Also known as dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramps can affect as many as eight out of ten women at some point in their lives.
Though until recently, the medical community has considered this as a “minor” complaint, saying it was “all in a women’s head”, new thinking takes period cramps seriously.
And in terms of hormones, medical science proposes that primary dysmenorrhea is caused by excess production of prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals that regulate uterine contractions) following a decline in progesterone levels.
“Excess estrogen, which boosts fluid and salt retention, can worsen the situation. At least 10% of young women have symptoms that are so severe, that they cannot participate in normal activities. “
“Besides lower abdominal pain, period cramps sufferers may also experience backache, pinching, and pain sensations in the inner thighs, and mood swings.”
Quick Tips To Follow During Period Cramps
Avoid fried food, pulses, and sour food items, avoid foods that will cause constipation, especially during the last week of the menstrual cycle.
Avoid potato, yellow pumpkin, and brinjal. Instead, you can have white pumpkin, papaya, drumstick, snake gourd, bitter gourd, and cucumber.
Garlic is especially recommended. Take five to seven garlic pods per day after removing the outer covering. You can reduce the pungent smell, by taking along with buttermilk or lemon juice.
According to Ayurveda, the impairment of apaana Vaayu is responsible for menstrual cramps.
Its normal course is downwards and if it does not move because of hormonal imbalance, constipation, or any other factors, then add one teaspoon of asafoetida, in powder form to your food or buttermilk. You have to use it after frying with ghee.
For spasmodic symptoms, have some fish, but avoid meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs.
It is believed that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may help relieve dysmenorrhea by affecting the metabolism of prostaglandins and other factors involved in pain and inflammation.
For congestive symptoms, avoid sugar, alcohol, salt, and dairy foods.
Before the onset of the period, start doing the following mild exercises two to three times a day.
However, during the period of menstruation, avoid sleep during the daytime and take plenty of bed rest.
Lie faceup with legs and knees bent, perform abdominal breathing about 10 times. Stand holding back of the chair, lift one heel off the floor, then the other, repeat 20 times.
Stand holding back of the chair, then do five deep-knee bends. While lying on your back, lift and bring your knees to touch your chin 10 times.
Natural Remedies For Period Cramps
Aloe Vera is a stimulant to the uterus and has long been used as a household remedy to promote menstruation and relieve muscle cramps.
Extract juice from its pulp and take one teaspoonful of it internally. Aloe Vera is the medicine used to treat this condition.
Its usual dose is six teaspoonfuls, taken twice daily after food, with an equal quantity of water.