The medical term for painful menstruation is dysmenorrhea. Menstruation is a monthly occurrence for women in which the body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb), which is then passed through a small opening in the cervix and out through the vaginal canal.
Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea or period pains, are painful sensations felt in the lower abdomen that can occur both before and during a woman’s menstrual period. The pain ranges from dull and annoying to severe and extreme. Menstrual cramps tend to begin after an egg is released from the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube (ovulation).
There are two primary types of these difficult or painful periods – primary and secondary dysmenorrhea:
Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common type and is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen and lower back pain beginning 1-2 days before the period and lasting from 2-4 days. There is no underlying problem that is causing the pain
Secondary dysmenorrhea is characterized by cramping pains that are due to an identifiable medical problem such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Treatment for Painful Menstruation:
Dark leafy greens are a dietary source of magnesium, calcium, and countless other micronutrients. These nutrients are essential for mediating muscle contractions. In Chinese dietary therapy, dark green vegetables are also considered to be mildly cleansing, which is what the body needs in a “stagnation” condition. Some greens such as dandelion greens (very bitter, but very helpful) also have a mild diuretic effect, which reduces bloating.
Caffeine, especially from coffee, is a well-known vasoconstrictor – it makes blood vessels constrict. Indeed, it may cause the vessels that feed the uterus to tighten more than they do in non-coffee drinkers. If you’re a diehard coffee drinker and can’t cut it out entirely, try avoiding it just in the week before your period and see if you notice a change.
Take a hot bath, or place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower belly, just below your belly button.Those stick-on heat packs that you can find on drugstore shelves can work, too, if you don’t have time to sit at home. Heat opens vessels and improves blood flow, so pain dissipates.For women who get water retention along with cramps, dandelion tea can be a great herbal remedy.
Home care treatments may be successful in relieving painful menstrual periods. Home treatment includes:
using a heating pad on your pelvic area or back
massaging the abdomen
taking a warm bath
regular physical exercise
eating light, nutritious meals
practicing relaxation techniques or yoga
taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen several days before your expected period
taking vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium supplements while reducing your intake of salt, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar to prevent bloating
raising your legs or lying with your knees bent
Additional treatments that have been suggested to relieve menstrual cramp pain include:
Soaking in a hot bath
Using a heating pad on your lower abdomen
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Dietary supplements (such as vitamin E, thiamin and omega-3).
Women with menstrual cramps should not only get adequate rest and sleep, but also regular exercise.
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