Make Shark Week a little easier to bear with these pain relievers.
As women, we all have one week every month that we come to anticipate and dread. Period, menstruation or whichever word you use, we can all agree that regardless of how heavy the flow, it brings pain, anxiety and a whole other flux of heightened emotions. The cherry on top of the no-pleasure cake? The throbbing, unbearable agony of cramps.
So, let’s get to technicalities and figure out what’s really going on down there. Every month, the uterus wall builds up and prepares for a possible pregnancy. If by chance fertilization does take place, the egg latches onto the lining, so starting the nine-month birth cycle. If fertilization does not occur, the uterine wall starts to self-destruct. After this breakdown, prostaglandin hormones trigger the muscles of the uterus (the same muscles that push a baby out during pregnancy) to contract and squeeze out the dissolved lining. It is this process that generates cramps and the consequent pain. For some women, it’s a bearable throb; for those with higher levels of prostaglandins, it’s a severe doubled-up-and-dying kind of ache.
Depending on their intensity, cramps can interfere with work, school and your overall schedule. Although the pain cannot be totally subdued, there are tips and tricks to reduce the sensation.
Use these remedies to get a handle on your cramps the next time Aunt Flo comes to town, and ensure ‘time of the month’ does not equal ‘time out from life’.
Heat relaxes the contracting muscles (the cause of your cramps) and thus reduces the pain. Heat pads, hot water bottles, a warm bath or even a microwaved cloth sack with rice grains can be used to put you out of your misery.
It may sound absurd that the solution to not being able to walk straight on Period Days could be a quick run, but it’s not a joke. Frequent exercise helps regulate the levels of hormones, including the prostaglandins that cause the intensity of cramps. Slotting in a couple of workouts throughout the month will lessen the amount of pain felt during your period, and an easy workout on the days of might leave your body feeling relaxed and tension-free.
This herb has the ability to calm muscle spasms and is therefore an ideal remedy for easing the soreness you feel during period cramps. Since chamomile also promotes sleep, it’s perfect for catching up on nighttime hours you usually spend writhing in pain. So brew yourself a warm cuppa and arm yourself for this bloody battle.
Even though eating seems impossible, it’s very important to maintain nutrition levels, especially during that time of the month. When planning your meals, include natural ingredients known for reducing discomfort during cramps, such as carrot, milk, papaya, as well as a mixture of aloe vera juice and honey. Avoiding caffeine (which constricts blood vessels) and fatty meats (which increase prostaglandins) is wise, too.
Menstruation is an unavoidable bodily function. All we can do is come to a compromise with Mother Nature and get the hang of surviving through the agony. Use these pointers to make sure your daily routines are never interrupted again!
This article was originally published as ‘Conquer Your Cramps’ in the February 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more health and life advice, grab a copy of our latest magazine.
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