5 Ways to Reduce Menstrual Cramps
As a female, we’ve all probably been through that dreaded menstrual cramp known as primary dysmenorrhea at least once in our lifetime. If you’ve only had it a couple of times, count yourselves lucky because it can be a regular disturbance in many women’s lives.
So, what actually causes it? During that time of the month, our uterus sheds its natural lining through uterine muscle contractions induced by hormones called prostaglandins. The contractions cause blood vessels supplying oxygen to the uterus to be constricted, causing pain. The stronger the contractions, the more painful this can become.
Every woman feels different kinds and severity of menstrual cramps, particularly pain and pressure in the lower abdomen, hips, lower back, and thighs. Along with these cramps, more severe cases may also include an upset stomach, loose stools, vomiting and dizziness.
Tired of feeling like a quivering ball of nerves each time a cycle rolls around? Here are some ways to help you get through those painful monthly occurrences.
One of the best methods to counteract menstrual pains is by exercising regularly. Regular exercise helps strengthen and stretch your muscles, making it more resistant to cramps over time. Alternatively, doing some light exercises during a cramp can also help as it increases blood circulation and produces endorphins, helping you take the pain out of your mind, while also reducing stress, which can sometimes exacerbate menstruation cramps.
2. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Tobacco
Both caffeine and tobacco have been found to cause vasoconstriction, the constriction of blood vessels, thus decreasing oxygen flow to the uterus and prolonging pain. Alcohol on the other hand raises inflammatory prostaglandins, which are the hormones that cause increased muscle contractions, inflammation, and a heightened sensitivity to pain.
3. Heat Therapy
During a menstruation cramp, grab a hot water bottle and place it on your lower abdomen. The warmth helps your muscles to relax, so contractions become less painful from muscle spasms. Taking a warm bath, preferably soaking in a tub has the same effect!
4. Pressure Therapy
Just like heat therapy, pressure therapies like a slow comforting massage around your lower abdomen helps you and your muscles relax, making the contractions less painful.
5. Dietary Supplements
Certain types of dietary supplements like vitamin B1, vitamin E, and omega-3 rich fish oils have been found to help reduce menstruation cramps due to their unique properties. Calcium and magnesium in particular help aid muscle relaxation. These supplements can be taken in the form of over the counter pills, or through the consumption of direct food sources.
We recommend Blackmores Fish Oil that’s available at Guardian outlets & Guardian e-Store.
Be sure to maintain these habits throughout the month especially in days leading up to the start of your cycle. Hopefully it will give you some relief! :)