Are crippling menstrual pains causing a drastic drop in your productivity levels at school, university, and workspaces? Do you find yourself missing out on an active social life because of your menstrual cramps that last longer than the first three days of the period?
Do you notice that even strong pain medication fails to make your menstrual pain go away?
If your responses have been positive to the above, you might be suffering from dysmenorrhea.
Menstrual cramps, clinically known as dysmenorrhea, are marked by sharp painful sensations that affect the lower abdomen and lower back. Our period brings along with it a host of internal menstrual symptoms, with menstrual pain being the primary one. The severity of the period cramps varies from dull and mildly bothersome to extreme shooting pains. As soon as ovulation starts – the ovaries release an egg, it travels down the fallopian tube, and the menstrual cramps follow shortly afterward.
But gone are the days you suffer in silence with all the discomfort. Say hello to this RIO special guide on 1) how to prevent period pain, and 2) how to reduce period pain, and not lets cramps dampen your style!
Menstrual Pains – Overview
There exist two types of menstrual pains- primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.
Primary Dysmenorrhea: The period pain triggered among teenagers and women in their 20s by an excess of the natural prostaglandin hormones in the uterus lining is known as primary dysmenorrhea. Here, no external conditions or other illnesses are responsible for stimulating the menstrual cramps. Prostaglandin facilitates the contraction and relaxation of the muscles and blood vessels in the uterus to cause menstrual pains. The prostaglandin levels are found to be at their highest in the first one to two days of your period, but gradually, the uterine lining sheds itself to reduce the intensity of pain.
Secondary dysmenorrhea refers to the menstrual pain induced by reproductive health disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids that negatively affect your reproductive organs, including the uterus. In the case of secondary dysmenorrhea, the cramps arrive a few days before your menstrual periods and slowly worsen. Often, the menstrual pains do not go away even after your period has ended. Secondary dysmenorrhea is usually found among women in their 30s and 40s.
The rise in prostaglandin levels makes the usual painless uterine contractions grow tighter and more extended to cut off oxygen from the muscles. What we experience as pain is usually the lack of oxygen in the tensed muscles. Often, there is no exact reason why some women have more uterine prostaglandins than others. However, significantly lower life quality is observed among women who have painful periods.
It’s crucial for you to get better to know your body to realize which menstrual symptoms are typical and which are not. Specific symptoms which may be routine for you can also be a severe cause for concern for someone else.
The majority of women have internalized the fact that periods are supposed to be a highly uncomfortable experience, having grown up seeing their mothers and sisters go through painful periods without a sigh.
The negative feelings of shame and embarrassment around the topic of menstruation prevent women from accessing the necessary menstrual products and seeking prompt medical help for their menstrual pains. Women who experience cramps during periods and heavy menstrual bleeding are usually hesitant to talk about their pain. Naturally, they struggle to understand the gravity of their symptoms.
The first step in helping doctors better diagnose menstrual disorders that cause cramps and treat them effectively would be doing away with the menstrual stigma by initiating more open and honest conversations on painful periods in front of family, friends, and colleagues.
Supporting policies that affirm non-discrimination against menstruators and establishing menstruation as a topic of essential discussion in the society and healthcare community will enable more women to come forward with their concerns and stories around pain. Continuous education and communities of support can break the silence and taboo.
Since menstrual periods are a reflection of our overall health, we must not overlook the sudden changes in our menstrual health as they might be a sign of a much more significant issue. It is imperative to understand that intense cramping and irregular cycles are not normal, and it may be an indicator that our body isn’t happy.
How Common are Menstrual Pains?
Menstrual pains are very common. As per medical research statistics, about 3 in 4 people, 90% of women, experience menstrual cramps either before or during the period. But only 1 in 10 people experience intense pain that severely influences their daily activity levels.
The menstrual cramps can randomly appear and disappear in your cycles, but usually, a consistent pattern of pain is noticed at the time of heavy bleeding. It’s prevalent for female pain to be under-treated or overlooked.
Women who reach their menarche at twelve to thirteen years of age are much more likely to experience intense menstrual pains before reaching age thirty. Alongside, if you have heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia, you are at an increase for intense menstrual cramps. Other risk factors of menstrual cramps include smoking and an irregular menstrual cycle.
Here are the main symptoms of menstrual cramps that you must look out for :
- A mix of congestive and spasmodic pain
- Intense pressure in the abdomen
- Experiencing throbbing pain in your uterus during the menstrual period
- Aching pain in the lower abdomen that can turn severe without warning
- Heavy menstrual bleeding involves the passing out of blood clots and tissues
- Menstrual cramps that spread to the inner thighs, hips, and lower back
- Headache, nausea, and dizziness
- Digestive issues such as vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea
Menstrual Pains and All These Entail – Key Challenges
Here are some of the critical challenges associated with menstrual pains
– A drop in progesterone and estrogen levels in the week leading up to the period is known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or its more extreme version, the premenstrual dysphoric disorder. PMS is characterized by symptoms such as heavy bleeding, intense menstrual pains, weight gain, acne breakouts, fatigue, and changes in appetite.
