Debilitating stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, tiredness, bloating, irritability (commonly known as PMS or PMT), chronic dizziness, and fainting are just a few symptoms of severe period pain, or dysmenorrhea as it is medically known. Many women are affected by period pain so severe that it affects their daily activities and causes absence from work.
There are many non-medicinal methods which are commonly used as a treatment for period pain:
Applying Heat on the Pain Reduces the Severity of Menstrual Cramps
Applying heat on the site of the pain is one of the most popular ways of relieving menstrual cramps. Similar to any muscular injury, if heat is put onto the area of pain the heat will travel through the affected area and numb the pain. The most common heat source used is a hot water bottle, however other heat sources include microwaveable heat packs or Beddy Bears (soft toys that are heated in a microwave and put on areas of pain).
Alternative Remedies are Popular Methods Used to Treat Period Pain
There is a huge variety of natural herbal remedies on the market. Probably the most common natural remedy for menstrual pain is oil of evening primrose, which if taken once a day is said to relieve PMT and prevent cramps. Chamomile tea and peppermint are also popular for treating period pain, whether in the form of a tea or a few drops added to a hot bath. Lavender oil is also recommended for relaxing muscles.
Spiritual healing is another method used for treating severe period pain. The idea is that natural healing energy travels from the healer to the patient to heal the mind, body and spirit. The healer places their hands over the area of pain and lets the healing energy travel through the patient’s body which speeds up the body’s natural healing processes. Contrary to belief, an individual does not need to be religious or necessarily believe in it for it to work.
Electronic Devices Used for Treating Period Pain
There is a small electronic device available on the market called Magno-pulse. Magnetic therapy works through a small device which can be subtly clipped onto your underwear and it sits on the tummy all day and lets the wearer carry on with their daily activities. It improves blood circulation in the uterus and prevents a chemical called lactic acid which causes cramps building in the blood.
Another popular device for treating period pain is a TENS machine. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Electrodes from a small machine are attached to the skin and small electrical pulses travel through the body. These electrodes are said to block pain signals to the brain. A lot of women use a TENS machine during labor to help them cope with contractions.
Non-Medical Procedures for Preventing Period Pain
Colonic hydrotherapy is a common procedure which is used for preventing severe menstrual cramps. It is becoming very popular among people who claim it makes them feel uplifted and lighter afterwards. It is painless and takes no more than a couple of hours in a relaxed atmosphere. Everything is drained out the gut through a tiny tube to relieve pressure on the uterus and thus relieve muscle cramps.
Acupuncture is another popular method used to relieve menstrual cramps. Acupuncture transpires from the Chinese Yin and Yang theory. By inserting needles into the skin, this is said to restore the balance of Yin and Yang in your system which is disturbed during your menstrual cycle and result in pain.
Gentle Exercise May Relieve Menstrual Pain
Regular gentle exercise is regarded as an effective way to ease pain. Exercise used by many women to treat menstrual cramps are yoga and Pilates. Yoga focuses on physical postures and poses with the aim of creating a balance in the body which produces a union of mind, body and spirit. Many women have reported a change in their menstrual pain since starting yoga.
Pilates is another popular method which is allegedly effective for relieving period pain. Pilates teaches awareness of breathing, breathing techniques with the aim of strengthening your core muscles, thus reducing the risk of muscles going into cramps during a period.
Diet Can Influence the Menstrual Cycle and Relieve Period Pain
Avoiding certain foods and leading a healthier lifestyle will help the menstrual cycle. Plenty of water and plenty of fruit and vegetables should be consumed. Intake of caffeine and dairy foods should be reduced and plenty of vitamins consumed to reduce muscle spasms.
Reducing food intake before the period may also help prevent menstrual cramps. The severity of stomach cramps become reduced when the bowel is empty and the gut is putting less pressure on the uterus. Studies have been carried out on a possible link between period pain and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some women also claim that eating a banana helps relieve muscle cramps. This may be a result of the high potassium content in bananas.
Other Tips for Relieving Period Pain
Being a non-smoker is said to help with menstrual pain as smokers are more likely to suffer painful periods and PMT than non-smokers. Apple cider vinegar is also considered extremely effective for treating many ailments, not least period pain. Two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar added to a glass of water or cup of tea three times daily is said to relieve pain and reduce the blood flow.
Different methods work for different people so it is just a matter of finding what method is right for the individual. There is no definite treatment for period pain. However many women do find something that works for them eventually. It is merely a process of experimentation which can be a long or short process depending on the individual.
Grannymed.com. “Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps”
Magno-pulse.com, “Period Pain”
Tenscare.co.uk. “How Tens Works”