What are period pains?
Almost half of women experience menstrual or period cramps/pains. Menstrual cramps are painful sensations in the lower abdomen and lower back. Pain can range from dull, disturbing, annoying to severe. Some women are not even able to perform daily routines such as going to work, doing household choirs or even getting out of bed.
Pain during menstruation happens due to uterus contract to shed the lining. However, some other factor can contribute to increased pain as well: having a cyst, lack of exercise, diet high in fat, salt, caffeine, and alcohol and number of underlying medical conditions.
There many recommendations to reduce period pains such as:
Limit intake of fat, alcohol, caffeine, salt and sweets and eat fruits and vegetables
Drinking camomile tea helps reduce menstrual pain
My own recommendations based on my experience:
I came up with my own routine that saves me through the pain. It consists of two simple steps:
- Taking pain medications in a specific way
- Applying heat to the lower abdomen
Taking pain medications in a specific way
The first day seems to be the hardest and the most painful. Almost never can I perform day to day tasks without taking medication and most of the times just one type of medication is not enough. Thus, my routine is:
a) Take Advil, aspirin, ibuprofen or other NSDM (make sure you take it with food, never take it on an empty stomach)
b) One or two hours later I take Tylenol or other acetaminophen containing medication.
It is also acceptable to take Advil and Tylenol at the same time.
These two medications relieve pain in a different way and it is safer to take two medications with different actions than overdosing on one medication.
Caution: Consult your doctor before taking medication. Avoid taking acetaminophen if you have liver damage and/or drinking alcohol heavily. Please, read carefully instructions before taking medications, check your allergies and consult with your doctor. Never exceed the dosage indicated on the medication bottle. If you are taking any other medications, consult your doctor for possible drug interactions. Never take medication if you are allergic to any of its components
Applying heat to the lower abdomen
However, sometimes, my pain is so strong that even above routine is not enough. I discovered that using a heated rice pillow helps tremendously and takes the pain away. I sawn my own and it was very easy. I heat my pillow in a microwave for 3-4 minutes and then place it on the most painful area of my stomach. Usually heat minimizes pain. If you have any inflammations, you cannot use heated pillow as it will spread an inflammation.
There are many online stores where you can buy hot/cold grain filled pillow. They come in different shapes and sizes. However, you can totally make your own. It is fun and allows you to add any dried herbs for a pleasant smell. It also helps reduce stress and aids healthy sleep. I filled mine with herbs that are used to relieve upper respiratory tract infections. I use to help my son during asthma attacks. Please, follow the link to learn how to make your own hot/cold therapy pillow.
Hope this post will help to get you through this unpleasant time of the month. Please, share your ways of coping with period pains.