cramps come from?
Menstrual cramps are characterized by pain, called dysmenorrhea, in the lower abdomen, sometimes even in the lower back. The pain can be accompanied by other symptoms menstrual symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting etc...
Menstrual cramps are due to an excess of prostaglandin. Prostaglandin is the molecule that causes contractions and therefore the expulsion of the endometrium. Prostaglandin also makes the nerve endings of the uterus much more sensitive to the uterus.
Even though prostaglandin is an essential hormone for the expulsion of menstrual blood, in the endometrium, produced in too large quantities, it causes pain.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.
Primary dysmenorrhea occurs in early adolescence and usually subsides in adulthood, over time and after pregnancy. It is much more common than secondary dysmenorrhea, which begins in adulthood.
Is it normal to have menstrual cramps?
It is normal to have menstrual cramps, to feel a little pain during your period. However, if your period becomes a handicap in your daily life, if it prevents you from doing the activities you want to do, then it is not normal and treatment should be considered. Menstruation should not prevent you from leading a normal life.
Dysmenorrhea can be due to deeper causes than a hormonal cause, among them:
- Endometriosis: a gynecological disease affecting one in 10 women that is characterized by a mutation of uterine tissue outside the uterus. It is the main cause of dysmenorrhea.
- Adenomyosis: a type of endometriosis inside the uterus.
- fibroids: these are non-cancerous tumors, composed of fibrous tissue that develop in the uterus.
Other factors can also be the cause of menstrual pain, for example
- congenital anomalies
- ovarian cysts or tumors
- pelvic disease
Note: Some contraceptives, such as the copper IUD, can make your period much more painful. If you have just changed contraceptives and your period is painful, talk to your doctor, perhaps this contraception is not suitable and another one will suit you better.
If the pain is sudden and persistent, not in the form of cramps/contractions and accompanied by bleeding, you should make sure that it is not an ectopic pregnancy.
Our 7 tips to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps!
Fortunately, there are tips to relieve period pain. In this article, we will give you some of them.
Taking medication for cramps
The first method is to take cramp medicine. Depending on the intensity of your pain, you can take an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.
Heat source: hot bath or hot water bottle
A well known tip to relieve period pain is to apply heat to your belly. It can be a hot compress, a hot water bottle or even a hot bath. Home-made hot water bottle or you can even take a hot bath. The heat will relax the muscles of the lower abdomen which will reduce period pain. The blood vessels will also be dilated, which will facilitate blood circulation, the irrigation of oxygen and relieve menstrual cramps.
Balanced diet against uterine cramps
Diet plays an essential role in the menstrual cycle, and particularly in pain.
There is a clear link between inflammation and menstrual cramps. So, it is advisable to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce period pains. Avoid foods that are too fatty, processed and industrial, too sweet or salty.
Drinks such as alcohol or coffee should also be avoided if you suffer from painful periods.
You can eat for example:
- fruits and vegetables
- dairy products made from sheep's milk or lactose-free
- foods rich in fiber
- whole grains
Making good use of food supplements and plants
In addition to food, the use of food supplements can also help you relieve your menstrual cramps.
Of course, check with your health care professional before taking any dietary supplements.
Here are some dietary supplements that can relieve your pain:
- Magnesium: if you are deficient in magnesium, your pains may be stronger
- vitamin B1
- Vitamin E
Talk to your doctor to find out which supplements will help you cope with your painful periods.
Relaxing to avoid stress
Stress plays an undeniable role in the increase of stomachaches during your period. In fact, some studies show that stressed people are twice as likely to suffer from menstrual cramps.
Several techniques can help you reduce your stress level and relax, including
- cardiac coherence
- or simply doing activities that you enjoy and that relax you, it can be reading a book, painting, watching a movie, walking etc...
Practice a light sport activity
Although one might think the opposite, the sport is a very good way to reduce period pain.
Sport stimulates blood circulation, and circulates oxygen which reduces menstrual cramps. Moreover, when you practice a physical activity, you release endorphins, the well-being hormone.
Relieve menstrual cramps by making love
The orgasm and the fact of having a Sexual activity helps reduce menstrual pain. The contractions associated with orgasm relax the muscles and the endorphins released by sexual activity relieve pain.
Menstrual cramps FAQ
How to get rid of menstrual cramps?
There are natural and easy-to-use methods to relieve menstrual cramps, such as hot water bottles, sports and diet. But if the pain persists and gets worse, consult your health professional: it is not normal to have too much pain during your period, to the point that it disrupts your daily life.
What calms the pain of period cramps?
There is no miracle solution for all women, but certain methods such as exercising, taking food supplements, taking medication or even diet can have a positive impact on pain. It's up to you to test which method suits you best!
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