– Menstrual pains are often associated with conditions such as endometriosis and adenomyosis. During endometriosis, the tissues which line the uterus travel and get implanted on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even the bladder. Eventually, the tissues break down and bleed along with your regular menstrual flow to trigger the pains. If left untreated, these disorders may lead to uterine scarring and the formation of painful cysts filled with blood in the ovary.
– Menstrual cramps often go hand in hand with the hormonal condition of polycystic ovarian syndrome, which causes the formation of enlarged ovaries and cysts on the edges. The progression of PCOS further worsens your painful periods.
– Painful period cramps can often be a sign of menopause as well since the fluctuation of hormones during menopause that leads to a lack of periods can cause strong menstrual cramps.
– Menstrual cramps are commonly linked to defects in the uterus, like the presence of two uteri moving to one cervix or the presence of fibrous tissue bands. Even the benign uterine fibroids that grow in multiple places in and around the uterus press onto the vital blood vessels to result in menstrual pains and increased blood flow.
– If you are going through complications in your pregnancy, menstrual pains and heavy bleeding can also signify an ectopic pregnancy where the fertilized egg gets attached to the endometrium instead of reaching inside the uterus.
Pelvic inflammatory disease(PID) –
Bacterial infections like pelvic inflammatory diseases, which affect the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus, cause menstrual cramps.
– Sudden weight gain leads to an increase in the release of estrogen by the fat cells, and this estrogen dominance leads to more painful and frequent periods.
– Menstrual pains are a common symptom of cervical stenosis where the narrow opening of the cervix hinders blood flow on your period to increase uterus pressure and trigger cramps.
Firstly, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to check for any abnormalities in your reproductive organs and then review your medical history.
To detect the leading cause behind your persistent menstrual pains, the doctor may prescribe other tests like :
- Ultrasound- Here, an image of your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes is created using sound waves.
- A CT scan and MRI are non-invasive and painless procedures that help produce detailed cross-sectional images of bones and all the other soft tissues in your body.
- Laparoscopy – During laparoscopy, a fiber-optic tube with a tiny camera lens is inserted into your abdomen to better view your internal organs and endometriosis, adhesions, fibroids, ovarian cysts, and ectopic pregnancy.
Don’t Let Menstrual Cramps Interfere With Your Style.
While periods are a monthly visitor, the menstrual pains don’t have to be. Learn how to reduce and prevent period pain:
According to multiple review studies, heat therapy can be highly beneficial in menstrual cramp relief as it eliminates the tension in uterus muscles and boosts blood flow. You can apply a heating pad, a hot-water bottle, or warm towels to your belly region and lower back. And if you can’t find a heating pad anywhere near, you can either take a hot shower or attempt to design your heating pad by filling a hot sock with uncooked rice, then microwave it for a couple of minutes and let it cool before use.
During your period, hydration is the key to preventing bloating, which can cause menstrual cramps. Drink at least eight glasses of plain water in a day along with fruit-infused water, green smoothies, and water-based foods like watermelon, cucumbers, berries, and lettuce to meet your hydration goals.
Drinking warm water and hot drinks is one of the best ways to get rid of period pain. Caffeine is known to have the ability to constrict blood vessels in the uterus and cause menstrual pains. Thus, it would be best to switch to herbal non-caffeinated beverages like ginger, chamomile, and fennel tea filled with anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe muscle spasms. Also, herbal teas help relieve stress and reduce insomnia.
– As we all know, the body tends to lose significant amounts of iron during the menstrual cycle. Eating iron-rich foods such as eggs, tofu, quinoa, and dark chocolate will help prevent anemia by replenishing your iron levels. Dietary supplements that provide you with your fix of essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamins E, D calcium, magnesium can also help with period pain relief since they reduce inflammation. Continue taking your supplements even after your period has ended for more long-term positive results.
You must strictly stay away from processed and refined food such as french fries, brownies, and chocolates as their high sugar and salt content can increase your menstrual pains by causing inflammation, bloating, and fluid retention.
Scientists have found a clear connection between inflammation and menstrual pains. A clinical trial of women with menstrual pain found that the menstrual period considerably reduced following a low-fat vegetarian diet and consuming three to four servings of dairy.
Thus, including anti-inflammatory foods such as bell pepper, leafy green vegetables, fish, nuts, tomatoes, and certain spices in your diet is one of the best ways to reduce period pain.
With its antispasmodic and healing properties, Cinnamon can prove to be very helpful in relieving period pain and other distressing menstrual symptoms. Sprinkling cinnamon in your hot drinks meals and consuming cinnamon capsules can inhibit uterine contractions.
