Natural remedies for painful periods
Are you dreaded by the thought of your monthly periods? That painful day 1 of your menstrual cycle that you have to learn to live with. Most of us have been told that its something that we are making up in our minds or it’s a price that we have to pay to be a women.
What you have is called dysmenorrhoea and you are not imagining it. Studies have shown that three quarters of young women and a quarter to half of adult women experience pain and discomfort during their period. In 1 out of 5 of these women the pain is so severe that it hampers their daily activities.
The pain starts from the lower back and extends upto the thighs. It begins with the bleeding and can last for 12-24 hours. Your womb muscles contract to expels its lining and the contractions compress the blood vessels that line your womb and temporarily cuts off the blood supply (and hence the oxygen). Without oxygen, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that trigger pain in your body. The pain can get worse with heavy bleeding but it tends to improve as you get older. Many women also notice an improvement after they have had children.
Although the pain is caused by reduced oxygen supply there may be few secondary causes. Fibroid, which is a non-cancerous tumour in your womb can cause pain during menstruation. Endometriosis is a condition where the cells that normally line the womb grows in other places in your body, usually in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. When these cells shed and fall away, they can cause intense pain. Using anfor contraception, can cause pain as your womb contracts vigorously to remove it.
Whatever maybe the cause, you must get yourself checked if you are suffering from dysmenorrhoea. Watch out for associated symptoms such as irregular periods, bleeding in between periods, thick or foul-smelling vaginal discharge or pain during sex. Period pain with an underlying disease will show a variation from normal pattern. You will notice that the pain has increased or lasts longer than usual.
Once it has been excluded that there is no disease causing the painful periods, then you can move to finding natural ways to make the suffering less. There are few home remedies, dietary changes and slight exercises that can ease your pain.
Start with the “Grandmother’s choice”, placing a hot water bag in your lower tummy.This causes blood vessels to dilate and improve the blood supply. Heating a kitchen towel in the microwave and placing on your lower abdomen does the same work. Try massaging the lower abdomen and back with warm olive oil to reduce the congestion. If you have time to take rest, trying resting in foetal position.
Drinking hot liquids can relax muscles. Vegetable juices such as carrot or cucumber contain anti-oxidants and help remove the toxins from your body. You can boil some ginger in water and drink it regularly. Chewing mint candy can also help. You can also add 15-20 coriander seeds in a glass of boiling water, allow the mixture to stand until it has cooled and drink. Replace sugar with honey when you sweeten your drinks. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on food as cinnamon is both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic.
Eat a healthy wholemeal diet and avoid fatty food. Drink plenty of water and void every 2 hourly, as a full bladder can press on the womb and worsen the pain.
Although you may not want to exercise during a period, keeping active can help. Try some gentle swimming, walking or cycling and relaxation techniques such as yoga.
Some medications that you can take includes ibuprofen, tramadol and aspirin. If these don’t work, your doctor may prescribe naproxen or mefenamic acid, or move to hormonal treatment. Primrose oil is also a good option.
Remember the best remedy is to eat healthy and stay active not only during that part of the month but throughout the year.
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