As a woman, it is likely that you have been afflicted by pain and other symptoms associated with menstruation at some point in time. Sometimes, this pain is severe and interferes with daily functioning. In severe cases we refer to painful menstruation as Dysmenorrhea. The pain you may feel is due to the shedding of the uterine lining, which requires the contraction of the uterus. Uterus spasms, or cramps, are the predominant symptom, with pain concentrated in the lower abdomen, lower back, vulva, and sometimes thighs.
The wave like pain is often accompanied by:
- tender breasts
- headaches and dizziness
- vomiting and diarrhea
A Holistic Approach To A Healthy Menstruation
Fortunately, there is a plethora of research which indicates promising, natural methods of reducing the discomfort which plagues many of us. The following list is a guideline for things to consider, which can promote hormonal balance and reduced stress. These methods reflect a holistic approach to healthy menstruation, understanding that our being is a system. They offer more in quality, than the quick-fix, over-the-counter remedy which we have been accustomed to for the sake of convenience, and based on convention.
#1 Cultivate A Holistic Mind-Body Understanding
From a holistic perspective, it is important to understand the connection between the thoughts we hold in our mind, the feelings they produce, and the effect which such can have on our bodies. You may consider, that the pain you experience during your period could be partially caused by factors like your attitude towards your cycle, or past experiences. It is necessary that we embrace our femininity in all its forms, not to fear or be repulsed by this process.
- Practice by generating positive, loving thoughts about yourself and this unique and beautiful process
- Treat yourself with extra care and tenderness
- Be kind to yourself in thoughts, words and actions.
#2 Focus On A Healthy Diet & Nutrition
Dysmenorrhea is an inflammatory reaction, thus it is our goal to decrease this response and avoid anything which could trigger or promote it. You will have your body much more under control by avoiding or/and including certain foods and herbs. Here is a list:
- Avoid Refined Carbohydrates: This certainly not the time to indulge in that craving and treat yourself to that doughnut! It is recommended to eat at most 3 servings of grains, which should be whole (Quinoa, oats, millet etc.).
- Avoid Refined Sugars And Foods Naturally High In Sugar: Since high glycemic foods are known to increase inflammatory chemicals in the body, avoid foods high on the glycemic index, such as fruits like bananas, and processed foods packed with sugar.
- Avoid Dairy: Dairy products like milk and cheese, can be congesting to the body and trigger cramps. Look for other sources of calcium, like fresh dill!
- Avoid Egg Yolk and Red Meat: Both food items are high in arachidonic acid, found to increase cellular inflammation in some people and may contribute to the digestive disruptions especially during this time of the month.
- Avoid Caffeine: Caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda, can increase levels of tension and anxiety.
- Avoid Phytoestrogens: Phytoestrogens are a class of plant-based chemicals which resemble estrogen, found most notably in soy products.
- Include The Basics: Water, Fruits & Vegetables: You cannot get enough fresh fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water! It aids in the support of the vital detoxification which the body requires during this cycle.
- Include Whole vitamins & vitamin A: Vitamin A (through whole foods like carrots) helps to regulate estrogen levels, while it is also important to maintain complete nutritional levels when we often cannot achieve this through diet. Try a prenatal vitamin.
- Include Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is the leading cause of menstrual cramps, and including adequate supplement helps to relax smooth muscle tissue.
- Include Essential Fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids help to improve reproductive cell structure and decrease inflammation.
#3 Indulge Into Massages
Massage directed in the lower abdominal region can promote health in the reproductive organs, mainly the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, as well as the stomach, liver and intestines. It is recommended to massage these areas regularly while not menstruating, as a maintenance and preventative practice. For immediate ease of pain in these areas, use a heating pad. If you are in a pinch and perhaps unable to leave your home to purchase one, you can fill a sock with rice and heat it for a few minutes in the microwave.
#4 Dive Into Yoga & Exercise
Although exercise tends to be the last thing we feel like doing during a painful period, it serves a crucial role delivering oxygen to the muscles associated with fertility, helping to relax them. Specifically, certain yoga poses have been known to provide circulation and alignment to reproductive organs. This system of yoga is referred to as yoga for fertility. It is worth mentioning that some ancient wisdom advises against inversion poses during menstruation.
#5 Stimulation of the SP-6 acupuncture point
Ancient Chinese Medicine & Wisdom shares the wonders of acupuncture, based on the system of knowledge where “acupoints” or pressure points can be targeted, to ease pain and illness. In the scientific journal Chinese Acupuncture & Moxibustion, it was discovered that stimulation of the acupoint known as Spleen 6, is known to bring hormones (often leading to painful periods and PMS) into balance and harmony, and is more effective than medications in alleviating cramping during menstruation. To stimulate, gently hold the point of pressure until the cramping diminishes (it may take up to ten minutes), and repeat as necessary.
#6 Orgasms as Therapeutic Treatment Against Menstrual Cramps
Having an orgasm can be a therapeutic treatment while facing menstrual cramps. No BS. During orgasm your uterus relaxes and tilts prior to orgasm. The bloof flow increases to this part of the body which helps the body to relax and ease the pain. There are a number of other reason how and why orgasm helps ease menstrual cramps. I will dive deeper into that in another article.
*It is important to note that Dysmenorrhea can sometimes indicate a greater or underlying cause, and should be discussed with a medical professional if symptoms are severe or pursue.
What do you do to ease period pain? Do you have any tips & tricks to share with other ladies?
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