The potent phytochemicals and phytoestrogens present in fennel seeds reduce water retention and balance the female hormones to reduce the period pain. Fennel seeds can be consumed raw, soaked in water, and then added to a detox beverage or used in desserts.
Ginger contains zingibain – a potent natural enzyme that halts the product of prostaglandins to defend your body from inflammation. Thus, ginger capsules are known to ease period cramps and other symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea. have helped ease menstrual cramps and symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea.
Exercise- Moving around your body and exercising may feel like an enormous task when the menstrual cramps hit you, and you would rather curl up into a ball and sleep. But if you are wondering how to avoid period cramps, any form of physical activity like gentle stretching, walking, and yoga can help you. Exercise releases endorphins – the natural feel-good hormones that calm your abdomen muscles, decrease period cramps, and improve your overall well-being.
A research study discovered that women who practiced yoga persistently once a week for an entire hour for three months felt their period pain lessen in comparison to those who did not practice any yoga.
The yoga poses that can help reduce menstrual cramps and PMS are :
- Cat-Cow Pose
- Child’s pose
- Cobra Pose
- Plank pose
Complementary therapies – Nerve stimulation therapies such as acupressure and acupuncture have established themselves as effective period cramps treatment as they help your body relax by rejuvenating the nerves.
at the hands of a skilled naturopath/acupuncturist will activate the trigger points around your stomach, back, and sides for period back pain relief. You can even consider adding essential oils like lavender, rose, or peppermint for a complete aromatherapy massage experience. The recommended oil concentration is one drop of essential oil per one teaspoon of carrier oil like sweet almond oil.
Manage stress –
In a state of stress and sleep deprivation, the body fails to regulate its inflammatory response. This makes it imperative to adopt healthy coping mechanisms like listening to music, meditation, and deep breathing to combat high-stress levels. In addition to that, you must try to establish a consistent night routine to have better quality sleep and pain-free periods as melatonin – the hormone that controls our sleep can stimulate ovulation and reduce chronic menstrual pain.
Maintain menstrual hygiene
– Bath and wash gently with a mild soap-free cleanser and lukewarm water to clean all the excess blood that could possibly contribute to an infection and worsen your menstrual pains.
Over-the-Counter Medication – For temporary and fast-acting relief from menstrual cramps,
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen that reduce prostaglandin levels in your body will be your best friend. However, never take these pills before consulting with a doctor as the medicines may irritate your digestive system,
Contraceptive pills –
To manage menstrual cramps caused by an imbalance in hormones, hormonal birth control pills, patches, and hormonal IUDs can be the ideal solution as they regulate your menstrual cycle, cause a light blood flow and prevent the uterus lining from becoming too thick.
Suppose the doctor believes that your cramps are too severe to be controlled by medication only. In that case, you can consider surgical options for the safe and effective removal of fibroids and endometriosis tissues. Hysterectomy is the last resort for dealing with menstrual pains, as it puts an end to your fertility by involving the permanent removal of the entire uterus and cervix.
Take A Chill Pill for Your Menstrual Pains With RIO Pads
While you are down with throbbing menstrual pains, changing your sanitary napkin or tampon every one to two hours is nothing short of a nightmare. Even using multiple regular sanitary pads meant for normal menstrual flow together can turn out to be a very unhygienic and messy affair which increases the likelihood of developing skin rashes and infection.
Among the diversely large variety of sanitary products available in the market, we bring you RIO Heavy Flow Pads – the best pads for periods to help say good-bye to all of your menstrual pain troubles and achieve optimal menstrual hygiene management.
– The RIO pads are specially equipped with Japanese SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer) technology to deal with intense gushes and ensure maximum protection from leakage. The multi-layer core would effectively save you from frequent visits to the bathroom.
The heavy flow pads come with raised flow guards, side wings, and wide back wings to prevent the blood from escaping the pad in any way. Now, you would not have to wake up multiple times in the middle of the night to change your sanitary pad as the large hourglass-shaped RIO pads will contain your heavy flow without hassle.
The anti-bacterial and aloe vera enhanced RIO pads are completely free of artificial chemicals and fragrances. Thus, the pads with their soft-cottony top sheet are completely friendly on your sensitive skin and protect you from all irritation and deadly infections.
We at RIO understand how debilitating painful periods can be, and we have put in our best research to make these pads that offer you optimal comfort on your heavy flow days.
What are you waiting for? Choose RIO today to not let menstrual pains cramp your style anymore, achieve heightened mobility and complete freedom.
Lastly, the intelligent odor lock technology in our RIO – the ideal sanitary pads for heavy flow will help eliminate the risk of being mentally stigmatized from the foul odor of menstrual blood,