matter of necessity!) that there has to be a more graceful, smoother, less painful and be grudging way to deal with the occurance of my monthly cycle! So I strapped on my thinking cap and buckled myself into research-mode at my desk (I squirm a lot when in deep concentration lol) and decided to find out what exactly I can do next month to prevent the day long agony which is the first day of my cycle (may the Universe help anyone who has to deal with this agony for more than a day..my Heart goes out to you!).
And this is what I learned...
"Why does it hurt so bad?!"
Dysmenorrhea AKA menstrual cramping occurs for approximately 10 to 15% of women of child-bearing age (aren't we lucky?!). The pain we experience is caused by the release of prostaglandins into menstrual fluid. These prostaglandins are chemicals which promote uterine contractions bringing with them inflammation and pain. Along with menstrual cramping other symptoms may include pain in the lower back and thighs, bloating, headaches, breast pain, water retention, sweating and dizziness (oh joy oh bliss!).
"So what can you do about this monthly onslaught of hormonal chemicals wreaking their havoc?"
I know it is the last thing most of us want to do during our periods, but physical exercise (and particularly cardiovascular exercise like walking, swimming) can help ease menstrual cramps, bloating, headaches and can even give you a much needed mood-boost!And all without having to turn to you old friend Advil! Check this link for a list of the 'Top 7 Best Exercises During Your Period' http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/837443/7-best-exercises-during-your-period
2. Take your Daily Multi-vitamin
Studies show that Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E have all been used effectively to treat menstrual cramps. And a daily dose of the other vitamins and minerals sure isn't going to hurt! ;)
3. Eat to Support Yourself (Before and During Your Cycle)
I know it is oh so tempting to pull out a bag of chips or your fav chocolate bar when you feel those first period-pangs coming on (or maybe the craving to do so is how you know your time has come). And trust me I have been guilty of doing just that on more than one occassion. It has been found however that it is best to avoid certain foods that will cause your hormones to fall even more out of balance (like alcohol, caffeine, foods high in saturated fats and salt and refined sugar) and stick to more natural whole foods like lots of fruits and veggies while avoiding foods that can cause more inflammation like breads and dairy products. Women who avoid the food no-no's listed above actually have shown less likelihood of suffering from menstrual cramping and other side effects of menstruation.
Foods high in Omega-3 fatty-acids help to deal with those nasty inflammation causing prostaglandins (some examples include salmon, tuna, mackeral, flaxseeds, and walnuts). Foods with a high Magnesium content (such as bananas, avocados, almonds, tofu and brown rice) help our muscles to contract and relax and transport energy around our bodies.
Ginger has also been found very helpful when dealing with period pains and you can make a delicious tea with just a few slices of fresh ginger and a cup of hot water. Also Peppermint has been found to help deal with the 'monthly ailments of Womanhood'.
4. Become Besties with your Hot Water Bottle
Placing a hot water bottle or barring that a cloth which has been soaked in hot water on the lower abdomen can be as effective in relieving period cramps as taking Ibuprofen (and you'll get a High-Five from your Liver too!).
This last one isn't from any article or text, just good common sense that a good friend shared with me recently..
5. Don't make BIG life decisions when your Hormones are going Haywire!
I don't know about you but I often feel like my World has been turned on its' head up until and during this glorious time, colours I liked I don't anymore, favourite foods don't have the same appeal and if ever there was a time for "Full-Life Reinvention" you can bet it will occur to me during my Moon Days. So the next time you feel like you want to quit your job, change your name and move to Timbuktu, hold off on doing any of these until after your cycle has ended and your hormones are once again back under your control. ;)
Also find below a short and sweet video from one of my favourite yoga you-tubers, Esther Ekhart of Yogatic. She gives you a few simple Yoga moves you can do to help ease the abdominal and low back pain that often accompanies our "monthly guest".
I hope you learned a new trick or two for coping with the not so pleasant aspects of Womanhood, so that you can get back to being Awesome that much quicker! Because being a Lady is Pretty Fab (at least most of the time)!
Be Happy, Eat Healthy!