Women's Health

The Ultimate Treatments For Menstrual Cramps

Has your menstruation become a nightmare due to menstrual cramps?

You hold and squeeze your stomach so tight, but the pains keep getting worse.

It feels like someone is grinding your stomach with an electric blender, and sometimes the pain even transfers to your lower back and legs.

You miss the good days before your menstruation — days when you woke up and did all your favourite activities without pain.

Well.

These treatments for menstrual cramps will give you the freedom and painlessness that you deserve to enjoy during your menstruation days.

Over-the-counter medicine for menstrual cramps

Pills and capsule

The most recommended treatment for your menstrual cramps is certain painkillers called Non – Steroidal Anti – Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

NSAIDs should be your first choice of treatment because they target Prostaglandin – the hormone responsible for your menstrual pains.

Excess Prostaglandin is the popular cause of painful menstruation, and these particular painkillers (NSAIDs) work by reducing the production of this hormone.

The most effective NSAIDs for your menstrual pain relief are;

  1. Ibuprofen
  2. Naxprofen
  3. Acetaminophen

NSAIDs are called over-the-counter drugs because they are available in local pharmacies.

So, walk into a pharmacy nearest to you, and ask for any of the above NSAIDs. Take medicine immediately you start feeling the symptoms of menstrual pains.

However, make sure you stick to the dosage. Do NOT overdose!

Prescription medicines for menstrual cramps

A female doctor

This is the second most recommended treatment for your menstrual cramps.

Prescription medicines are those medicines whose dosage and usage are to be recommended by a professional or certified healthcare provider.

This is because these drugs can be sensitive to different health status, which only a doctor or nurse can understand.

In other words, prescription medicines are not common in local pharmacies, unlike over-the-counter drugs.

Oral contraceptives make up the prescription medicines for treating menstrual cramps.

How it works;

  • Oral contraceptive pills prevent ovulation.
  • No ovulation means your eggs do NOT mature for release.
  • If your eggs do not mature, there will be little or no blood tissues lining your uterus.
  • Little or no blood tissues lining your uterus wall means a reduced amount of Prostaglandin needed to shake it off as menstrual blood.
  • A reduced amount of Prostaglandin equals to less pain during your menstruation.

However, because this oral contraceptive treatment stops ovulation, doctors only prescribe this treatment for those who are NOT trying to get pregnant anytime soon.

You should visit a medical centre and speak with a doctor or nurse before using prescription medicines for your menstrual cramps.

Surgery for menstrual cramps

A surgeon selecting his tools

Although surgery has a 100% guarantee of stopping your menstrual pains forever, you should only consider it as your last resort.

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of your uterus.

If there is no uterus, what else is there to cause menstruation not to talk of a painful one?

However, a successful hysterectomy also means that you can never get pregnant again. This is because once your womb is removed, there is no putting it back.

So before you consider surgery as an option, make sure you have tried all other treatments of menstrual cramps, including the ones below.

Home remedies for menstrual cramps

A woman resting with a cup of water

Heat treatment

This method of pain relief works by relaxing your muscles, increasing your blood circulation and reducing your body fluid retention around that area on which the heat is applied.

Remember that primary dysmenorrhea is caused by the excessive contraction of your uterine muscles. Therefore, that pain associated with your menstruation is reduced when heat relaxes those muscle tensions

Also, increased blood flow to that painful area will help to soothe the nerve cells and reduce whatever is irritating them.

How to apply:

  • Soak a clean cloth in warm water or fill a bottle with warm water.
  • Lie on your back and place the wet cloth or hot water bottle on your lower belly.
  • If the pain is at your lower back then, lie on your belly and place the wet cloth or water bottle on your lower back.
  • Let it be there for a while but do not fall asleep without removing it.
  • Re-soak or re-fill and re-place the cloth or water bottle if it gets cold.
  • You can also take a hot shower or deep yourself in a warm bath while you sip a glass of wine and listen to your favourite music playlist.

