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PERIOD PAIN - Everything you need to know!

Do you suffer from painful period cramps? You don't need to! We sometimes overlook unpleasant period pain as a natural part of being a woman because it’s a frequent occurrence, but this does not have to be the case.

When Is Period Pain Normal?

Period pain is a natural component of having a menstrual cycle, and it occurs when the womb's walls slightly contract. Although your womb contracts on a regular basis throughout the month, it becomes more intense during your period to encourage the shedding of your womb lining as part of your monthly cycle.

When your womb contracts, it temporarily blocks off oxygen to the blood vessels in the lining of your womb, causing chemicals to be released that cause pain. This is completely natural and is a healthy feature of having a period and can be handled with painkillers. However, when period discomfort gets extreme, it's essential to seek medical advice.

How To Recognise Severe Period Pain?

Women who have severe period pain report that it has a significant influence on their everyday life, prompting them to miss work, school, or social gatherings. Severe period pain is characterized by stabbing, shooting, scorching, and pulsing pain that lasts longer than the typical one or two days of period cramps. 

Severe period pain is frequently accompanied by additional symptoms such as vomiting or fainting, as well as extreme exhaustion. It is frequently caused by an underlying condition such as endometriosis or PCOS, and can't be relieved with traditional pain relievers.

Difference Between Endometriosis, Fibroids and PMS?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects one in ten women, making it much more common than many people realize. wherein the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. The most common symptoms are extremely painful period cramps and menstrual irregularities. This condition needs medical attention. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is an effective treatment for this. 

Fibroids are abnormal growths in or on the uterus of women. These tumors can grow to be quite large, causing severe stomach pain and heavy periods. In some circumstances, they produce no symptoms at all. The growths are usually noncancerous or benign. Although many women are unaware that they have fibroids, they do have symptoms like heavy periods, severe period pain, abdominal and lower back pain, frequent urination, constipation, and pain during sex.

PMS, also known as premenstrual syndrome, affects 90% of women who menstruate. PMS begins a few days before your period and lasts for the first few days of menstruation. Doctors believe PMS is caused by a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels before each menstruation. PMS manifests itself in a variety of ways, including exhaustion, irritability, and period cramps.

What Are The Best Ways To Treat Period Pain?
While period pain is an inevitable component of having a period, if your pain falls within the 'normal' range as mentioned, there are ways you can get rid of the pain! These methods, in addition to using pain relievers, can make a huge impact when it comes to period discomfort.

1. Heat
For generations, women have been told that putting something warm over their period cramps can help them go away, a fact recently confirmed by University College London research. According to their findings, heat doesn't just bring comfort and has a placebo effect, it even deactivates the pain at a molecular level in the same way that pain relievers function.

2. Minerals 
Magnesium and Zinc are widely recognized as useful supplements for preventing and treating period pain. Both have been shown to reduce the production of prostaglandin which in turn reduces the severity of subsequent period cramps. Zinc is also an excellent antioxidant that betters blood circulation in the womb and thus helps to reduce pain.

3. Exercise 
Although it may seem contradictory, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes can help with period pain. Swimming, walking and yoga are low-impact workouts that help. If you can’t work out for long stretches during your period, break it up into three ten-minute sessions throughout the day. It boosts blood flow and releases endorphins, both of which assist to relieve discomfort. It also releases serotonin, which can help you feel better and battle PMS symptoms.

4. Hydration

Bloating can make period cramps worse and cause discomfort. Drinking water during your periods can help you feel less bloated and relieve some of the pain that comes with it. Drinking hot water can also help you relax your muscles by increasing blood flow throughout your body. This can help with uterine contraction cramps.

5. Herbal Teas

Herbal teas contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic chemicals that can help relieve uterine muscle spasms that cause cramping. Menstrual cramps can be relieved naturally by drinking chamomile, fennel, or ginger tea. Herbal teas can have other advantages, such as stress relaxation and insomnia treatment.

6. Skip Treats
While a brownie or french fries may sound appealing, foods heavy in sugar, trans fat, and salt can induce bloating and inflammation, which can exacerbate muscle soreness and cramping. To combat sugar cravings, grab a banana or another piece of fruit, or unsalted almonds if you want something more savory. 

7. Anti-inflammatory Food 
Some foods act as natural cramp relievers while also tasting delicious. Anti-inflammatory foods can aid in blood flow and uterine relaxation. Berries, tomatoes, pineapples, and spices like turmeric, ginger, and garlic are all good choices. Inflammation can also be reduced by eating leafy green vegetables, almonds, walnuts, and fatty fish like salmon.

8. Hormonal Birth Control

If cramps are caused by hormonal imbalance, birth control can help. The uterine lining thins and sheds more easily when estrogen and progesterone levels are balanced. The duration and frequency of your cycle are also controlled with hormonal birth control. Period cramps can be totally eliminated with some types of birth control by completely halting your period. Discuss birth control alternatives with your OB-GYN, such as the pill, birth control shot, or hormonal IUD.

9. Decaf
Caffeine constricts your blood vessels. This can cause your uterus to tighten, making cramps worse. During your period, if you require coffee, switch to decaf. If you rely on caffeine to get you through the afternoon slump, try eating a high-protein snack or going for a brisk 10-minute stroll.

10. Massage Therapy
Massages can help to relax the uterus, which can help to minimize uterine spasms. Massage therapy should be focused on the abdominal area to properly manage period cramps. However, a full-body massage that relieves stress may help reduce period pain.

If you want to know more about how your hormones behave in your body during a menstrual cycle, here’s an article that was published on the same.

Talk to your primary care doctor or OB-GYN if you've tried everything on this list and still have painful periods, or if you want to know upfront which option(s) will work best for you. A doctor's advice may be the most effective method to quit dreading your periods and get rid of the stubborn period pain. 

Happy periods! Happy Days!

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Disclaimer : 
All images, visuals are used for representation purposes. We do not claim any copyright over these images. 

Content Credit: Aayush Kundnani