Have been replaced with mood swings, sense of dizziness, nausea and abdominal discomfort, plus an urge to just lie in bed. How you wish there was a magical pill that can just make all those pains ‘gone with the wind’!
So what’s all the hassle about? Why do you have all that discomfort during menstruation?
Menstruation is the shedding of the inner lining of the uterine wall. This shedding is assisted by a host of hormones, the master being ‘prostaglandins’. And where there are prostaglandins there is pain! They cause, among other effects like inflammation, severe contractions of muscle cells present on uterine blood vessels and uterus walls. Consequently, the pain produced is due to uterine contractions, and also due to the decreased blood flow to the inner lining of the uterus; the endometrium. All this process is the painful cramps that we feel. This condition is called Dysmenorrhea.
So basically, menstrual cramps, period pains or dysmenorrhea, are feelings of pain felt in the lower part of the abdomen most of the time, which can occur both before and during a female’s menstrual period. The pain ranges from dull and annoying to very severe cases. There might be also other symptoms associated, like nausea, vomiting, headache, back pain, etc.
So, now that the cause for our monthly nuisance is known, what could be the health tips that can help in alleviating the symptoms?
If you are among the unlucky ones who get bad cramps, here are some tips provided by one of the best gynecologists in Dubai, Dr. Amaya Carreras, that can help ease the pain:
1. Do some mild exercise:
Light exercise can offer some relief to women who are suffering from menstrual cramps. Walk around the neighborhood (if the weather allows), run on the treadmill, go ride your bike, or any other exercises you enjoy. This will help increase the blood flow which, eventually, can help ease the cramps. Keep the physical exertion at a gentle tempo and try just 20-30 minutes on your exercise bike or treadmill.
2. Dress for comfort:
Try to wear clothes that do not exert pressure on your abdomen, especially tight clothes at the waist.
3. Stick to a healthy diet:
- While having the menstrual cramps, maybe you more hungry than usual or maybe the last thing you might think of is eating, but you should still ensure you receive adequate nutrition. Not only do small, regular meals help boost your energy stores, they can also help alleviate stomach bloating and cramps. A recommended diet is one rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well plenty of water intake; it is important to remain well-hydrated all the time (keep a water bottle handy throughout the day). A glass of milk every morning could be good, as calcium is known to be a good remedy for cramps. Also bananas are rich in magnesium that is as well known to be good for cramps.
- Avoid caffeine and smoking, both will exacerbate the pain.
4. Try some home remedies:
- Apply a mildly-hot pad to your lower belly area – below your belly button – while lying down, it will help ease the discomfort. Take a hot shower before sleeping and concentrate the water flow on the lower part of your belly (and lower part of your back if you need it).
- Drink chamomile tea as it helps relieving menstrual pains as proven by some researchers. Also, raspberry leaf or jasmine flavored green tea can exert wonders in calming your body and mind.
- While in bed lie on your side while keeping your knees bent.
- Apply some lavender oil on your belly, it is claimed to help relieving cramps within few minutes. Do light circular massaging movements with your fingertips around the lower belly area.
5. Over The Counter Pain-Relieving Pills:
OTC pain-relievers such can be used around the clock at the first sign of your period to help reduce the severity of cramps, through the inhibition of prostaglandins release. Always take pain-relievers with meals so as to avoid stomach upset. Be aware that anti-inflammatory medications are not suitable for females with history of asthma, sensitive stomach, kidney and liver illnesses. If you are not sure about it, speak to your doctor.
Menstrual cramps affect many girls and women around the time of menstruation, but there is no reason why the pain of menstrual cramps should ruin your quality of life. However, you should talk to your physician if these tips do not help, there may be an underlying cause, and dreaded endometriosis could be one. Severe sudden cramps, vomiting, or fever may be a sign of a medical emergency, contact your physician immediately.
Finally, there’s no surefire way to relieve period pains, as I have found over the years that what works for some women can sometimes even aggravate other women’s pains. So whether you are experiencing moderate or severe pain only your doctor can help assess and manage your pains effectively. Yes… it’s widely unpopular to visit a gynecologist, but with a very easy and quick check up, you can be on your way to feel better.
Dr. Amaya Carreras, obstetrics and gynecology specialist at German Medical Center, the best gynecology clinic in Dubai, provides comprehensive obstetric and gynecologic care to women of all age groups in Dubai.