Have you ever been bent over on the bathroom floor experiencing some of the worst pain you've ever felt in your life; feeling light-headed and extremely nauseous wishing/praying that this awful feeling would go away?
Well that was me, every month for years on the 1st day of my cycle. I would throw-up, feel like I was going to pass out, and if I wasn't bent down hanging over the toilet I was in bed all day. I would dread the day my period was going to start and have awful anxiety knowing the type of pain I was going to be in.
It just became so bad that one day I decided to finally do some research and find out why I was experiencing these types of cramps every month and how I would be able to reduce them the natural way.
I know that I am not the only one who experiences this and I know that what I will share will not help everyone. I am not a doctor. But I still want to provide you with how I was able to go from not being able to leave the house to being able to go about my normal day and not be in such immense pain.
SO WHY DO WE GET CRAMPS?
Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, affects over 50 percent of all menstruating women worldwide. It is believed that the pain is caused by uterine contractions and lack of blood flow. The cause of cramps is an imbalance of prostaglandins, specifically prostaglandins PGF2α and PGE2, which are released from the endometrium during your period and increases inflammation in the body.
If the uterus produces too much PGE2 then the excess wanders over to the colon, causing diarrhea. They might also cause nausea and vomiting.
SO HOW CAN YOU REGULATE YOUR PROSTAGLANDINS?
The simple answer is a lifestyle change including; nutrition, exercise, rest, and living a less stressful life.
The key is to decrease PGE2 and increase PGE1+ PGE3 which are anti-inflammatory. One of the best natural remedies that has changed my menstrual cramps was a change to my diet. I call it two weeks off. So the two weeks before my cycle I eliminate certain foods out of my diet and increase others into my diet.
What I avoid:
- dairy ( which was the hardest since I absolutely love a good cheese board hehe )
- red meat
- refined sugar
- saturated fats
- salty/processed foods
Pretty much everything we crave right before our periods = (
What I added/increased in my diet:
- Salmon ( rich with omega 3s and helps fight inflammation )
- Non-Dairy Yogurt ( my favorite is Kite Hill which is Almond milk based )
- Flaxseed, Hemp Seeds, and Chia Seeds
- Green Leafy Vegetables ( including Kale and Spinach )
- Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, and Cashews
- Peanut Butter
- Dark Chocolate ( for your chocolate craving and rich with Magnesium )
*Make sure it's over 70 percent cocoa
- Avocados ( my favorite, so wasn't hard to increase my intake of avocados )
- Increase your intake of water/coconut water
- Hummus ( it's full of nutrients and also helps uplift you mood )
- Lots of Probiotics! I get mines from one of my favorites drinks called Kevita, not only are they delicious but they have a great amount of probiotics in each drink.
Personally I'm not a big exercise person, but when I do exercise I love yoga. It's the perfect exercise for your cycle. As it involves a lot of stretching and it's great way to ease your mind from any anxiety.
REST AND LESS STRESS:
For this category mediation works wonders! You can meditate anywhere from 5, 10, to 15 mins a day.
Now I know this will not work for everyone, but I just wanted to share how I was able to reduce my period cramps the natural way. The results are immediate, but as I continued to do this monthly I was able to feel and actually see the difference. I wasn't breaking out, I was less tired, and most importantly my period cramps went away!
Do you get cramps? If so share with me how you've managed them.