Orgasm

Whether by yourself or with the help of your partner, having an orgasm works to reduce your menstrual pains.

Orgasm releases many “feel good” hormones like endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin.

These hormones make you feel less pain by increasing your excitement.

Flo Health confirmed this method to be 70% effective in reducing menstrual pains.

Also, orgasm increases the blood flow to your vaginal area, and that will help to reduce menstrual pains too.

Dietary changes

Changing what you eat or drink is one of the most simple treatments for menstrual cramps.

  1. Drink more water.

However, if you are not okay with “just water” then, you can make a fruit juice or consume fruits that have high water content like cucumbers, watermelons, peaches, oranges, etc.

2. Avoid caffeinated and carbonated drinks.

3. Avoid salty, sugary, fatty, and fried foods.

More fruits, less processed foods

4. Eat more of foods that are high in;

  • Fibres – fruits and leafy green vegetables
  • Calcium – almonds, nuts, soya beans, vegetables, and dairy products
  • Magnesium – almonds, spinach, cashew, peanuts
  • Vitamin B1 – liver, nuts, oranges, oats, eggs, beef, seeds, legumes
  • Omega-3 fat – Salmon, walnuts, avocado, pumpkin

5. Stay away from tobacco and alcohol forever because they increase your chances of having painful menstruations.

You can start these dietary improvements a few days before, and throughout your menstruation days.

However, I would advise that you try, and keep to this diet even after your menstrual pains have reduced or stopped.

This is because healthy foods do not only help with menstrual cramps, but they also improve your overall wellbeing and health status.

Fish oil

The Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil is not only the healthiest fat but has also been found to be one of the most effective treatments for menstrual cramps.

Mackerels, cods, salmons, herrings, trout, light tuna, and sardines are some cold-water fishes known from their high Omega-3 content.

Therefore, whether it is the fish oil extract or the fish oil capsule or just eating more cold-water fishes, going on an Omega-3 diet can reduce your menstrual pains to almost zero with no significant side effects.

Lying down

Lying sideways or with your legs raised would help to direct the blood flow to your lower abdomen.

Increased blood circulation in your lower abdomen provides more oxygen to that area, which will reduce muscles tension, and calm irritated nerves.

You could distract yourself in this position by watching any of your favourite movies.

Good sleep

Although menstrual cramps can disturb your sleep, the same applies the other way round.

Alternative medicines for menstrual cramps

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic or essential oils as therapy.

Essential oils are called so because they retain the “essence” of the plant’s fragrance from which they were extracted, hence, the AROMA-therapy.

The best form of aromatherapy is through inhalation (breathing in the aroma).

However, another study in the U.S. Library of Medicine confirmed that when applied directly on your pain point(s), and in combination with massage, essential oils could be more effective in reducing those painful cramps of your menstruation.

The third method is oral (drinking the oil) and considered the slowest means of getting the oil to your pain point.

Among other essential oils, these three were the most mentioned for treating painful menstruations;

  1. Lavender oil
  2. Clary sage oil
  3. Rosemary oil

How to apply:

  • Get either of the above essential oils.
  • You could mix them with carrier oils like coconut oil, almond oil, etc.
  • Pour some into your hands.
  • Massage your abdomen with those hands.
  • Rub it hard against enough to seem like you are pressing the oil into your skin. However, do not press too hard.
  • Put some more oil into your hands and repeat.
  • Keep doing this for 3-5minutes or longer.

You could also breathe in the aroma of these aromatic oils. Take as many deep breaths as you can.

Exercises

Have you noticed that it is those your athletic girlfriends that complain the least about menstrual cramps?

Well,

Exercises are popular for several medicinal reasons, including pain relief.

One study in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology was particular about stretching, kegel, jogging, and relaxation for reducing menstruation pains.

Other research included a treadmill too.

However, I’d like to summarize that any workout that is focused on your core (abdomen) and lower body (from your waist down) are the most effective exercises for reducing the pains of your menstrual cramps.

