Period symptoms - How to relief and prevent it.
Updated: Mar 28
More than half of women who menstruate every month experience period symptoms, most commonly, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) - known to many as cramps or period pain. This is not caused by any underlying gynaecological disorder but is related to the normal process of menstruation. Period symptoms may differ from one woman to another and can range from moderate to severe, or even unbearable.
The most common symptoms of PMS include:
Changes in appetite
The feeling of anxiousness and irritability
Spotty and greasy skin
Low back pains
However, period symptoms can also be really discomforting and sometimes, so extreme that it prevents women from performing their daily activities. If you usually experience unbearable symptoms, make sure to take note (or track them with Grace) to notice the severity and how often it happens. When the pain is unbearable (super strong), you might be experiencing something called “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)”, which is a severe type of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This is a medical condition that needs attention and treatment, so if you’ve experienced that for while, please seek attention from the doctor. Now, if you experience those more typical - yet annoying - symptoms, here we have a few tips on how to handle them!
Symptoms such as cramps happen because your uterus muscles contract, causing the pain. In order to ease the pain, the muscles need to relax, and that usually happens with heat. Be it applying heat externally, or generating heat internally, there are several ways to relax your muscles!
To relieve your symptoms, you can:
Use heated pads on your belly or abdominal region This method of relieving period pains has been known to help many women. That is because when you apply heat, it can help relax the muscles of your uterus.
If you don’t have heated pads, use a towel instead Pour some warm (not boiling) water into a bowl. Soak a clean towel in the water for about a minute or two, squeeze it and let it rest in your abdominal area for about 3 minutes or until the towel cools down. Repeat this till the pain subsides.
Drink tea Drinking warm or hot drinks like tea or hot chocolate helps to reduce period cramps. It keeps the body warm and makes you feel good.
Take warm baths As often as you can, not only to help with the pain but to maintain good menstrual hygiene.
Rest in warm sheets, maintaining a position that relieves pains Lying down in bed without moving much can be very helpful for women dealing with period pains. Assuming a prone position or lying face down can help to relieve pain. Also, lying prone with knees inflexion in a dog-like position is another way to relieve abdominal pains.
Exercise or physical activities It sounds counterintuitive, but performing activities like walking, jogging, or stretching can help some women overcome their cramps. That is because when you move your muscles, it de-contracts. While lying down still or assuming a comfortable position might work for some women, others would need to exercise or maintain a certain level of activeness to be able to relieve their period pain, which might even help prevent it.
Over-the-counter pain medication When the pain is severe, or beyond the point where heat helps, it's advised to have some over-the-counter painkillers like Diclofenac, Ibrufen, Paracetamol, etc. Make sure to always keep one close if you experience severe pain often.
Most of the symptoms listed above can be sometimes prevented by simple changes in your diet and lifestyle; Ensuring you drink plenty of water, reduce salt intake and eat iron-rich foods.
Don’t forget to keep tracking your symptoms in the Grace App!
Stay informed, stay in control.
Esther, one of our Kenyan users used to think her symptoms were not normal, and something was wrong with her body, even taking medication for it.
After she started tracking her symptoms with Grace, she learned that those were part of her cycle and completely normal. She started preparing herself emotionally before starting PMS and no longer takes medication!