Period cramps and menstrual pain are familiar to all gals who get to hang out with her “best friend” for an entire week during that time of the month.
OK, maybe calling a period a woman’s “best” friend is a little much, but admit it, there are times when you really are glad to get yours. Other times, she shows up when you wish she wouldn’t. For example, just before a vacation or when you’re wearing white jeans.
Not to mention, period pain that can be the WORST.
If you’re one of those lucky people who has a period that’s predictable (lucky you!), you know what to expect and how to plan.
So what exactly IS your period (other than a destroyer of our laundry)? And why is it so miserable?!
Menstruation is the monthly reminder that our eggs are not preggo, and if you’re trying not to be, when to practice the safest sex.
She’s also the crimson warrior that can be moody at times, and the main reason that hot water bottles and Midol are in every girl’s cabinet.
According to Women’sHealth.Gov, when you menstruate, your body sheds the lining of the uterus aka the womb. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina.
Most menstrual periods last from 3 to 5 days, but some can last longer than a week!
Each woman has her own form of a menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle provides important body chemicals, called hormones, to keep you healthy. It also prepares your body for pregnancy each month. A cycle is counted from the first day of your period, known as Day 1, and then lasts to the first day of your next period, and the average menstrual cycle is 28 days long and can last anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adult females and from 21 to 45 days in young female teens.
That’s a LOT of info to process, but if this your first period, know that this process is normal.
Menstruation is your period is passing blood out of your womb in a natural and totally normal process when your body hits the life stage where it is possible for you to get pregnant. That’s why there’s PAIN associated with a period.
Horrible menstrual cramps can complicate life during that week where your “friend” comes to stay. It’s confusing to know how to deal.
Cramps are no joke, they can seriously be painful and uncomfortable. Everyone and their mom seem to have their own version or home remedies on how to deal with and treat period cramps. Some work, and some not so much, but every girl’s body is different so it’s important to keep in mind that some processes that don’t work for other girls might work for you and vice versa.
Period cramps are an issue that many women complain about during their time of the month. And like it or not, period cramps — depending on their intensity — are actually NOT always normal.
They can happen all the time but they actually aren’t supposed to with a “normal” cycle. Period cramps with every cycle can indicate higher levels of estrogen or that you have eaten too much sugar, which can cause an inflammatory response inside your body. So it’s important to find out (through your doctor) if your period cramps are aligned with your healthy menstrual cycle, or if they’re a sign of something else.
There are natural and medicinal remedies that can help reduce the tension from uterine contractions that move the blood from the womb out of your body. The days before your period mimic pregnancy: the hormones your body gives off during this time like progesterone can be identical to pregnancy side effects. Bloating, acne and swollen breasts are all in that category.
So if your cramps feel similar to when you were pregnant or your constantly uncomfortable during your cycle, that’s probably why.
To counteract your period pain, we’ve collected 9 tips women can use to get rid of period cramps that actually WORK:
1. First, try changing up your diet.
A low-fat diet has actually been proven to decrease inflammation in our bodies including our uterus! Drinking things like calming teas can help. Avoid caffeine, but do consider soothing blends like tea with peppermint oil, herbs or ginger ingredients.
2. Try painkillers intended for women on their periods.
Some OTC pills help reduce bloating and painful period cramps. Since there are women who get headaches and nausea during their period, there may be ingredients that help with that as well.
Ibuprofen and Midol are two of the most commonly used. This helps to alleviate the pain but don’t take more than the recommended dosage, and only use them with your doctor’s permission.
3. Acupuncture is a slightly painful way to get rid of your, well, worse pain.
Holistic practices, such as acupuncture may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are women who swear by it to help relieve their cramps. A trained doctor locates pressure points in the body to help relieve inflammation, which can happen when your body is responding to pain.
4. Heating pads do WONDERS.
The heat from a heating pad helps reduce inflammation in the abdominal area and improve blood circulation. This can help take the back or stomach pain away for some women.
Back pain may be more than just pains: It could indicate higher levels of estrogen, and if you are experiencing a lot of it you should talk to your doctor.
5. Stay comfortable.
Heavy blood flow is another common complaint made by women and finding what to wear can be a challenge. Some lucky girls seem to have a “light” flow. Well, if you do count your lucky stars because a heavy blood flow is no picnic.
A countless number of jeans, shorts and cute underwear have fallen victim to it.
6. Avoid getting too dehydrated.
Drinking water and staying hydrated is shown to help with some of the heavy flows women experience.
7. Get plenty of sleep.
It seems simple but your period flow slows down when you are sleeping. So don’t skip any necessary hours. If you can’t sleep because of pain, try to rest as much as you can so that your body gets the downtime it needs.
8. Eat an iron-rich diet.
Taking iron pills and eating iron-rich foods like clams and potatoes can help with heavy flow and prevent you from feeling dizzy or nauseated! Or even better… eat some DARK CHOCOLATE. YES! Chocolate can actually HELP you!
Having your period often leads to iron deficiency: Losing all that blood definitely correlates with losing iron. Feeling weak or tired all the time during your cycle can prove that you need to try and add more iron into your body to even it all out.
9. Try eating some garlic.
Eat garlic-rich foods and use it in your meals. Garlic is shown to help balance out hormones and alleviate heavy blood flow.
As you can see, there are many ways you can help with period cramps. So, next time you have a bad period, try some of these out. Do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
Originally written by Molly Given on YourTango
Featured image via Polina Zimmerman on Pexels