Menstrual cramps are pains in the belly and pelvic areas that are experienced by a woman as a result of her menstrual period. Menstrual cramps are not the same as the discomfort felt during premenstrual syndrome (PMS), although the symptoms of both disorders can sometimes be experienced as a continual process. Many women suffer from both PMS and menstrual cramps.
Menstrual cramps can range from mild to quite severe. Mild menstrual cramps may be barely noticeable and of short duration sometimes felt just as a sense of light heaviness in the belly. Severe menstrual cramps can be so painful that they interfere with a woman's regular activities for several days.
Some of the factors that increase the chances of suffering from menstrual cramps include:
• Reaching puberty at an early age, - 11 or younger
• Metrorrhagia, more commonly known as irregular menstrual bleeding
• Genetic factors, like a family history of dysmenorrhea
• Being below the age of 20 or never having been through childbirth
• Menorrhagia or heavy bleeding during periods
• Unhealthy habits like smoking, leading a sedentary lifestyle, consuming excess alcohol and taking illegal drugs
Menstrual cramps will affect most women at some point in their lives. The symptoms can annoyingly make your day unpleasant or become so severe that your regular routine is disrupted. To ease the pain and discomfort associated with this condition, consider the following home remedies for menstrual cramps:
. Do some mild exercise. Walk around the neighborhood, run on the treadmill, go ride your bike, or any other exercises you enjoy. This will increase blood flow which will help the cramps go away.
. Lie on your back with your bottom touching a wall and your feet resting above. Relax in this position when you have painful cramps and they will be alleviated.
. Try placing a hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen. This helps ease your muscles. A hot wash cloth or even just a warm blanket can also help.
. Try taking a hot bath or hot shower.
. Relieve your cramps with peppermint or wintergreen, especially when added to a tea. Drink one to two cups per day.
. Drink hot herbal tea or hot lemon when your pelvic region feels congested and cramped. It will increase your blood flow and relax your muscles.
. Blend and drink 75 milliliters of parsley, beet, carrot, and cucumber juice to treats painful cramping.
. Pound a piece of ginger and boil it in a cup of water for a couple of minutes. Sweeten the infusion with a little sugar and drink three times daily after meals.
. Take a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement, especially one that provides the body with calcium. Choose supplements that deliver small doses so that you can take one after each meal.
. Taking a magnesium supplement before and during your period will help your body effectively absorb more calcium.
. Add two tablespoons of basil leaves to one pint of boiling water. Cover tightly and allow the blend to cool at room temperature. Drink half to one cup of the basil tea every hour to ease your cramps.
. Sprinkle cinnamon on your breakfast foods or add to a tea. Cinnamon can ease the symptoms of menstrual cramping.
. Crush one teaspoon of fennel seeds to make a powder. Then, add one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for five minutes. Strain it and then drink it while it is still hot.
. Sprinkle ground flax seed over your salad, morning cereal, a cup of yogurt or in a smoothie. Women are usually advised to consume between one and two tablespoons of flax seed during the menstrual cycle.
. Make a simple mixture by taking about 2 tablespoons of some chamomile flowers and adding to a cup of water. This should be boiling water and the chamomile flowers should be allowed to steep in it for a few minutes. Add some honey to this mixture for added relief.
. Take 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder with 1/2 cup water at the interval of every 3 hours till cramps subside.
. Take evening primrose oil in the form of capsules and the usual dose is 3,000 to 6,000 mg a day. This oil contains a substance that prevents uterine contractions and cramps.
. Drink red raspberry leaf tea at least once a day for 2-3 days before your period is about to start, and during menstruation. This is a great natural cure to muscle cramps and stress relief.
. Take 1-2 teaspoon of sesame seeds in a glass of water and boil it. Allow to stand for some time,then strain the mixture. Drink it 1-2 times a day.
. Eat unripe papaya. The unripe papaya helps the contractions of the muscle fibres of the uterus and is thus helpful in securing a proper menstrual flow.
. Eat a banana as soon as you feel the onset of menstrual cramps. Bananas contain both vitamin K and potassium which will help alleviate muscle cramping.
. Drinking dong quai tea or taking the herbal extract is also an effective remedy in the treatment for menstrual cramps.
. Drink a couple of cups of the juice from a coconut each day you are on your period (and eat the meat from the coconut as well).