How To Deal With Cramps
This article was written by Tania Bhattacharya on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
Edited by Lynn Joseph
Today, we’re talking about common menstrual problems and remedies. There is so much to love about being a woman. But let’s get one thing straight for anyone who is not welcomed by menstruation approximately every 28 days… menstruation is not a walk in the park.
While the degree of discomfort varies from woman to woman – and there are the lucky ones who do breeze through their period – there are so many women who experience anything and everything from cramps, sore breasts, headaches, bloating, fatigue, backaches, mood swings, and the list goes on. In some cases, excessive bleeding may very well be a symptom but it is best to consult a doctor to find out if there is any underlying medical condition that needs to be treated here.
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You may be wondering, how do you deal with all of this? Well. There are some tried and tested home remedies that women across the world have used for ages to make their period cycles a little more bearable.
How do you deal with cramps and aches?
Keep a hot water bottle handy for cramps. Placing this on the abdomen will bring relief. If you don’t prefer this, you can also try a warm towel. Soak the towel in hot water, wring out the excess water and place it on the abdomen. Heating pads may be available at your local pharmacy and are usually covered if you have an FSA or HSA card.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration might cause your body to produce vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to cramps.
Basil, cinnamon, fennel, ginger and mint all have cramp relieving properties. You can add two tablespoon of thyme or basil leaves into one pint of boiling water. Cover it tightly and allow it to cool down to the room temperature. Similarly, you can put half of a teaspoon of ginger in one cup of boiling water and drink the preparation three times a day. You may also consider buying tea to eliminate steps, such as cinnamon tea, peppermint tea, ginger tea, lemon tea, or dandelion root tea to name a few. All of these different types of tea aid in easing cramps. Fennel is said to increase circulation to the ovaries. In order to get relief from cramps, pour one cup of boiling water into one teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds. Steep for five minutes and drink it hot.
How do you deal with mood swings?
While it’s impossible for most people to put their life on pause for a week, once every month and isolate themselves from the world, which some of us would love to do during this time, it is possible to do other things to combat the mood swings. For one, eat. Do not forget to eat. You do not want to be hangry while on your period. Being hangry is hard enough for the person on the receiving end so make sure that you’re eating enough whole foods throughout the day.
If you don’t mind over the counter drugs, make sure that your medicine cabinet in your bathroom is full of whatever you need like ibuprofen, Midol, Motrin, Tylenol, Aleve, Excedrin, etc… Whatever works for you, keep this in stock and take it regularly throughout your period.
If you want to go the more natural route, consider meditating or yoga or a simple daily affirmation to get your brain in the right mindframe as you begin your day. Give yourself a word of the day to focus on being. “Kind” or “compassion” for instance can be a word of the day. By giving yourself a task, you have an attempt to focus on positivity rather than dwell on the pain of your period.
How do you deal with PMS and PMDD in general?
Most women experience it at some point in their life. PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome has its easily recognizable symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, muscle pains, mood swings, and so on, which usually start a few days before the period actually begins.
PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder refers to a severe PMS. It causes more extreme mood swings, anxiety and even depression. Cramps can even be so severe that some women end up in the hospital. One of the common practices among women suffering from PMS or PMDD is to resort to sugary or salty food. However, experts believe that it is best to stay away from such food cravings of the body, and they have a valid reason for this. Experts believe that sweets can change the blood sugar levels that can cause further mood swings, while salts can force your body to keep more water and contribute to PMS bloating. So you really should examine your symptoms over time and really listen to your body and its needs to see what foods best suit you during your menstruation cycle.
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A good rule of thumb, generally speaking is to be as healthy as you possibly can to help ease the pain and discomfort. There is no replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy, sleep well and stay as stress-free as possible. If you are able to continue exercising during your period, that is great but if you are not, do not try and push yourself. Being healthy in all of the ways that you are able to before, during, and after your period improves the ‘mood’ of your body and leads to a more bearable menstruation.
Birth control pills might also help in relieving the symptoms of your cycle, by shortening the length of your period and/or by making your period flow lighter than usual. Consult with your doctor to understand how medical science can help you in coping with your menstrual problems.
There are many remedies out there when it comes to making your period as pain-free as possible. Talk to your doctor and do your research to find out what remedies you should try and ultimately determine which remedies work for you.
What remedies have worked for you in the past while on your period?
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