Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, I suffered from painful menstrual cramps. I missed days from school, constantly had to take paracetamol/aspirin, and sometimes even cried at the beginning of my cycle. The pain deterred me from eating, obtaining a good night's rest, and caused me to feel an overall mess. Today, that horrific time in my life is a thing of the past. I very seldom experience severe cramps, sometimes only once at the beginning of my cycle. I have a few tips that you can read about that may relieve or even prevent your cramps altogether.
APPLY HEAT TO THE PROBLEM AREA
Using hot water bottles or other heated compresses ( such as towels ) is one of the most frequently used remedies when trying to ease menstrual discomfort. Applying a hot water bottle or towel to your abdominal area helps to relax the muscles that are causing you pain.
A warm bath also works wonders in relaxing you and soothing your muscles. Of course, walking around in public clutching a huge hot water bottle to your stomach may cause a few stares. For days out, try using small heating pads that either wrap around your waist or stick to the inside of your pants. Some of these are reusable while others have a one time use only. I have tried each of them and they work perfectly fine and even stay heated for over five hours!
As a teenager, I had horrible eating habits. My mentality was: 'the greasier the better' and 'sweetness is your friend'. I preferred to sleep late on school days and wake up with enough time to wash, put on my uniform and grab some pop-tarts on my way out the door.
I've found out now, as an adult, that sometimes when I feel cramps coming on, I probably need something as simple as a hot meal. Almost nine out of ten times, my cramps disappear soon as I'm halfway through my food. If you are experiencing cramps, try to remember your last meal. Were you completely full? A simple and easy trick to fix this would be to have a filling bite to eat.
Foods that are rich in potassium ( such as bananas ), are credited for their ability to keep cramps at bay . I obtained a list of foods that were high in Potassium and was shocked to find out that I only consumed one out of a possible fifty or so foods! Since then, I have introduced Potassium into my diet and prefer to eat something high in Potassium when I feel cramps beginning to start.
CUT DOWN ON CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION
A week before my period is due, I cut out ALL caffeinated foods and beverages and continue avoiding these foods until my period has completely finished. That's right, no chocolates at all for me! I found out that having caffeine around the time my period was due or even during my period almost always resulted in some of the worst cramps I have ever experienced.
Caffeine is lovely, I know, but it can sometimes be your worst enemy during your menses. This stimulant makes your body work double the time which in turn worsens your cramps.
In the months that followed after I stopped drinking coffee every morning, I found my cramps decreasing significantly. You do not have to completely cut out caffeine ( as I absolutely enjoy Cadbury and couldn't dream of giving that up ), but the week before your period is due, cut back on your intake or avoid it completely. Your body will thank you in return.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Water can be your best friend during your period. Athletes will tell you that cramping is caused by a lack of water in your system. The same theory applies during your period. Even if you do not live in a warm country, you can experience dehydration. Dehydration has a tendency to make cramps start or become worse. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily, especially during your period.
GET UP AND MOVE!
I discovered this remedy on my own by chance. I have a long walk between my bus stop and my house and this particular day, I was having intense cramps in my abdominal area, lower back, and upper left leg! I wanted to get home as soon as possible so I walked briskly to my house, faster than I have ever walked before. By the time I was home, I was completely pain-free!
Aerobic exercises such as brisk walks and jogs help to get your blood flowing throughout your body. Your body will, in return, release endorphins which deter any pain and leave you in a feel-good mood.
RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
This lovely remedy was introduced to me through my grandmother and as we all know, 'Grandma Knows Best'. Raspberries work with your muscles to diminish and prevent cramps from ruining your day. As an added bonus, the warm beverage soothes and relaxes you to help you feel even more at ease.
Please note that I am not saying these tips WILL rid you of your cramps, they are simply a few ideas that you can take into consideration. If you are, however, suffering from extremely severe cramps, I would suggest seeing a doctor as soon as possible to rule out any possible health concerns and to find even more alternative methods to try.