Many of my friends would complain of menstrual cramps everytime they have their monthly period. I see them cry in pain trying to endure it while holding their lower abdomen hoping to relieve the pain. Though I cannot relate as I have never been in their shoes, I do feel for them :(.
For some women menstrual cramps are debilitating, while others experience only mild discomfort during their period. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) may be primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs most often in young women who have just begun their menstrual cycles and often becomes less severe after a woman has given birth or when she reaches her mid-twenties. Secondary dysmenorrhea is diagnosed when menstrual cramps are caused by other conditions such as endometriosis, fibroid tumors, pelvic adhesions, and ovarian cysts or by the use of an interuterine device (IUD) for birth control.
Menstrual cramps are thought to be related to a hormone-like naturally occurring substance called prostaglandins which causes the uterus to contract. If a woman does not ovulate it is unlikely that she will encounter cramps during her period, for this reason physicians often prescribe oral contraceptives to ease painful periods. However, you should be aware that birth control pills cause abnormal bleeding in some women.
How Can You Beat the Cramps?
Regular physical activity often reduces cramping in some women.
Supplementing your diet with zinc and calcium has been found to reduce cramps, bloating, and related PMS symptoms.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium used around the clock as soon as you notice the first sign of your period help to reduce the severity of cramps in many women by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins.
Herbal remedies such as Viburnum prunifolium, Scutellaria spp., and Cimicifuga raemosa have an antispasmodic effect that may reduce some menstrual cramps. Other useful herbs include cramp bark, squaw vine, unicorn root, bromelain, evening primrose oil, and blue cohosh.
Take a warm bath and using aromatherapy or using a heating pad on your lower abdomen or back. If you don’t have a heating pad, a heating pad can be made by filling a sock with rice and heating it in the microwave.
Taking time for yourself, relaxing, and letting those around you know that you are not feeling yourself will help by reducing the stress of your everyday life that may contribute to your menstrual cramps.