Many women experience menstrual cramps or pains in their abdomen and pelvic areas during their monthly menstrual cycles. By and large, around 50 per cent of all women endure menstrual cramps and among them around 15 per cent suffer acute cramps during their menstrual cycles. Moreover, approximately 90 per cent of girls, who are still in their adolescent stage, suffer from menstrual cramps.
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Generally, cramps are attributable to absence of blood calcium, stress, poor nutrition as well as nervous disorders in young women. It is possible to get rid of such menstrual cramps as well as the deficiencies by embracing healthy dietary habits as well as doing away with the factors that result in stress.
However, it is important to note that none of these can be achieved effortlessly, particularly when the person is young. It needs a committed or out-and-out sense of dedication as well as self-emancipation.
There may be a variety of menstrual cramps, ranging from gentle to acute and they are dissimilar in each woman who endures them. Mild cramps last for a brief period and are occasionally just somewhat obvious. However, when women suffer from acute menstrual cramps, their daily activities may be affected and such cramps may continue for many days.
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Basically, there are two main types of menstrual cramps - primary and secondary. Primary menstrual cramps are more widespread and most women suffer from this type of menstrual cramp. In the case of primary menstrual cramps, they may begin with the start of their very first menstruation period or even commence after many years.
Primary menstrual cramps are generally not caused by any kind of physical deficiency or aberration. However, the secondary menstrual cramps usually originate from a physical basis, for instance fibroids in the uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and several other medical conditions.
Normally, menstrual cramps start prior to the actual beginning of the menstruation cycle/ period and the condition deteriorates most within approximately 24 hours after the commencement of the menstrual period. By and large, such cramps settle with a couple of days. Menstrual cramps may be accompanied by a number of other symptoms, including headache, constipation, nausea sometimes followed by vomiting, diarrhea as well as passing urine very frequently.
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A number of herbs and supplements are effective in preventing as well as alleviating menstrual cramps. They may be used by women suffering from menstrual cramps on a regular basis, just a week before the commencement of their menstrual period or even while they have their menstrual cycle.
ON DAILY BASIS
If you wish to take herbs to prevent, diminish or alleviate menstrual cramps, you may take borage oil, evening primrose oil or blackcurrant seed oil for the purpose. The normal dose of these herbal oils is taking them in dosage of 500 mg twice daily or follow the dosage instructions on the container in which they come.
It may be noted that the natural plant oils mentioned here have rich GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) content, which helps in regulating as well as controlling production of prostaglandin in the body. In fact, menstrual uneasiness, cramps and mood swings are generally attributed to surplus production of prostaglandins in the body and their circulation in the bloodstream.
Many young women suffering from these conditions have reported that they have benefitted significantly from consumption of GLA rich foods as well as taking supplements, such as the natural plant oils mentioned here.
Alternately, you may also take two to three cups of Hepatonic tea every day to relieve menstrual cramps and associated symptoms. Hepatonic tea is generally prepared once in every three days and stored in the refrigerator and taken cold.
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To prepare this herbal tea, you need to add one teaspoonful of the herb mixture in one cup of water or use four to six tablespoonful of the herb mixture for every quart of water. First, boil the water, put the herbs in a quart jar and subsequently, pour the boiling water on them. Cover the jar using an airtight lid and allow the mixture to permeate for a minimum of 20 minutes. Then, filter the solution and pour the tea in a bottle again. Preserve the herbal tea in a thermos during the day, as it would help to keep it warm.
In addition, taking liquid Floradix with iron every day is also useful in providing relief from menstrual cramps and related symptoms. If you adopt this medication, it is advisable that you strictly go by the dosage instructions on the bottle of the liquid.
There are other herbs and supplements that provide relief from menstrual cramps. For instance, you may also take two capsules of the herb dong quai every day. It is important to bear in mind that you need to stop taking these capsules just a week prior to the onset of your menstrual period and resume taking them only after the bleeding has discontinued completely. In effect, dong quai should not be taken during the actual menstrual period since it has the aptitude to encourage bleeding by means of leading energy as well as heat towards the pelvic region.
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ONE WEEK BEFORE THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE BEGINS
If you opt for herbs and supplements just a week prior to the onset of your menstrual cycle to relieve menstrual cramps as well as related symptoms, you are advised to drink two to three cups of cramp bark tea every day. Alternately, you may also take any biochelated calcium supplement and emphasize on consuming foods that are rich in calcium content during the week prior to the commencement of your menstrual cycle/ period.
