Dysmenorrhea involves painful cramps that occur at the onset of your menstrual period and can run the gamut from mild to very severe. Things may get so bad that you have to take off time from work. The causes for dysmenorrhea are believed to be poor blood flow and uterine contractions. Your doctor may prescribe prescription strength ibuprofen or oral contraceptives to help diminish your difficulty. If you prefer to use natural options to help treat your condition, there are some available.
What causes it?
To understand dysmenorrhea, it's important to understand how the menstrual cycle works. Each month, the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, thickens to prepare for the egg that is released by the fallopian tubes. If the woman does not become pregnant during that cycle, then most of the endometrium is shed and bleeding occurs.
The blood flows from the uterus, through the cervical canal, and out through the vagina. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs when the uterus contracts because the blood supply to the endometrium is reduced. This pain occurs only during a menstrual cycle where an egg is released. If the cervical canal is narrow, the pain may be worse as the endometrial tissue passes through the cervix. Pain can also be caused by a uterus that tilts backward instead of forward, low levels of physical activity, and emotional stress.
Dysmenorrhea is the name for the painful cramps often linked with a menstrual period. In younger women, primary dysmenorrhea is not usually linked with any underlying disease or condition. In older women, on the other hand, the pain may be related to other conditions. Treatment will depend primarily on the diagnosis.
• Do some stretching. Exercises that involve stretching your body can help ease cramps that occur with dysmenorrhea. Tai chi might be a good form of exercise for you. • Do deep abdominal breathing. It helps to lessen stress, which can make your pain worse. • Consider herbs traditionally used for female complaints, such as black haw, cramp bark, black cohosh, angelica and motherwort. Be sure to tell your doctor before you take any herbal remedy. • Sip some green tea. It can help get rid of the sharp abdominal pain associated with your condition and can boost your energy levels. Drink up to four cups a day. • Reduce your intake of caffeine, chocolate and sugar around your period. You will need to change your diet a few days before you normally start your period to help counter pain and other symptoms early. • Try aromatherapy. A few drops of individual essential oils, like marjoram, clary sage, rosemary and lavender can be massaged on your abdomen to ease pain and calm the system. These oils should never be used full strength, however, but put in a lotion.
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