Most women can count on bloating, aching breasts, headaches, irritability, and mood changes galore during their period. However, migraines and menstrual cramps can also accompany your cycles, especially in the first few days. These symptoms are not only unpleasant, but they can occasionally be severe enough to confine some women to bed.
Menstrual cramps, as painful as they are, play an important role during your period. The uterus is largely made up of muscle cells, which, like any other muscle, contract. As blood and tissue are shed during menstruation, an inflammatory reaction develops, causing contraction of the uterine muscle, which causes menstrual cramps. Uterine contractions 'clamp down' on blood vessels called spiral arteries that supply the uterine lining to decrease the amount of monthly flow.
Birth control, hormone treatments, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can all aid, but natural alternatives can also help. Here are five things to think about the next time you get cramps.
Although pelvic pain is commonly associated with pain in the region of women's (and those assigned female at birth, AFAB) reproductive organs, it can affect both sexes and be caused by a variety of factors. Pelvic pain can be caused by an infection or by pain in your pelvic bone or nonreproductive internal organs. However, in women and people with AFAB, pelvic pain may be an indicator of a problem with one of the reproductive organs in their pelvic area (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina).
Remember when you were in high school and your mother pulled out a heating pad to relieve your cramps? Mom was correct: applying heat to the lower belly or lower back stimulates blood flow to the area, which aids in the removal of pain-causing chemicals such as prostaglandins.
Two randomized controlled trials were done in 2010 and 2012 to assess the performance of heat- and steam-generating (HSG) sheets for menstrual cramp relief to ibuprofen for treating period cramp discomfort. The trials discovered that topical heat therapy is as effective as, if not more effective than, over-the-counter pain medicine for menstrual cramps.
Period cramps may benefit from omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help battle inflammation and pain in general. However, the source could be significant. In a short 2003 experiment, 70 women diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) were treated for three months with either Neptune krill oil or fish oil. They discovered that women who were administered krill oil used less pain drugs during their menstrual cycle than those who were given fish oil. In addition, participants who used krill oil had considerably less dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation) and emotional symptoms of PMS.
This superfood has anti-inflammatory characteristics that can help alleviate unpleasant menstrual cramps. Gingerols and gingerdiones, two components of ginger, help to suppress leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis, reducing period cramping pain. Keep ginger chews or ginger tea on your work desk in case of cramps strike during work.
Although more research on CBD oil for menstrual pain is needed, he believes it would not be surprising if CBD oil helped relieve period cramps because it acts as a weak anti-inflammatory, similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are the most commonly used treatments for this type of pain.
Although research on the relationship between food, exercise, and menstruation pain is sparse, other studies have revealed that women who engage in regular physical activity have less pelvic discomfort overall. So, the next time it's your period put on your sneakers and go for a run, visit your favorite yoga studio, or sign up for a spin class.
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