Once a girl has hit puberty, her body experiences a menstrual cycle every month. This is a natural phenomenon and is common in girls aged above eight years. The monthly cycle of menstruation happens in case of no pregnancy, and as a result, the uterus sheds its lining. Since the menstrual cycle is natural and common in girls, what are the causes of menstrual cramps? Most importantly, what are the best relief yogas and sleeping positions for the menstrual cycle?
Read on to help yourself find the right answers and ease your pain with simple yet effective yoga practices and sleep positions.
What are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps are medically called dysmenorrhea. As per health experts, dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps is defined as strong pain, cramps, or both in a woman’s lower abdomen. Most women experience these cramps in their lower abdomen before or during their monthly cycle. Menstrual cramps are unavoidable and common during the monthly cycle. The concern arises if the pain is unbearable to the extent that you miss out on your daily routine.
However, one must note that not every woman experiences severe pain or cramps during her menstrual cycle. Most women experience lesser pain and cramps once they have delivered their first baby. In some cases like endometriosis or uterine fibroids may cause intense menstrual cramps and it might cause infertility also. Now, let’s find out more about the symptoms and causes of menstrual cramps.
What are the Symptoms of Menstrual Cramps or Dysmenorrhea?
- Intense pain in the lower belly is a primary symptom of menstrual cramps.
- Radiating pain that hurts both lower back and thighs.
- Unending aches and uneasiness in the lower abdomen.
- Slow and steady pain that begins a few days before periods intensifies within the first day of periods and ends a few days later.
- Nausea or improper stools.
- Dizziness and headache are additional symptoms of menstrual cramps.
What are the causes of Menstrual Cramps?
Menstruation is a complex process. During periods, the body undergoes several hormonal changes, and it also loses some blood, other fluids, and tissues. Prostaglandins are quite similar to hormones. However, their excess concentration within the body may lead to more intense cramps during or before periods.
The primary causes of menstrual cramps are;
As per medical experts, uterine fibroids are tumor-like structures, and they’re non-cancerous. Fibroids development within the uterus may be painful and be the cause of menstrual cramps.
Cervical stenosis is uncommon, and a few women experience menstrual cramps due to this condition. Women having cervical stenosis tend to have a smaller-sized cervix than usual, and it hampers the menstrual flow. The small opening of the cervix may intensify the pain a woman experiences.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID results from sexually transmitted bacteria, and women having PID have infected ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes. As the name indicates, women with PID may experience inflammation during menstruation.
PCOS means Polycystic ovary syndrome in which women bleeds more and having excess pain due to hormonal imbalance. However it is very common cause, but it can bring serious dieses and miscarriage if left untreated. Some herbs are also beneficial in PCOS treatment.
In endometriosis, the tissue in the uterus lining outgrows itself outside the uterus in other locations. In most cases, the extra tissue outgrows itself either on fallopian tubes or ovaries. Some women may also experience this on the tissue lining of their pelvis.
Adenomyosis, a rare condition, is yet another cause of menstrual cramps. In this condition, a uterus tissue responsible for lining it starts growing itself in the muscular walls of the uterus, thus blocking the menstrual flow. If you frequently have painful periods that last longer than usual, it may be due to Adenomyosis.
When should you see a doctor?
Periods always come with some pain and cramps that sometimes might last longer than usual. If the problem persists, you might need to see a doctor. If you’re unsure when you need to see your doctor, consider these pointers to make a wise call.
- You might need to see a doctor if, month after month, your periods are making life hard for you. Simply put, if you’re experiencing unbearable pain frequently on each cycle, you may need to consult your doctor.
- You need to see a doctor if you don’t experience relief in your condition after over two or three immensely painful cycles.
- You may also consult a doctor if suddenly you start experiencing immense pain.
- In other cases, women having diarrhea or fever with menstrual cycle may also consult their doctor.
What are the best relief yoga asanas during menstruation?
Over the years, yoga has proven to be immensely beneficial for the human body. Be it men or women, both of them have benefited a lot from practicing yoga. As per various studies, some yoga asanas may help dramatically reduce menstrual pain and stress.
Unsurprisingly, unlike other methods to soothe menstrual pain, yoga doesn’t possess any health risks or side effects. Moreover, practicing yoga before the periods may also ensure that you have less swelling in your abdomen. Moreover, it may also make period cramps less painful.
Let’s check out what are some of the best relief yogas to reduce menstrual cramps.
Cobra pose is also known as bhujangasana, and it works your abdomen and the chest, and shoulders. Practicing cobra pose may help you withstand menstrual cramps and pain in the lower abdomen. Let’s find out how to perform the cobra pose or bhujangasana perfectly.
- Lie down with your stomach facing the ground and start stretching your feet to ensure that the pelvis and thighs are firmly on the floor.
- Place your palms in the line of your shoulders and inhale the air.
- Now, push your palms on the floor to lift your chest. You can hold the position for anywhere between 10-30 seconds.
- Exhale and release slowly.
