Why do women have to bear all the pain? Well, that’s because our pain threshold is higher than men’s. Really? No! Studies have indicated that men are more tolerant to pain than women. But then, the biological changes that a woman undergoes from time to time bring in a lot of physical changes, leading to health complications aplenty.
It all starts when she attains puberty. Right from changing the size of her breasts and the appearance of hair on the body to acne – the hormones begin to play their game that seems endless for a few of us. The most painful thing for any woman is the pain during her periods. Along with the task of changing her sanitary pads periodically, she has to bear the pain, which may range from mild to unbearable, to the extent of even interfering with her routine. It’s so much easier to pop in painkillers and lie there on the bed with a hot bag and a cuppa, but don’t you want to get to the root of this problem?
Yes, we do. First, let’s understand what causes pain during the menstrual cycle. Hormonal changes it is, ladies! A few women even notice changes in their breasts—they could feel harder, tender or even show some kind of a swelling. Relax these are perfectly normal symptoms and caused due to Fluctuating hormone levels.
But If you keep wondering why a few of your friends go about their business like nothing is wrong while you can’t stop cribbing about your abdominal pain during your periods, we are about to shed light on that in the next few paragraphs. So, pay attention!
If you have ever been to a gynecologist for period pain or abnormal bleeding, you would hear her blame your hormones and yeah, utter that word – PCOS. If you meet a group of women, at least 20% of them would complain about battling Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or what is commonly referred to as PCOS. Now, what is this all about? Why is it that some women don’t feel pain at all while the others experience intolerable pain? The reason again is your hormones – an increase in the level of androgens (male hormones). This condition causes tiny cysts and enlarged ovaries. The increased hormone levels could be because of both genetic as well as environmental factors. But if you thought you could live with the pain all your life and neglected this problem, wait till you hear this. The severity of this condition can manifest into a deadly disease like cancer! That sure rings alarm bells, doesn’t it?
So, now, how do you know if you have PCOS? We will tell you. Watch out for these symptoms.
Polycystic Ovarian Sydrome Symptoms
- Irregular menstrual cycles: Do you have irregular menstrual cycles? When you do have your period, do you experience excruciating pain in your legs, lower abdomen, or back? Are these symptoms accompanied by excessive bleeding? Then, yes, you have PCOS.
- Weight gain for no reason: Women who have PCOS tend to have an apple-shaped body instead of a pear-shaped one. This has nothing to do with their lifestyle habits. Excess androgens can trigger weight gain, typically in the abdomen area. Such women also tend to become insulin resistant, which puts them at higher risk of diabetes, heart diseases or uterine cancer. Women with PCOS also battle infertility issues. The most challenging thing for these women is to lose weight.
- Acne: You never had clear skin? Have you used every treatment method under the sun only to see a new zit pop up just before an important event? Well, this could be a sign of PCOS too.
- Excessive hair on the body, especially on the face and chin: Thick hair on your face giving you a masculine look? Tired of shaving, threading, and waxing the excess facial hair? Blame it on the male hormones again! This is a clear indication that you have PCOS.
Your doctor might put you on either anti-androgen medication or oral contraceptive pills that could regularize your menstrual cycle.
What can you do about it?
Regular exercise: Keeping yourself active should be your primary initiative towards tackling PCOS. Make yoga and workout a part of your routine. If not anything, even a 15-minute brisk walk on a daily basis can do wonders to maintain your metabolic rate.
What you eat matters: If you are experiencing severe pain during menstruation, it’s time to watch what you consume. Aerated drinks, too much caffeine, smoking, high carbs, processed foods — these are only a few of the many things you must avoid. Include low-glycemic foods in your diet to keep your insulin levels in check. Stress can also lead to PCOS. Fight stress by having foods rich in magnesium.
How To Tackle Menstrual Cramps
- There are simple over-the-counter medications that can help bring down the pain.
- Placing a hot water bag on your abdomen can give you relief.
- Have a cup of green tea. The antioxidant-rich drink can do wonders to soothe the pain. This could be the best substitute for your caffeine cravings.
- Massaging the pain area with castor oil will not only cool the body but also promote blood circulation, thereby reducing cramps.
- Periods are synonymous with bloating. Drinking plenty of water can help cut bloating.
- Avoid dairy products like processed cheese and also junk foods that can aggravate the cramps.
- Exercise could be the last thing on your mind while your muscles are already aching and crying for attention. But trust me, nothing works like an activity to reduce period pain.
- Doing yoga can help a great deal. The asanas relieve the effects of oxygen deprivation to the tissues, a primary cause of cramps. The following yoga asanas are known to be effective in easing menstrual cramps:
1. Janu Sirsasana
3. A combination of Marjaryasana and Bitilasana
Refer to our Yoga section to know how to do these asanas.
Not treating PCOS in the initial stages could lead to cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, this article is a wake-up call for you. It’s not advisable to take OTC for pain relief all the time. Consult your family physician or a gynecologist if the symptoms persist.
Do you know of any other way to tackle menstrual pain? Do share with us in the comments section below.
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