While a lot of women constantly experience menstrual cramps, very few of them understand and know what actually causes them. The first step to fixing a problem entails understanding the root cause of it.
During a menstrual cycle, the uterus (which is a muscle) contracts to help expel its lining. Sometimes, the muscles in the uterus may contract a bit too strongly and press against the surrounding blood vessels which results in cutting off oxygen supply to the muscle tissue of the uterus. When some part of any muscle loses its oxygen supply (for however small a duration), it results in cramps and pain in that muscle. Read on to understand what causes menstrual cramps and discover home treatments to control and stop period pain naturally:
What causes menstrual cramps?
There can be several causes of menstrual pain. Given below is a short list of these causes:
Endometriosis: In this particular pain condition, the tissue outlining the uterus gets implanted outside the uterus – on the fallopian tubes, pelvis tissues, or near ovaries, thus resulting in extreme pain during periods.
Uterine fibroids: Menstrual cramps are often also caused due to this noncancerous growth around the walls of the uterus.
Adenomyosis: In this pain condition, there is growth of the tissue outlining the uterus into the muscular walls of the uterus.
PID – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: This particular infection in the female reproductive organs can result in pain and is a result of sexually transmitted bacteria.
Cervical stenosis: Sometimes, the opening of the cervix is quite small and thus results in impeded menstrual flow. The pressure that is caused within the uterus often increases the pain during menstrual cycle.
Dehydration: One of the driving factor of contracting muscles is dehydration. If the amount of water or liquid consumed in the body is not enough for the muscles too function properly, it may result in increased contraction during menstruation.
Stress: Increased stressproduces cortisol hormones from the adrenaline gland which causes pain.
Common and known symptoms of menstrual pain usually include:
- Throbbing stomach and constant dull pain.
- Severe or acute pain in the abdomen.
- Feeling of pressure in the stomach and the abdomen.
- Loose stools.
- Upset stomach.
- Pain in body parts – hips, lower back, and thighs.
- Dizziness and sweating.
- Fever – before, during, and after the period cycle.
21 Home Remedies:
1. Apply Heat to Stomach and Lower Abdomen:
This is the most effective and highly recommended home remedy for getting rid of menstrual pain. Application of heat makes the contracting muscles in the uterus relax, thereby eliminating the root cause of menstrual cramps. Using heating patches and pads instead of taking pills or other medicine to reduce abdomen and stomach pain is faster and more effective in case of menstrual cramps.
In case of lack of access to a heating pad, you could also use a hot water plastic bottle and apply it to your lower abdomen region while laying or sitting down.
Massaging with a hot water bottle is another effective way to control menstrual pain.
A hot sitz bath can also help with the flow and reduce the effect of chemicals which cause menstrual cramps.
Drink hot liquids such as soup, herbal tea and broths for increased circulation and reduced pain.
2. Diet Control – Calcium and Vitamins:
Calcium is an important and fast acting factor for reducing pain and cramps during periods. Take a balanced diet and consume milk during breakfast to help your muscles relax and for increased energy and blood circulation.
In case you are lactose intolerant, consuming 2-4 (600 mg) of calcium chewable tablets should also work equally effectively.
Eating food items rich in iron, magnesium, and Vitamins B and E should also help reduce the pain. Besides this, consume a glass of lemon water every day during periods as you wake up. The alkalizing effect on your body keeps your muscles functioning smoothly.
Sleeping helps the muscles in the body relax and rejuvenates the mind as well. A good 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep reduces stress (physical and mental) which helps your hormones stay balanced and results in elimination of pain. So, during your next menstrual cycle, take enough rest to help your mind and your muscles relax and discover the joys of reduced abdomen pain!
Best known for its pain reduction properties, ginger causes prostaglandins and helps soothes menstrual cramps while at the same time calming the stomach. Follow the given recipe for fast and maximum effects:
Take ½ tablespoon of dried powder or grated ginger.
Steep it in boiling water for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Drink three times a day for maximum effects.
You can also consume raw ginger or cooked ginger in the form of ginger ale, cookies, etc. Another home remedy for getting rid of menstrual cramps using ginger would be to boil slices of ginger and add honey and salt for duration of 4 to 6 minutes and consume the liquid twice on a daily basis.
5. Cumin seeds:
Mixed with aloe vera juice, cumin seeds can help reduce period pain, owing to the presence of Vitamin C, iron, potassium, copper, manganese. Chew one tablespoon of roasted cumin seeds daily for best effects.
6. Chamomile Tea:
Many doctors and researchers have discovered that this particular brand of tea is as pain relieving as it is refreshing and calming. Chamomile tea acts as a natural anti-inflammatory drug and because is known to reduce reduce prostaglandin production in the human body, is considered one of the best and most effective home remedies for getting rid of menstrual cramps.
