What are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual Cramps, characterized by mild or severe pain in the lower abdominal or pelvic area before and during menstruation, are one of the most common menstrual problems in women. The condition is referred to as Dysmenorrhea in medical terminology.
Dysmenorrhea or Menstrual Cramps can be of two types, primary and secondary. Primary Dysmenorrhea usually affects younger women, especially the ones who have recently started their menstrual cycles (menarche).
With the passage of time, as they reach their twenties, or give birth, the Menstrual Cramps tend to become less severe. Secondary Dysmenorrhea, on the other hand, is a more serious condition caused due to the presence of underlying medical problems.
Conventional treatment of Menstrual Cramps consists of various over the counter medicines like pain killers, hormonal birth control pills etc. On the other hand, the natural treatment of this painful condition involves the use of safe and equally effective natural home remedies for Menstrual Cramps.
Causes of Menstrual Cramps
Basically, Menstrual Cramps are caused due to the release of hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins. Besides, the normal uterine contractions taking place during periods tend to inhibit blood flow to the uterus lining thereby giving rise to Menstrual Cramps and other menstrual problems.
Factors like stress, lack of physical exercise, early puberty, heavy bleeding during menstruation, never having delivered a baby and being younger than twenty years of age increase the chances of developing this problem.
Besides, Menstrual Cramps characterized by Secondary Dysmenorrhea are caused because of the presence of problems like Ovarian Cysts, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (sexually transmitted infection), Adenomyosis (tissue outgrowths into muscular walls of the uterus), Cervical Stenosis (narrow opening of the cervix), Endometriosis (development of tissue lining the uterus, outside the uterus) and Uterine Fibroids (non cancerous tumors).
Symptoms of Menstrual Cramps
A sensation of dull or throbbing pain the lower abdomen or pelvic areas is the most troublesome symptom of Menstrual Cramps. The pain may also extend to the lower back, legs or thighs. The presence of Mild Menstrual Cramps is generally considered as a normal part of menstruation.
The pain and discomfort generally starts one or two days prior to menstruation and lasts up to two to four days. The condition may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, sweating, dizziness, headache and other similar symptoms.
Natural Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
• Placing a heating pad or hot water bottle on the abdomen is one of the most popular natural home remedies for Menstrual Cramps relief. Long warm baths are also beneficial in healing the pain and discomfort to a great extent.
• Massaging the lower abdominal area and the back with warm olive oil or corn oil is a tried and tested means of home treatment to help ease Dysmenorrhea pain.
• Lying in the fetal position is a strange yet effective natural remedy used to relieve Menstrual Cramps. It helps to ease pain in the lower back or pelvic area.
• Having vegetable juices like that of carrot, beet, parsley and cucumber is highly beneficial in curing Menstrual Cramps naturally.
• Taking a cup of warm water mixed with some ginger powder is one of the most highly beneficial Menstrual Cramps home remedies. Asafetida seeds can also be used for this purpose. The remdial mixture can also be sweetened with honey to improve the taste.
• Consuming a mixture of guava pulp (without seeds), milk and honey helps reduce menstrual pains in a natural way. Guava leaf tea is also beneficial in this regard.
• Herbal teas prepared from herbs like wintergreen, peppermint, oregano, dried chamomile flowers, cramp bark, rasp berry leaves etc are regarded as excellent Menstrual Cramps home remedies.
Simply sucking a mint candy can also help relieve Menstrual Cramps pain. Peppermint should not be used when suffering from acid reflux.
• Alternative therapies like yoga, aromatherapy and acupressure serve as successful home remedies for Menstrual Cramps relief.
Diet for Menstrual Cramps
A healthy diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B and vitamin E is highly beneficial in dealing with Menstrual Cramps symptoms of pain, bloating etc.
Foods like bananas, papayas, gooseberries, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, milk and yogurt are highly recommended in this regard. Fish oils with omega-3 fatty acids are also useful in reducing cramps.
In fact, having fresh pineapple juice serves as an effective Menstrual Cramps home remedy. Adding cinnamon powder in foods and drinks also works as a good natural cure for Menstrual Cramping as it tends to relax the muscles.
Moreover, stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, alcohol etc as they tend to worsen the symptoms of Menstrual Cramps. Also, restrict the consumption of meat foods, especially red meat.