Periods usually happen every month and lasts about 3-5 days on average. Also known as menstruation, periods cause shedding of the uterine lining which comes out of the vagina and cervix. But menstruation often causes pain and cramps either before they occur or during the first two days of the menstrual cycle. This pain can be severe in some women which interferes with their daily chores whereas for some it can be with minimal or no pain. So if you are the one who goes through a lot of pain or experience pain during periods, then here are a few simple and effective tips that can help you manage period pain.
How To Manage Period Pain?
Menstrual cramps occur due to hormonal changes in the body that cause the contraction of the endometrium, a layer of the uterus. This relaxes the uterus to shed its uterine lining and helps the tissue lining of the womb to detach and along with the blood to pass through the vagina. The uterine contractions which occur due to hormonal changes cause severe pain in the abdomen and cramps which are known as period pain. It also causes lower back pain and behavioral changes such as vomiting, weakness, nausea, and mood swings.
Menstrual cycles or monthly periods are a normal physiological process but it can sometimes be accompanied by pain and excessive cramping and affect your quality of life. While the pain is usually tolerable and goes away in a day or two, it can be worse on some occasions. Here are a few remedies that may help you feel better and manage period pain. These remedies are a mix of natural and advised home remedies to get rid of period pain.
1. Use A Heating Pad
You can place a heating pad or a hot water pack over your lower abdominal area. This is because the application of heat is known to be quite helpful in easing the cramps and reducing the intensity of pain. It helps to improve the blood flow to the site of application and thus, aid in relieving pain. If you do not have a heat pack at home, you can soak a towel in slightly hot water, squeeze it to drain excess water and apply it on the abdomen. You can even use a hot water bottle to do the same.
2. Massage With Essential Oils
Oil massage is considered to be one of the best natural ways to ease the pain. But to get it right you need to use the right oils. Massaging with certain aromatic essential oils is one of the most effective ways to relieve menstrual cramps. Studies show that different aromatic oil can help to manage period pain. For example, applying sesame oil can help in reducing pain as it is rich in linoleic acid and antioxidant properties.
You can use lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, clary sage oil, and marjoram oil to massage your lower back and abdomen for best results. You can massage at around bedtime for a restful sleep and relief from cramping.
Should you exercise during periods? This is a big question that most women have. But in reality exercising during periods is a good idea. This might come as a surprise but exercise helps to release the pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins and help you to fight pain and cramps, which are common during periods. Moreover, exercising increases the circulation to the pelvic region and releases hormones to counteract the prostaglandins (inflammatory compounds).
Yoga asanas such as pranayama and Shavasana can ease pain and help the body become calm and relaxed. Experts suggest that women who exercise regularly often have less menstrual pain. So make exercise a part of your lifestyle to prevent menstrual cramps in the long run and have pain-free periods.
4. Have Herbal Tea
Tea is said to help combat period pain. A study showed that sipping chamomile tea increases the urinary level of glycine which acts as a nerve relaxant. It decreases the production of prostaglandins which in turn results in a reduction of pain. Peppermint tea can soothe an upset stomach. Tea that helps in reducing the intensity of period pain and cramping include peppermint tea, cinnamon tea, ginger tea, chamomile tea, and tulsi tea.
5. Drink more water
It is a common misconception that drinking water during periods causes more blood flow. In fact, staying hydrated is the best way to not only prevent bloating caused during periods but improve period pain. Drinking 6 – 8 glasses of water can prevent your body from avoiding painful bloating and retaining water. Drinking lukewarm or hot water can help in preventing cramps and help you feel better during that time of the month. If drinking plain water is not what you prefer, then you can add some lemon or mint to water or load up your intake of foods rich in water content such as cucumbers and watermelons to indirectly increase your water content and stay hydrated during periods.
6. Take A Painkiller
The last and most popular method to ease period pain is to pop a painkiller. You can take pain medications such as paracetamol, mefenamic acid, and other analgesics but do not forget to consult your doctor before taking these medicines. Although paracetamol is an over the counter medicine other medication might need a prescription from a doctor. Also never self-medicate. Painkillers can, however, cause side effects like acidity, gastritis and even stomach ulcers if taken too frequently, so do not make it a habit to take painkillers every month to ease period pain.
Alternatively, there are pain relief patches which are subcutaneous skin patches that can be applied directly over the skin to relieve pain. They are purely herbal and contain eucalyptus oil and menthol, both of which help in reducing cramping and relaxing the muscles. These patches release the ingredients in a controlled manner, thereby maintaining their levels in the bloodstream throughout the day. This helps in ensuring long lasting action. They are easily available as over the counter medications. The advantages of these patches are that they are 100% herbal, are extremely easy to use and are free from side effects that can occur by popping painkillers on a regular basis.
So, go ahead and try these pain-relieving therapies and enjoy pain-free periods. But if you have severe pain that is causing you to stick to your bed or if you have severe pain along with heavy bleeding, then it is advisable to consult a doctor to rule out more serious issues. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
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