By Iván Ferrer Durbà BSc (biologist & science teacher).
Last Update: 03/11/2015

Many women suffer from dysmenorrhoea, commonly called menstrual pain. This is an intense pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis, which may extend to the back.

This pain may appear two or three days before menstruation and/or coincide with it. For this reason, it is called premenstrual or menstrual pain.

Dysmenorrhoea is usually idiopathic, that is to say, it has no apparent cause. However, on some occasions, the pain might be caused by another pathology, such as myomas, endometriosis, genital malformations, ovarian cysts, infections, etc.

In case of excessive, prolonged or very frequent pain, a gynaecologist should be consulted, so medical related pathologies can be ruled out.

Abdominal discomfort before or during menstruation

It is usually more common among adolescents and women of reproductive age. However, no woman is free from feeling pain associated with menstruation.

A few tips to relieve idiopathic dysmenorrhoea and its symptoms, such as headaches, physical discomfort and mood swings are listed below:

  • Drink warm, non-carbonated beverages, such as tea or herbal infusions. Inhaling the aroma of herbs like chamomile or cinnamon may calm your stomach and make you feel more relaxed.
  • Eat smaller meals, but more often throughout the day, every 4 hours at average. This will prevent slow digestions and discomfort.
  • Raise your legs when you are lying down. It facilitates blood flow and relieves swelling.
  • Abdominal pain can be alleviated by applying warm bags on the area.
  • Slowly massage your belly with your fingertips. This will help to reduce abdominal pain.
  • Eat less salt and drink more water in order to reduce abdominal bloating.

Hydrate the body

  • Relaxation exercises like yoga or hiking will keep your body healthy, facilitating the elimination of headaches and heaviness.
  • A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice or cereals, will keep your energy levels high and premenstrual discomfort won’t prevent you from continuing your daily routine.
  • Adding calcium to your diet will diminish the frequency of sudden mood swings. Consuming dairy products a few days before menstruation balances mood swings caused by hormonal alterations.
  • Hot showers, especially before bed, will help you relax and facilitate sleep.
  • Avoid, at all costs, carbonated drinks and caffeine, which increase bloating and irritate the stomach.

When pain is severe and persistent

The tips mentioned above are simple and natural tricks to alleviate menstrual discomfort. However, in cases of intense and extended pain, which prevent you from living a normal life, anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers are recommended. These should be taken only under medical supervision.

Birth control pills help regulate hormonal changes and premenstrual symptoms. They should be prescribed by a physician because their hormonal load can affect other parts of your body.

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Authors and contributors

 Iván Ferrer Durbà
BSc
Biologist & Science Teacher
Bachelor's Degree in Biology by the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Secondary Education and Teaching by the University of Portsmouth. Teacher of Sciences at multiple British schools and high schools. More information
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One comment

    1. Menstruation

      This is a great informative blog for all the women worldwide who are suffering from their monthly menstrual pain, as natural remedies are always good to prefer for alleviating menstrual discomfort rather than consuming unnecessary pills.