Looking for how to relieve menstrual cramps fast? Painful menses affects many women. For a number of women though, period pain hinders normal activities for a number of days during each menstrual cycle. According to tacoma.uw.edu, menstrual cramps is the leading cause of lost time from work and school among women aged 15-50. Here are ways of relieving menstrual pain fast. Find out more about equally effective natural and home remedies for pms pain.
How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps, Naturally, Fast
The incidence of menstrual cramps is highest in women in their late teens and declines with age. It is normal to experience some pain during each menstrual cycle. However, excessive, excruciating pain and cramping is not. Excessive menstrual cramps or pain, is medically known as dysmenorrhea. It is characterized by pain that begins several days before or at the start of your menses. Pain usually reduces as the menses taper off. Other symptoms include
- Intermittent, cramp like, sharp pains in the lower abdominal, lower back or pelvis
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Muscle and joint pain, leg pain
Causes of Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual pain that occurs at the start or during menstrual periods, in otherwise healthy women. This pain is not usually related to any kind of problems. It is thought that, increased activity of the hormone prostaglandin produced by the uterus causes period cramps. Risk factors include; non- parity, obesity, positive family history, cigarette smoking.
Menstrual cramps later in life in women who have had normal periods before. It is often attributed to underlying disease. It may also be due to structural abnormalities within or outside the uterus. It may involve other pelvic organs.
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Intra Uterine Device made of copper
- Uterine displacement
Treatment of primary dysmenorrhea aims at relieving cramping pain and other related symptoms. Treatment of secondary dysmenorrhea involves correction of the underlying cause.
While there are a number of ways to ease and cure menstrual cramps, it is important to try and find out the cause of your period pain. This will dictate on how to choose appropriate treatments. Consult your doctor if symptoms do not subside even with appropriate home treatment. There could be serious medical problems. Here is how to relieve menstrual cramps fast:
Pop a Pain Reliever (Nonsteroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs)
Anti-inflammatory painkillers such as diclofenac, and ibuprofen are commonly used to relieve period pains fast. Also known as NSAIDs, these drugs inhibit prostaglandin production to ease menstrual cramps. You can easily buy these over the counter without a prescription. Pain relieving alternatives work best if taken a day before periods begin. Continue taking them 2 days into the period. Take them on a regular schedule rather than on an as needed basis.
For moderate to severe period pain, get prescription NSAIDs such as Mefenamic acid.
How to Reduce Pain using a Heating Pad/ Bottle
Heat treatment using hot water bottles or pads has been found to be a faster and better treatment than pain relievers. Using heat and a pain reliever such as Ibuprofen offers even faster relief for moderate to severe period pain. Heating bottles can best be used while sleeping at night. You can alternatively increase hydration by drinking hot liquids or take a warm bath to increase blood flow to the skin and relax cramped muscles.
Change your Diet
Eating foods with high antioxidants may help relieve menstrual cramps. These include, tomatoes, berries, peppers and squash. Avoid fatty foods and baked products with Trans-fats.
Have Sex to Reduce Menstrual Cramps
According to Dr Lauren Streicher, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg’s School of Medicine in Chicago, having orgasmic sex during your period releases good feel hormones known as endorphins. These will help with symptoms such as abdominal cramping and feelings of sadness.
Using birth control methods effectively makes menstrual periods lighter hence less period pain. Contraceptives such as the pill, patch or ring make the lining of the uterus thinner. This means there will be less tissue to be shed. Consult your doctor before trying any birth control methods for menstrual pain relief. Birth control pills can also help regulate the menstrual cycle.
Acupressure for Period Cramps
Pressure therapy or acupressure is an approved treatment for menstrual cramps without medicine. It is an old and effective method of treating various problems such as headaches, indigestion, muscle and joint pain. Acupressure is based on a theory of holistic self-healing using physical pressure. Pressure is applied at specified points to increase the flow of life energy through the meridians to clear blockages.
Pressure points that are useful in acupressure treatment for menstrual cramps:
- Sea of Energy
- Gate of origin
- Mansion cottage
- Rushing door
- Womb and vitals
- Sacral points
- Three Yin Crossing
- Grandfather grandson point
- Returning point
How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps with Massage
Massage therapy helps relieve menstrual pain by relaxing cramped muscles. Use essential oils such as garlic oil or lavender oil to enhance benefits. Abdominal massage increases uterine circulation hence reducing muscular tension in the lower abdomen.
