I know some of you are wondering; what’s up with this dude? Doesn’t he feel shy, or gross as a man writing about girls’ stuff? [Laugh]
A tid bit about yours truly; since I joined campus, most of my friends are ladies. I have learnt to bond with them and try to understand their everyday situations. However, I also have male friends whom we hang out to do men stuff and engage in mature talks.
Our young women go through a lot as far as menstrual health is concerned. Most men prefer to shy away from this topic. I have friends who undergo painful menstrual periods, to the extent of crying and even sleeping on the cold floor in the night. The tale-tell cramps have even had some of my friends miss classes for an entire week! Sad, right? In this article, I will try to give out some tips that I feel would be of help to a sister out there.
- Use hot water bottle
Hey ladies, I know you know this one. The old fashioned hot water bottle applied to the lower abdomen helps reduce the pain. Gently massage it across the affected area.
- Do some yoga exercises
I don’t mean that you have your head take the role of your legs. Take part in a simple set of stretches. For those who yoga is a habitual thing, don’t stop. For those who find it too involving, try out a session and learn a few poses that you are comfortable with that you can use during your cramps.
I am aware of some myth that some yoga poses can worsen the situation. Elaborate please. Yes. This myth claims that some poses can cause menses to flow back inside, resulting to endometriosis. A research dating back in 1927, disputes the myth.
- Drink warm water or ginger tea
During your period, it is advised that you take warm water. This is because your body can easily use it without the necessity of heating it up. Also, cravings is a sign of dehydration. Ensure you increase your intake of water; warm water.
Ginger tea can do wonders during your period. It is able to help ease up cramps as it has inflammatory properties. I have heard friends whose periods are accompanied with stomach upsets and nausea. Ginger is a good relief. Ginger tea can be made by steeping fresh ginger in hot water, adding some honey or a slice of fresh lemon.
- Improve on nutrient intake
Vitamin D helps to reduce levels of prostaglandins, an inflammatory chemical involved in shedding the uterine lining, contributing to period cramps. Bask under the sun at around midday for like 10 minutes or longer duration at sunrise. Also, Omega 3 helps since it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 can be obtained from fish/sea food (I recommend sardines locally known as ‘omena’), avocados, spinach and eggs.
- Take a hot bath
This is known to help soothe the pain. I have heard of some ladies complain of backaches during their periods. This too is a remedy.
- Get enough sleep
Now I understand why women sleep a lot during their periods (laugh). Lack of enough sleep intensifies the pain. Avoid sugary snacks and fizzy drinks, like soda throughout your period, as they increase cravings. When you sleep, try to avoid lying on your stomach as it increases pressure on the uterus, causing leeks in the night. Sleep lying sideways and curl up. It will ease up abdominal pressure, hence reducing the cramps.
- Try acupuncture
This is where you place pressure on specific trigger points on the body can relieve pain. For our case, the abdomen.
- Take cinnamon
Research has found out that cinnamon soothes period pain.
During your period, you should also avoid some foods. Sugary drinks like fizzy drinks and energy drinks should be avoided as they can cause serious fatigue since the energy levels go up and crash at once. Take squash or fresh fruit juice instead. Caffeine is a big NO during your periods. It ignites the sympathetic nervous system causing stress and anxiety; an explanation for mood swings. Tea, coffee, energy drinks and fizzy juice contain caffeine.
To those who don’t take milk, lucky you. Milk has saturated fats which are said to increase inflammation, which worsen the period pain. Dairy products contain prostaglandin, an inflammatory chemical which increases the cramps. Hot chocolate contains some milk, so avoid it.
Woe unto our young ladies who love booze. Alcohol is a dehydrating element. It in turn increases period symptoms like cravings and severe fatigue.
As I conclude, I would advise if the cramps persist, seek medical check-up. The doctor can recommend painkillers or certain contraception methods to manage severe issues that may be contributing to your period pain.
Oh, I almost forgot. Fellow men, let us not shy away from such topics. We will have daughters, we have sisters, girlfriends and female friends.