According to Mayo Clinic, Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) are throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. In which the body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb), and is then passed through a small opening in the cervix and out through the vaginal canal.
Many women experience menstrual cramps just before and during their menstrual periods. The pain experienced with menstrual cramp differs with different women. For some, it’s just a slight discomfort but for others, it can be severe enough to disrupt a full day’s function. Some of the pain usually experienced are aching pain in the abdomen, pain in the hips, lower back, and inner thighs, feeling of pressure in the abdomen.
According to webmd.com, menstrual cramps are caused by contractions of the uterus, in which the uterus, the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows, contracts throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain results when part of a muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.
Below are home remedies that can help you cure menstrual cramp.
My mom always advised my sisters to use raw ginger each they experience a menstrual cramp. This remedy stuck to my head till adulthood. On a particular when my girlfriend was experiencing severe menstrual cramps, it came right out of my mouth, she gave it a try, and her menstrual cramps eased. Ginger plays helps lower the level of the pain-causing prostaglandins and helps the fatigue associated with premenstrual syndrome.
You can choose to eat it in its raw state or cooked. Alternatively, boil few slices of ginger, add honey and a pinch of salt. Leave to simmer for 4 minutes. Drink twice daily. If the ginger you have is in dried powder or grated form, add ½ teaspoon into a cup of boiling water and leave for 3 -5 minutes. Drink this three times daily for best results.
Cinnamon is another potent remedy to soothe menstrual cramps. The anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anticoding nature helps relieve menstrual pain.
You need to start by making a cinnamon tea by adding a ¼ tablespoon of cinnamon powder into a glass of water. Leave it for about 5 minutes to dissolve completely in water. You can add honey to sweeten the portion, then gradually sip it slowly. Keep in mind that it’s best to drink this portion one to two days before your period starts, in other to prevent cramps in advance
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that chamomile tea contains compounds that may help fight infections due to cold and relieve menstrual cramps. Drinking chamomile tea can significantly increase the level of glycine. Higher levels of glycine have being shown to relax the uterus, which explains why the tea relieves a menstrual cramp.
Pour one tablespoon of dried chamomile powder in a cup of boiling water. Stir properly and allow to steep for 5 – 10 minutes. Strain the tea. At this point you can add lemon juice or honey, the choice is up to you. Then gently sip. I highly recommend you drink at least two cups of chamomile tea a day during the week before your period.
Parsley also does a great job. But just that it’s not my usual recommendation. Parsley is rich in apiol. A compound which has been shown to stimulate the menstrual process and relieves your cramps.
Start by washing your parsley thoroughly, after which you add it into the container of your choice. Then pour in one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for about five minutes. Strain the mixture and drink the tea immediately.
Peppermint is a widely used remedy for menstrual cramps owing its ability to the fact that it’s a natural muscle relaxer and appetite suppressant.
You can either use peppermint leaves or its powder. Add any one of your choice into a cup of boiling water. Don’t allow it to heat; moderate heat is needed. Remove from heat and let it steep for about 3 – 5 minutes. You can also add honey, it all depends on your choice. Drink this tea 1 -2 times a day for instant relief. Alternatively drink two cups of peppermint or wintergreen tea a day. Also, suck on mint candy on and off during the day.
Basil has a natural painkiller called caffeic acid which relieves the pain of menstrual cramping.
Start by putting two tablespoons of basil leaves in a cup of boiling water. Allow it to steep for about 5 minutes and cover it tightly until it comes to room temperature. Then drink ½ – 1 cup hourly to get rid of the pain.
Heat or Hot Compress:
This heat compress is usually the first remedy I recommend to my clients when they are in dire need for a quick fix. Warm compress relieves menstrual pain as the pain is a result of clogged blood. When you do warm compress, you are melting the clogged blood resulting in a smooth flow. To do this use hot water bottles or hot water bags on your abdominal area and lower back where it hurts the most. Doing this will reduce the intensity of the cramps by relieving the muscle tension.
Exercise is another great way to lessen menstrual cramps, and also get to rip other numerous benefits it offers. Exercise releases endorphins which act as a natural painkiller and mood lifter. Frequent exercise helps relieve menstrual cramps. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, I suggest you practice some yoga moves at home or with some friends. Yoga helps increase the blood flow to your reproductive organs, relieves stress and gives you the needed relaxation. Try the restorative yoga poses which are best for relieving menstrual cramp
- Instead of looking for quick fixes for menstrual cramps, it pays to avoid it beforehand. Below are a few things to bear in mind.
- To prevent painful bloating during menstruation, you need to drink as much water as possible. Drinking warm or hot water will increase blood flow to your skin and relax cramped muscles
- Eat foods rich in water content. Foods like cucumber, watermelon, berries, pineapple, and celery to increase hydration and give you needed relief.
- Eat water-based foods or fruits such as celery, watermelon, cucumber, berries, and lettuce to increase hydration and get relief from cramps.
- Foods rich in calcium should also be eaten to reduce muscle cramping during menstruation. Foods like milk, sesame seed, almond and green leafy vegetables.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin B6 such as brown rice to reduce bloating.
- Consume at least two tablespoons of flaxseed. During this helps reduce prostaglandin production (responsible for menstrual pain or cramps) in the body due to its herbal properties. Consume two tablespoons of flaxseeds daily for best results.
- Reduce the intake of coffee. Decaffeinated coffee intake, more especially.
- Cut down on the consumption of alcohol
- Cut down on salt intake before your period begins
- For added omega 3 fatty acids, eat cold-water fish or take fish oil supplements. This helps inhibit the production of prostaglandins.
- The use of intra-uterine devices (IUDs) as a method of birth control should be avoided. These devices can increase menstrual cramps.
- Swallow 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) after each meal