Period Cramps often bring excruciating pain, listlessness, and a complete loss of strength for nearly half of the women. It is often the silent (yet so painful) announcement of the upcoming period for many.
Sometimes, the pain is so unbearable that you are left in tears, praying for an immediate relief that may often come from the painkillers!
How bad is the pain of Period Cramps?
Every month 1 in 5 women experience intense menstrual cramps that runs from their back and abdomen down to the thighs. Period pain significantly affects the capacity of a woman to carry out her daily activities. It is often compared to the pain of a heart attack or labor for some.
She either has to excuse herself from nearly everything or carries on with pain relievers such as paracetamol, Ibuprofen, or Panadol. Often, these painkillers do not help much either as the pain is intense.
So, she resorts to popping in several painkillers at a time…yet trying to be within the prescribed limits.
Here’s Why You should say No to Painkillers for Menstrual Cramps!
Now, we are not here to judge you on going after the pain relief by popping pill after pill month after month. Well, anybody would want a respite, and that’s understandable. But, we do want to check with you that…is it really helping?
And we also want to highlight some serious and long term side effects of taking painkillers for menstrual cramps. This is because, once you know about the perils of this quick fix, you will think twice before popping in a painkiller when your period strikes.
Also, it is not just about knowing the harsh truth of painkillers for menstrual cramps. With this post, we also want to tell you that you can actually fix your period pain by making small yet consistent changes in your Diet and Lifestyle. So, let’s get started!
Here are some reasons why it is not a good idea to take painkillers during periods.
1. Liver problems
The liver is quite a busy organ. All in one, the liver is a/an chemical plant, inspection station, garbage disposal, filtration system, metabolic energy generation center, and more than that.
It is an organ that is under the jurisdiction of the pitta dosha because it carries out transformation activities. Among its many functions, the liver also happens to be the largest detoxifying organ in our body.
When we take drugs, they have to be broken down by our liver before they can reach to the required body parts. Now, the chemicals in drugs can be seen as foreign in the body and can be classified as toxins. Thus, they have to be cleaned out.
Therefore, when you take pill after pill month after month in a bid to relieve menstrual pain, you overtax your liver with detoxification.
This can ultimately lead to liver damage.
You should understand now that the liver is a very important organ, and if it is damaged, there will be quite a lot of trouble. Problems arise, like:
- impaired brain function due to toxin build-up,
- jaundice (yellow eyes, skin, etc),
- enlarged thyroid gland (making the base of the neck bigger),
- abdominal pain, etc.
2. Gastrointestinal problems due to misuse of pain killers for period cramps
Everything you take in goes into the stomach, including the pills taken to help with the pain during periods. If too many pills are stuffed into the stomach, problems can begin to arise, such as:
Pain killers, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and Advil, are very notorious. They top the charts of the consequences that might arise when you take pills during menstruation.
Ulcers are, simply put, wounds in the gut.
The thing with ulcers is that they won’t let you know they’re there while they eat you up. You might not know until it is too late.
You have constipation if you have less than three bowel movements in a week. That’s just so unhealthy. Less than three? No.
But, that can happen if you overdo the pain relief thing in your desperation to do away with the menstrual pain.
What happens is this: pain killers slow down the gut. This means that when you eat, the food will take longer to pass through your intestines and then to your colon(the place where feces stays before defecation) for removal.
Consequently, as you take in more and more, the food backs up. It remains there, going through at a frustratingly slow pace. This can eventually make you feel heavy and clogged up.
But that’s not all. Because the food now spends a longer time in your gut, the gut has more time to squeeze out every last drop of water from it. Eventually, by the time it reaches the colon, the stool is so hard. This makes it even more difficult to eject.
Acid reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach pass back into the throat. It is called acid reflux because there is an acid in the stomach that helps digest food.
When this acid reaches the throat, it burns. So, in acid reflux, you can feel your throat burning as the acid comes up. Also, acid reflux can cause sore throat, sore taste in the mouth, heartburn, feeling pressure in the chest, and cold.
