Do you often feel a tension or even painful cramps in your abdomen during your period? Are you irritated and tired? You are not alone - we have all been through this during our period. If you understand the causes of menstrual pain and other menstrual problems and follow a few tips, you may be able to feel better during your period and go through it just like any other day.
Regular Period Pain& Cramps
Have you ever wondered what exactly happens in your body and what causes your menstrual cramps? Here is a brief overview: Menstrual pain, which doctors call primary dysmenorrhea, often starts at the beginning of your period after an egg in the ovary breaks loose and moves towards the fallopian tubes. During this process, the messenger substances prostaglandins are increasingly formed in the lining of the uterus, which support the activity of the uterine muscles to repel the lining. Your uterus contracts repeatedly to promote the separation of the upper layers of the mucous membrane, which can lead to cramp-like menstrual pain.
There is also something called secondary dysmenorrhoea, which is period pain caused by a disease (e.g. cysts, uterine inflammation, myomas, endometriosis) or mechanical contraceptives (IUD). If you are unsure which type of pain you are experiencing, your doctor can tell you with various diagnostic methods to find out whether your period pain is within the "normal" spectrum or not.
Hormones are responsible for your mood highs and lows during your menstrual cycle. Depending on your progesterone and oestrogen levels, which can affect the level of the happiness hormone serotonin in the brain, you may feel tired and irritated or suddenly seem to have more energy and be relaxed.
Tips On How To Ease The Pain And Control Mood Swings
1. Keep moving! It’s not necessary to overexert your body, but a light to moderate exercise program while breathing fresh air - such as walking, cycling or swimming - often works wonders to relieve abdominal pain. Exercise has a positive effect on your well-being and helps you stretch the muscles in your abdomen, relieving any pain and tension.
2. Warmth is still the best home remedy! Put a hot water bottle on your stomach when you are lying on the sofa, or take a hot shower or bath to stimulate the blood circulation. Heat dilates the blood vessels, relaxes your body and relieves pain.
3. Spoil yourself a bit and lift your spirits! Take time to go out with friends or watch your favourite movie. Treat yourself to a delicious, healthy meal. By the way: Dark chocolate helps to curb your cravings and increases your serotonin levels.
4. Don't have any coffee! Even if your daily coffee seems as natural to you as breathing - it's worth giving it up during your period. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels and can aggravate complaints such as headaches and cramps.
5. Make sure you get enough sleep! There are so many reasons why sleep is important: it maintains hormone and blood sugar levels plus it gives your body time to regenerate. Allow yourself a long nap in the afternoon to feel fresh again. If you use a hot water bottle or heating pad to relax, you may find it easier to fall asleep.
Do you notice symptoms such as irritability, headaches or discomfort even before your period? Then inform yourself about PMS - (premenstrual syndrome).
Period pains at night are exactly the same kind of cramps you get in the day, but when you’re trying to sleep they can be a bit more annoying! Try the tried and true remedies of heat packs, hot water bottles or medications designed specifically for menstrual pain and cramping. Your pharmacist will be able to talk you through the options. If your cramps seem to come on worse at night, be prepared – take your medication a good half an hour before you hit the sack.
Question: When I'm on my period I get really bad cramps sometimes to the point where I throw up. I'm on the pill to help but it doesn't really do much. is there anything I can do to lessen the pain? its horrible :-( I also have an iron deficiency but I take tablets for that, could that be a reason for the pain?
Dr. Farah Kroman: Iron deficiency certainly can make your PMS symptoms worse, particularly your tiredness and mood. Make sure you have an iron rich diet with plenty of legumes, soy beans, lentils, spinach, beef and turkey. in terms of your cramping, see you pharmacist for anti inflammatory medication such as Naprosyn or ibuprofen. Start this early and take it regularly for the first 2-3 days of your period to help manage the pain. If this doesn't help, you should probably see a gynaecologist.