Women undergo normal menstruation and it is almost a part of their lives. This would have been okay if this bleeding did not bring with it period pain, commonly referred to as cramps. A good number of women experience period pain as throbbing, cramping pain in the lower abdomen which at times is accompanied by lower back pain, nausea, diarrhea, and headache. A severe case of this two-to-three day long experience is usually referred to as dysmenorrhea.
Many women assume that the aggravating pain is solely caused by the uterus shedding its lining and wave it off every other month. However, other than the natural act of the uterus shedding, lifestyle may also affect how bad ones periods will hurt.
There are several factors that contribute to period pains that you can prevent, including:
A research done in 2014 targeting women between age18-23 showed that smokers suffer from severe menstrual pain. Nicotine contained in cigarettes is a strong stimulant. The intensity of period pain in the women studied tended to increase with number of cigarettes smoked. This is because smoking also causes constriction of the blood vessels which in turn affects the way the uterus sheds its lining.
It is normal for you to feel uncomfortable and lazy and to skip the gym during your periods. However, lack of exercise during this time makes period pain worse by slowing down the rate at which the uterus lining is shed. Engaging in proper exercise, even light, in turn helps the heart to beat faster. The body then releases mood-boosting endorphins which relieve some of the pain and generally give you a good feeling.
Drinking caffeinated beverages
When having period pains, it always sounds like a good idea to curl in bed with a cup of coffee and shut the entire world out. As appealing as it may sound, opting for coffee or any other drinks of this kind is a really bad idea since caffeine is known to constrict and tighten blood vessels and decrease blood flow to your uterus. Caffeine, a stimulant also causes shorter periods which are bad for women’s long-term health.
Different foods served at different times have different effects on our bodies. A common accompanying character of periods is a bloated stomach. Eating foods that increase water retention only makes bloating worse. Such foods like processed foods, fried foods, carbonated drinks, and high fats foods among others produce prostaglandins, chemicals that cause the uterus to contract. This contraction makes period pain worse. Eating foods rich in vitamins and drinking enough water on the other hand ensures a smooth ride.
While stress is normal and even at times positive, it is a probable cause of period pains. Excessive worrying affects how your body systems work and reproduction is not left behind. Stress has been known to suppress how the hypothalamus functions. The hypothalamus controls the body's master gland which obviously affects hormonal balance. Stress also interferes with part of the brain responsible for producing hormones throwing them off balance.
While you may not be entirely responsible for the amount of pain your period causes you, the lifestyle decisions listed above, among others, may make things easier or harder for you.