(WellnessNova.com) - Every month most young females start their menstrual cycle with what’s commonly known as a “period,” which is when the body expels the unfertilized egg and lining of the uterus. But more than half of these females experience menstrual cramps during their period. If you suffer from menstrual cramps during menstruation, did you know there are natural ways to lessen any common unpleasant symptoms you may experience?
Why Do You Get Menstrual Cramps?
According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 50 percent of females currently undergoing the menstrual cycle suffer from menstrual cramps. Fourteen percent of these sufferers experience severe menstrual cramps every month. You may be one of these unfortunate sufferers if you experience painful throbbing, a constant dull ache, or cramping in your lower abdomen about one to three days before your period starts.
The pain can be severe enough to radiate around your thighs and lower back. It may also cause headaches, nausea, or dizziness. All symptoms seem to be at their worst on the second day after your period starts.
Why are you experiencing this along with your period? Your body raises the level of prostaglandins to stimulate contractions to expel the unfertilized egg and lining of the uterus. But when prostaglandin levels get too high, they also cause pain and inflammation.
Some people simply have higher levels of prostaglandins than others during their period, which mostly explains why they experience more severe menstrual cramps, but there are other contributing factors too. For example, beginning puberty at 11 years old or younger, having a family history of menstrual cramps, smoking cigarettes regularly, experiencing heavy bleeding during your period or having irregular periods, and having a narrow cervical canal that makes it more painful for the lining of the uterus and unfertilized egg to pass through – these are all risk factors that would make someone more likely to develop moderate to severe menstrual cramps.
Many conditions can also cause menstrual cramps regardless of your prostaglandin levels, like a sexually transmitted infection. Abnormal growths in your uterus or if the lining of your uterus starts growing where it’s not supposed to can both also cause menstrual cramps.
Here’s What Worsens Your Menstrual Cramps and What Lessens Their Severity
What you do and who you are affect the severity of your menstrual cramps. If you’re younger than 30 years old, you’re more likely to have more severe menstrual cramps. Doctors have made findings that being stressed two weeks before your period makes you 200 to 400 percent more likely to develop moderate to serious menstrual cramps.
But becoming older lessens the severity of your menstrual cramps because your prostaglandin levels are lower. Also, women who have given birth tend to experience significantly less severe menstrual cramps during their future periods. Researchers also found that exercise greatly lowers the symptoms and severity of menstrual cramps because your body releases endorphins that alleviate the pain and aching from the contractions.
Here’s What Doctors and Medical Experts Say Can Seriously Help Lessen Your Menstrual Cramps and Their Associated Symptoms
Although menstrual cramps (that aren’t caused by underlying conditions) are natural, that doesn’t mean that you must simply bear them for decades until you hit menopause. Doctors and other medical experts have given their patients natural, everyday common regimens that significantly eased their menstrual cramps. Most pharmaceuticals targeted at relieving menstrual cramps and their symptoms are expensive, have negative side effects, and sometimes don’t even work – these medically proven natural remedies are safer, just as effective, and sometimes don’t even cost any money!
1. Fennel Extract – 44 Percent More Patients Say It’s An “Excellent Treatment” for Menstrual Cramps
Take 30 milligrams of fennel extract four times daily. Doctors put patients on this regimen and gave a control group a placebo. Only 8 percent of the placebo group said the treatment they were receiving was excellent in relieving their menstrual cramps, but 52 percent of the patients who took the daily fennel extract capsules vouched the same for their treatment! The doctors saw the huge difference in treatment feedback and concluded that taking fennel extract considerably relieves menstrual cramps.
But also 28 percent of the fennel extract group said that the daily treatment had no beneficial effect on their menstrual cramps. This is actually better than it sounds because mainstream pharmaceuticals targeted at relieving menstrual cramps have reportedly no effect on 20 percent of patients who take them as they’ve been prescribed!
Try buying fennel extract tablets or capsules at your local health store – but it’s best to ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to take them. If he okays it, you should follow the exact regimen these patients underwent – 30 milligrams taken four times everyday. The patients who did this also reported that their menstrual cramps were lessening more and more after each day of treatment.
2. Calcium Can Help Relieve Menstrual Cramp Pain
Try taking a calcium supplement before and during your period. Patients who supplemented with calcium for three menstrual cycles reported that their menstrual cramp pain was significantly lessened. Patients given a placebo for three menstrual cycles didn’t report as significant a reduction in pain, nor were there nearly as many patients reporting that their pain was reduced at all!
3. Iron Can Help Protect You From Developing Anemia During Your Period
Take an iron supplement everyday without any accompanying vitamins. Doctors found that their female patients who supplemented with iron alone daily had a significantly lower risk of developing anemia during their period. Their hemoglobin count was also significantly boosted, which means they had more red blood cells and their bodies could absorb more oxygen from each breath. It’s most likely for this reason that they also had significantly improved submaximal and maximal exercise performance, which means they had more stamina despite doing the same amount of exercise. Why? Because their bodies’ increased oxygen capacity gave their muscles a boosted supply of oxygen without their hearts having to work any harder.
The boosted oxygen supply also lessened the overall fatigue they felt from their menstrual cramps. All of these findings mean that taking a daily iron supplement could help make you feel less tired during your period and help prevent you from developing anemia from the loss of blood. If it helps you work out for longer without tiring, then it should also relieve the pain and aches from your menstrual cramps because you’ll be able to further stimulate your body to pump more feel-good endorphins through your system while exercising longer.
4. Fish Oil Has Been Proven to Help Relieve Menstrual Cramp Pain Better Than Ibuprofen
Take a gram of fish oil everyday. Doctors gave their patients 1 gram of fish oil in capsule form everyday. They also observed another group of female patients that didn’t take any fish oil supplements. When both groups developed menstrual cramps shortly before and during their periods, the non-fish oil group took ibuprofen while the fish oil group continued to take their daily gram of fish oil.
The doctors were surprised to find that the patients who simply took the fish oil supplement experienced more pain relief than the the patients who took ibuprofen. They concluded that taking a fish oil supplement would most likely relieve more pain than taking ibuprofen for menstrual cramp-related aching.
The catch is that you must take fish oil daily, and not just when you’re experiencing menstrual cramps. This isn’t really a catch since fish oil is holistically healthy for you – nurturing your nervous and cardiac systems.
You Can Also Try These Quick and Simple Remedies for Immediate Menstrual Cramp Pain Relief
If you need immediate relief now from your menstrual cramps, you can try these simple, on-the-spot remedies:
Apply a heat pack or a bag filled with warm water around your abdomen and lower back. Some research has found that doing so provides immediate pain relief from menstrual cramps. Taking a warm bath works just as well!
Drink chamomile tea. Evidence shows that chamomile tea causes your body to release compounds that help soothe muscle contractions and relax nerves. Their dual effects may help soothe menstrual cramp aching and pains.
More than two out of four females will be unfortunate enough to develop menstrual cramps every month. The odds aren’t in your favor, but if you do experience pain and lethargy during your period, know that there are very effective, holistically healthy remedies there to aid you. Try these and see how they do – it’s not a costly experiment since they’re probably exponentially cheaper than your menstrual cramps medication! Everyone is different, and maybe some of these will be better than what your doctor is currently prescribing, while others might have a smaller effect on relieving your menstrual cramps. But these are supplements you should be taking everyday anyway to boost your health – treating your menstrual cramps is an added bonus!
Remember not to try any new treatments without consulting with your doctor first. Also, remember that your lifestyle affects the severity of your menstrual cramps as well – that means exercise more, don’t smoke, and don’t get too stressed (especially about 14 days before your period)!