Every month, many women experience significant discomfort associated with menstruation. Research shows that 80% of women experience period cramps and many struggle with the severity of their pain.1
The cramps and aches can be painful and can disrupt everyday life. Menstruation typically lasts between 7 to 10 days and can cause physical and mental discomfort, preventing some women from going to work, school, or engaging in daily activities until their symptoms have lessened. Thankfully, there are a variety of medications and products on the market available over the counter.
Dr. Jaime Goldstein, an ob-gyn at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Centre, affirms that even gynecologists can experience cramps. Your female gynecologist experiences the same period cramps that you do. Gynaecologists possess knowledge beyond the average individual about the gynaecological system, including ways to alleviate period cramps.
She states that they have found what works for them to reduce or manage the cramping.
Gynecologists may recommend using a combination of three to four methods to manage cramps. Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at The University of Illinois College at Chicago, typically follows this strategy. Combining multiple strategies together can be effective.2
What are menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are a common symptom of menstruation. Abdominal pain that ranges from mild to severe in intensity may be experienced before and during menstruation. Women may experience mild or severe cramping, with the latter preventing daily activities for a period of up to one week.
Symptoms of menstrual cramps are:
- Intense throbbing or cramping pain in the lower abdomen
- Lower back pain
Menstrual cramps may be intensified by some reproductive health conditions, such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and uterine fibroids. For those without underlying conditions, menstrual cramp intensity usually decreases with increased maturity and after having children. Taking control of your period cramps can help you manage them better. This may include following instructions for medications, heating products, and other home remedies.
Strategies for managing menstrual cramps
It is important to follow instructions when taking medication and using heating products. For example, if you are using a heating pad, it is essential to read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help ensure safety and effectiveness of the product.
Exercise and Stretch
Regular exercise and stretching can help reduce period cramps. Exercise helps to increase circulation and blood flow in the body. Regular exercise can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can worsen period cramps.
Stretching can help manage lower-body discomfort. Each stretch should last for 30 seconds or until a comfortable point is reached.
Touching toes– Hamstring stretching can be aided by toe-touching stretches which can also reduce tension in the lower back area.
Cobra Pose- To perform the Cobra Pose, start by lying on the stomach with hands facing down alongside the chest. Slowly lift the chest so that the top of the head is in line with the ceiling.
Cat-Cow Pose– To perform Cat-Cow Pose, go on your hands and knees and then arch and lower your back in alternation.
Child’s Pose: To start the stretch, sit on your heels with your knees hip-width apart and then slowly lower forward until your head is touching the floor. With arms extended in front, hold the position for a few seconds.3
Stretching and exercising is a good option to manage menstrual cramps because it helps to increase blood flow, reduce stress and tension, and can help relax the muscles.
Women may take pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, for the prevention or treatment of menstrual cramps.
It is important to always follow the instructions on any medications you take. Be sure to take the correct dose and read all warnings before taking any medication. If you are unsure about a medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist for additional information or guidance.
Heat therapy, or thermotherapy, is a viable option to reduce menstrual cramps as well as other associated symptoms, such as headaches and back pain. Heating pads, patches, or warm cloths can be applied to the lower abdomen or back for relief.
Heat therapy has been shown to be beneficial for pain relief, as it increases blood flow at the site of the pain, resulting in relaxed muscles.
The possible reduction of menstrual cramps from the application of heat may be attributed to the relaxation of the myometrium, which is composed of smooth muscles that initiate painful contractions. This is where the smooth muscles are found, which undergo contractions and cause pain.4
When using a heating pad, it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Safety first. Pay attention to how long you should use the heating pad, as well as how hot it should be set. Avoid placing the heating pad directly on your skin and ensure that it is not too hot before applying it.
When using a heating pad, always make sure that you are in a comfortable position and that the heat is not too hot. If you experience any discomfort, remove the heating pad immediately. It is also important to make sure that the area of your body that you are applying heat to is covered with a towel, cloth or clothing.
Cozy up to comforting warmth with heating pads and patches!
Heat therapy is an effective way to manage menstrual cramps, with heating pads and patches being the preferred products.
One type of heating pad is an electric mat for relieving pain. It can be applied to the abdomen for reducing uterine contractions in women. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medical Research found that using heat can help maintain muscle strength and activity. The greatest reduction in pain was seen immediately after application. However, it should not be placed on the skin or left running unsupervised. Caution is necessary due to the potential risk of burns and fire.
There are several types of heating pads that are:
Hot Water Bottles
Hot or cold therapy can be used to relieve pain. Cold is typically beneficial for acute injuries and inflammation, and heat can help with chronic muscle pain, like arthritis.
Researching hot water bottles will help you find the best option to soothe your muscles and warm your feet. They can also help make cold winter months more comfortable by heating up beds.
Hot water bottles are not sustainable for long-term use because the water loses its heat quickly. But they are easy to use, and you can get them inexpensively.
Women can purchase heat patches as an alternative to heating pads for relief from period cramps. Heat patches are adhesive, disposable and provide heat therapy lasting 6 to 14 hours. They are discreet when outside the home and should be discarded after use, but not be worn overnight.
Hotteeze Heat Pads provide sustained heat for sore muscles and cold environments. They are easy to take along with you wherever you go.
Hotteeze Heat Pads are self-heating, air-activated and odourless heat therapy products, designed to stick to clothes while remaining slim and lightweight. These products can provide temporary relief from muscular aches, pains and joint stiffness as well as backache without the need for drugs.
Our heat granules provide up to 14 hours of continuous heat and are eco-friendly. Their versatile use includes being a soil conditioner, with the additional benefit of having a Japanese origin and being endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association*.
Before beginning any sort of heat therapy, it is important to read the instructions provided on the packaging. This will ensure that you are using the device correctly and safely. Be sure to never place a heating pad directly on your skin and ensure that it is not too hot before applying it.
In addition to medications and heat therapy, there are other alternative treatments that can help relieve menstrual cramps. Massage therapy is one option that can help reduce tight muscles in the lower back and abdomen. Exercise, yoga, and acupuncture may also help reduce pain associated with menstrual cramps.
Menstrual cramps can be debilitating and prevent women from engaging in daily activities, however there are ways to cope and manage them.
Making lifestyle changes is an important part of managing menstrual cramps. It is important to get regular exercise, maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Reducing stress levels can also help to reduce pain associated with cramps.
*Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Do not stick directly on skin. The APA is receiving commercial consideration for the endorsement of Hotteeze.