That time of the month- some have it easy and others are rendered clutching their stomach in pain. Period cramps- our medical expert at Sirona weighs in on what they are, what causes them, how to manage them and when to go to the doctor for painful period cramps.
What are Menstrual Cramps? What causes Menstrual Cramps?
When a girl attains puberty, every month the female body prepares itself for conception by shedding the previous endometrial lining of the uterus. Shedding of the endometrial lining involves contraction and relaxation of the muscle fibres of the uterus and hence the period cramps.
These period cramps are usually felt as a discomfort but depending upon the pain bearing capacity of the woman or any pathology associated with the uterus, they can sometimes be really painful needing medical attention.
Menstrual Cramps Treatment
Period cramps in the majority of the females are felt as discomfort especially in the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Discomfort can be very well dealt with these measures:
- Pain Relief Patches: Nowadays, period pain relief patches are readily available which can be applied very easily, even when out of the house and are proven to be very effective in dealing with period cramps. Try Sirona’s herbal period patches to make period cramps bearable. For years, hot water bags have been handed over to menstruating females to manage their pain. These Sirona heat pain patches are based on a similar philosophy.
- OTC Medication: Over-the-counter painkillers can be taken when dealing with a little more than period cramps.
- Menstrual Cups: Studies have shown that menstrual cups alleviate the pain associated with periods. Hence, menstrual cups are not only a clean and a safe way to deal with periods, they can even help in having pain free periods. In essence, menstrual cups can help in having stain-less and pain-less periods.
- PMS Gummies: These gummies are known to have certain specific vitamins and minerals that helps to reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms and also helps in reducing the pain associated with period cramps. These Sirona PMS gummies are fun and delicious too!
Are there any home remedies available to deal with period cramps? Yes of course!
- Chamomile tea: Sipping a good hot cup of relaxing chamomile tea can provide some relief in period cramps.
- Eating plenty of fruits: Fruits are known to have plenty of antioxidants. Certain fruits like berries are known to be full of antioxidants. They are required in actively dividing cells and are a must for healthy ovaries and keeping certain diseases at bay.
- Wheatgrass: Studies have shown that wheatgrass juice is rich in certain vitamins and minerals and when taken regularly can help deal with premenstrual symptoms of bloating, headache and also helps in reducing the pain associated with period cramps.
- Massaging: Simple massaging of the abdominal muscles with oils can help reduce period cramps.
- Hot fomentation: For years, this practice has been in use. A simple hot water bottle can provide symptomatic relief when having period cramps.
- Maintaining hygiene during periods: Changing the sanitary pads at regular intervals helps to keep the infection reaching the cervix and uterus at bay. It is a well-known fact that pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to painful periods. Hence, maintaining hygiene during periods is a must.
- Yoga and meditation: We all are well aware that yoga and meditation leads to the production of happy hormones in the body which increases our pain bearing capacity thereby, decreasing the intensity of the pain as felt by the body.
- Exercising: Regular exercise helps not only in attaining a healthy body but also helps to deal with hormonal imbalances associated with certain diseases like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which itself can lead to painful periods.
- Boron: Boron is a trace element required by the body for the better absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Studies conducted in the past have shown that food rich in Boron can help manage menstrual cramps. Boron rich food includes avocados, bananas and prunes.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is an active ingredient in turmeric. There are numerous benefits of curcumin. Curcumin is a very potent antioxidant and is known to play a role in the management of breast cancer. Curcumin also has a role to play in dealing with menstrual cramps.
Painful Period Cramps: When to go to the Doctor?
When periods are associated with pain of a greater intensity not dealt with by the aforementioned measures, it is a must to see your nearest gynaecologist.
There are certain pathological conditions which can lead to painful periods or dysmenorrhoea.
- Endometriosis: This is a medical condition in which there is seeding of the endometrial lining of the uterus in areas other than the uterus. During periods, this condition can lead to pain of variable intensity.
- Endometrial polyp: An endometrial polyp is a mass present in the cavity of the uterus. Endometrial polyps can not only lead to painful periods but can also cause irregular bleeding
- Fibroids: Fibroids are very common in reproductive age group women and can interfere with the contractile mechanism of the muscles of the uterus leading to painful periods.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: As the word suggests, inflammation of the pelvic organs due to infection leads to a greater amount of blood flow in the pelvis. This can not only lead to heavy flow during periods but can lead to painful periods as well.
- PCOS: Polycystic ovarian syndrome is not just a disease but is a part of the spectrum of metabolic syndrome leading to hormonal disorders in the body along with formation of multiple cysts in the ovary. This condition is very well associated with irregular periods, heavy flow during periods and painful periods.
Your doctor might do a general physical examination and might order certain tests to know the cause of painful periods. A lower abdominal ultrasound might be a very basic investigation to rule pathological causes of the uterus and the ovaries.
Menstruation is a normal physiological phenomenon and so is a slight discomfort during periods. Any amount of pain which is not getting relieved by home measures or over the counter medication needs to be addressed by your specialist doctor.
Do you experience painful period cramps? What do you do to get relief?