Dysmenorrhoea refers to menstrual cramps. It typically is a throbbing or cramping pain in the lower abdomen, back and legs. These pains are usually occur just before and during the menstrual periods in most women who suffer from dysmenorrhoea. The intensity and severity of the cramps may vary from annoying or a discomfort to more severe so that it can interfere with your day to day activities for a few days during periods every month. While most of the times it is without any underlying pathology, but there may br underlying pathologies like endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
Treating the underlying cause would help in reducing the pain. Dysmenorrhoea tends to lessen with age and after childbirth.
In Ayurvedic classics, menstrual pain which is so severe that you cannot perform daily activities is termed as KASHTARTAVA
According to Ayurvedic text there are many other diseases in which Kashtartava appears as a symptom. According to Ayurveda, aggravation of vata and pitta dosha are the main causes of menstrual cramps.
TWO TYPES OF DYSMENORRHEA
- This usually begins within six months of having the first period.
- There is usually no underlying disease or condition leading to this secondarey dysmenorrhoea.
- It lasts for less than 72 hours
- Begins at the start of the periods and is usually caused due to uterine cramping by the action of prostaglandins during this phase of the menstrual cycle.
- This type is usually caused in women who have had painless periods before or never had any dysmenorrhea symptoms before.
- Diseases such as fibroids, endometriosis, infections or sexually transmitted diseases might be one of the reasons to cause cramps.
- There may be additional features like discharge from the vagina or pain during sexual intercourse.
How to get relief from period cramps?
When menstrual cramps occur, most of the time, it can be managed at home. However, if your pain is severe and interferes with your lifestyle, don’t shy away from consulting your physician.
HERE ARE FEW TIPS FOR YOU
USE HEATING PADS
Sometimes a heating pad is all you need to get relief from menstrual cramps. This is because heat relaxes uterine muscles and other muscles around it. To combat the back pain during menstruation, the heat pad can also be placed on the lower back.
DRINK HOT TEA AND LOTS OF WATER
- During periods, hot tea can provide menstrual pain relief. They give much-needed comfort to your distressed uterine and back muscles.
- Along with that, herbal teas like chamomile tea, lavender tea, green tea, lemongrass tea, ginger tea, peppermint tea and cardamom tea can freshen up the mood and give relief from cramps.
- It can also relieve you from fatigue.
- Also, stay hydrated and try and drink 6-8 glasses of water each day to improve your overall health.
INCORPORATE GINGER IN YOUR DIET
- Ginger is a wonder herb which plays a vital role in lowering the levels of the pain-causing prostaglandins, for menstrual cramp relief.
- It also helps to fight the fatigue of premenstrual syndrome(PMS).
- You can also use this one age-old recipe, grate ginger and boil it in a glass of water, strain it, add a little honey and lemon juice to add the amazing flavour to it. Drink it twice a day.
DO MILD EXERCISES OR YOGA
Try some yoga poses to get relief from cramps. Whether it’s the stretching of your muscles or the relaxing effect of the poses, yoga can surely help in your cramps.
Few yoga poses you can try are : Balasana(Child pose), Bhujangasana(Cobra Pose), Dhanurasana(Bow pose), Matsyasana(Fish pose)
You can also try simply walking and meditation, pranayamas like Alternate breathing, Brahmri(humming bee breath)
TRY AND AVOID COFFEE
Your simple efforts like diet changes can provide menstrual pain relief in mild cases. So, it’s better to reduce your coffee consumption. This is because coffee is a well-known vasoconstrictor that makes blood vessels constrict. So, it tighten the vessels that supply the uterus and cause further cramps.
AVOID FATTY FOODS
During your periods, fatty foods with high salt levels can effect how bloated you feel and the severity of pain you experience. So, you need to eat fruits that are a rich potassium and help ease your bowel movements, like bananas. Also, eat lentils, spinach, and legumes in your daily diet.
INCLUDE CINNAMON IN DIET
- This is because Cinnamon has anti-spasmodic, anti-clotting, and anti-inflammatory properties, which are useful for menstrual cramp relief.
- It is also an excellent source of fibre, calcium, iron, and manganese.
- So, during periods, try and consume cinnamon-infused recipes.
- Add one-fourth teaspoon of cinnamon powder into a cup of hot water, boil it for five minutes, add little honey and then slowly sip it.
- Start drinking two to three cups of cinnamon tea every day, Start specifically 3-4 days prior to your menses.
MASSAGE WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
- Add few drops of any essential oil to any carrier oil and give yourself a gentle massage.
- The ideal proportion is one drop of essential oil to one teaspoon of the carrier oil.
- Massage for about 20 minutes for effective results.
- Also, during the massage, one should focus on specific points in the abdomen, back, and side.
AYURVEDIC HERBS FOR DYSMENORRHEA
BHUTAKESHI (Corydalis govaniana)
- This plant is a member of the bleeding-heart family, Bhutakesi grows in the Himalayas, particularly around Kashmir. It is one of the commonly prescribed herbs for relief in menstrual cramps.
- Add 1 to 2 grams of the powder in a cup of boiling water, strain it, add honey or lemon in it, and drink twice a day.
KACHUR (Curcuma zedoaria)
- Also known as an ‘emmenagogue’, Kachur is very beneficial in easing the menstrual cramps.
- Take 1 to 3 grams of this herb with lukewarm water, or you can also get it in capsule form.
- Another way to benefit from Kachur is to prepare a root infusion. Boil root in water until it reduces to one fourth and then drink it.
AJWAIN (Carom Seeds)
- Ajwain is a simplesimple kitchen herb and is very effective in dealing with a range of muscular and abdominal cramps, either caused by menses or because of digestive distress.
- Take Ajwain Tea for relief in the menstrual cramps.
- Add 2 generous pinches of Ajwain in 2 cups of water and boil it until it reduces to half. Strain add honey and drink two to three times a day.
METHI SEEDS (Fenugreek)
Another common kitchen herb with a proven fact to reduce period pain is Methi. Soak a teaspoon of Methi in a glass of normal water overnight. Next morning, drink the whole water and chew the seeds if you can, or you may choose to strain the seeds out, whatever you find suitable.
- Guda is one of the great Vata pacifier. Substituting sugar with jaggery in your life could be a great step towards staying healthy. But at least try and do it 3 to 5 days before you anticipate your menstrual cycle to begin.
- Combine Methi-Ajwain and Gud to make small laddus with these three ingredients. You can consume 2-3 of these laddus on an empty stomach with a sip of warm water.
GHRITKUMARI (Aloe Vera)
- Aloe is called woman’s best friend for a reason. One of its variety of health benefits is pain relief in Dysmenorrhea.
- Drink a glass of aloe vera juice on an empty stomach every day in morning and you will see your health improving drastically.
- If you can’t take it daily, then you can consider drinking it 3 to 5 days before cramps set in. And you can continue drinking it throughout your menses days.
TILL TAILAM (Sesame Oil)
- Massage your lower abdomen with sesame oil gently with downward strokes.
- For best results, warn the oil slightly, and then after the massage apply a little warmth with a hot water bag over a light blanket.