Menstrual cramps, in the medical world called dysmenorrhea, is a common complaint that is often experienced by women during menstruation. Pain usually appears at the beginning of the menstrual period, precisely in the lower abdomen. Pain can be mild and not annoying, until it feels heavy and unbearable to interfere with daily activities.
There are some symptoms of dysmenorrhea that often appear, such as cramps or lower abdominal pain, pain in the lower back,pain in inner thighs, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches.
These symptoms will actually disappear without treatment. But, in some women, symptoms that appear tend to persist and get worse if left untreated.
Causes of Menstrual cramps
The existence of uterine lining during menstruation can trigger contractions. The contraction compresses the blood vessels that surround the uterus. Thus, it will severe the supply of blood and oxygen to the uterus. As a result, uterine tissue releases chemicals that cause pain during menstruation.
Menstrual cramps occur due to the increase of prostaglandin. It is a hormone that triggers the uterine muscle to continue to contract. Thus it will cause nausea, diarrhea, weakness and headaches. The more prostaglandins are produced, the more painful menstruation is felt.
Apart from the process of decay of the uterine wall, there are several factors that make a woman prone to menstrual cramps. Such as women who have more menstrual volume, menstruation before age 11 years, has obese, have never been pregnant, and often consume alcoholic beverages and smoking.
Menstrual pain can be caused by disorders of the female reproductive system. However, this condition is usually accompanied by other more serious symptoms. If you experience unusual menstrual pain and other abnormal symptoms, consult your doctor for identification
Relieve Menstrual cramps Without Medication
When feeling menstrual cramps that is unbearable, not a few women who need medication to relieve it. Besides medicine, there are actually many other home remedies that can be done.
According to Medical News Today, the following home care that can relieve menstrual pain, namely:
Apply heat Applying heat to the abdominal area can relieve the pain you feel. You can fill warm water into a bottle or heating pad to attach to the abdomen. The heat delivered to the stomach can relax muscles and relieve cramps. In addition, heat helps the uterine muscles and the surrounding organs to relax, thus it will reduce cramps. You can also place a heating pad on your lower back to get rid of back pain. Alternatively, you can soak in warm water which helps relax the muscles in the stomach, back, and legs.
Light exercise If you think that exercise must be avoided during menstrual pain, then you are wrong. In fact, you should do exercise to relieve pain. You should not do heavy exercise when you feel pain. Woman with menstrual cramps should only do light stretching, walking or doing yoga. Through exercise, you will release endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
Acupuncture According a research studies by PLOS One, acupuncture can relieve menstrual cramps. In addition to being able to encourage the release of endorphins, this treatment can reduce inflammation and help women relax.
Massage Getting a gentle massage in the upper area of the abdomen can also relax the pelvic muscles and reduce cramps. Before massaging, you can apply massage oil, body lotion, or coconut oil to the skin for easier.
Apply essential oils According to the study of the National Center for Biotechnology Information that compared menstrual pain relievers after getting abdominal massage in two groups of female students. One group received a massage using almond oil, while the other group received a massage using a mixture of essential oils consisting of cinnamon, cloves, lavender, and roses in an almond oil base. The researchers found that the group that used essential oils felt more relieved from menstrual cramps than the group that only used carrier oil. If you want to try it, you can add a few drops of at least one of these essential oils to the carrier oil to massage the stomach.
Change your diet Making some changes in your diet can reduce menstrual cramps. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean protein and whole grains helps the body stay healthy. Do not forget also to meet fluid intake by drinking water, broth from soup or herbal tea so that the body remains hydrated. The reason, dehydration is in fact a common cause of muscle cramps. You also need to reduce salt intake because it can cause bloating and fluid retention. Besides salt, you should avoid drinks and foods that contain caffeine because it can increase the effects of dehydration.
Medical News Today. Accessed 2019. Home remedies for menstrual cramp relief.
PLOS ONE. Accessed in 2019. The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomized controlled trial.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. Accessed in 2019. The Effect of Aromatherapy Abdominal Massage on Alleviating Menstrual Pain in Nursing Students: A Prospective Randomized Cross-Over Study.