Like it or not, the period is a monthly occurrence for women. Many women experience pain generally localized in the lower abdomen. But sometimes this wave like pain can also be in the lower back. This is often accompanied by headache, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. This condition is generally known as dysmenorrhea. The pain of menstruation will make "those days" difficult even to do normal household activities, let alone take care of your little one.
Pregnancy and childbirth can affect the experience during your periods. For many women who experienced pain before pregnancy, postpartum pain may stop due to stretching of the uterus during pregnancy. However, few unfortunate ones complain of more painful colic. And some others don't notice any change at all.
Why do women experience pain during periods?
Here's a little biology. When it hasn't implanted at the end of your menstrual cycle (that is, if you don't conceive), your uterus produces a hormone-like substance called Prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2). This substance helps the uterus to contract and therefore removes the uterine tissues (which causes bleeding during periods).
Women with dysmenorrhea produce 7 times more PGF2 alpha than women who do not. This excess PGF2 results in further contraction which in turn results in a temporary deprivation of oxygen in the uterus which in turn causes muscle cramps. This is the pain and discomfort you feel.
8 foods that help reduce the pain of menstruation
Unfortunately, we have to face this every month. Fortunately, with a few clever diet changes, you can greatly reduce pain and discomfort. Here are the foods you should eat and those you should avoid to treat menstrual pain.
Flax seeds and salmon
Flax seeds for vegetarians and salmon for non-vegetarians. Omega-3 fatty acids like vitamin D can help reduce cramps. Salmon is a delicious and tasty source of these. We recommend grilled fish because grilling retains the nutrients in the fish. If you are a vegetarian, flax seed is highly recommended.
Broccoli is enriched with vitamins A, C, B6, and E, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The calcium present in broccoli is known to reduce menstrual cramps. Also, the dietary fiber in it will improve digestion and thus reduce bloating, another common problem during periods. Broccoli can be fried, stewed, or even steamed and consumed
Pumpkin seeds contain about 75% of the RDA for magnesium and 85% of the RDA for manganese. Its magnesium content reduces water retention and bloating, while manganese helps reduce mood swings. It can be eaten by roasting it or adding it to salads, which in turn makes the salad flavorful and crisp.
Skim or low-fat milk and eggs
Milk is also a great source of calcium and therefore has a similar effect to the broccoli we mentioned earlier. However, try to drink skim or low-fat milk as a high fat content can increase your cramps. Eggs, on the other hand, are good sources of vitamins D, B6, and E. Studies have shown that a diet rich in vitamin D and vitamin B can reduce colic.
Pineapple and banana
Pineapple is a good muscle relaxant which in turn will reduce cramps. You can eat it simply, drink it as a juice or in a smoothie, or roast it for a delicious dish. Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which fight painful periods.
This lush green vegetable rich in calcium should be included in your diet. It can help reduce cramps as they are a great source of the calcium you need. Spinach can be sautéed with olive oil and garlic cloves. Or you can puree it and turn it into any palak (delicious Indian dish) dish of your choice.
Celery for menstrual cramps
Celery is a crisp, light leafy vegetable that is full of water and helps with bloating. You can eat it in many different ways: you can dip it in hummus or peanut butter or put it in a salad, make a delicious and energetic smoothie with pineapple and cucumber, or you can add a handful of them in your fried rice.
We save the best for last. During our periods, many of us find ourselves craving chocolate or something sweet. Since too much sugar and whole dairy are not good ideas and can make cramps even worse, try eating dark chocolate. Not only will it satisfy your craving, but it is also known to relax the muscles, thereby reducing the pain of menstruation.
In general, we should include vitamin B-6, vitamin B-1, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and magnesium in our diet.
3 foods to avoid during menstrual periods
PGF2 results in increased inflammation in the body. Therefore, it is important to avoid foods that further increase the inflammation response. These include:
- Foods and beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, should be avoided as they cause mood swings that can make your situation worse.
- Excessive water retention by the body causes bloating. Salty, processed, and canned foods contain high amounts of sodium, which increases water retention. Therefore, salty foods like French fries and canned foods should be avoided.
- Fatty and fried foods should be avoided, as they will cause digestive problems that will lead to gas formation, increasing your discomfort.
In addition to everything we mentioned above, other tips, such as taking a hot bath, keeping the water bottle under the lower back and lower belly, exercising regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques or Yoga will also help reduce pain.
Aromatherapy has also been shown to be effective. Water intake is also important. Warm water or hot water is recommended because it will increase blood flow, helping the muscles to relax, thus reducing cramps. Stretches will help too.
These dietary tips are easy to follow - you can easily manage them to include in your diet even when multitasking. And it would result in a noticeable change in your discomfort during your periods. However, if the pain lasts for more than 72 hours or if you are bleeding heavily, you should seek medical attention.
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