Dysmenorrhea, which is what menstrual cramps or ‘period pain’ is called, is the pain felt in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation. It is classified into two types. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs a couple of day before the actual cycle begins, while secondary dysmenorrhea happens during the cycle and could be related to medical causes.
A girl missing school and college due to this pain is a rising concern in the Middle East. While a study revealed that about 68% of the girls suffered from PMS in Saudi Arabia and 59% of them were unable to attend school because of it, another study revealed that dysmenorrhea was prevalent in 93% of the girls in Egypt, followed by 65% who reported PMS.
However, with a little knowledge you can have easier periods.
How to Reduce Such Cramps
While most women opt for pain killers straight away, there are better ways to counter this problem:
- Have a Balanced Diet: Shift to a low-fat diet and increase the quantity of fruits and vegetables you consume. Add products such as fish, which is high in protein and healthy fats. Increasing your magnesium and calcium intake has been known to help menstrual pain too. Magnesium improves muscle and nerve functioning and the recommended dosage is around 320 mg per day. The amount of calcium that should be consumed is 1,200 mg daily.
- Herbal Tea Can Help: Studies have proven that herbal tea brings relief to menstrual pain. It keeps you fresh and also fights against bacteria. The glycine in the tea relaxes the muscles, reducing the frequency of cramps.
- Exercise: Sometimes the best way to take out a cramp is by stretching your body. Involve yourself in simple exercises, such as yoga and morning walks. Stretch your body and try to hold your posture for a few minutes while doing yoga. It keeps you fit and gives you the much-needed energy to start the day. Having said that, don’t put too much pressure on the body or get involved in strenuous activities.
- Get Enough Sleep: This is the universal answer to all your problems. The importance of getting good sleep each night increases exponentially during the periods. Make sure you sleep well at night and try to squeeze in a nap during the day time as well.
- Use Protection: The last and one of the most effective methods is using the right sanitary napkin or pad. This will keep you dry and comfortable, as well as protect against infections. Remember to change the pad every 4-8 hours, depending on the flow.