The medical term for menstrual cramps is dysmenorrhea. It is a painful muscle spasm felt mostly in the lower back and lower part of abdomen. It may even get extended to the thighs as well. In some cases, menstrual cramps is accompanied by other symptoms such as headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, etc. The intensity and duration of the cramps is different for every women. For some it is just an annoying condition that lasts for few hours. Others may have to bear this pain helplessly for about a week. No matter what every woman wants to get rid of menstrual cramps as quickly as possible.
What Causes Menstrual Cramps?
Hormonal fluctuation is the main cause of menstrual cramps. During menstruation, special hormones known as prostaglandins are released into woman's body in large amount to facilitate contraction of the uterine wall. This is important for shedding the inner lining of the uterus. If the duration of uterine contraction is less, then a woman feels slight discomfort. However, if it lasts longer, then pain is experienced. The pain tend to get aggravated when blood supply to the uterus get affected due to excessive contraction of uterine muscles. Thus it affects oxygen supply which intensifies the pain. A few other factors such as smoking, stress and depression may contribute towards severe menstrual cramps.
How to Get rid of Menstrual Cramps Without Medication?
Over the counter pain killer are widely used for obtaining relief from menstrual cramps. Still, some women look for how to relieve painful cramps without these medicines as they do not want to have them for such a minor ailment. For them, these are the best ways to get rid of menstrual cramps:
During the days of menstrual cramps, rest your body as much as possible. Too much of physical exertion can worsen the pain. While resting, lie on your side and keep the knees near your chest. This will ease off the pain from the pelvis area.
There are a number of stretching exercises that can provide relief from menstrual cramps. The focus of the stretches should be lower back area. Here is an example for you. Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart and arms stretched on the sides. Then bend on one side and try to touch the ankle with one hand and keeping the other hand up in the air. Repeat the same on the other side as well.
Apply heat directly on the lower abdomen with the help of a heating pad in order to relieve menstrual cramps. Alternatively, a warm bath can give you a soothing relief from the painful symptoms. Lack of blood supply increases the pain. When you apply heat, then blood flow to the area improves and you feel relieved.
To release the muscular tension, you must eat foods that are good source of vitamin B, calcium and magnesium. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, lean protein are good for this purpose. You must stay away from spicy foods, sugary foods, dairy products, caffeine as they tend to aggravate bloating and make you sluggish.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Menstrual Cramps
A few natural ways to get rid of cramps are as follows:
Pineapple contains enzyme named bromelain that can relax the muscles that are responsible for causing menstrual cramps. Therefore, you must eat pineapples at the time of menstruation.
Chamomile is an excellent herb used for treating menstrual cramps. Prepare a tea by soaking 1-2 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain out the tea and mix one teaspoon of honey to it. Start taking this tea twice daily before your due date for best results.
Cinnamon possess amazing anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic qualities that can reduce the intensity of menstrual cramping. Ground cinnamon sticks to prepare a fine powder. Add this to your foods or tea.
Basil leaves contain a component named caffeic acid which act as a natural pain reliever. You can use the basil leaves for seasoning foods. Or else, prepare a tea by soaking a few basil leaves in a cup of boiling water. Have this tea several times in a day.
If these remedies fail to show any improvement and the menstrual cramps is badly affecting your normal life activities then it is advisable that you consult your doctor. There could be some underlying gynecological problem that requires medical intervention.