It was not until later that I learned there’s a name for that, dysmenorrhea which simply refers to the symptom of painful menstruation. It’s divided into two primary and secondary. Most women suffer from primary dysmenorrhea which is menstrual pain in absence of an underlying condition like endometriosis. Secondary dysmenorrhea is pain that is caused by an underlying illness for example uterine fibroids and adenomyosis.
So what causes the pain?
During menstruation, prostaglandins are released. They are responsible for muscle contractions in the uterus.The contractions causes temporal stoppage of blood flow in the uterus causing pain. Similarly prostaglandins in the blood stream cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. All these are common during periods.
Dysmenorrhea is a topic rarely talked even though it’s something most women have learned to live with with some experiencing it twice monthly.
The following 8 ways will help you help your wife, sister, girlfriend, aunt during her time of the month.
It is at this time that we get the weirdest cravings chocolate, candy, French fries, you name them. Well all these are to be avoided. Skip the alcohol, bread, sugar, cookies and anything that has caffeine including coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. The above encourage period pain.
Go for healthier options instead green leafy vegetables, beans, liver, Njahe and drink plenty of water. Drink plenty of water especially if you are experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea.
A balanced diet is not only encouraged at this time only, make it a habit to eat healthy.
2 . See a doctor
If symptoms persist seek medical attention. Pain that has you crying endlessly with episodes of insomnia is not worth withstanding. GO SEE A DOCTOR.
Depending with the results of the laboratory tests and a few questions he/ she will decide on what drugs best suit your condition and in which form injectables or orals.
It’s not advisable to get drugs over the counter.
3. Warm bath
This works like magic. The science behind this trick is simple, heat improves blood flow hence easing pain. Drag yourself into the bathroom, take a hot shower and you’ll be feeling so much better in a few.
4. Lie down
Rest. Relax. You need not be sleepy to do this. As you lie down put a pillow under your knee or simply lie on your side then bring your knees close to your chest.
This reduces pressure on the back hence reducing back ache for those that experience such.
Exercise while in pain? Well yes that’s what I mean. Nothing vigorous. Start with small stretches. Take breaks in between or stop if the pain becomes too much. The goal here is to help you feel better not worsen the situation. Be gentle on yourself.
Exercise releases endorphins whose primary function is to inhibit communication of pain signals.
Opt for yoga or Tai Chi if doing exercises is hard.
6. Use a heating pad
You can get creative by putting a hot water bottle on your abdomen.The heating pad serves the same purpose too. As I mentioned earlier heat improves blood flow hence reducing pain.
Similarly you can use a hot towel. Make sure it’s clean, dip it in hot or warm water depending with your preference, wring and place it on your tummy. You’ll feel better in no time.
Have someone massage you. Massaging calms the muscles encouraging blood flow throughout the body. It needs not to be from a masseuse, settle for anyone willing to help.
Calm yourself, try and distract yourself, think about something positive. Try and forget about the pain. Imagine yourself somewhere else doing something you love, let loose.
8. Go out and bask
Vitamin D reduces production of prostaglandin hence relatively reducing the pain. Timing here is key, either early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s not too hot.
Similarly you can kill two birds with one stone, go out for a walk in the evening.
The above ways of reducing period pain do not work instantly. Their results also vary from one person to another. What works for you might not work for your friend.
For you to know what exactly works for you, consider trying the different ways.
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