That said, here we go. Whatever is a grandma doing writing about that blessed time of month, formerly known as "the curse" in earlier generations? Well, because, unfortunately it's something I'm still dealing with -- cramps, leakage, bloating and all. Yippee. While I know some women, well, actually I know of one woman who bemoans the fact that she's done with her period, but as for me...I can't wait!!
Cramps are bad enough any time of the year, but in the summer...yuck. Don't you agree. I mean at least in the winter you can curl up under the covers with a heating pad and receive a little bit of comfort. But when it's 90 degrees out....
How do you deal with cramps?
The medical term for something this miserable is dysmenorrhea, of which there are two types:
- Primary -- limited to teens and young women. Once someone suffering from this type has a baby, or turns 25, the cramps usually get milder and aren't quite as troublesome.
- Secondary -- other causes can trigger this type. Conditions such as endometriosis or the existence of ovarian cysts can lead to secondary dysmenorrhea, as can the use of an IUD.
- OTC drugs, ike ibuprofen. When I was younger, I ate Midol and Pamprin like it was candy. Excedrin has a similar (if not identical) formula as the old Midol had. Love it.
- Birth control pills. They may relieve cramps, but then there are the multitudes of other side effects to deal with, some of which can be deadly.
- Hot baths. I'm all about this one...except in the midst of this rather brutal summer.
- Heating pads. In my family, we don't use electric heating pads. We use corn bags that we heat in the microwave, and believe me, they get used a lot! Heat works by relaxing the muscles that are cramping up. For me, heat is often the only way I can get relief.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements. B vitamins, calcium, and zinc can sometimes help, particularly if you are deficient in any of them. Of course, you're going to have to wait a few months before you see any improvement once you start using supplements.
- Herbal remedies. Always consult a professional before starting any kind of herbal treatment, or do a bunch of research. You don't want to introduce something that will throw something else out of balance or affect the effectiveness of a medicaton you may be taking. Some of the herbs used for treating dysmenorrhea include: blue cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa, cramp bark, evening primrose oil, and Viburnum prunifolium.
- Exercise. Yoga is probably most helpful, due to its relaxation properties. Stress-reducers of any kind can help ease the pain of cramps, so exercise, in general, is a good way to go.
Keeping it healthy,
P.S. As I was responding to a comment for today's blog, I realized I didn't mention something that has helped me in that it has slowed down my flow (no more sleeping on towels) and pretty much eliminated the ovarian cysts that accompany my period each month. Natural progesterone cream. I rub it in every day for 21 days and then take a break for 7. Years ago, after 3 solid months of bleeding, I had surgery and the doctor concluded I needed a hysterectomy. Of course, I looked for a better alternative, a more natural one, and discovered the wonders of progesterone cream. If you want more info on this, visit Dr. John Lee's website. He was the pioneer of its use.