Well, this is the only downside for being a girl. When “Aunt Rose” visits every month we girls want to hide in a bed, cozy around and stay there for rest 5-7 days. And what makes the matter worse is the cramps! (As if what’s already going on isn’t enough!).
*Sigh* The male species will never understand what struggles we girls go through. The running-like-a-ninja to the bathroom to ‘check’, going through that awful time, the constant worry of getting a spot, and the list can go on. How we wish there was a magic pill to take all the discomfort away!
So what causes the menstrual pains?
Menstrual cramps, or Dysmenorrhea, is a condition of having pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic region experienced during monthly menstrual period.
Menstrual cramps are caused due to the shedding of the inner lining of the uterine wall. This shedding is assisted by a host of hormones, the master being prostaglandins. Where there is pain there are prostaglandins! This hormone is also prominent during delivery. It is responsible for pushing the lining of the uterus out. Apart from all the hormonal action, the poor uterus is devoid of blood, therefore the muscle spasms.
Now that we know why we suffer from menstrual pains, I tell you some old wives’ tales and grandma’s remedies to lessen the discomfort:
Heat therapy is one of the most commonly used and very effective remedy for reducing the pains.
When you apply heat to the abdominal region, you increase circulation to the area. This helps regulating blood flow and clears out toxic stagnation which results in less cramping. Heat is also a natural pain reliever, and it works to alleviate menstrual pain in the same way it helps reduce pain from injured muscles.
Heat can be applied with a heating pad, a moist towel or a hot water bottle. Place the heat source directly onto the lower part of your abdomen. Set the temperature according to your comfort.
2. Sipping hot beverages, such as herbal teas or hot cocoa, may help, but drinking regular coffee may make the cramps worse as caffeinated products tend to cause irritation in the intestines.
3. Ginger: A piece of fresh ginger should be pounded and boiled in a cupful of water for a few minutes. The infusion sweetened with sugar should be taken three times every day after meals.
4. Ajwain: Fry some ajwain and add to 1/2 cup of water. Heat and reduce to half. Filter and take twice daily. This concoction can be stored for 2-3 days.
5. Cinnamon (Dalchini): The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties associated with cinnamon can ease the symptoms of menstrual cramping. Sprinkle cinnamon on your breakfast foods or add to your tea.
6. Mustard Seeds (Sarson): Boil mustard seeds in water and soak a cloth in this hot water. Put it on the abdomen to ease the pain.
7. Mint (Pudina): Drinking mint tea, chew mint leaves, take pudin hara or suck mint candies.
8. Sesame seeds (Til): Add to a glassful of water and have twice a day.
9. Wild yam (Ratalu): Ratalu has antispasmodic qualities and suppresses the muscle spasms.
10. Papaya: Indulge in generous helpings of papaya during and before your periods. Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that regulates and helps to ease the flow during menstruation.
11. Omega-3 Fatty acids: They are a group of prostaglandin-like substances in the body. We know by now that prostaglandins are involved in muscle contractions and menstrual pain. One way to shut down the prostaglandin effect is by consuming omega-3 fatty acids. Common sources are salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and hazelnut.
12. Lavender oil: Applying lavender oil on the abdomen helps in relieving cramps in just 10 to 15 mins.
13. Banana flower: Cooked banana flower when eaten with curd is a good cure for menstrual pains. It also works as an effective medicine for excessive bleeding. The banana flower is known to increase the progesterone hormone which reduces the bleeding.
14. Some says sexual activities helps in menstrual pains. Orgasm releases oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions, easing the pain.
15. Last but not the least, have vitamins and minerals in your diet. Women with weak bodies tend to suffer menstrual cramps in greater severity. Therefore, curb the lack of vitamins and minerals in the body by eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
And a general thing, avoid tight clothes, especially at the waist. They add to the discomfort by hurting and further compressing the stomach. Leave that belly alone!
But most importantly, STAY HAPPY!
Hope this was helpful.