It’s that five bloody, pain-staking days of the month again.
I have a lot of girlfriends who suffer from painful menses. While most of them are not medics, they often post questions regarding what-to-do/what-not-to-do during menstruation. Some menstrual pains are so bad the women are confined to bed rest for the whole day. The pain nags and nabs on you leaving you moody for the rest of the day. Hence, the birth of PMS. Although us women can’t put the blame on PMS all the time for acting moody/crybaby-ish/or downright bitchy, it helps if the people around us are aware of the situation of what the women are enduring. Menstruation is a perfectly normal rhythm of a woman and is not something to be ashamed of and something to blush about.
The pain level is varied in different women. Some have high pain threshold level, therefore first-day of menses may appear like any other normal days for them. Some produces high amount of prostaglandins, the chemical substance responsible for the feeling of pain. It leads to hyperreactivity of the uterus and causes lower abdominal cramps.
There are many myths in our society regarding menstruation. I myself grew up with plenty of them. I understand while not all of them are completely bogus, some of them actually makes sense.
1) Don’t wash your hair during menses – bogus. Why? During menses, the hormones produce more sweat and sebum than usual. Greasy hair will never be an in look ever, yo. Just be careful as not to wash your hair with cold water because cold temperature may increase the contraction of the uterine wall, hence the cramps.
2) Do not drink cold beverages while menstruating – ditto. Refer above.
3) You should eat more to compensate the blood loss during menses – not so bogus. May have a point here. Although women do not exactly fall to the level of anemic during menstruation, it helps to restore especially the level of iron in the body. Eat more green-leaves vege and liver.
How to alleviate the pain:
1) Do not stay mobile. Distract yourself by doing chores, housework or even exercising. Opt for exercising because apart from providing you the adrenaline rush, it also stimulates the production of endorphin: the ‘natural painkiller’. You can kill two birds with a stone by physical exertion as you can also burn off the excessive calories and improve the whole blood circulation.
2) While pills may work, you may also be addicted and be depended on the pills for the rest of your life. Instead, replace the drugs with natural remedies, for example ginger ale hot tea, ginsengs and Nona Roguy herbal oil (hahha, promoteeee).
3) According to Dr. House: watch porn. It increases the said endorphin level. Of course, you have to have some sort of reaction to it, it won’t work if you fall asleep in the middle of the story line. Warning: do not try this at home if you’re not alone. Hahha.
4) Just have a positive mindset and everything will be fine. It is not true everything will be doomed just because you’re having a PMS. Eat healthily, drink plenty of plain water and keep up to the hygienic practice.
Of course, if the pain gets too unbearable, I would advice for a medical consult. Severe menstrual pain can be a symptom to many gynecological pathologies. I hope this entry can be helpful to my readers out there: women and men alike.