During childhood, girls often are intrigued and excited about the whole concept of menstruation, because it implies growing up. But once puberty is reached, the thrill of young adulthood is dampened for millions by menstrual cramps.
If you experience lower abdomen cramps or back pain during your periods, there’s nothing serious to worry about. Doctors say that this is normal, because during this time, there is a sudden withdrawal of progesterone (female sex hormone) and the uterus starts shedding its lining, along with bleeding.
To expel these dead tissues, the uterus contracts, leading to cramps. This is a normal process, but since cramps could also be caused by certain diseases, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor.
“In young and single women, [the pain] can be physiological dysmenorrhea, which goes away after marriage,” says Dr Poonam Khera, senior consultant, gynaecology, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.
“Inflammation of the uterus does cause pain. Factors like fast food and bad sleeping habits are indirect causes, as blood supply to the brain gets compromised,” says Dr Nupur Gupta, gynaecologist and obstetrician, Well Women Clinic.
During cramps, rather than taking painkillers, go for home remedies such as boiled ajvayana or carom seeds in one cup of water. Chamomile tea or raspberry leaf tea are equally helpful in reducing pain. Plentiful intake of water, juices or any kind of liquids also helps as the blood clots easily pass with them.
You can also try a cup of warm milk with two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses. Magnesium-rich food such as beans; whole grains such as buckwheat; salmon, shrimp, tofu, vegetables and nuts are also good as they increase the absorption of calcium and curb pain. Any form of caffeine should be avoided.
For more comfort, take a hot shower or place a hot water bottle under your back or on the lower abdomen. Stick to easy cardio activities.