Get relief from menstrual cramps and PMS
Many women get emotional and suffer from cramps before and during their periods. For some, the cramps are mild, while others aren’t quite as lucky. In some cases, period cramps can be extremely painful, denting your daily life. The emotional disturbance during your monthly cycle is known as a pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS. Menstrual Cramps and PMS are normal and treatable in many different ways.
What is PMS?
PMS, or pre-menstrual syndrome, refers to the emotional and physical symptoms some women experience just before and during their periods. It is caused due to hormonal changes that the body undergoes during the menstrual cycle.
For some, PMS is a part of their periods each month. Others get PMS only once in a while. You could experience all the common PMS symptoms or have no symptoms at all.
PMS symptoms are of two types – ones that impact physically and others that affect emotionally. The emotional symptoms of PMS are mood swings, crying suddenly, having difficulty concentrating, feeling depressed, sad, anxious, or tense, feeling more angry or irritable than normal, and trouble staying asleep or falling asleep. The physical symptoms of PMS include headaches, bloating, weight gain, swollen, tender or sore breasts, pains and aches in your muscles or joints, upset stomach, and skin concerns like pimples.
Causes of Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps can be quite painful and uncomfortable, but there is a reason for their occurrence. During the menstrual cycle, the uterus contracts, which means it cramps up or squeezes. These contractions help the uterus shed the built-up lining. The uterus cramps up to help period blood flow out of your vagina.
Period cramps are common. Most women experience a throbbing pain in the lower belly. You can experience cramps a few days before your period starts and sometimes throughout your period. Generally, cramps are the worst in the initial days when the blood flow is the heaviest.
Cramps can start as soon as you get your first period. The intensity of pain changes throughout your life. For most women, the pain from cramps eases with age. Some people experience other symptoms like:
How to Deal with Menstrual Cramps?
While menstrual cramps are common, their pain does not let some women perform day-to-day activities. If you, too, feel that painful periods are obstructing your life, you need to identify ways to deal with the pain and discomfort. Some ways to achieve results include:
1. Over-the-counter medications
Pain relievers can help with cramps and other period-related aches. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication like naproxen or ibuprofen is one of the best ways to curb period pain. However, remember that you should use them moderately. NSAIDs lower the amount of prostaglandins in the body, thereby providing relief from pain and inflammation. Make sure you consult your doctor before taking pain relievers, as they may not be suitable for women who have a history of kidney, liver, or heart problems or suffer from ulcers, asthma, or bleeding disorders.
2. Heat patches
The uterus is a muscle, so applying heat helps in relaxing the muscles. You can use a heated patch or wrap on your abdomen to ease the uterus muscles causing period pain. Heat boosts circulation in your abdomen, resulting in reduced pain.
Abdominal heat patches are easily available online or at any drugstore. Their usage is simple and hassle-free. All you need to do is peel off the sticker and stick the patch onto your abdomen. Hot water bottles and electric heating pads also provide relief. However, they are not as convenient as patches. They’re good to use if you’re sitting at home and do not have to make much movement.
3. TENS machine
A TENS machine is a menstrual pain relief device based on scientifically proven and safe TENS technology. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. They block pain signals from being sent to the brain by stimulating nerves. They also support the release of endorphins, the natural pain-killing hormones that alleviate pain and elevate overall mood.
A menstrual pain relief device can be purchased for use at home, school, office, or wherever you go. It is portable and easy to use. Stick the electrode patches to the skin on your lower abdomen or back where there is pain. Select the intensity setting that feels comfortable, and within a few minutes, you will be able to experience relief.
4. Essential oils
An essential oil massage on the abdomen is proven to ease period cramps, especially when used in a blend of oils. The different oils that have shown results in reducing period pain are clove, marjoram, sage, rose, lavender, and cinnamon.
Before beginning the massage, remember to mix the essential oils with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. Carrier oils help spread the essential oil over a large area of your skin by “carrying” it correctly.
After you prepare the oil mixture, rub a few drops between your palms and massage gently on your tummy using circular motions.
5. Acupuncture and Acupressure
The practices of acupuncture and acupressure stimulate the body to help you relax. Acupuncture is an ancient Asian healing method believed to relax the nervous system, promote blood flow to the internal organs, and alleviate inflammation.
Acupressure is a non-invasive approach capable of providing relief from different types of pain. Specialists use their fingers to apply firm pressure on specific body parts to help ease several symptoms.
You can try acupressure on your own to get relief from menstrual cramps with the following steps:
- From the inner ankle bone, measure four fingertips up.
- Using your fingers, apply pressure to firmly rub this area for several minutes.
- Do it regularly before and during your period.
Period pain is common, but in certain situations, it can interfere with your daily life. It can make it difficult for you to attend the office, complete household chores, or catch up with friends. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the discomfort and pain associated with these cramps. Some ways are natural, like an essential oil massage, acupuncture, acupressure, heat patches, and a menstrual pain relief device. However, if you do not experience any relief, consult a doctor to ensure that the cause of the pain isn’t an underlying condition.