Prevention is better than cure, menstrual cramps aren't something you have to just put up with, but there are literally millions of ways to approach the problem but too many to list here, certainly no room to explain why they work. Here are just a few simple common treatments;
An essential oil which naturally supports estrogen production and acts on the pituitary gland to help regulate menstrual problems. Used neat or diluted in vegetable oil you massage it into your abdomen. Better than painkillers as your body doesn't build up a tolerance which could make cramps progressively worse over time.
A natural mineral that your body needs for basic functioning so if lacking it can cause problems – when you get cramps take them every 5-10 minutes until the pain stops. Wikipedia explains cell salts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_salts
Heat packs help increase blood flow to the pelvic organs, but cold packs may help too. If heat works for you then try a hot bath with a little lavender oil to help you relax and feel more comfortable.
Try in tea form from a store or supermarket, best fresh but teabags are fine just don't boil as this affects potency of the herb. If not a 'women's blend' try any of these; raspberry leaf, yarrow, lemon balm, black haw, chamomile, red raspberry, wild strawberry, Valerian. Bupleurum (aka xiao yao wan) is a Chinese herbal medicine you take 3-4 tablets 4 times per day for two weeks before your period is due, you can get this from any Chinese herbalist. There are plenty of other herbs to help, try talking to staff in a good herbal store as they will help you. Also try Evening Primrose Oil capsules daily, most health stores and supermarkets stock this as it is a good all-round women's health supplement that helps to regulate hormones. See Sister Zeus http://www.sisterzeus.com
These are to be avoided as they negatively affect vaginal health in turn affecting menstrual health, when they expand they can also add to bloating or expand into the cervix making cramps worse. Instead try to stick to pads, or if you use tampons switch to menstrual cups or softcups. See tampon health web site http://www.spotsite.org and menstrual cup support http://menstrualcups.org
Yoga is good as it has a lot of gentle stretching and breathing excercises, try the book 'Yoga for a health menstrual cycle' by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden, DVD's or there are a lot of sites about yoga. Try this video with postures that would help you - http://www.videojug.com/film/yoga-postures-for-men...
Masturbating to orgasm helps as during orgasm a hormone called oxytocin is released that causes uterine contractions, this along with relaxation and improved circulation help to ease cramps.
Anything that stretches the abdomen is good. Donkey exercise; kneel on all fours with your back parallel to the floor, hump your back up and then down again to the horizontal position. Salaam; kneel, slope your back, lean on your arms and rest your head on the floor, rest and relax in this position. Half-roll; lie on your back, hugging one knee, roll your body to the opposite side and back.
A lot of women I know who suffer from extreme cramps go for complimentary treatments such as chiropractors or opt for acupressure or acupuncture. If you cannot afford to see a specialist get a book to teach yourself some basics of acupressure/acupuncture. Some points to stimulate for menstrual cramps are: BL24 (Qihaishu), BL25 (Dachangshu), BL30 (Baihuanshu), BL31 (Shangliao), BL32 (Ciliao), BL34 (Xialiao), CV2 (Qugu), CV6 (Qihai), KI5 (Shuiquan), and KI6 (Zhao Hai). You can find the locations of these points here - http://www.acuxo.com/selections.asp?question=OBGYN...
It can make serious differences but it's bloody complex so if it's something you'd be interested in you'd need to go research yourself. For now get a good balanced diet of nutritious foods rich in essential fatty acids and low in refined sugars, refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats. Avoid foods that make you bloated such as salty foods, when bloated drink more water with a little lemon juice as a natural diuretic. Some find dairy and caffeine cause problems – although coffee is good for reducing menstrual flow. Soy should also be avoided as it is notorious for causing problems.
Try taking a good multi-vitamin, omega 3 or flaxseed oil (approx. 500Mg 2-4 times a day), B vitamin complex with 100mg of vitamin B6, Magnesium (100mg every 2 hours during menstruation), and vitamin E in d-alpha tocopherol form (50mg 3 times a day). It sounds complex but for a start try a multi-vitamin daily and increase magnesium, calcium and potassium during your periods as these are needed by your body to help uterus lining shed.
It really does have a big influence, obviously good attitude means a woman is more likely to learn what she needs to better deal with her periods, but moods have influence too – for example if you are stressed your period will be more difficult, so eliminate any stress from your life.
If cramps are bad or continue see your doctor, but be careful as many doctors prescribe the pill as a quick-fix, this is a problem because it may cover up an underlying medical problem. You may get given the cheapest pill rather than the most useful, you could spend years trying to find a brand that works, there are multiple side-effects, and after all that it might not even work. The pill also suppresses normal menstrual cycles, you need to know what is normal for your cycle to better care for your sexual health. A doctor will probably put you onto an anti-inflammatory drug such as mefenamic acid to block the the synthesis of prostaglandin F2 alpha, a hormone responsible for cramps - you take these 3 times a day for the first 4 days of your period. If the cramps are particularly bad then you may be sent for an ultrasound to check for problems such as endometriosis.
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