Take a brisk walk. Do sit-ups or crunches. Take a light jog. Ride a bicycle. Skip ropes. Do squats. Etc. Whatever works your core and lower body more.

However, it should not be too strenuous. Exercise within your limits.

Massage or acupressure

Did you know that massage reduces menstrual pains faster than exercises do?

The reason is clear and backed up with results from a comparative study.

Come to think of it,

Massages are more specific in their application, aren’t they?

In massage, you or the masseur will be in direct contact with that your exact pain point, unlike exercises that usually have a wider range of focus.

How to perform a belly massage for your menstrual pain relief;

  • Lie down on your back
  • Place your palm on your belly button
  • Put your other palm on top of the one on your belly button
  • Press down your stomach a little with your palms
  • Start moving your palms in a circular manner as if you are drawing imaginary circles on your belly button
  • Do this for 5-10 minutes

Please note that massages are most efficient for reducing menstrual pains when combined with aromatherapy.

Acupuncture

This involves the use of tiny needles to strike certain nerves in your skin that will activate the pain relief mechanism in your body.

Acupuncture is an ancient therapy that takes effect faster than most other treatments for reducing pains. However, a specialist – Acupuncturist, can only do it.

So if you have an acupuncturist around, pay him/her a visit when your menstrual pains start.

Meditation

Have you tried Yoga?

One research studied some women who had menstrual cramps. The researcher split these women into two groups and started his study.

One group meditated for three months; 60 minutes per week while the other group did not.

The results were that those women who engaged in Yoga reported lesser intensity and duration of menstrual pains than the remaining half who did not participate in Yoga.

So, once again, have you tried Yoga? Moreover, it also has no side effect.

Herbal treatments for menstrual cramps

Ginger

Many studies have confirmed ginger as another effective treatment for menstrual cramps.

It has no side effect, which makes it even better than ibuprofen and other over-the-counter drugs.

Ginger can be sliced into your meals or powdered and sprinkled on your water.

You could also prepare ginger herbal tea and keep drinking it through your menstruation days to relieve the pains.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another plant that has been found to relieve menstrual pains.

A study found that women who took cinnamon in any form experienced less painful menstruation than those who left their dysmenorrhea untreated.

Take cinnamon pills or add some to your food and water to ease your menstrual cramps.

Curcumin

Curcumin is a healthy compound that is extracted from the Turmeric herbal plant.

Many research prescribed Curcumin for treating menstrual cramps, and this compound is more available in capsules, which you can get from your nearest drugstore.

However, you can also use the source plant (Tumeric) as a treatment for your painful menstruation, but it is usually not as effective as the extract – Curcumin.

Conclusion

With all these effective treatments for menstrual cramps,

Do you choose to remain in that pain, and allow it to mess up your mood, ruin your relationships, disturb your work or do you choose to put a stop to your menstrual pains for good?

The choice is yours to make.

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[mks_toggle title=References state=”open”] 1. Aromatherapy for managing pain in primary dysmenorrhea. (Nov. 2018). www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
2. Comparison of the effect of fish oil and ibuprofen on treatment of severe pain in primary dysmenorrhea. (Jul. 2018). www.ncbi.nlm.nih.com
3. Comparison of the effect of massage therapy and isometric exercises on primary dysmenorrhea. (Mar. 2015). www.jpagonline.org
4. Effect of a physiotherapy program on women with primary dysmenorrhea. (Aug. 2015). www.ejog.org
5. Home remedies for menstrual cramp relief. (Feb. 2019). www.medicalnewstoday.com
6. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for dysmenorrhea. (Jul. 2015). www.cochranelibrary.com
7. The effect of ginger and mefenamic acid on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea. (Jun. 2015). www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov
8. Tips to reduce period cramps that really work. (Nov. 2018). www.flo.health.com
9. Ways to relieve menstrual cramps. (Mar. 2019). www.onhealth.com
10. Ways to survive period cramps, and survive that time of the month. (Aug. 2019). www.brightside.me[/mks_toggle]

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