Menstruation womanIt’s that time of the month again! Suddenly those long walks along the beach, that fun day with friends, and shopping sprees, have been replaced with dizziness, nausea, and a strong urge to just lie in bed. How you wish there was a magic pill to take all those pains away!

So what’s all the fuss about? Why all the discomfort during your 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. In severe cases this condition is called Dysmenorrhea. Here’s some information on endometriosis, a menstruation related disease that affects the ovaries.

Now that we know why we suffer from menstrual cramps, here are some tips to help relieve the discomfort:

Keep up the exercise:

  • It is important that you continue with gentle exercise during your periods. It helps by releasing beta-endorphins, which are internal Opioids — your own ‘human morphine’.
  • It is natural to feel bloated before your periods, if you reduce your salt intake a few days before your periods it will help your kidneys flush out excess water. Try these 4 yoga poses to beat pain during periods.

Read: Basics of weight training

Dress for comfort:

Avoid tight clothes, especially at the waist. They only hurt the stomach and further compressing it causes discomfort. Leave that belly alone! Here are a few hygiene tips you need to follow during periods.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of  pelvic inflammatory disease.

Try some home remedies:

  • A great pain reliever is the wild yam (Ratalu), its antispasmodic qualities help in making the day that much more bearable. A common question that bothers most women is whether it is safe to take medication to postpone their periods. Here’s the answer to your question on medication for delaying periods.
  • Raspberry leaf or jasmine flavored green tea work wonders in calming the body and mind.
  • Include a glass of milk in your breakfast. Calcium is a good cure for cramps. If you are not such a ‘milk’ person or are lactose intolerant about 600mg (2-4 tablets) of calcium chewables should do the trick.
  • Indulge in generous helpings of papaya during and before your periods. Papaya contains ‘papain’ an enzyme that helps to regulate and helps to ease the flow during menstruation.
  • Carrots are not only good for your eyes; they also assist in regulating menstruation. A tall glass of carrot juice can go a long way in making you feel much better. Here are a few other health benefits of carrots.
  • Aloe Vera juice with honey is also well known to ease the flow and reducing the pain. Read beauty benefits of aloe vera.
  • Avoid red meat and caffeine. They have properties that exacerbate the pain.
  • Have a hot shower. Concentrate the flow of water on your back and abdomen. A hot water bag also helps to relieve discomfort.
  • Applying lavender oil around your stomach is known to help relieving cramps in just 10 to 15 mins.
  • Just remember to be kind to yourself –  Relax, read a book, listen to some soft music or chat up with friends. If you feel happy and rejuvenated, your mind will help you fight physical pain.

However, if you are suffering from the type of pain you have never experienced before, do monitor it closely. You may want to see a doctor to rule out any cause such as Endometriosis, Fibroids, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS/PCOD), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Premenstrual Syndrome.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of fibroids.

Read: Fibroids: What are they?

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