Healthy Living

Painful periods are common and annoying to most women!

Painful periods are common and annoying to most women!

 

More than half of women who menstruate report some pain from period cramps for a day or two each month. While menstrual cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, are usually not a sign of a serious health condition, they can put a crimp in your lifestyle.

  1. Improving Your Diet Will Help Alleviate Period Cramps 

Research has shown that reducing fat and increasing vegetables in your diet may help ease monthly cramps. "A low-fat diet actually decreases overall levels of inflammation in the body". A low-fat, vegetarian diet not only helps your health generally, says Dr. Palmieri, but it can have an indirect yet noticeable effect on menstrual cramps, too. Overall, try to get 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories from healthier fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils, the AHA suggests. A balanced plate is essential; examples can be found at the healthy eating plate site from Harvard University in Boston.

  1. Pop a Safe Painkiller to Cut the Inflammation

Not everyone wants to turn to medicine to soothe period cramps, but moderate use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help, Check first with your doctor to be sure NSAIDs are a good choice for you, especially if you have a history of bleeding or kidney issues.

  1. Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping

Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps. Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, say experts, but teas have been used traditionally and can help. Because some of the herbs may act as estrogens, ask your doctor first before using one, especially if you have a history of a hormone-related cancer or take blood-thinning drugs.

One example of an herbal tea that people use for menstrual discomfort is cramp bark. Boil 2 teaspoons of the bark in a cup of water, simmer for about 15 minutes, and drink it three times a day. Be sure to clear this remedy with your doctor first.

  1. Try Fish Oil and Vitamin B1 for Natural Relief

Another natural route to period cramp relief is taking fish oil supplementsvitamin B1, or both. Scientists assigned 240 teens with menstrual cramps and other pain to take B1 and fish oil, B1 alone, fish oil alone, or a placebo. The teens took 100 milligrams (mg) per day of B1 and 500 mg daily of fish oil supplements.

When the teens reported their pain, those taking either the fish oil, B1, or both had significantly less pain than the placebo group. The pain also didn't last as long if they took fish oil or B1.

  1. Acupuncture May Help by Relaxing the Nervous System

Acupuncture can help relieve cramps, says Jeannie Bianchi, a licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco. "We're relaxing the nervous system," she says, which causes more robust blood flow to the internal organs. Acupuncture is also thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

They compared acupuncture with no treatment or conventional treatment (such as anti-inflammatory drugs) on 673 women. In another four studies, they compared the effects of acupuncture versus no treatment or conventional treatment in 271 women.

  1.  Massage with Essential Oils for Pain Relief

Massage with certain aromatic essential oils (such as lavender essential oilclary sage essential oil, or marjoram essential oil) can also relieve menstrual cramp pain. Investigators assigned 48 women with menstrual cramps and other symptoms to massage either essential oils or a synthetic fragrance on their lower abdomen. The women used a mixture of diluted essential oils from the end of one period to the beginning of the next. Women in both groups reported less pain, but the essential oils group did better.

  1. Curl Up With a Heating Pad to Ease Period Cramps

"Use of a heating pad has been studied, and it seems to work." They found that topically applied heat was just as effective as ibuprofen for period cramps.

Over the two study days, the women using heat plus ibuprofen, heat alone, and ibuprofen alone reported greater pain relief than those on the placebo. Women using heat with ibuprofen did not report differences in pain relief compared with those using ibuprofen alone. But with heat, they experienced faster improvement in pain relief: about 90 minutes after starting, compared with nearly three hours for those taking medicine alone. More women who used both heat and ibuprofen reported complete pain relief compared with those in the control group, the researchers found.

  1. Boost Those Feel-Good Endorphins with Exercise (or Orgasms)

In addition to their pain-relieving effect, endorphins can also boost your mood. Having an orgasm releases endorphins. Working out does as well. Perhaps the last thing you want to even think about while in the midst of cramps is exercise, but activity can boost endorphins and help chase away pain.

  1. Up the Magnesium in Your Diet to Help Nerve and Muscle Function

Dietary magnesium seems to help ease the pain of cramps. A Cochrane review of dietary and other remedies published in 2001 concluded that getting enough magnesium can help relieve pain. Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle functioning, among other vital tasks; researchers who evaluated the evidence on magnesium call it a promising treatment for menstrual cramps. But they cannot recommend a specific dose, because researchers have studied various doses. The recommended dietary allowance of magnesium for women of childbearing age is about 320 mg daily. An ounce of dry almonds or one half cup of boiled spinach each has about 80 mg.

  1. Birth Control Pills May Lessen Painful Cramping, Too

The odds are that your birth control pills may help relieve painful cramps, as reported in a Cochrane review of 10 studies.  Experts didn’t find any difference between low- or medium-dose estrogen contraceptives in producing pain relief for period cramps. But oral contraceptives come with side effects for some, which may include spotting, breast tenderness, nausea, and low sex drive — in addition to a higher risk of blood clots.

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