You’re familiar with the challenges an impending menstrual period brings—weakness, cramps, and intense irritation. Yet, the troubles extend beyond, encompassing cravings, pain, and overall discomfort that make those five days of the month seemingly insurmountable. Although you can’t altogether avoid these issues, there are home remedies to alleviate the severity of menstrual problems. This article provides targeted home remedies and comprehensive information to manage these challenges effectively.
What is Menstruation?
Menstruation or period is the monthly series of changes every woman experiences in her body. It is the phase when a woman’s body gets ready for pregnancy through ovulation. One of the ovaries releases an egg each month, while hormonal changes in the body prepare the uterus for conception. If the egg remains unfertilized, the uterus lining breaks down and sheds through the vagina. The entire procedure impacts women’s reproductive system and other organs in several ways, thereby making pregnancy a smooth affair. (1)
What to Expect from Normal Menstruation?
The normal menstruation cycle can be regular or irregular based on the time it continues. It should recur every 28 days, from the first day of one cycle to the first day of the next, and last at least 2 to 7 days. However, it is not the same for every woman. In young girls, menstruation starts between 8 and 15 years, and the first cycle is often quite irregular. It can occur every 21 to 45 days in girls over 13 years of age and every 21 to 35 days in adult women. It is expected to have more prolonged and irregular flow for the first few years of menstruation, which tends to become shorter and more regular with age. The amounts of blood loss can also be mild, moderate, or heavy, depending on the changes in hormonal levels in the body. (2)
Certain contraceptions like IUDs (intrauterine devices), extended-cycle birth control pills, etc. are known to effect menstrual cycles. Consult your doctor if you are taking any of them.
Why Should You Track Menstrual Cycles?
Pay attention to your menstrual cycles to understand what is normal and what you should expect regarding menstruation. For example, track the heaviness of your flow, type of pain, bleeding, start and end date, mood or behavioral changes, missed cycle, etc., to identify the regularity of your periods.
What Causes Menstrual Cycle Irregularities?
Several factors can disrupt menstrual cycles, and the following are the most common ones:
- Pregnancy – A missed period is the very first sign of it.
- Breastfeeding – This can lead to a delay in menstruation after pregnancy.
- PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a widespread endocrine disorder in which enlarged ovaries with fluid-filled follicles cause irregular periods.
- PID, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, is a reproductive organ infection that results in abnormal or irregular bleeding.
- Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency – In this condition, women lose the standard functionalities of their ovaries before reaching 40 years, thus experiencing occasional periods for years.
- Uterine Fibroids – These non-cancerous growths in the uterus can lead to heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding.
Apart from these, some other factors that can trigger menstrual irregularities are eating disorders or anorexia nervosa, too much weight, and excessive workouts.
Common Menstrual Problems You May Experience
Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps, is derived from the Latin words “dys,” signifying ill or abnormal, and “menorrhea,” referring to the monthly flow. This term encompasses pain associated with menstruation, primarily felt in the pelvic area but potentially extending to the back and other body regions. There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea involves menstrual cramps resulting from uterine contractions without underlying causes. In contrast, secondary dysmenorrhea is more intense and prolonged, arising from disorders in reproductive organs such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, or infection.
Menorrhagia is a term formed from “meno,” signifying “of menstruation” in Latin, and “hag,” derived from a Greek word meaning “to burst.” Essentially, menorrhagia is the medical term for unusually heavy or prolonged bleeding during menstruation, potentially leading to anemia due to significant blood loss. Women experiencing the need to change their pad every 1-2 hours or bleeding for more than eight days may be indicative of menorrhagia.
Amenorrhea originates from the Latin “a,” denoting “not,” and “menorrhea,” meaning monthly flow. Essentially, it signifies the absence of menstruation or missed menstrual periods. In a standard 28-day cycle, menstruation is expected each month. Women who have missed three consecutive menstrual periods or girls who haven’t initiated menstruation by the age of 15 are considered to have amenorrhea.
4. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is another problem that comes with menstruation and is caused by hormonal imbalance. It combines several symptoms that come a week before menstruation and sometimes lasts until your period starts. During this time, women experience mood swings and cravings that they cannot even explain. Women will also experience bloating around their abdominal area and feel like they have gotten fatter. Some other common symptoms of PMS include weakness, tiredness, breast tenderness, a general sense of discomfort, difficulty concentrating, headaches, insomnia, sleepiness, joint pain, muscle pain, constipation, diarrhea, and social withdrawal. (3)
20 Effective Home Remedies for Menstrual Problems
Listed below are the most effective natural cures that can ease many of your menstrual woes without any side effects:
1. Have Papaya
If you suffer from irregular periods, make it a point to consume Papaya at least once a week. The enzyme papain in the fruit will help you regularize the hormone levels in your body.
2. Drink Cilantro Decoction
A cilantro decoction will help you get your period on time every month. You can make the decoction by boiling a handful of cilantro seeds, some fresh cilantro leaves, or a combination of both in boiling water for a few minutes.
3. Consume Sugarcane Juice
If you suffer from irregular periods, drinking sugarcane juice daily, a week or two before your expected date, will help you get it on time.
