The pain in menstruation, especially during the first few days, is common and somewhat expected. The discomfort and colic are usually common for many women; however when the pain occurs in a very intense way, preventing us from carrying out our daily activities, it is essential to pay attention. If the discomfort is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, drops in blood pressure, or is so strong that it does not allow us to do anything else, this being a common condition in each period, it is essential to visit a gynecologist.
Some women have intense menstrual cramps during the first years of menstruation, a condition that disappears or is noticeably reduced over time; this is known as primary dysmenorrhea.
There is another type of intense menstrual pain that occurs in adult women with so far regular periods; these sudden and severe pain can be a sign of secondary dysmenorrhea, a condition that may be due to the presence of pathologies such as
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Certain sexually transmitted diseases
- Problems with the IUD
Prevention is an essential factor in reducing menstrual cramps, so it is recommended that one or two days before your period is due to start taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen every 8 hours. This will significantly reduce aches and pains, and it is also advisable to continue taking it for at least the first two days of the period to keep the discomfort at bay.
Heat is a simple and very effective ally to reduce menstrual pain effectively. That is why it is recommended to apply a hot compress to the area as soon as the first signs of pain begin. It can be left in the place until the discomfort subsides. This can be done as many times as necessary throughout the day. It is also recommended to take hot baths that will also help reduce pain and inflammation.
Lying down and raising your legs is an effective way to combat menstrual pain as it helps us improve blood circulation, thus promoting fluidity of menstrual flow. This measure can be carried out while we apply a warm compress to the area or try to rest to recover from the pain.
It is essential to take care of your diet, especially a few days before the period arrives, to reduce menstrual pain. Some ingredients increase the possibility of colic during these days, so we recommend limiting the intake of:
- Coffee, soft drinks, teas, alcohol, and energy drinks for being powerful stimulants that increase pain.
- Chocolate, which has the same effects.
- Foods rich in sugar such as sweets, desserts, and pastries.
It is also recommended to reduce saturated fat, junk food, and fried foods, which could worsen discomfort, and increase fiber and water intake to reduce abdominal inflammation.
Other alternatives to reduce menstrual cramps are
- Do sports frequently, even during those days when you have discomfort. Physically active women are less likely to have dysmenorrhea. All kinds of cardiovascular exercises are recommended in addition to relaxation activities such as yoga or Pilates.
- Stop smoking if you have this habit, as tobacco worsens menstrual pain.
- During periods of most significant pain, it is advisable to eat small amounts several times a day rather than large portions at one time.