When you menstruate, your body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb), in the form of blood, mucus, and other substances. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina. This occurs as periods of around one astral month from puberty until it ceases, except during pregnancy. It is the most natural and crucial part of a woman’s life, but many a times are accompanied by painful menstrual cramps. Though, there is nothing to worry about when the abdomen starts to ache during menstruation, this irregular pain can turn out to be very irritating and disrupt day to day activities, forcing you to remain in bed.
The uterine muscles contract during menstruation because of a hormone known prostaglandin, and this in turn hinders blood flow to the lining of the uterus, causing the abdomen to ache. This is why your period ‘cramps’ occur!
Cramping can cause a pulsating pain in the lower region of the belly. There is usually no definite period for the cramps to last. While for most people menstrual cramps last not more that the first 2-3 days of the cycle, various others are rid of them during first day of the period itself. Some women even experience cramps a little before the inception of the period! For many women, menstrual cramps may reduce or completely disappear after childbirth.
There are numerous factors that can increase the possibilities of a person suffering from menstrual cramps. These may be natural, out of our control, like attaining puberty prematurely, hereditary, profound bleeding during the cycle etc. The man-made factors include unhealthy habits like excessive consumption of caffeine, consumption of tobacco in the form of smoking, an inactive, deskbound lifestyle, too much alcohol intake, and drugs (which gives us another very good reason for quitting them, doesn’t it?!)
Women spend heavily on medicines, pills and trips to doctors to find solutions for period cramps. Many of us don’t realise that the best therapies and treatments for the pain are present at our homes itself. These easy, natural home remedies have been found to be more effective and give relief from the pain faster, and in some cases, even prevent the cramps completely.
Here are the top home remedies for menstrual cramps that we all need to adopt to get rid of severe period cramps:
This is an evergreen ‘remedy’ that every woman should adhere to in her life at all times, not just during menstruation! Drinking at least fourteen to fifteen glasses of water daily can help the prostaglandin get the adequate amount of lubrication it needs during menstruation and lower the pain.
2. Applying Heat
Exposing the lower part of the belly to a reasonably high temperature is the easiest way to control menstrual cramps. Heat enables the contracting muscles in the uterus to loosen up. Place a heating pad or a towel soaked in warm water over the abdomen, or simply take a hot shower!
3. Ginger (Adarak)
Ginger helps reduce the levels of the hormone that causes pain and can also help in attaining uniformity in the occurrence of the cycle. Ginger can be consumed 3 times a day during menstruation in the form of ginger tea with a little lemon and honey.
4. Lavender Oil Massage
Massages with lavender oil might be able to significantly reduce pain. Massage also helps you relax, because the more tense you are, the more you can cramp.
5. Basil (Tulsi)
This marvellous herb has an acid that makes it a natural pain-killer! Most of us tradition loving Indians have at least one plant of tulsi in our homes, making this remedy ever so simple and achievable. You can simply crush the leaves to extract the juice into a container, add it to lukewarm water and drink it thrice a day, during your periods, to watch its magic unfold!
Yoga should be a ‘top-priority’ when it comes to solving the problem of menstrual cramps. Poses that target the pelvis and lumbar region, where menstrual pain is the worst, can be most helpful.
7. Cinnamon (Dalcheeni)
Cinnamon has anti-spasm and anti-coagulating characteristics that can ease down abdominal pain! The best way to consume it in order to get relief from period cramps is by consuming cinnamon as tea with honey.
8. Fennel (Saunf)
Fennel helps relax the muscles in the uterus and reduce the cramping and uneasiness. Even fennel can be consumed in the form of a hot, herbal tea, like the other remedies mentioned above. One should add honey in this tea for best results and drink it 2 times a day during menstruation.
9. Aerobics and Exercise
Staying active and sweating out with proper exercise can also help during periods, though the practice has to be continued even on normal days when you don’t have a period! Aerobics may not relieve you from the pain, they can make the cramps bearable, letting you carry out your day to day activities with ease.
10. Shira (Blackstrap Molasses)
This is a thick, dark liquid. It is the highest and most nutritious grade of molasses. Women usually use it to make their hair darker and healthier. But not many know that reducing menstrual cramps is also one of its most certified properties! Drinking it with a cup of warm milk during periods helps bring down blood clots and appease the uterus muscles.
With these simple remedies, you can kiss those annoying menstrual cramps goodbye!