Menstrual cramps (also known as dysmenorrhea) are pains that occur in the abdominal and pelvic areas as a result of a woman’s menstrual period. The pain can vary significantly from woman to woman, with some cramps being relatively mild to others which are extremely severe.
Mild menstrual cramps are often barely noticeable, and usually only last for a few hours. In such instances, the main symptom is usually just a sense of bloating or heaviness in the stomach area. Severe menstrual cramps, however, usually result in significant throbbing pain in the lower abdominal area (and occasionally the lower back) which can interfere with a woman’s everday activities. In these cases, cramping can usually last for one or two days.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Skipped menses or menstrual cramps are obviously a symptom of this problem.
Continued abnormality in menses is an indication of irregular menstrual cycle and irregular ovulation.
Causes of Menstrual Cramps
In the reproductive cycle of a woman, the inner lining or the endometrium of the uterus prepares itself for receiving a fertilized egg during each fertility cycle. However, if the egg is not fertilized by a sperm, the extra layers of lining which are made up of blood and tissue begin to shed. When the egg is not fertilized, the amount of the hormones progesterone and estrogen, which are released in the fertility cycle, begins to dwindle and the lining swells up and begins to break. To aid the break down of the uterine lining in this manner, molecular compounds known as prostaglandins are released into the blood stream. These compounds aid in the breakdown of the lining, allowing the broken tissue and the discarded blood to flow out of the body. In the next monthly cycle, a new lining is made.
The action of the prostaglandins which causes the uterine muscles to contract and shed the lining, may also cause the cramps that a woman experiences. There are other compounds known as leukotrienes, which are released in the body as a response to the swelling in the woman’s womb, may also have a role to play in menstrual cramps.
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Home Remedies for Menstrual cramps or Dysmenorrhea
Take pain reliever like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen.
Discomfort of the lower abdomen can be relieved with hot water bottle or heating pad.
Soda, chocolate, tea and coffee may worsen cramps.
Hot water bath may relax the uterus.
Cycling, swimming, running and walking may help to reduce cramps. Massage for menstrual cramps also helps.
Diet for Menstrual Cramps
A healthy diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B and vitamin E is highly beneficial in dealing with Menstrual Cramps symptoms of pain, bloating etc.
Foods like bananas, papayas, gooseberries, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, milk and yogurt are highly recommended in this regard. Fish oils with omega-3 fatty acids are also useful in reducing cramps.
In fact, having fresh pineapple juice serves as an effective Menstrual Cramps home remedy. Adding cinnamon powder in foods and drinks also works as a good natural cure for Menstrual Cramping as it tends to relax the muscles.
Moreover, stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, alcohol etc as they tend to worsen the symptoms of Menstrual Cramps. Also, restrict the consumption of meat foods, especially red meat.