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We all go through premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which brings with it acne, mood swings, bloating and, not to mention, period pain! Unfortunately, you cannot do away with a visit from Aunt Flo, but you can certainly reduce it with some tips and home remedies.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Tanveer Aujla, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Noida, who shared with us 5 effective tips to relieve menstrual pain.
“Period pain refers to a sharp and continuous pain typically felt in the lower abdomen, lower back, and upper legs during menstruation. Although some pain during your period is completely normal, you should seek professional help if your cramps suddenly become worse or if you get severe cramps for the first time after the age of 25,” said Dr Aujla.
Heating pads have been used to relieve period cramps for ages. Applying heat to the abdomen or back can help relieve the pain as it helps relax the contraction of the muscles, thus providing you much needed relief instantly. A review published in March 2014 in The Journal of Physiotherapy also found that heat significantly reduced women’s menstrual cramps.
Dr Aujla also said, “Using a heating pack/pad, heating patch, or showering with warm water can greatly help reduce period aches.”
Yes ladies, exercise can help! Even if you don’t feel like doing it, still do it. Workout can boost your mood like no other because it releases endorphins, helping your tense muscles to relax. Dr Aujla said, “While exercising might seem like the last thing on your mind when experiencing period pain, it is one of the most natural ways to relieve pain. Moreover, exercising also reduces stress.” One can try yoga asanas as well to get instant relief from cramps or pain.
Apart from following a healthy lifestyle and workout routine, one factor that plays a key role in managing period pain is your diet. Dr Aujla explained, “What you eat before and during periods can have a great impact on your menstrual cycle.” Certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1 and magnesium, including spinach, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, cauliflower, avocado, and oranges, are recommended to help reduce period cramps.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common symptoms of menstruation, and it affects our bodies both mentally and physically which can worsen menstrual pain. As stress is known to increase your period pain, reducing it can also help you get relief from it. While it is difficult to de-stress, making some lifestyle changes such as exercising, yoga, meditation, and counselling can help you feel better. These activities will help release happy hormones which will improve blood circulation thus reducing cramps.
Eating right and drinking an ample amount of water can make a difference in the severity of period pain. Eating fruits such as bananas, pineapples, and kiwi, and also green leafy vegetables can be helpful. Be sure to add calcium to your diet.
Not just food, but keeping yourself hydrated is also really important. Dr Aujla said ginger tea or raspberry or warm ajwain water can also provide relief. It is important to include dates & nuts as well in your diet.
Experts recommend occasional painkillers to relieve menstrual cramps especially for those women who experience severe period cramps that hinder their daily routine. For them, the only option to dull the excruciating pain is by taking painkillers. However, it is recommended to consult a gynaecologist to get the medication that works for your body because painkillers can be a bit harmful to your health and can lead to side effects that could flare up if you use painkillers for period pain for a longer period of time.