Take one tablespoon of dried chamomile powder.
Stir in boiling water.
Steep for the next 10-15 minutes.
Strain and drink the tea slowly.
Consume on a regular basis for maximum benefits.
Another one of highly effective and recommended home remedies for getting rid of pain during periods is cinnamon tea.
Mixing of cinnamon with ginger to make some hot tea is also a fast acting remedy to reduce menstruation cramps. Follow the following given recipe for guaranteed quick relief:
Take ¼ tablespoon of ground cinnamon.
Either take a pinch of ground ginger next, or one or two thin cut slices of half inch fresh ginger.
Add to your glass of hot water.
Let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
Strain and drink! (Note – You can also sprinkle some cinnamon in your breakfast for lasting effects)
Rich in anti-cramping nutrients such as Vitamin B6, a banana a day can help save you from menstrual pains and reduces bloating. Mix with yogurt and cereal for maximum benefits.
Consuming nuts and grainy food items works wonderfully to reduce stomach aches when combined with a healthy amount of regular exercise.
10. Fennel Seeds:
Follow the given highly recommended home remedy for getting rid of menstrual cramps:
Take one tablespoon of fennel seeds and crush to make a powder.
Add this to a cup of boiling water.
Steep for 5 minutes.
Strain and drink it hot.
11. Flax seeds:
One of the best (and highly popular amongst girls and women of all ages) home remedies for getting rid of menstrual cramps is consuming flax seeds. These seeds reduce prostaglandin and helps soothe your muscles. Sprinkle some ground flax seeds in your food and your salad and consume regularly for maximum effects. Mixing flax seeds in a cup of yogurt is also one home recipe that works wonders when consumed correctly.
12. Omega-3 fatty acids:
Many doctors and researchers have found that consuming these omega-3 fatty acids is a convenient and easy method to reduce menstrual pain. Eating the variety of fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acid before and during your menstrual cycle is another way of managing menstrual cramps effectively.
13. Consume water:
Keeping yourself hydrated is essential to reduce menstrual pain. If you consume an appropriate amount of water per day, your muscles get enough oxygen to function well and automatically do not cramp up. Carrying a water bottle whenever you step outside of home is the simplest and most effective home remedy for getting rid of menstrual cramps. Your flow will be smooth and painless, and any chemicals or acids that might be developing in your (stomach) muscles due to contraction will pass through easily and cause no harm to your body.
14. Avoid coffee:
Staying away from caffeine and all caffeine products during your menstrual cycle is most important if you want to avoid stomach cramps and have a healthy and painless flow. Avoid consuming large amounts of coffee or any other caffeinated food items during periods.
15. Sexual activity:
Doctors have discovered that having sexual intercourse during your periods can sometimes help relieve menstrual pain and result in smooth flow.
And if nothing else works, relaxation exercises will always come to your rescue. Walk, swim, or lie down flat on your stomach (knees bent, feet flat) for a few minutes to reduce period pain.
17. Dress comfortably:
This is the simplest and best step to stay comfortable and avoid cramps during menstrual cycle. Wear the clothes that give your muscles enough space and in which you can move around most conveniently.
Eating unripe papaya has been considered an excellent home remedy for quickly getting rid of menstrual pain.
19. Lavender Oil:
Applying lavender oil to your stomach and lower abdomen region and leaving it for at least 10-15 minutes can help relieve the stomach pain fast and provide a relaxed and refreshing feeling.
20. Aloe Vera:
Mixing Aloe Vera juice with honey and consuming it on a regular basis during the menstrual cycle can help ease the blood flow and provide relief from the pain.
21. Chaste Berry:
Vitex or chaste berry is a herb that is famous for easing menstrual cramps and providing relief during periods. Follow the given recipe for best effects:
Take a couple of teaspoons full of dried berries.
Boil the berries in one average sized cup of water.
Steep for the next 10-15 minutes.
Drink twice or thrice a day during periods for maximum benefits.
Remember to take the following necessary precautions to get rid of painful menstrual periods without medicines:
- Avoid coffee and other caffeine products.
- Avoid Fatty Items.
- Avoid inflammatory products in your diet.
- Eliminate table salts and refined salts from your diet during periods.
- Reduce the intake of soy or grain based food items.
- Do not consume white sugar during menstruation.
- Do not use sanitary pads that are not disposable and contain chemicals. Make use of organic sanitary pads for no harmful effects.
- Apply yam cream on thighs and lower abdomen a week before the start of your periods for reduced cramps.
- Avoid red meat during periods.