How many of you have popped a pill and got on with your chores on a day with severe menstrual cramps? Chances are many of you are nodding in agreement. There might be many reasons behind your menstrual cramps—although, they differ from person to person.
“When inching closer to menstruation every cycle, mild cramps, bloating, and irritability — although nuisances — are all to be expected. However, crippling period pain, heavy bleeding, serious fatigue, and other symptoms that affect your quality of life are not normal. There are a few conditions that cause cramps. Treating these conditions will help stop the symptoms,” says Dr Tanveer Aujla, senior consultant—obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida.
A few of these conditions include endometriosis (when the lining forms outside of the uterus, for example in the fallopian tubes and can cause chronic pain); uterine fibroids; adenomyosis (when the tissue lining the uterus begins to grow into the uterine walls); pelvic inflammatory disease; and cervical stenosis (when the opening of the cervix is smaller and restricts the flow of menstrual blood).
If you have mild period pain, aspirin or ibuprofen, and any antispasmodic tablets such as Buscopan, Meftal-Spas or Drotin can provide pain relief says Dr Aujla. Age-old heat treatments such as taking a warm bath or placing a hot water bottle on the back or stomach also soothe symptoms.
You can also take preventative measures such as exercising (regularly, and particularly yoga), and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco on the days leading up to your period, which may reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps, she says.
“Certain findings report that natural dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium may reduce period pain. Meditation and relaxation exercises can reduce the severity of cramps. Over-the-counter heat-relieving patches and pads, oils such as CBD oils help, too. This is subjective to the patient’s threshold for pain, and the severity of the cramps—it works for some women while others might not feel any difference. But since these patches and gadgets come without side effects, they are recommended as there is no harm,” says Dr Aujla.
However, she says that you shouldn’t continue with home DIY methods if you don’t see any changes. “If the pain is to the degree that it can be relieved with one or two doses of an antispasmodic pill and it just doesn’t go away even with conservative measures like hot water bottle, patches, and rest, and you need to take injections or tablets every two hours—you need to be evaluated by a gynaecologist and get an ultrasound of the pelvis to find other causes of severe dysmenorrhea when it is debilitating,” warns Dr Aujla.
Here are a few cool at-home options you could try to manage cramps:
1. Welme (TENS-therapy)
This is a wearable period pain relief device that is discreet too. The device uses Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) which blocks the pain signals by stimulating nerves without side effects, drugs or chemicals.
Log on to mywelme.com
2. Cannabidiol (CBD) products
This ingredient is derived from the hemp plant and is not addictive and does not cause a high. It’s one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis. Many canna products are available in the Indian market today not just in the wellness sector but in the skincare segment too. Take for instance the Boheco Bloom Menstrual Pain Relief oil, which is a roll-on you can apply to relieve period pain. Awshad, India Hemp Organics, India Hemp and Co, and Satliva are other Indian CBD brands that offer many CBD wellness solutions.
3. Herbal heat patches
You can’t really keep a hot water bottle in your lap while at work, right? That’s where the innovation of a herbal heat patch comes in. You just stick them on your abdomen or lower back and they can provide relief for up to eight hours. Several Indian fem-tech companies sell these pain relieving patches that are also available in medical stores today. Do check the herbal patches by Sirona, Carmesi, and Nua.