Anyone who has menstrual cycles is familiar with the discomfort of menstrual cramps. However, the severity can vary widely. People can have cramping that is minimal for some, or it can be excruciating for others.

It’s important to listen to your teenage daughter or son when she complains of period cramps and does what you can to alleviate the situation. Thanks to many efficient natural therapies, cramps can be effectively treated at home.

Even though some discomfort is normal during a period, it can also indicate a more serious issue that needs to be addressed. It’s critical to distinguish between what is and is not normal.

Causes

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When your uterine lining is being shed, the contractions that cause menstrual cramps are uterine contractions. Most women who menstruate suffer some discomfort, but the pain is usually mild and lasts for only a few days.

A dull aching or throbbing sensation in the lower abdomen is the most common symptom of period pain, although it can also spread to some women’s lower back and inner or upper thighs. In some instances, menstruation pain can be so intense that it interferes with a person’s everyday life.

Menstrual cramps are made more likely by a variety of risk factors, such as those listed below:

  • To be younger than 30 years old.
  • Painful menstruation runs in the family.
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Having unpredictable periods
  • Tobacco use in childhood and adolescence (before the age of 8)

What Helps to Relieve Cramps?

Menstrual discomfort and pain can be alleviated with the right treatment. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions.

1. Exercise

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When you undertake some light activity, you can reduce your period pain and release feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Even a little walk around the block, some yoga, or some stretching exercises will help alleviate some of the discomforts you’re feeling.

2. Heat

To ease the pain of your period, place a hot water bottle or heating pad on your lower abdomen to improve blood flow. Heat therapy was found to be more beneficial than over-the-counter pain medications in relieving period discomfort in a trial of 344 people.

3. Analgesics for the Treatment of Pain

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Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are commonly prescribed over-the-counter pain relievers for menstrual cramps.

To reduce the danger of Reye syndrome, a rare but life-threatening disease, do not feed children or teens under 16 aspirin products (such as Bayer).

As with any medication, take it exactly as the manufacturer directs. Before taking more than one drug, consult your doctor.

4. Detoxification and Rejuvenation

Getting enough sleep, relaxation, and rest is important for pain alleviation. Menstrual cramps and high cortisol levels can be alleviated by getting enough sleep.

Experiment with various sleeping positions to lessen the strain on your abdominal muscles. When it comes to their period, many women prefer to sleep on their side or with their knees tucked up to their chest (known as the fetal position).

5. Relaxing Soak In A Hot Tub

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Menstrual cramps can be alleviated by taking a hot bath or shower. The heat stimulates blood flow and relaxes the uterus muscles, resulting in reduced pain during childbirth.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Water retention from certain foods and beverages can make you feel bloated and restless during your period. Others cause inflammation, which might increase the symptoms of the menstrual cycle. Avoiding the following is recommended:

  • Caffeine
  • Drinks with carbonation
  • Fried food
  • Prepared meals
  • Foods high in salt or sugar

Pain During Period Isn't Normal.

There is a difference between menstruation cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Mood swings, irritability, bloating, and exhaustion are all signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). After your period begins, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms tend to diminish.

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Once your period starts, premenstrual syndrome symptoms diminish, but other pains, such as menstrual cramps, may appear.

Prostaglandins released by the uterine lining increase the intensity and discomfort of menstrual contractions, particularly in the first few days of the menstrual cycle.

This pain is only an annoyance for some women, but for others, it could signify something more serious.

Menstrual discomfort can be divided into two categories:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea: This type of pain comes around the time of your first period and isn’t usually indicative of a medical problem.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea: The pain of menstruation that arises sometime after the initial menstrual cycle; it can even begin after a lengthy period of normal menstruation. It is highly likely due to endometriosis, fibroids, or another type of pelvic inflammatory illness (PID).

Any period discomfort, no matter how much you take in anti-inflammatory medication, could signify something more serious that necessitates medical attention.

Calling a doctor or other medical professional is the best action in this situation. A gynecologist or your child’s pediatrician might be called to treat menstruation discomfort in tweens and teens (most see patients until at least 18 years of age).

When Should I See a Physician?

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Menstrual cramps might be a warning indication of something more serious. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Heat and pain relievers are common at-home cures that are ineffective at relieving pain.
  • Because of your period pain, you cannot participate in typical activities.
  • Even after your period has ended, you will still feel the effects of the cramps.
  • Aside from that, you’re showing signs of despair.

Unbearable menstrual cramps can be an indication of a variety of medical issues, such as:

  • a narrowing of the neck
  • Endometriosis
  • Inflammatory illness of the pelvis (PID)
  • Infections that result from sex (STIs)
  • Fibroids in the uterus

Treatment

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When you see a doctor, they will first try to figure out what is causing your extreme period cramping symptoms. The diagnosis will dictate the treatment plan. The following are some potential remedies:

  • Period pain can be alleviated by using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), both prescription and over-the-counter, which suppress the formation of prostaglandins.
  • Serious PMS symptoms can be treated with an antidepressant, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).
  • Prostaglandins, which cause menstrual cramps, can be reduced or blocked by birth control hormones.

Surgery may be recommended to treat more severe conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Occasionally, a hysterectomy — where the uterus is surgically removed — may be the best option.

The Bottom Line

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In the early stages of menstruation, teens and tweens may be caught off guard by the intensity of their menstrual discomfort. Even though cramps are painful, they are common and, unless severe, do not indicate a medical emergency.

Using natural cures at home can help your child feel better, giving them a few days off to focus on self-care if that’s what they need. Call your primary care physician or gynecologist if the pain is debilitating or interfering with daily activities.