4. Eat Soybeans
Eat a handful of boiled or steamed soybeans when your period is approaching. The phytoestrogens in the beans will help balance out the hormone levels in the body, thereby reducing PMS.
5. Take Evening Primrose Oil
Taking two 1000 mg. tablets of evening primrose oil daily will help your body get the required amount of gamma linoleic acid, reducing breast tenderness during periods (4). It will also regulate the hormone levels in your body.
6. Avoid Caffeine, Sugar, and Alcohol
Cut down on the sugar, alcohol, and caffeine intake just a week before your period. Caffeine can increase irritability and anxiety, while alcohol can make you more depressed. Refined sugar is a complete ‘no-no’ since it sways your blood sugar levels, swinging your mood alongside.
7. Avoid Salt
This one is a no-brainer. Whether it is before your period or not, reduce salt intake. Having too much salty food before your period can cause excessive bloating, fluid retention, and tenderness of the breasts. Remember not to give in to your cravings.
8. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercising, especially practicing aerobics, can help release feel-good hormones called endorphins in your body. It will also flush toxins and retain water, thereby decreasing bloating. At least try to do light exercise for an hour every day to feel fit and fabulous. (5)
9. Apply Hot Water Bottle
The dreaded effect of having your period is cramps. No one wants to feel like someone is stabbing their abdomen multiple times for several hours. Apply a heat pack on your lower back and abdomen area to relieve. The heat will help soothe cramps to some extent.
10. Get More Calcium
Cramps can also be reduced by increasing calcium intake in the food. Remember to have more dairy products or calcium supplements every day.
11. Take Fish Oil
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, taking a fish oil capsule daily will keep your menstrual cramps at bay.
12. Choose Chamomile Tea
Chamomile, an anti-depressant and nerve relaxant, can be a lifesaver during menstruation. Drinking a few cups of fresh chamomile tea may help soothe cramps and make you feel relaxed during these periods.
13. Consume Banana Flower
If you suffer from heavy bleeding, include many banana flowers in your diet. Being rich in the progesterone hormone can regulate hormones and prevent heavy bleeding.
14. Include Magnesium in the Diet
Foods rich in magnesium also help in controlling heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles. Consume as many sesame seeds, oats, and pumpkins as possible throughout those days to reduce the flow.
15. Have Vitamin C-rich Foods
Foods rich in Vitamin C, such as gooseberries, citrus fruits, etc., should be consumed before and during these periods. It can control heavy bleeding and aid in iron production to prevent anemia.
16. Go for Buckwheat
Buckwheat is rich in bioflavonoids, which reduces heavy bleeding during the menstrual cycle. Add buckwheat to your everyday breakfast while going through the heavy flow.
17. Snack on Dried Apricots
Women feel a lot of weakness due to blood loss during their periods. Chew on some dry apricots to regain all the iron you lost out on in the flow.
18. Indulge in Meat
Meat is rich in iron and zinc, two ingredients that our body depletes during periods. So, replenish it by consuming enough meat and steer clear of weakness.
19. Drink Sufficient Water
Drink lots of water, even if it means frequent trips to the loo during your period. It will enhance your general wellness by flushing out toxins and keeping you hydrated.
20. Eat Healthy Food
The first week after your period is the best time to replenish all the lost blood. Feed on iron, vitamin B complex, proteins, and zinc-rich foods. Cut down on sugar and caffeine. Exercise and embrace yourself to face the next menstrual cycle.
Home remedies are a great help and relatively easy and convenient. However, see a doctor if these aren’t working or your menstrual problems seem too severe. But in the meantime, you can count on these tips to help you get through red days.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What to Eat If Periods Are Not Coming?
Some common ingredients, like ginger, turmeric, aloe vera, cumin, cinnamon, etc., can help you regularize your periods.
What Should I Do to Get Periods Immediately?
Well, you cannot induce periods immediately by using home remedies. However, a mixture of ginger, carrom seeds, sesame seeds, and jaggery can help you prepone your periods to some extent. Consuming boiled turmeric water twice a day can also help.
Which Medicine is Best for Irregular Periods?
A low dose of birth control pills can help ease your irregular periods by balancing progesterone and estrogen levels in your body.
Can Ginger Make My Period Come?
According to experts, ginger can facilitate uterus contractions, naturally inducing periods.
- “What is Ovulation? 16 Things to Know About Your Menstrual Cycle“, Healthline.com
- “Menstrual Cycle: What’s Normal, What’s Not,” MayoClinic.org
- “All You Need to Know About Period Symptoms“, MedicalNewsToday.com
- “Biochemical and Clinical Effects of Treating the Premenstrual Syndrome with Prostaglandin Synthesis Precursors,” EuropeOMC.org
- “Premenstrual Syndrome“, ACOG.org
- “Folic Acid is Essential for All Women of Reproductive Age,” WomensMentalHealth.org
- “Dietary Fat Intake and Reproductive Hormone Concentrations and Ovulation in Regularly Menstruating Women,” Academic.oup.com