Menstruation is a topic we’re all familiar with, well at least most of us. Basically, it is the shedding of the lining of the uterus, leading to bleeding from the vagina once, or in few cases twice, a month in the absence of an embryo. However, few cases have been recorded of menstruation even while pregnant, especially during the first weeks of pregnancy. Menstruation, therefore, is not 100% accurate when confirming pregnancy. But remember, I said few cases. But let’s leave the talk and science of menstruation for another day, shall we?
I’m writing this article to discuss menstruations escort, and our enemy, menstrual cramps. While not every woman has experienced, or will experience menstrual cramp, at least 4 out of 5 women do. Although some women say menstrual cramp is our uterus’s way of punishing us for not giving her a baby (oh well), Menstrual cramp is actually as a result of the contractions and spasms of our uterus to shed its lining (which occurs due to absence of an embryo, so they may be right after all!).
These contractions are caused by a group of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins which are also associated with pains and inflammation. The higher the amount or prostaglandins in the body, the higher the severity of the pain. This is one of the reasons different women experience different levels of pain and discomfort. Other reasons are the rate of blood flow (heavy flows cause more pain), onset of menstruation at a young age, being below 20, having given birth, etc.
Besides the fact that cramps are painful and makes us feel uncomfortable, it could also affect our daily work and activities. Here are a few home remedies that could help alleviate the pain:
Applying heat to your lower abdomen or back helps relieve the pain from the contractions of the uterus because heat relaxes the uterus. You may put warm water in a plastic bottle and hold it towards your abdomen, use a hot towel, or simply take a hot bath – whichever is more convenient for you.
Taking over the counter medications:
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are the best over the counter drugs for menstruation as they reduce the level of prostaglandins in the body which reduces the rate of contraction of the uterus. NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen.
When we have cramps, most times we’d rather just curl up under a blanket and rest exercise may be the last think you’d want to do but it is recommended. Walking or any physical activity can help ease your pain. When performing aerobics, your body pumps more blood and releases endorphins which counteracts the effect of prostaglandins, reducing cramps. Constant exercise 3 -4 times a week could, in the long run, also reduce the occurrence of menstrual cramps. According to research, women who are more physically active experience lesser pain that those who weren’t.
Orgasms have been found to alleviate different kinds of pain including menstrual pains. Before an orgasm, the muscle is relaxed and at the climax, there is increased blood flow to the uterus, helping to relieve pain. Vaginal orgasms involve your entire body and your spinal cord signals the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, which counteracts the effects of prostaglandins and also dull pain perception. Orgasms also induce sleep, helping you to relax and feel less pain.
Herbs and fruits:
Lots of vegetables, fruits and spices help alleviate the pain from menstrual cramps and some of them are even used in our everyday cooking. They could be used directly or made into tea. Some of them are;
– Ginger: ginger is great for menstrual cramps as it reduces the pain causing prostaglandins and fights fatigue so that you may go about your daily activities. Simply grate small ginger and boil it in a cup of water for about f minutes, strain and drink. You may also add lemon and honey water for more effect and taste. You could also just suck on some ginger candies or add ginger spice to your cooking.
– Cinnamon: cinnamon has some properties that are great in relieving menstrual cramps. Its anti-spasmodic effect reduces the contractions of the uterus, relieving the pain it causes. Its anti-clotting property prevents the clotting of the menstrual blood which may be blocking its flow and making it difficult and painful. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce inflammation and make the menstrual flow less painful. To prepare cinnamon tea, simply stir one fourth tea spoon of cinnamon powder into a cup of hot water, let it sit for about 5 minutes, add honey for a little taste and drink. Drink this a day or two before the onset of your period to prevent cramps. You could also put half tea spoon into warm water with a little honey and drink 2 – 3 times a day to reduce the ramps during your period.
– Basil: Basil is very effective as it contains caffeic acid, a substance with analgesic (pain killing) properties. Simply add a table spoon of basil leaves in hot water, cover and allow to cool. Drink it every few hours to ease the pain. You could also stir the juice (gotten by crushing the leaves) in warm water and drink 3 times a day to ease the cramp.
– Parsley: it contains myristicin and apiol that stimulates menstrual process and help reduce cramps. It could also make irregular periods regular. Put some parsley leaves in a mug and pour in hot water. Cover it and allow it to steep for a few minutes, strain the tea and drink.
– Papaya: it is a potent anti-inflammatory fruit and helps ease menstrual cramps. It also contains lots of nutrients great for your health include papaya in your diet a few days to your menstrual period.
Drink lots of water! It may sound weird but drinking lots of water hydrates you and helps to prevent painful bloating that usually occurs during menstruation. Drink preferably warm water to keep you hydrated and provide a little heat sensation for your body. It helps to also eat fruit with high water content such as cucumbers, lettuce, watermelon and celery.
Avoiding specific food:
some food cause water retention and bloating and should be avoided during your period. Some of them are caffeine, fatty food, alcohol, salty foods, carbonated beverages (soda), etc.
be sure to include calcium, vitamin D, Boron and iron in your diet during menstruation to reduce cramping and help keep your blood volume at a healthy level.
Remember, the pain level is different in everyone and these home remedies may give temporary relief but wouldn’t work for severe cases. Contact your doctor if the pain consistently prevents you from doing your day to day habits, if the pain worsens and your bleeding gets heavier, if you are well past adolescence and cramps are a new occurrence to you, or if recommended medications do not work for you. Good luck ladies.