Do you or does someone you know suffer from menstrual cramps each month? Don’t you want to have a strategy to reduce or eliminate them each month?
Cramps are described as a dull aching pain in the lower abdomen. Often women experience cramps, called dysmenorrhea, a week before or in the first couple of days of your menstrual cycle.
When I work with women that have a history of menstrual cramps I create a two-tier strategy to address the pain and also any hormonal imbalances that might be the cause of the pain.
When a women is in pain I always create a short-term approach and a long-term approach to address their problem.
In the short-term approach I want to help them alleviate their pain, as quickly as possible. In the long-term approach I want to resolve the hormonal problem permanently if possible.
In the short-term strategy for cramps we want to get rid of the pain. The pain is often caused because of cramping in the muscles of the uterus as it is shedding the inner lining called endometrium.
The endometrium sheds what we call our period. This is the bleeding that we see each month. In order to shed the lining, the muscles of the uterus must contract and release repeatedly for a few days before we actually see our periods.
This is why women experience pain days before their periods start. During this process our body produces hormone-like substances called prostaglandins that can increase pain and inflammation in the uterus. The higher the levels are in our body, the more pain is produced during PMS.
As part of the short-term plan, I suggest supplements and foods that will reduce pain. Foods are always my first choice as medicine.
Multiples servings of colorful fruits and vegetables and eating lean proteins, deep water fish and plant-based proteins are good choices.
Foods that are rich in calcium and magnesium help relieve muscle contractions.
Examples of foods that are high in magnesium are Swiss chard, spinach, summer squash, pumpkin seeds, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables. Calcium-rich foods are beans, almonds and dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale.