Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for menstrual cramps that most women experience during their menstrual periods. The intensity of the pain varies from woman to woman. For some women dysmenorrhea might cause mild discomfort, whereas for others it can be extremely painful.
Menstrual cramp causes
Menstrual cramp usually occurs after ovulation. When the egg is not fertilized, our body naturally eliminates the lining of the uterus or the endometrium. To remove the lining, the muscles of the uterus begin to contract. Prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance, helps the uterine muscles to contract. Too much of prostaglandin causes menstrual cramps and painful periods.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea – primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea begins 1 or 2 days before the period and ceases 2 to 4 after the period starts. Hormonal imbalance during the menstrual cycle is usually associated with primary dysmenorrhea. Secondary dysmenorrhea involves some other physical problem such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory diseases.
Menstrual cramp remedies
Menstrual cramp reduces naturally with age. Incidence of painful periods usually decreases after 20. After a woman gives birth to a child, menstrual cramp stops. Your diet can also help to reduce menstrual cramps. Limiting intake of sugar, salt, alcohol, dairy products and caffeine could decrease menstrual cramps.
To prevent painful periods, you should consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, vitamin E, thiamine, calcium and magnesium could also help to reduce menstrual cramps. Stress can also trigger menstrual cramps. Stress management is necessary to prevent menstrual cramps. Regular exercises can also help to prevent discomfort during periods.
Placing a warm towel on the lower abdomen can also help to reduce the pain. Chamomile tea is often used as a remedy for menstrual cramps. Besides healing menstrual cramps, chamomile tea can also help to reduce stress. Having ginger root tea can provide relief from the menstrual cramps. The discomfort associated with painful periods could be reduced by taking warm beverages, warm milk or warm soup.
Peppermint, wintergreen, fennel and basil teas can also reduce menstrual cramps. Regular consumption of cinnamon and parsley can help to heal painful periods.