If severe enough, it becomes gastro-esophageal reflux disease(GERD).
If you use too many pills to relieve menstrual pain, you might have to deal with acid reflux.
3. Taking pills for menstrual cramps can cause low blood pressure
Paramedics use pills to help patients in emergency situations. There are these pills that slow down the heart to relieve the workload on the heart. Thus, the heart pumps less hard.
This is the same mechanism that causes low blood pressure. The blood pressure drops because the heart is not pumping with as much force anymore.
This can result in fainting, among others.
4. Compromised immune function
The immune system is that one that helps to defend the body against foreign bodies. These include diseases and toxic other toxic substances.
This system is hampered when you use pills for menstrual cramps inappropriately. This is because the number of white blood cells(the cells of the immune system) is reduced. In other words, there is a reduced white blood cell count.
Consequently, the body is left vulnerable to attacks and diseases. The defense is down.
5. It can affect your fertility!
Taking pain relieves for menstrual cramps can affect your fertility. Science has proven this. Particularly, the notorious NSAIDs crop us here also.
In the experiment, it was found that taking these pain relieves reduce ovulation by up to 93%. In some cases, follicles that did not rupture left a cyst in the ovary.
However, when these same women involved in the experiment were checked again a month later, their ovulation was back to normal. That was because they had been of these pain reliefs during that period.
6. Other side-effects of using pain killers for period cramps
Some other side-effects include:
- Thickened secretions from the lungs
- Skin disorders
- Kidney problems.
Important Points to know before you take painkillers for period cramps
- If you must take pain relieves, then do not go above the recommended 250 mg four times a day.
- In fact, taking two is enough, however, do not make it a habit.
- You should avoid them altogether when the period pains come. That is easier to say, but it is best to practice.
- Also, if you must take pain killers during your period, then please, do not take alcohol. Do not smoke. You will be further taxing the already over loaded and tired liver. Your kidney will not smile at you either.
What helps with really painful Menstrual cramps?
Have you decided to ditch the pills?
Well, it’s worth the try. You could give these a shot next time. If you’ve always depended on the pills, then you could be in even more serious danger. Therefore, you should try something new. Go without pills.
But how? What do you do? Here are a few tips.
Natural Remedies for long term Relief from Period Cramps
- Use heated pads: Place these on your back or lower abdomen. It will help relieve the pain when it seems to get really bad.
- Put Castor Oil packs on the lower abdomen area during the follicular phase. This will help to ease out the period pain. DO NOT put the packs during Menstruation though.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing. Prefer natural fabrics that are comfortable, specifically around abdominal area.
- When you experience periods cramps, then you should keep your body warm with hot drinks, warm water sips, and by wearing warmer clothing.
- Regular Exercise: Regular Exercise helps to keep healthy, active, and balances hormones. When you keep active, the brain releases serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Exercise also helps to ease the flow of blood.
- During Menstruation, you should practice light and relaxing physical activity such as yoga, walk, pranayama (breathing exercises), and Tai Chi.
- Avoid heavy lifting, running, and intense physical activity during menstruation.
Diet to relieve Menstrual Cramps
- Eat healthily: Eat right, with lots of Minerals, Vitamins, and Fibre in your diet to keep your digestive system on track.
- Also, you might get cravings for sweet things. Don’t give in, those sweets are Trojan horses.
- Prefer Green vegetables, and Astringent foods such as Pomegranate, Banana, Grapes, and Berries. All of these foods help to pull the pain out.
- Turmeric, Ginger, Nutmeg, and Cumin seeds are Ayurvedic spices that can help relieve your pains.
Now, having a healthy, less painful period is not a one-week thing. You agree that it will be quite difficult for you to get on the treadmill or start lifting weights when it feels like your tummy is going to split apart.
Live healthy all month long! Eat well, exercise, and you are on your way to having less painful periods.
Cheers to less dependence on pills for menstrual cramps!
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