Home care for severe menstrual cramps

Severe menstrual cramps occur when menstrual periods are accompanied by either sharp, intermittent pain or dull, aching pain, usually in the pelvis or lower abdomen.

Painful menstruation affects many women. For a small number of women, such discomfort makes it next to impossible to perform normal household, job, or school-related activities for a few days during each menstrual cycle. Painful menstruation is the leading cause of lost time from school and work among women in their teens and 20's.

The pain may begin several days before or just at the start of your period. It generally subsides as menstrual bleeding tapers off. Although some pain during menstruation is normal, excessive pain is not. Dysmenorrhea refers to severe menstrual cramps enough to limit normal activities or require medication.

There are two general types of such severe menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) :

  • Primary dysmenorrhea refers to menstrual pain that occurs in otherwise healthy women. This type of pain is not related to any specific problems with the uterus or other pelvic organs.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea is menstrual pain that is attributed to some underlying disease process or structural abnormality either within or outside the uterus.
  • Activity of the hormone prostaglandin, produced in the uterus, is thought to be a factor in primary dysmenorrhea. This hormone causes contraction of the uterus and levels tend to be much higher in women with severe menstrual pain than in women
  • who experience mild or no menstrual pain.

Common Causes of severe menstrual cramps

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • History of sexual or physical abuse
  • Fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD), but usually only for the first three months after insertion
  • Tampons can aggravate menstrual pain in some women

Prevention and Care of severe menstrual cramps

The following steps may allow you to avoid prescription medications:

  • Apply a heating pad to your lower abdomen (below your navel). Be careful NOT to fall asleep with it on.
  • Take warm showers or baths.
  • Drink warm beverages.
  • Do light circular massage with your fingertips around your lower abdomen.
  • Walk or exercise regularly, including pelvic rocking exercises.
  • Follow a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but low in salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Eat light but frequent meals.
  • Try over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
  • Consider health supplements rich in vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium.
  • Keep your legs elevated while lying down. Or lie on your side with knees bent.

If these self-care measures do not help in reducing severe menstrual cramps, your doctor may prescribe some of the following medications : Cox-2 inhibitors celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx), and valdecoxib (Bextra), stronger anti-inflammatories like diclofenac (Cataflam), antidepressants, birth control pills, antibiotics, stronger pain relievers (even narcotics like codeine, for brief periods). However you may have to deal with the side effects of these medications.

Another alternative is to consider natural ingredients that work in unison to control and eliminate the symptoms of PMS. FemRelieve is an example of a quality natural product using time tested herbs and blending this ancient knowledge with modern medicine to produce incredibly effective relief of PMS symptoms, including severe menstrual cramps. FemRelieve is approved by the FDA.

Learn how FemRelieve can prevent severe menstrual cramps effectively and safely.


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