About 1 in 2 women experience painful menses. Where I am from, they call it “woman wahala”.
Menstrual Cramps medically referred to as dysmenorrhea, are throbbing (beating with a strong, regular rhythm) or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Many women have menstrual cramps just before and during their menstrual periods.
For some women, the discomfort is merely annoying while for others, it can be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month.
It is mostly common in
- Women younger than 20 years of age,
- Women starting puberty at 11 years or younger,
- Ladies experiencing heavy bleeding during periods,
- Women who have never given birth.
Besides the pain you might also experience any of the following:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Faintness and dizziness
- Mood swings
What can we do about menstrual cramps?
The answer to the above question is usually life saving to a woman in a present condition of severe pains.
Here are a few tips
- Exercising regularly as it keeps the body active and allows for proper blood flow
- Reduce your everyday stress
- Quit smoking
- Take a hot or warm bath
- Put a heating pad (like a warm towel) on your belly or lower back
- Have enough rest (about 7-8 hours a day)
- Massage your abdomen
- Reduce your intake of salt, and avoid spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine and sugar to prevent bloating
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Consuming fruits, leafy vegetables and 1-2L of fluids (preferably water) a day is known to reduce period muscle cramps.
- Try taking your mind off the pain by getting busy with other tasks like house chores.
- Some people take medicines like ibuprofen, naproxen which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which help in relieving pain
See a doctor if
For most women, some pain during their period is normal. However, you should contact a health care provider if:
- You are over 25 and you get severe cramps for the first time
- You have the pain even when you are not getting your period
- Pain persists after self care measures and proper medication
- Your cramps suddenly get worse
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