Camel pose, some also call it Ustrasana, is a relatively tough yoga posture, but it can dramatically help menstruating women. The camel pose works the abdomen by stretching the stomach. Flexible women may be able to perform it easily. Let’s explore how to perform camel pose the right way.
- To start, sit on your knees and ensure that your back is fully erect.
- Once comfortable, you’ll need to stretch backward towards your heels.
- Stretch slowly and make efforts to hold your heels.
- Your chest will be upwards, facing the sky or the ceiling.
- Keep your hips parallel to your knees in a straight line.
Fish Pose, aka the matsyasana, is highly beneficial for menstruating women, and performing this asana may also help reduce anxiety and fatigue. The fish pose ideally strengthens the shoulders, spine, and chest. We do not advise individuals with neck injuries or back problems to perform the fish pose. Let’s check out the best ways to perform the fish pose or matsyasana.
- You will need to lie down facing the sky. Now, straighten your arms and put them under your hips with palms facing the ground.
- Once settled, inhale and lift your head, neck, and chest from the ground. Do not forget to keep your legs straight while lifting all three together.
- Once your head, neck, and chest are up, slowly and steadily put your head’s top on the floor.
- Try to hold this position for about 10-30 seconds.
- Once done, you can gently lift your head and shoulders to bring them back on the ground.
The child’s pose is quite simple yet highly beneficial for almost everyone. When performed by menstruating women, it may help them relieve stress and the pain caused by cramps. Moreover, the child’s pose can also help women relax their minds and feel refreshed. Let’s find out how to do the child’s pose accurately.
- Firstly, you’ll need to fold your legs and sit on your knees.
- Once comfortable, now lean forward to put your upper body on your thighs.
- When your body’s resting on your thighs, stretch your arms in front of yourself and keep them in line with your body.
Knee to Chest Pose
The knee to chest pose is also known as apanasana. As the name suggests, the knees to chest pose require the performer to fold their knees and bring them close to their chest. It may sound simple at first but, you must know how to perform knees to chest pose or apanasana perfectly.
- Lie on your back and keep your legs straight.
- Now, bring your legs together and pull them towards your stomach.
- While you pull your knees, be careful not to overstretch to avoid strains or sprains in your neck.
- Moreover, try to keep your hands on the bottom of your feet.
What are the best sleeping positions to relieve menstrual cramps?
For sure, menstruation is painful, frustrating, and at times emotionally draining as well. During their monthly cycle, most women face trouble sleeping due to intense pain in the abdomen, cramps, headaches, and bleeding. Yes, everyone’s body is different, and what may work for you may not necessarily work for your friend. However, some sleeping positions can help reduce menstrual cramps.
So, without wasting any time, let’s find out more about them in detail.
Various health experts across continents have backed sleeping in the fetal position during periods. So, what’s the fetal sleeping position? The fetal position looks quite similar to a fetus, and when you sleep in this position, you lie on your side. Moreover, when sleeping in the fetal position, you also need to fold your knees and put them near your abdomen.
As per medical experts, the fetal position reduces the amount of stress on your abdomen and helps your muscles relax. If you have bloating or vomiting issues during menstruation, you may sleep in other positions given below.
The Child’s Pose
Well, yes! Sleeping in the child’s pose can help you fall asleep easily, as this pose is found to be relieving menstrual cramps. If you frequently practice yoga and are comfortable with this pose, you may notice sleeping this way reduces abdominal pain. Moreover, likewise in yoga, even sleeping in the child’s pose can help women relieve stress and feel refreshed.
In case you have never tried this pose before, you can give it a try. Who knows, this might turn out to be the best sleeping position for you? To sleep in the child’s pose, all you have to do is sit on your knees, put your upper body on your thighs. Now, you need to stretch out your hands straight and relax.
Sleeping with a Pillow Placed Under Your Knees
Pillows comfort the body and aid in sound sleep. Interestingly, sleeping with a pillow placed under your knees can also help reduce cramps and the intensity of abdominal pain in menstruating women. For best results, you can use a round pillow and place it below your knees.
If you don’t have a round pillow, that’s okay. There’s no golden rule that only placing a round pillow under your knees will help you reduce menstrual cramps. You may even put one or two regular pillows under your knees to ease the pain of menstrual cramps.
Sleeping on Your Side
Like the fetal position, sleeping on your side may also help your body relax and sleep easily. Numerous experts suggest that menstruating women can lower the period pain by tweaking their sleeping position. And, many of them recommend these women sleep on their left or right side.
For best results and a night of sound sleep, you may also fold your one leg and place it near the abdomen. One folded leg will decrease the stress on your abdomen and help you experience less pain. If you would like to experiment a bit more, you can also place a pillow under the knee of the folded knee.
Every woman’s body reacts differently to menstrual cramps. While some find them annoying, a whole bunch of women find them painful. Menstrual cramps are caused due to a variety of reasons. Some yoga poses, along with a few sleeping positions, may help women reduce cramp pain. Depending on the severity and symptoms, you may or may not need medical assistance. Also check natural yoni wash technique to maintain women hygene.