Tips on Menstrual Cramps

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This morning, I woke up feeling very deathly. This is a common day for me, each and every month, and since I was a teen has always been my dreaded day. Most people who are around me regularly see this day coming as I have massive mood swings, anxiety and slight depression. I also begin to have difficulty sleeping for about a week and always feeling exhausted. Over the past 2 years, the Hubby has become a very understanding man, knowing that this one day a month I am generally deemed useless. I get huge abdominal pains, nausea and severe headaches, which leaves me on the couch or in bed for the day attempting to subside the pains.

Today, my wonderful Hubby has stepped up his game and not only been taking care of my useless butt, but has been maintaining the kids to keep them out of my hair. The moment I talked to my Mom this morning and told her I wasn’t feeling well, she instantly knew what was going on and did some research to help diminish some of the pain I go through monthly. Usually this is the day I curl up, watching TV or write all day, but of course I can’t lie about all day long. Today however, I haven’t had to do much as the Hubby is being very supportive and understanding, and helping me as much as he can. This of course makes my emotions diminish, my mood swings nill, and my nagging side gone because I am experiencing zero stresses. He has done his best to keep the kids out of my space, as they can be very loud and well… kids!

I thought in the event of me lying on my monthly death bed I would post some tips on how to deal with menstrual cramps and make this day a less of a burden for us all. Trust me, I will try anything if it means I can get up and move around without wanting to keel over and die. Even though I’ve been dealing with these things for over 10 years, as I get older, they are worse but more manageable as I see the warning signs more clearly then I used too when I was younger.

Tips on Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps are a fact of life for many women. Many of the techniques for coping with menstrual cramps are quite simple.

What are Menstrual Cramps and Why Do They Happen?
Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) are a fact of life for many women. They occur just before or on the first few days of menstruation. The pain can be severe and normally subsides after two days.

Troublesome menstrual cramps should be assessed by a physician. They are not usually associated with underlying medical problems. Primary dysmenorrhea (not associated with a medical problem) is thought to result from increased levels of prostaglandins, which in turn may cause contractions of the uterus and result in pain. In about 10% of women, such pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting and backaches.

Can Menstrual Pain be Caused by Medical Problems?
Secondary dysmenorrhea has been associated with underlying medical problems such as disorders of the uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease and the presence of fibroids. Women using IUDs (intrauterine devices) may also experience menstrual cramps.

Don’t Confuse Normal Menstrual Cramps with PMS
PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome appears approximately a week before menstruation, after ovulation, and tends to disappear once menstruation begins. Symptoms may include bloating, breast swelling, pelvic pain, headache, ankle swelling and bowel changes. These symptoms may be accompanied by a state of irritability, anxiety and depression.

Techniques for Coping with Menstrual Cramps
Relaxation and rest: These are some of the best ways to deal with menstrual cramps.

  • Heat: A heating pad on the abdomen and/or a hot bath can relax tight muscles.
  • Stress Reduction: Stress and fatigue make it more difficult to cope with menstrual cramps. If it is possible, make some time for yourself, take a walk, listen to some music, exercise, take a nap and get more sleep at night.

Exercise: Regular physical exercises may help minimize discomfort.

  • Aerobic exercise: (to increase circulation) Practice any kind of aerobic exercise you enjoy. Walking, running, swimming, biking and aerobic dance are but a few examples. Try to do it for 20 to 30 minutes at least 3 times a week.
  • Total body stretch: (to relax tight muscles) Lie on your back, legs flat on the floor and arms straight over your head. Stretch, pulling in your abdominal muscles and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Breathe normally during the stretch. Relax and repeat. (If your back hurts during this exercise, try it with one knee bent and one foot flat on the floor).

Diet: There is no definite proof that diet and menstrual discomfort are related. It may be wise nevertheless to reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol when symptoms occur and to eat small and frequent meals rich in proteins and carbohydrates to reduce particular cravings.

Professional Help: When the simple techniques above fail to relieve menstrual discomforts, you should seek the advice of your physician.

Medication: Over-the-counter medication is usually effective in providing pain relief.

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