Struggle of a Woman: How to Ease Period Pain?

Throughout a woman’s life, she is bound to experience varying levels of pain – literally. For those who eventually become mothers or mothers to-be, the gift of a new life comes with nine grueling months of pregnancy-induced hormonal changes. Monthly menstrual cycles, however, are recurring biological processes that every woman has to undergo after they reach puberty. Some women may also find it hard to manage their hormonal changes.

On average, one in every 2 woman experiences some form of period pain for one or two days each month[1]. For extreme cases of menstrual pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, it can be so excruciating that it affects our daily lives.

Visiting a physician for medicine prescription to soothe period pain may provide instant relief, but it does not help in alleviating the root cause of pain. By making the right dietary choices over time, you may soon save yourselves from recurring pain.


Why Does Menstrual Pain Occur?


Before you start your period, the endometrial cells (that form the uterus lining) will break down and release large amounts of prostaglandins, which are inflammatory chemicals that contract the muscles and result in painful cramps. Hence, anti-inflammatory medicine helps to relieve the pain by reducing the production of prostaglandins and menstrual flow[2]. Some other symptoms may include feeling nauseous, bloated, and constipated, which are digestive issues that can be alleviated by consuming more prebiotics and probiotics.

With this knowledge, you can reduce the likelihood of painful period cramps by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables that exert anti-inflammatory effects on your body. In fact, there is also a correlation between the type of food you eat and the estrogen level, the female hormone that causes your uterus lining to thicken, in your body. Consuming excessive meat-based foods or products with high saturated fats will increase your uterus lining and induce more prostaglandins to be released, leading to a greater extent of period pain.

On the other hand, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants can help to reduce oxidative stress that leads to inflammation, which in turns alleviates your period pain[3].


Antioxidant-Rich Foods to Reduce Period Pain for Good

  • Fruits and Vegetables

There is no reason to dodge fruits and vegetables, especially prior to your periods. Fruits such as berries, apples, and oranges, as well as green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and carrots are not only low in calories but also packed with a range of antioxidant vitamins. In particular, berries amongst other fruits are found to have the highest antioxidant activity[4].


  • Fish

As you know, fish contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids that are extremely beneficial for women. Increasing intake of fish has been shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate menstrual pain in women. You can include more salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines into your daily diet.


  • Ginger

Ginger is known to be a strong anti-inflammatory herb that is useful for treating tummy discomfort, painful periods, bloating and poor digestion[5]. You can fry your vegetables with sliced ginger, steam fish with diced ginger, or simply drink powdered ginger tea to kick start your morning.


  • Whole Grains

Instead of processed carbohydrates such as white rice, bread, and cakes with a high amount of sugar that aggravate inflammation, opt for whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. They are good sources of magnesium, a mineral that helps to relax muscle tissues and soothe period pain.


Antioxidants for a Happier, Healthier Life

Compared to relying on methods that only provide short-term relief, making good dietary choices help you to alleviate pain effectively and improve your overall health in the long term. Besides reducing your period pain, boosting antioxidant intake can also tackle hormone-induced problems and lessen sexual health woes.  It’s not easy to be a woman, but you can live healthier and happier by making better lifestyle choices.

[1] Dysmenorrhea: Painful Periods Source
[2] Using Food against Menstrual Pain Source
[3] 10 Dietary Tips to Soothe Menstrual Cramp Source
[4] Cellular Activity of Common Fruits Source
[5] 10 Natural Ways to Reduce Belly Bloat Source
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