Painful and irregular periods can be stressful. Cramps, bloating and mood swings altogether may cause you to overindulge in unhealthy foods or lead a sedentary lifestyle. However, doing so will just make your condition worse. To make those few days in the month a little easier to bear, there are a few things you should do and shouldn’t do. This Menstrual Hygiene Day, promise yourself that you will follow these lifestyle tips in order to reduce period pain.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Thejaswini J, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bengaluru, to find lifestyle tips that can help manage period pain and other things related to PMS.
Lifestyle dos and don’ts to manage period pain
Pain during periods can range from moderate pain to intolerable levels of pain, causing a lot of discomfort. However, the intensity of pain can vary and may not be the same for everyone. While there are various medical treatments available, certain lifestyle changes can also contribute to alleviating period pain. By adopting healthy habits and avoiding certain practices, individuals may find relief and improve their quality of life during menstruation.
Here are 7 things you must do to reduce period pain:
1. Maintain a healthy diet: Consume a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Choose foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, as they may help alleviate cramps.
2. Keep yourself hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can help reduce bloating and promote better overall well-being during menstruation.
3. Exercise regularly: Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, yoga, or swimming. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help reduce menstrual discomfort.
4. Apply heat: Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to your lower abdomen. Heat can help relax muscles, reduce cramps, and provide relief from pain.
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5. Practice relaxation techniques: Try stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle stretching. These techniques can help relax the body, relieve tension, and alleviate period pain.
6. Get enough sleep: Aim for a good night’s sleep by establishing a consistent sleep schedule. Sufficient rest can positively impact your overall well-being and reduce menstrual discomfort.
7. Consider over-the-counter pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help relieve menstrual pain and reduce inflammation. Consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication.
Here are 7 things you must not do if you want to reduce period pain:
1. Avoid excessive caffeine: Limit your intake of caffeine found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Caffeine can increase tension and may worsen period symptoms.
2. Reduce alcohol consumption: Alcohol can contribute to dehydration and inflammation, potentially intensifying menstrual discomfort. It’s best to limit or avoid alcohol during your period.
3. Minimise salt intake: Excessive salt consumption can lead to water retention and bloating, amplifying menstrual discomfort. Try to reduce your salt intake during this time.
4. Avoid smoking: Smoking is known to exacerbate period symptoms. Quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke can help alleviate menstrual pain.
5. Don’t skip meals: Maintain regular eating patterns and avoid skipping meals. Balanced meals provide essential nutrients and energy, contributing to overall well-being.
6. Limit processed and sugary foods: Processed and sugary foods can contribute to inflammation and bloating, intensifying period discomfort. Opt for healthier alternatives instead.
7. Don’t ignore your body’s needs: Listen to your body and rest when necessary. Pushing yourself too hard during menstruation can increase fatigue and discomfort.
So ladies, maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow these tips to manage your period pain and other symptoms of a menstrual cycle.