Follow these tips to help relieve menstrual pain.
When we talk about a woman’s menstrual cycle, we’re referring to the physical, psychological and biological changes that occur in her body at a specific time of the month.
It’s also often accompanied by physical discomfort, which can range from abdominal pain and backache to skin sensitivity.
The Menstrual Cycle and Pains
A woman’s menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 28 days, this being the time it takes for the egg, which matures in the ovary, to reach the uterus and then be released when it is not fertilised, generating what is known as menstruation.
The discomfort a woman suffers comes not only from menstruation, as many people believe. In fact, the discomfort tends to start some days earlier with discomfort in the lower back, tender breasts and inflammation in the womb.
Dysmenorrhoea, the worst enemy
One of the most common symptoms causing the greatest discomfort and pain is excessive and abnormal dysmenorrhoea, or stomach cramps.
They occur in the days before and during menstruation
This tends to evolve over time, intensifying the discomfort and increasing its duration. Usually, the age group most likely to suffer are those between 16 and 17.
Classification of dysmenorrhea
Primary dysmenorrhea has two ends, it can disappear after having children, reducing considerably the discomfort and pain, or it can become complicated, presenting uterine problems.
In a second classification, there is secondary dysmenorrhea, which refers to what occurs in older women, starting with those aged over 25-28.
The shooting pain tends to appear up to a week before the menstruation, remaining until its end.
In most cases it requires medical attention as it can be a symptom of infections and even endometriosis
Dealing with menstrual pains
In most cases, this discomfort is treated with drugs and medicines, painkillers, contraceptives or even prostagens. These help to alleviate the worst symptoms of dysmenorrhea, though no total cure is possible.
Exercises to reduce period pain
Although it can be difficult to achieve and requires more effort than usual, exercising before and during the period is one of the most natural ways of dealing with the pain.
This is because it increases blood circulation, which produces an increase in oxygenation and a decrease in inflammation; in addition, it also produces a state of relaxation that helps reduce discomfort.
On top of that, exercise is the best way to relieve anxiety and depression, and generally improve mood, due to it generating a considerable increase in endorphin production. Let’s have a look at the positions.
First, place your knees on a soft comfortable surface. Second, lean forward, resting your chest on your legs, while extending your hands behind you and placing your head on the floor.
For this, the body goes face down, extending as far as possible, and the hands are placed with the palms on the floor, which should be in line with the chest. The hands are used to lift the whole body, stretching it fully.
Foods to relieve period pain
Another key point to consider when thinking about relieving period pains is the the type of food consumed. It’s important to reduce consumption of fats and carbohydrates during this time, and to substitute them for food with high levels of fibre, iron, magnesium and vitamin C.
This is the reason why it is recommended to eat rice, pasta or wholemeal bread, nuts, vegetables in large quantities, meat and fish. And on top, consuming enough liquid should become something essential water, infusions in general, and in particular of chamomile and marshmallow.
In addition to exercise and diet, to reduce pain naturally, you can choose to place cloths or hot water compresses on your abdomen, enjoy a massage or opt for acupuncture
Supplements to relieve period pains
As well as the evening primrose oil, there are various dietary supplements on the market today that help to relieve the pain and premenstrual symptoms that women suffer every month.
Some of the best are:
Evening primrose oil to relieve period pain
Supplements are an essential part of the diet that may in fact be more beneficial than common drugs, and one of which is evening primrose oil, or «women’s oil».
This is an essential oil that is recommended to be taken daily, in any of its forms, either liquid or tablet, with the aim of alleviating premenstrual and menstrual discomfort.
It’s recommended because it has in its composition gamma-linolenic acid, capable of reducing the inflammation that occurs, diminishing chest swelling and regulating the hormones. It’s an essential compound for the creation of drugs such as prostaglandin E1.
For the time period known as premenstrual, it’s important that your body is prepared with the necessary dose of different types of vitamins.
In particular, vitamin C promotes good iron absorption in the body. It prevents your body from becoming deficient in it and from running the risk of becoming anaemic.
For its part, consuming vitamin E relieves premenstrual symptoms such as mood swings, irritability and tiredness. Vitamin b12 and B6 have a similar function.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, tumeric is recommended to be taken in premenstrual periods. Among the properties of the turmeric are improved blood circulation and help for the correct functioning of the liver.
Ginger has traditionally been recommended for menstrual cramps, as well as for its function working against the tiredness that accompanies women during the premenstrual period.
Studies have shown that taking iron supplements during menstruation helps women.
In particular, for women with significant menstrual loss. The most practical way to meet iron requirements is to take iron supplements. This is suitable for most adolescent women.
In a case series published in 1981, 15 women with menorrhagia were given one 100 mg iron tablet a day for 10 days to coincide with their menstrual period. The average menstrual blood loss was 117 ml (range 46-259 ml), corresponding to 53 mg of iron (range 21-117 mg).
Mean iron absorption was 81 mg (range 49-145 mg). Individually, 14 of the 15 women absorbed more iron from the tablets than they lost through menstrual bleeding. Therefore, the authors of this paper consider that iron prophylaxis administered during menstruation seems to be sufficient in most women with menorrhagia.
- “Periodos sin dolor” Stella Weller Editorial: EDAF
- “Regla sin dolor” Anna Huete Méndez
- “Salud natural para la mujer· María Tránsito López Luengo. Editorial: Océano Ámbar
- “Trastornos específicos de la mujer” Cristina Larroy García
- How does menstruation affect body fat?
- Pre-menstrual syndrome: sport as therapy
- Properties of Ginger