For some people, cramps are a regular hindrance that bothers them every month. If you are one of these people, you are probably dreading the days your period rolls in. It can reduce you to an agonized mess, curled up on the couch or unable to get out of bed. Millions of women experience the same misery every month. Even your doctor gets them too! They also used to curse their uterus just like you, but since they know more about the gynecological system more than the average person. They also know how to kick those excruciating period cramps away.
Most gynecologists would tell you the same thing if you ask them how they manage killer cramps. Some of them combine two or three strategies to manage their period cramps. While one strategy can work well enough for some people, combining these cramp-managing strategies offer the best effects.
Here are the top 6 strategies your gynecologist is likely using to deal with killer period cramps:
We can’t deny the fact that sex helps in everything – even with cramps. When you’re on your period, experts recommend sex, both couple and solo play. When you have an orgasm, it increases the blood flow to the uterus, relieving the cramps. Aside from that, orgasms also help release oxytocin and dopamine, which will help with pain and will even help you sleep. It is important to note that if you go for this strategy and you choose to have sexual intercourse with your partner, you must use a condom. Otherwise, ejaculation on the cervix can trigger the release of prostaglandin – an inflammatory compound – which will make the cramps worse.
Heat is an effective way to relieve those period cramps – just make sure you don’t burn yourself. Applying heat in your lower abdominal area will help relax your uterine muscles. The more relaxed your uterus is, the less cramping you’d have to go through. You can apply a hot water bag on your lower abdomen when your cramps are at its worse. Just make sure that your skin doesn’t come in contact with the hot water bag directly. You can also use heating pads or tiger balm in order to apply the heat.
There are also other ways you can utilize heat to make yourself feel better during your period. Make yourself a cup of hot tea to help yourself relax. Herbal tea, such as chamomile, would be your best bet. You can also take a long warm shower or soak yourself in a hot steamy bath to induce relaxation.
Birth control based on hormones such as pills and hormonal IUD will work wonders for your period cramps. These birth control options keep the lining of the uterus from thickening normally which shortens your period. This means fewer cramps in terms of occurrence and lesser intensity too. If you are looking for a new birth control option, using hormonal birth control pills could be the answer – and it can end your cramp-filled agony too. Just make sure to consult your doctor to know which birth control option would be ideal for you.
Sweating it out is also one of the strategies which can help you get rid of period cramps for good. A sweat session will produce more endorphins to boost your mood, metabolize your prostaglandins and it will also help your uterine muscles to loosen up. Staying active all throughout the month will do wonders not only for your figure but for the quality of your period as well. However, even if you do not have a regular workout regimen, you can still try to do something. Yoga, taking a walk, biking, stretching and other low-intensity exercises are excellent options as well.
One of the strategies that is effective against abdominal cramps includes making some changes in your diet. Get rid of the alcohol or at least keep your alcohol intake to a minimum, and stay away from salt. Instead, grab a water cooler and stay hydrated especially during your period. It will work wonders towards lessening your uterine cramps. Think of when you go on a run when you are dehydrated. You will be more likely to get a calf cramp in the middle of running. The same thing happens to your uterine muscles when you don’t get enough hydration. This is one of the reasons why some cramps are more intense than others.
Try to drink a lot of water, and feel the difference. It would also help if you reduce your alcohol and caffeine consumption a week before your period starts. These two will dehydrate you! Have you noticed how many times you need to go to the bathroom whenever you drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol? You should be hydrating instead of dehydrating yourself. Try to watch what you eat too, and go for healthier options whenever you can prior and during your period. When you’re on your period, you are likely to crave for salty food like fries and potato chips (on top of your ice cream and chocolate cravings). You might also be tempted to down several cans of beer to ease your cramps. Despite your cravings, stay away from these dehydrating stuff and stick to healthy food, at least until your period is over.
NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory medications that can work to relieve your cramps. It would be a good idea to take an NSAID like ibuprofen even before the cramps start. If you plan to do this, it would be best to keep track of your cycle so you will know when your period will start. You can try to take a dose of ibuprofen every eight hours a day before your period is set to start to stop the inflammation before it begins. A lot of people are already depending on NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to deal with their cramps. If taking medications on a regular basis does not appeal to you, you can always go with the more ‘natural’ strategies in controlling your uterine cramps.
One of these strategies could work for you and if not, you can always try to combine two to three of the strategies until you find the right combination that is the most effective and convenient for you. For more information, you can always contact your gynecologist so that you would be guided accordingly.