It is important to relax your body and mind before starting this procedure
- Smear the essential oil of your choice on your palms
- Place your palms on the abdominal region and move them in a circular motion starting with the belly button area
- Do this in small circles increasing the circumference to reach a wider circle
- Do this for a few minutes to ease period cramps
- Do the same starting with the center of back moving outwards to the corner of your hips
Do Some Light Exercises to Ease Period Pain
Engaging in any form exercise may seem impossible when you are in so much pain. However doing less impact exercise like yoga and walking can help with menstrual pain. Exercise acts a natural period pain relief by increasing blood flow and endorphins that counteract prostaglandins to reduce muscle cramps.
Exercises also helps with bloating and unstable moods that are common during menses.
Rather than waiting, engage in regular work outs will help reduce muscle cramps during your period. According to organicauthority.com on Natural Menstrual Cramps Remedies, the better toned and active your abdominal muscles are, the better in control they will be during menses.
Note: Strenuous exercise during menses can be detrimental to your health. It may even make muscle cramps worse.
Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
Treating painful menstruation with medication may be fast and effective. However long term use of pain medication like Tylenol and ibuprofen can be detrimental to your health. To ease cramping and discomfort, use the following simple and equally effective home remedies:
Easing Menstrual Cramps with Tea
Taking different kinds of herbal tea can help ease menstrual cramps and associated symptoms. Make green tea with peppermint to soothe an upset stomach and relieve bloating. Chamomile and cinnamon tea have natural anti-inflammatory properties that reduce prostaglandins and relieve stomach and back pains.
You should however avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible. Coffee and other carbonated beverages make you anxious and retain water.
Ginger helps to lower prostaglandins, soothe menstrual cycle pain and calm nausea and diarrhea.
- Chew on a small piece of ginger or eat it in cooked foods such as cookies
- Alternatively, steep ½ a teaspoon of grated or powdered ginger in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drink this three times daily for best results.
How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps with Vitamins
Vitamins support a number of biochemical reactions that help regulate menses. They also reduce intensity and duration of menses hence less pain and cramping.
One a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests positive use of vitamin D for period pain. Antonio Lasco, MD of the University of Messina and his team made a comparison in the use of vitamin D with placebo pills for period pain. The study group comprised of 40 women aged 18-40 with painful menstrual periods.
At a very high single dose of 300000 IU (4000IU is the upper tolerable dose per day), there was a significant reduction in pain in the vitamin D group compared to those on placebo pills. This study is however not considered conclusive since the number of women studied is low.
Vitamin D offers menstrual pain relief by countering excess production of prostaglandins which cause pms cramps.
Vitamins B1 and B6 help produce good prostaglandins that help relax contracting uterine muscles. These have been found to significantly reduce the duration and intensity of period pains.
Vitamin B12 can be combined with fish oil for better effects in treatment of painful periods. Vitamin B12 at 10 mg per week is effective in treating pms symptoms including mood swings, depression and anxiety. Taking a vitamin B complex gives you the benefit of all these vitamins in a go.
Combination products such as the Period Vitamin provides the right doses of each of these vitamin along with magnesium and calcium to cure menstrual cramps, leg pain, mood swings and diarrhea.
In a review published in the Nutrition Noteworthy, an increase in calcium intake has been found to offer period pain relief. Add calcium rich foods to your diet- such as; dairy products, broccoli, almonds and oats. The RDA of calcium for teens is 1300mg while that for adults is 1000mg.
According to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, intake of magnesium is an effective way of menstrual pain and other pms symptoms. Supplementation of magnesium for menstrual cramps is recommended at 360mg per day for 3 days taken a day or two before bleeding begins.
High magnesium promotes good muscle tone and maintain a healthy nervous system. It helots relax the muscles and aid in absorption of calcium. Foods rich in magnesium include; cereals, dark green leafy vegetables and nuts.
Sources and References
Tacoma.uw.edu: Painful Menstrual Periods