The monthly period blues are very dreadful on their own and top them up with period pains, you have got what is the bane of every woman’s existence. Apart from a few fortunate members of the female species, the rest have all gone through this painful experience. For the rest of the unlucky ones, periods are not something that they look forward to. Medically termed as ‘dysmenorrhea’, period pain is a cramp like feeling one gets at the lower back, hips and abdomen, either before or during the menstruation. The cramps range from mild discomfort for some to acute and unbearable pain for others.
The cause of period pain might be because of the normal contraction of the uterus while shedding the uterine lining or it could also be because of some underlying problem like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, adenomyosis (growth of the tissues of the uterine wall), or fibroid in the uterus. By ruling out and treating these problems one can usually get rid of period pain. Taking painkillers will help temporarily, but then one has to bear in mind the ill effects of popping too many pills.
However, all hope is not lost yet and just because pain killers are not good for us doesn’t mean we have to live with the pain every month. Because we still have some of the traditional Grandma’s remedies which might not have been medically proven but have been sworn to be effective by women throughout all generations. Different regions have their own folk medicine to get rid of the period pain, and the below is a compilation of some of the tried and tested ones.
This is one of the most used and effective method for reducing menstrual cramps. It has been devotedly handed down from the generations and is still continued in all households. In the olden days, women used to keep their abdomen warms by wrapping it with a warm cloth. In the modern days, women use hot water bags to relive the pain. Hot water bottle works equally well in lieu of a bag. Alternatively, you can also use a hot towel warmed in the microwave to place on the abdomen. You should not dip the towel in hot water as the water will later cool on your skin and make it cold.
Herbs and Fluids
Drinking fluids and water is very important during the menstruation period as the pain tends to increase if your body is dehydrated and you have not drunk enough fluids. The Chinese firmly believe in relieving pain and aches through herbal teas and it works well for period pain too. Chamomile, yarrow, feverfew etc are some of the herbs which can be infused with tea and drunk to relieve the cramps.
You should start drinking the tea 2-3 days prior to the due date of your period. Raspberry leaves, especially the red variety have been known for its quality to help in reliving the cramps and in toning the uterine wall. Basil is another known herb which greatly relives the cramps and can be either mixed with your favorite dishes or added to your herbal tea. Chewing a few basil leaves will work too.
Ginger and Parsley
Both ginger root and parsley have been used for centuries to relieve pain and aches and they work wonder during period pains too. Slice a few pieces of ginger root and infuse it with tea decoction and drink a couple of cups in a day to get rid of the pain. Parsley can be blended with beet and carrot juice and drunk to get relief.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These fatty acids are known for their many-fold wonder effects which include providing you relief from the painful periods. Its pain-relieving effect might be attributed to its anti-inflammatory property but whatever might be the cause, it sure helps to take a few sources of these essential fatty acids. Some good sources of Omega 3 are flax seed, flax seed oil, pumpkin seeds, soy, soy oil, and fresh water fishes like salmon, mackerel etc.
Vitamins and minerals
Taking Vitamins like Vitamin E and B is found to be very helpful during periods. Increasing the intake of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and calcium will help to get rid of painful periods. These vitamins and minerals are also known to help in decreasing the bloating and other painful effects of menstruation. Although supplements and pills are available over the counter, it is always best to take the natural sources to help the body absorb them better.
Spices like cinnamon and coriander seeds have also been found to be very effective during menstruation. Coriander seeds help in relieving excess flow and cinnamon helps in getting rid of the cramps. It can be powdered and mixed with tea to be more effective.
Other therapies that have been found beneficial include Ayurveda, Reiki, acupressure, homeopathic treatment etc. Herbal remedies like Scutellaria spp., Viburnum prunifolium etc are known to have antispasmodic effect and hence is a useful remedy to relieve the period pains. Ayurveda mainly uses herbs to make oil and potions which greatly help in preventing the cramps.
Other effective remedies and care include taking a hot water bath, using herbal oil to slowly massage the painful area, eating lots of fruits and vegetables to detoxify the body will help you feel much better. There are also some helpful yoga and exercises which you can do before your periods. It is best to avoid alcohol, caffeine and caffeine products as they have a tendency to make the body dehydrated inducing pain.
Although these herbal remedies have been known to be harmless, you should still check for allergic reactions from the spices and herbs. Some of the herbs and spices used to relive pain are known to increase the body heat and should be avoided if you have allergic reactions from them. It is also best not to try any medicines without consulting a doctor first to check if your cramps are due to some other underlying problems.