DURING THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
In case you like to take herbs and supplements to get relief from menstrual cramps only while your menstrual cycle/ period is on, it is advisable that you abide by any of the recommendations mentioned above to alleviate menstrual strain. Often, when any woman follows any of the above-mentioned programs loyally, they experience a notable improvement in their condition just after their first menstrual period.
Such improvements often make one to believe that their problems have been rectified forever. However, this is not the fact, particularly when women are suffering from enduring problems. One of the patterns that are often witnessed or noticed in curing is for one's body to react fast in the beginning, as if it is starving for the excellent treatment.
Subsequently, the results phase out and the progress is gradual. Normally, it takes a minimum of three complete menstrual cycles or may be even longer to completely cure the enduring problems encountered by some women, especially young women.
In addition to using conventional medications, herbs and supplements, you may do a number of other things to prevent or alleviate menstrual cramps. For instance, some women opt for acupressure - a therapy founded on the notions of acupuncture, but instead of using needles as in acupuncture, pressure is applied to the acupuncture points in acupressure. In effect, people practicing alternative medicine generally advocate acupressure for alleviating menstrual cramps and associated symptoms.
The appropriate acupuncture point where pressure needs to be applied to provide relief from menstrual cramp is known as Spleen 6 and it is located about four finger widths higher than the bony area of the inner ankle - adjacent to the shinbone and in the direction of the backside of the calf. You need to apply gentle pressure using your middle finger or thumb to this point and gradually increase the pressure for about three minutes.
Alternately, you may even use a hot water bottle and place it on your stomach. Even a moist towel heated in a microwave may be used as an alternative. Doing so actually helps to unwind the muscles that constrict.
There are several other things you may do to get relief from menstrual cramps and related symptoms. For instance, you may drink two cups of tea prepared with wintergreen or peppermint every day. Additionally, you should drink hot liquids, as this would only help to stimulate the flow of blood and unwind the cramping muscles further.
You may drink any appropriate herbal tea or warm up lemonade before drinking. However, it is important to note that you ought not to drink any hot beverages enclosing caffeine. Remember caffeine augments nervous energy and may deteriorate the menstrual cramps further.
Even taking a hot bath with water containing mineral salts has the aptitude to relax the cramping muscles. Soak yourself in the bathtub for a minimum of 20 minutes to obtain the optimum results.
In addition, basil possesses a natural analgesic known as caffeic acid and it has the potential to provide relief from the pain associated with menstrual cramps. If you wish to prepare an herbal tea with basil, you need to add two tablespoonfuls of basil leaves to a pint of boiling water. Cover the container tightly and let the leaves to steep till the temperature drops to room temperature. In order to get relief from menstrual cramps, drink half a cup to one cup of this herbal tea each hour. Cinnamon also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic attributes and sprinkling a little cinnamon powder in tea or on your breakfast meal will help to ease menstrual cramps.
As mentioned earlier, calcium is effective in diminishing the pain caused due to menstrual cramps. In addition, taking supplements containing magnesium before the onset of the menstrual cycle as well as during the period may aid the body to absorb calcium in the ingested foods as well as calcium supplements more effectively.
At the same time, it is imperative to drink lots of water. Remember that dehydration may further deteriorate the menstrual cramps. In addition, taking enough rest may also help in diminishing the spasms. It is also advisable that getting aerobic exercises on a regular basis may also help you in getting relief from menstrual cramps.
Regulating your regular diet may also help in relieving or easing menstrual cramps and related symptoms. It is important to reduce the quantity of meat as well as dairy products in your diet. It needs to be underlined that meat as well as dairy foods may facilitate in producing the prostaglandins that are responsible for such spasms. Besides, you also ought to reduce the intake of salt prior to the onset of your menstrual cycle/ period. Taking vitamin supplements that enclose vitamin B3, vitamin E as well as calcium citrate and magnesium citrate is also helpful in easing the menstrual cramps.
It is also advisable that you consume cold-water fish or, alternately, take fish oil supplements containing Omega 3 as well as fatty acids to alleviate the symptoms of menstrual cramps/ spasms. Consuming cold-water fish and/ or taking fish oil supplement will help to slow down prostaglandin production in the body.
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Last, but not the least, try to keep off from using intra-uterine devices (IUDs) as a birth control method. In effect, using such devices may augment menstrual cramps as well as related symptoms. It is advisable that you use sanitary pads rather than tampons.