Girls experience their first menstrual period between the ages of 10 and 16 and go on to menstruate for approximately 3000 days, more than 30 years of their lifetime. With such a recurrent menstrual cycle, you would think by now, the average woman will know how to get rid of menstrual cramps if it occurs before or during her period. It does not get easy, even with so many years of practice.
32 to 40% of women experience period pain each month even after years of experiencing their first menstrual cycle. The good news is that while period pain is normal, there are ways to alleviate and manage it. But, first things first, why does period pain happen?
What Causes Menstrual Pain
The main reason women feel pain during their menstrual cycle is due to the increased levels of a hormone called prostaglandins. This hormone triggers stronger contractions in the uterine muscles.
Understand that these contractions are literarily not birth contractions. Instead, the contractions help expel uterine lining no longer needed because there is no fertilized egg to support a pregnancy. When the uterus contracts, it temporarily limits blood flow to parts of the uterus, resulting in pain. It means that higher levels of prostaglandins may cause intense contractions and pain.
Besides this, several factors may induce period pain. For instance, if you have medical conditions like endometriosis (when tissue like the lining grows in the wrong places) or adenomyosis (when the lining grows into the uterus muscle), you may experience severe pain during menstruation. Stress, unhealthy habits, and lack of exercise can also make the pain feel worse.
How to Reduce Period Cramps and Get Rid of Menstrual Pain
1. Use Pain Period Pain Relief Device
When you have your period, your tummy muscles can get a little grumpy and cause cramps. A period pain relief device helps to relax those grumpy muscles by using electrical impulses to block your pain signals. All you need to do is place the device on your belly where it hurts and it will instantly get rid of menstrual pain.
Some period pain relief devices even have different settings, so you can choose what feels best for you. The best part is you can wear them anywhere. Period pain relief devices provide instant relief that allows you to do your daily chore while going unnoticed under your cloth.
2. Try Belly Massage
A belly massage may also help reduce period cramps. Belly massage helps the body produce feel-good chemicals called endorphins (a natural pain reliever). This chemical tones down your pain signals, making your cramps feel bearable. More than this, belly massage also improves blood circulation, which helps your tenses uterine muscles relax and function better.
To do a gentle belly massage, use your fingertips to make small circular motions on your lower abdomen, where you feel the cramps. Apply light pressure, and if anything feels uncomfortable, stop immediately.
Like belly massage, exercising soothes your muscles, releases happy hormones that make you feel better, and improves your blood circulation to your abdomen. However, make sure to stick with gentle exercises like yoga, swimming, Pilates, dancing walking, or light stretch.
Intense cardio, contact sports like basketball or soccer, and heavy weightlifting can strain your muscles and may not be the best choice to get rid of menstrual cramps. If you are not used to exercising, start with activities like walking, stretching, dancing swimming before trying more intense yoga poses or Pilates.
4. Get Plenty of Rest
During your menstrual cycle, your body may feel more sensitive to pain, especially if you are stressed. Getting enough rest helps your body handle the cramps better. Not only will resting help regulate your hormone levels, which play a role in menstrual pain, it gives your body a break from stress. At the end of the day, you will have more energy to cope with any pain or discomfort you might experience during your period.
5. Eat Healthy
Foods with lots of nutrients can also help your body make chemicals that make cramps less painful. On the other hand, eating too much junk food and sugary stuff can worsen the cramps since they help your body produce more of those chemicals that promote menstrual pain. Incorporate healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet so your body has every nutrient it needs to work better and feel less tense.
6. Use a Heating Pad
You know how taking a warm or hot bath helps soothe your sore muscles? Well, a heating pad works the same way. Applying heat to the lower abdomen or lower back where you feel period pain can reduce period cramps. How? It sends heat to your tense muscles so they loosen and feel more relieved. If you’ve never tried a heating pad, the good news is that using a heating pad is easy. Simply turn it on, and place it on your belly where you feel the cramps, and you will feel relieved in minutes. You can even use a heating pad while lying down or sitting up.
Pain relief devices, massage, heating pads, eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough rest can help reduce period cramps. If your pain is severe, consult a healthcare professional to seek medical advice on reducing period cramps. Medical conditions like endometriosis and adenomyosis can cause severe pain. Your healthcare professional can help you want to rule out any underlying conditions and put your mind at ease.