Periods can be a difficult time for every woman- you have mood swings, bloody discharge and dysmenorrhea. However, although you have to bear through those discomforts, cramps are something you can alleviate- and that too, with home remedies.

What is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea or painful cramps are caused due to the release of compounds called as prostaglandins. At the beginning of your menstruation, the prostaglandins in your uterine lining reach their highest levels and then begin to decrease. The amount of prostaglandin in the uterus lining is directly proportional to the amount of pain you experience. Because of this, cramps are usually most painful in the first day of your periods and gradually begin to wane off. Here’s what you can do to lessen the pain at home.

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Can exercise help relieve cramps?

Pranayama (source: womanfitness.net)

Exercising during your menstrual periods seems impossible, but it definitely has its benefits. Try not to opt for extremely intense exercises, do for yoga instead. This is because yoga and light exercises can increase the blood circulation into the pelvic areas. Due to this, an increased amount of endorphins are released. Endorphins have quite the opposite action than that of prostaglandins, and therefore can help to fight against the pain caused by them. Try yoga asanas such as shavasana(the corpse pose), pranayama, knees-to-chest pose. Learn more about how yoga affects women’s health here.

How can you use heat to reduce painful cramps?

Heat therapy is a popular way to get relief from pain. It is effective because it dilates the areas in which heat is applied. This then promotes blood flow to the area which cause muscle relaxation in the tightened muscles. The same mechanism is effective in case of dysmenorrhea because cramps are painful uterine contractions. In order to apply head onto your lower abdomen, you can do the following:

  • Use over-the-counter heating patches or pads
  • Apply a hot water bag
  • Apply water bottle filled with hot water
  • Take a hot shower
  • Sip on tea or other fluids

Is a sesame oil massage effective?

A sesame oil massage can work wonders! (source: food.ndtv.com)

Sesame oil is of great use in Ayurveda due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. These properties are attributed to the linoleic acid that sesame oil contains. According to Ayurveda experts, massaging sesame oil onto your lower abdomen when you are menstruating can greatly help relieve the pains. Sesame oil can also be used for daily body massage. Try it out!

How can fluids help relieve dysmenorrhea?

Painful cramps coupled with bloating can make the unpleasant symptoms worse. This is why, staying hydrated is important. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day. Add in some drops of lemon or some mint if you need. In take additional water if you also experience vomiting and diarrhea. If you don’t like the idea of drinking so much water, you can also opt for chamomile tea, herbal tea infused with cumin seeds or ginger and black pepper tea as all of these has pain-relieving properties.

Which foods should you eat to relieve dysmenorrhea?

During menstrual cramps, all you want to do is chomp away on packets of chips and devour all the chocolates and desserts that you see. Although these play be pleasing to your taste-buds, these food are in fact the villains when it comes to menstrual cramps. Try to avoid food like crackers, fries, pasta, bread, margarine, onion rings and other fried items. Alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products are a no-go too.

Opt instead for foods like:

  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Bell peppers
  • Almonds
  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables

They have anti-inflammatory properties that can work wonders for your cramps. Fishes that have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids are saviors.

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