While menstrual pain might be viewed as a monthly annoyance for most women, close to ten percent of women endure severely painful menstrual cramps that seriously interfere with work, school, and everyday activities. Such disruptions in quality of life may require you, or the women in your life, to get a little more rest and relaxation, but dialing back a busy schedule isn’t always an option. When powering through menstrual cramps and their discomfort, this quick list of self-care can lend a boost of helpful tips and encouragement.
SYMPTOMS YOU’D LIKELY EXPECT
Based on the comprehensive list from Mayo Clinic period pain and menstrual cramps present a range of symptoms:
- Throbbing or cramping pain in your lower abdomen that can be intense
- Pain that starts 1 to 3 days before your period, peaks 24 hours after the onset of your period and subsides in 2 to 3 days
- Dull, continuous ache
- Pain that radiates to your lower back and thighs
- Other symptoms may include nausea, loose stools, headaches, and dizziness
EASING THE PAIN OF MENSTRUAL CRAMPS
Many women turn to over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief products containing an anti-inflammatory ingredient. When pain is severe, physicians may prescribe stronger medications or hormonal birth control. However, women seeking alternative pain relief measures without the possible side effects associated with long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids may prefer NeoRelief for Menstrual Pain and Cramps, made from active botanicals and minerals. This clear, odorless, topical, OTC pain relief gel can be applied to the abdomen and lower back, as needed, for temporary relief of menstrual cycle pain.
Additional lifestyle and home remedies for menstrual pain relief may include a good workout, a massage, a hot bath or heating pad, a low-fat vegetarian diet, and dietary supplements such as vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-1 (thiamin), vitamin B-6, and magnesium.
ON TO SOMETHING SERIOUS
Just because it comes and goes every month, severe menstrual cramps should not be ignored. It could signal an underlying medical condition like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease. Early identification of conditions such as endometriosis is important for improved health and future fertility.
Other menstrual-type symptoms that you should bring to your doctor’s attention include the following:
- Period pain that is suddenly worse or occurs for a longer duration
- Bleeding that’s excessive, requiring more than one pad or tampon per hour
- Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, and body aches, are present at the time of the period
- Pregnancy may be suspected and any of the above symptoms occur
- Pelvic pain during physical intimacy or when your period isn’t present
Sometimes life can’t be put on pause for menstrual cramps. Other times you’d rather be enjoying the simple moments with family and friends instead of being curled up in a ball. By rolling out healthy living habits of staying in tune with your body, your doctor, and your self-care options, you’ll be prepped for some serious empowerment and the increased energy that can bring.