What is dysmenorrhea period pain?
Period pain, menstrual cramps or menstrual pain describes what you might feel in the abdomen during your period. They occur before or during menstruation and are referred to in medical jargon as “dysmenorrhea.” What is dysmenorrhea period pain? What are the symptoms of dysmenorrhea? How can I alleviate dysmenorrhea period pain, cramps or menstrual pain? Here’s all you need to know and more.
Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea period pain
A distinction is made between primary and secondary dysmenorrhea period pain. Primary dysmenorrhea is most prevalent in young girls and persists from the onset of the menarche (the first bleed), while secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by illness or other conditions. Gynecologists report that 15 to 25% of all patients seek out their practice due to menstrual pain.
Causes of menstrual pain
In primary dysmenorrhea, according to science, so-called “prostaglandins” are the culprits that cause a cramped abdomen. Prostaglandins are tissue hormones that cause the uterine muscles to contract during the period to repel the lining of the uterus.
In secondary dysmenorrhea, diseases or other conditions are the cause of severe period pain, such as endometriosis, benign growth of the lining of the womb or hormonal dysfunction.
What are dysmenorrhea period pain symptoms?
Some menstruating humans feel only a slight tugging in the abdomen. Others experience very strong cramps that radiate from the lower back and legs. In severe cases, this can lead to circulatory collapse.
Along with the unpleasant pain in the stomach, symptoms like indigestion, bloating, diarrhea or constipation are also commonly reported. In some cases, you may experience nausea or vomiting. The most reported pain radiates from the back.
About 10% of all menstruating humans are incapacitated for a few days due to menstrual pain. That is a few too many. This is a very sensitive subject that can be the cause of psychological stress, mood swings and depression. No one should have to subject themselves to physical or emotional pain during menstruation. If you experience it, find a doctor that listens to you, empathizes with your symptoms and actively helps.
What to do about dysmenorrhea period pain?
The good news is: relief is within reach! You can try a few simple things at home for to alleviate your pain. From physical treatments such as acupressure or massage to healthy nutrition and sexual intercourse – here are some tips that can help with ailments:
Warmth for dysmenorrhea period pain
This is a classic! A warm hot water bottle or a soothing herbal pillow with chamomile, mugwort and silverweed will soothe period cramps.
Tea for dysmenorrhea period pain
When experiencing cramps, a warm tea works wonders. The right herbal mixture of silverweed, yarrow, lady’s mantle and ginger can surface a calming effect for several hours.
Lady’s mantle is known in herbal medicine for promoting the well-being of female hormones. Early alchemists and herbalists used lady’s mantle specifically to aid gynecological problems because of its harmonizing effects on estrogen and progesterone. This is why Lady’s mantle is the main ingredient in our FEMNA Health Zero Tolercramps Tea.
Essential Oils to soothe period cramps
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy or directly on the body during a soothing massage. They are inhaled into the mucous membranes or absorbed into the blood circulation by directly applying to the skin.
Essential oils are derived by herbal extraction from many different ingredients like chamomile, fennel, juniper or ginger. Ginger is an overwhelmingly healing essential oil, especially for cramps. It has a warming and relaxing effect and can be applied directly externally (as oil) and internally (as tea).
Roll-on with ginger power that can be applied directly to the abdomen.
Exercises for period cramps
Special exercises for the pelvic arches help to soothe pelvic muscles and relax abdominal muscles. Yoga is highly recommended and, recently, more and more menstruation yoga classes are being offered. Like an tense muscle, it is important to stretch and have proper blood circulation to ward off cramping and uncomfortable pain.
Proven methods such as meditation, Qi Gong or autogenic training provide inner peace and often help to release tension which will also alleviate pain. Most people report that consistent practice shows the best results.
Healthy nutrition also plays a crucial role in relieving cramping pain. Fresh and organic fruits and vegetables as well as the important nutrient magnesium is important for feeling good, especially when your hormones fluctuate.
Anyone who suffers from water retention is advised seek an anti-inflammatory diet. Many fresh herbs are an easy and delicious way to calm inflammation as well.
Sex & masturbation for period pain
Yes! Sex and masturbation is a tried and proven way to control regular cramping pain. Plus, it might be the most pleasurable option. During orgasm, the pain-relieving neurotransmitter oxytocin is released, and the entire pelvic floor is well-supplied with blood.
If you lose a lot of blood during menstruation, care should be taken to compensate. Be aware of your iron intake by consuming more broccoli, nutrient-dense and organic meats and leafy greens like spinach, kale or collard greens.
Some herbal teas can balance the body and promote well-being. Nettle in particular is known to invigorate energy as an iron-containing plant.
One way to treat dysmenorrhea period pain is acupressure. The reflex point to combat cramps is a handbreadth below the knee on the inside of the lower leg. Simply press several times a day for one to two minutes for relief.
Bye Bye, tampons!
Many women report an improvement in their condition when they do without tampons and use menstrual cups or pads instead. Tampons can interfere with the free flow of blood and can also contain chemicals that may increase the pain. Why not try! There are menstrual cups sold everywhere nowadays.
Prevent Dysmenorrhea Period Pain
There are some things to try in order to prevent unpleasant period pain. These include some regular exercise that promotes blood circulation. A strong cup of coffee can help alleviate pain and also give you a good dose of magnesium. And, of course, the most important thing is to get rid of tobacco! Smoking can severely affect hormone imbalance increase menstrual pain.
Many women and young girls take birth control pills because it is so commonly prescribed by doctors to regulate cycles, clear up acne or is mandatory with other prescriptions. The subject is quite controversial but more and more research is pointing the finger at birth control pills as the culprit of hormonal imbalances. The synthetic hormones constantly ingest act as endocrine disruptors which can have a whole host of nasty effects. It might be time to learn who you are without the pill. The responsible way to take control of your life without the pill is to learn to track your cycle so that you won’t become pregnant and to learn more about your cycle so that you can regulate it.
When to consult a doctor?
If ever you suffer from severe menstrual pain which starts to interfere with everyday life, consult your doctor. This can be a warning sign and it is best to consult a specialist on the matter.
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