Period cramps are as normal as periods itself, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through excruciating pain every time you bleed. If the pain ties you down to bed all day keeping you from going out to work or enjoying with friends, there’s no need to let it slide.
Most of us, including you and me, have been there. Every one of us must have had at least one such day when we had to miss attending, performing, or preparing for an important event just because our friend, the period, came by. And sometimes the pain is so unbearable that even sleep abandons you. Instead of simply wishing it away, how about learning how to get rid of period cramps fast?
How To Get Rid Of Period Cramps Fast? Everything You Need To Know!
Most girls of the reproductive age experience period cramps during, or even in the days before, menstruation. For some, the pain can be mild, but if you’re here, you’re probably the kind that has to curl up in a ball wondering why the curse is upon you.
If your period cramps are interfering with your daily activities, it’s time to start managing it. It might come as a relief to you to know that women before you have asked themselves how to get rid of period cramps fast, and found answers.
What Are Period Cramps?
Period cramps are the pain associated with the monthly period. It can begin 1 to 3 days before your period and continue till the first 2 to 3 days. The pain will be higher during the first day of menses. You may feel pain in the lower abdomen, groins, back, and thighs. This pain might also be accompanied by nausea and fatigue. Though it is usually lifelong, these cramps become less uncomfortable and painful as you age.
Causes Of Period Cramps
Every month, a woman’s body prepares her for a possible pregnancy. We have hormones that make our uterus lining thick and soft to make it comfortable for the fetus. When pregnancy doesn’t occur, every month, the uterine muscles contract, shedding down the lining, which passes out through the vagina resulting in periods. Muscle contraction during this phase causes period cramps which may be mild to intense. You may also feel dizzy and nauseous when you have cramps.
Painful period or dysmenorrhea(1) occurs due to the excessive production of Prostaglandin, a hormone-like compound that helps in uterine contraction. While contracting uterine muscles, they press the nearby muscle tissues, blocking the oxygen supply to it and causing throbbing or cramping pain.
Factors That Worsen Cramps
Different women experience different levels of pain during their periods. Some may be lucky to have only light twitches of pain, while others can have severe cramps occasionally or regularly. Usually, you may experience painful periods in your teens or 20s.
The intensity of the pain may significantly decrease as you age. Genetics and age may be important factors in the degree of pain. However, your lifestyle contributes to it more than you might imagine(2). Consumption of unhealthy food, vitamin deficiencies, and excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol can have an inverse impact. Stress coupled with sleep deprivation may further aggravate the pain.
Here’s How To Get Rid Of Period Cramps Fast:
#1 Heat Therapy
Cramps can be terrible. Heat therapy can help you feel better. Heat will improve blood circulation, relax the uterus muscles, and substantially reduce pain and discomfort. You can feel the warmth down there ease the cramp.
There are different varieties of heating pads available on the market. Apart from the regular ones, you may try the wearable ones that help you go out without anyone noticing. Stick the thin heating pad onto your t-shirt or panties, and that’s it! You can go out and do your things while it soothes your pain. Isn’t it super easy?
If you don’t have a heating pad, try a hot water bottle or a towel soaked in hot water in the painful areas to relieve the pain. Take a warm bath. It is also a great way to calm the muscles of your whole body and elevate your spirits during vexing periods.
During your irksome periods, don’t you wish to lie comfortably on your bed, relieved of the pain? So, why wait? Grab a heating pad, place it on your aching belly, and lie down for half an hour. The soothing feeling underneath your tummy is what you need most at that time.
#2 How To Get Rid Of Period Cramps Fast With Exercise?
When it feels like so much pain and bleeding, you hardly want to get up from your bed, and what about exercising? Sounds crazy, right? What if exercise helps to reduce your pain and uplift your mood? Exercise increases blood circulation to all tissues and improves oxygen flow.
Proper oxygen supply to the tissues reduces the possibility of cramping, keeping the nightmare of painful cramps at bay. It also reduces stress which impacts the hormonal function in the body and causes painful periods. Working out will reduce soreness and inflammation, improve your mood and lessen fatigue.
Below is a list of exercises that you may want to include in your regimen to get rid of period cramps.
- Stretching: Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym or walking on the treadmill till you feel exhausted. It can be as simple as stretching in the comfort of your home. Simple stretches can be the best exercise during periods. It gives you minimum discomfort and helps you loosen your muscles. It not only helps to get rid of the pain, but also lightens your mood.
- Walking: A short walk during your periods may help you relax. Studies show that moderate-intensity aerobic exercises like walking help reduce bloating. It also releases beta-endorphins, an opioid neuropeptide that reduces pain and burns the prostaglandin released during periods. So, don’t curl up in bed when you have enough reason to hit the road.
- Running: Yes, you heard it right. Running can be a good exercise during your menstruation as it increases blood circulation and reduces pain and discomfort. It also improves general wellness. However, during heavier bleeding and pain, limit the exercise to walking or stretching at home.
- Pilates: Instead of pills, Pilates can be a better solution to get rid of your worst period cramps at home. Studies show that doing pilates three times a week for eight weeks alleviates period pain considerably. This exercise increases blood circulation and decreases hormone release associated with period pain. Doing Pilates regularly will help build your core and ease your cramps. Pilates Lunges, Rolling Down the Wall, and Pilates Seated Side Bends can help you during your monthly cycle.
