Menstruation is often associated with social taboos in Nepal and is barely considered a health issue. Once girls get their first period, they are told about several dos and don’ts to follow during their monthly period. Especially, elder women in the house tell them about the restrictions.
However, the most crucial part–how to take care of one’s health during this period–is often missed in these dos and don’ts. One of the most common health problems that girls and women have to go through before and during their period is dysmenorrhea, commonly called menstrual cramps.
But, how to relieve this pain? There are some home remedies to ease menstrual cramps. Follow the list below for some of our recommendations that are especially applicable to the social context of Nepal.
1. Apply heat
It is believed that a hot compress can relieve the period cramps. A study conducted on 147 women of the age group 18-30 years having regular menstrual cycles showed that applying a heat patch at 40°C was as efficient as using ibuprofen.
Generally, most Nepali households have hot water rubber bags. One can fill up the bag with warm water and use it on the abdomen and lower back or the area where it is painful to relax the muscles and ease the pain. Other than this, One can also use electric heating gel pads that are easily available in the market. Besides this, one can also try hot towels and hot water bottles.
2. Massage with oil
Research suggests that massage therapy can help reduce menstrual pain caused by endometriosis. This study was conducted in 2010 on 23 women suffering from menstrual pain caused by endometriosis.
Experts suggest it is best to massage your abdomen in a circular motion for about five minutes with a mixture of essential oils such as lavender oil or rose oil and carrier oils such as coconut oil or vegetable oils prior to and during the period. This will relieve cramps and improve blood circulation. Essential oils are easily available in the Nepali market nowadays.
3. Hydrate your body
Drinking plenty of water can ease bloating and soothe some pain as well. Likewise, drinking hot water can boost blood flow, relaxing your muscles at the same time.
Therefore, hydrate your body by drinking enough fluids. You can also drink lemon-water or mint-water or ginger tea.
4. Say no to the certain foods
A study done in 2000 concluded that a low-fat vegetarian diet can reduce dysmenorrhea duration and intensity along with premenstrual symptom duration.
Some food causes bloating and adds to the pain and discomfort. Therefore, it is better to avoid salty and fatty foods, caffeine, carbonated beverages, and alcohol while having cramps.
5. Try some yoga poses
According to one research, practising yoga can reduce menstrual cramps and menstrual distress in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
There are some yoga poses that women with menstrual cramps can practice in order to ease the pain. Just find them on YouTube.
6. Include some herbs in your diet
Health experts recommend including some herbs that contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic elements in your diet in order to relieve period pain. These herbs are fennel seeds, ginger, cinnamon, dill, and chamomile tea.
Fennel seeds, ginger, and cinnamon are commonly available in our kitchen. For chamomile tea and dill, you can find it in the online and offline markets easily.