Menstrual cramps, also referred to as dysmenorrhea are throbbing pains experienced in the lower abdomen. Women experience menstrual cramps immediately before and during their periods. While for some women dysmenorrhea can be merely aggravating, for others however, the pains are severe, enough to paralyze their daily activities for days.
The common causes of menstrual cramps include heavy flow, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical stenosis and passing clots among others. Besides the chilling pains in the lower abdomen, some women also experience nausea, loose stools, headache, and dizziness.
The key to reducing menstrual cramps lies in treating its probable causes. Fortunately, menstrual cramps don’t result in other medical complications. Normally, the severity of menstrual cramps that are not caused by underlying medical conditions fade with age or after birth. However, until either of the aforementioned natural causes of relief takes place, here are 14 effective home remedies for menstrual cramps;
1. Applying heat to your lower abdomen
A recent study carried out on women between the ages of 18 and 30 years with regular menstrual cycles established that a heat patch at 40°C was equally effective as ibuprofen- an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat menstrual cramps, fever, and inflammation.
This is not surprising considering heat therapy is a popular form of treatment for pain and inflammation. Applying heat to an inflamed area helps dilate the blood vessels, promote effective blood flow, and helps relax sore and tightened muscles. In fact, heat therapy has been found to be more effective in remedying chronic muscle pain and sore joints compared to cold (icing).
The procedure is quite straightforward- apply a heating pad or a hot water bottle with the prescribed temperature (40°C) to your abdomen and feel the magic of the classical heat therapy. These items can be bought at a local drugstore or online. You can as well improvise by taking a hot shower or use a warm towel instead.