- Swimming: If you enjoy being in the water, swimming is ideal. This less intense exercise reduces the duration and intensity of your cramps. Moreover, the water splashing around you has a soothing effect on you. You can start exercising by warming up for 10 minutes. Then do half an hour of water aerobics focusing on the abdomen, thigh, and pelvic regions where you mostly feel the pain, and end with a 5-minute cooldown. Yeah, it feels great! Give it a try.
- Yoga: Yoga can be the answer if you’re searching for how to get rid of period cramps fast. The Child’s pose, Reclined cobbler’s pose, Fish pose, and Cat-cow pose are some poses that can help with painful periods.
#3 Maybe Your Answer To How To Get Rid Of Period Cramps Fast Is Pain Relievers
When exercise and other remedies fail, OTC pain relievers can be a good option for fast relief. They can help with muscle strains, headaches, inflammation, and menstrual cramps. Ibuprofen is the best of these OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
It reduces pain and difficulties by reducing prostaglandin, which causes menstrual cramps. You can take it along with acetaminophen. Other effective NSAIDs(3) are naproxen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. For better results, take medicine at the beginning of cramps. However, take the drug only after consulting your physician if you have any underlying medical conditions or allergies.
#4 Herbal Teas And Supplements Are Worth A Try!
It is always better to go the natural way. Next time you feel period cramps try herbal tea before going for pills. It might help you to get rid of period cramps fast in bed. Drink ginger tea while you go through a rough period. It has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It will help with bloating too. Drinking chamomile or fennel tea also relieves you of pain.
These natural remedies reduce muscle spasms and induce relaxation and sleep. If you suffer from menstrual migraines, you can try peppermint capsules. They reduce headaches and decrease the intensity and duration of period cramps.
Period cramps may also be associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The supplements that can ease your cramps are:
- Vitamins B12, B1, B6, E, and D
However, dietary and herbal supplements may affect you differently if you have other medical conditions. So, if the pain persists, do visit your doctor.
Lifestyle Changes To Relieve Period Cramps
A healthy diet will substantially improve your health, so try to follow one when stubborn period cramps are making your life hard. Reduce foods that contain salt, as it may help you balance fluid volume and reduce bloating. If you visit Starbucks quite often, do so less during painful days. Caffeine is not that good for your health. It can constrict the blood flow to the uterus and exacerbate the cramps. Caffeine also affects the sleep cycle.
You can opt for caffeine-free drinks. Herbal tea is another option you can take or include in your diet. You should also avoid foods that help produce prostaglandins. Replace omega-6-rich foods (processed snacks, fast foods, cakes, fatty meats, and cured meats) with omega-3-rich foods like lean proteins, whole grains, salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, legumes, and eggs.
These are anti-inflammatory foods that reduce prostaglandins. Make sure to include lots of fruits and veggies in your diet. For relief from cramps, lower your fatty food consumption. If you are a drinker or smoker wondering how to get rid of period cramps fast, avoid alcohol altogether on your periods.
If your water intake is less during your periods, you are inviting cramps. It may also cause bloating. So, drink plenty of water. Drinking a lot of water will increase blood flow and help with the proper functioning of the body. You can keep a water bottle with you and fill it as soon as you finish. You may also include fruit juices in your diet.
Getting sound sleep may help minimize soreness, improve your temper, and reduce fatigue. It is better to have a consistent bedtime. To avoid popping up notifications and distractions, keep your cell phones away. Sources say sleeping in a fetal position has better effects on your pain as it takes off the pressure on your abdominal muscles and gives you better sleep.
Too much stress can worsen your PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) symptoms. Stress and lack of sleep may cause chronic pain. Unnecessary stress will cause you heftily. You are inviting both physical and mental difficulties.
Too much stress may cause more pain, irregular menstruation, and even amenorrhoea (absence of menstruation). So, relax, take a nap, talk with your dear ones, engage in hobbies, try yoga and meditation, or go for a walk.
How To Get Rid Of Period Cramps Fast: Seek Medical Help
Menstrual pain is something most women go through. It is part and parcel of your menstrual cycle. However, if it is unbearable and no remedies seem to work, including the painkillers, then it may be due to something more serious.
If the pain begins a few days before the period, gets worse during it, and persists after it, it is Secondary Dysmenorrhea. Secondary Dysmenorrhea develops later in your life in your 30s or 40s. It is usually due to some underlying medical conditions of female reproductive organs, such as:
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside it. It grows in body parts like ovaries and bladder. Due to hormonal changes, these tissues break and bleed. It causes inflammation, irritation, and swelling. Around 10% of menstruating women have Endometriosis.
- Pelvic Inflammatory disease (PID): PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs. If not treated, PID can cause infertility.
- Uterine Fibroids: These are non-cancerous pelvic tumors. It causes abnormal menstrual bleeding.
- Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD): A medical condition due to hormonal imbalance in females causing the production of immature eggs that become cysts.
- Adenomyosis: A gynecologic condition where the lining of the uterus grows into the uterus wall. The symptoms may differ from that of normal menstrual cramps leading to pain that lasts longer than usual, irregular periods, heavy periods, vaginal discharge or painful sex
It may not be possible to get rid of period cramps completely. However, you can ease them with these tips. When you feel your period cramps are not getting better, seek help. If persistent chronic pain or unusual symptoms worry you, consult a doctor.
There is no need to let your cramps control your life. You can take back the reins of your life by learning how to get rid of period cramps fast!
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