Many ladies experiencing dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) have asked this question over and over again, “Should I take pain relievers for cramps?” Some have received “Yes” but have been battling with the question “What then should I take? Some have received “No” for an answer with the reason being that painkillers affect the period either reducing the flow or abruptly ceasing it, but how true is this?
In this article, we shall be exploring menstrual cramps and addressing some vital questions associated with this phenomenon.
What are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps are painful sensations in the lower abdomen and back that range from dull and bothersome to excruciating and unbearable experienced by a lady before or during menstruation. Sometimes associated with dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, and diarrhoea.
It is worthwhile to note that not all cramps are normal as some could be due to some underlying problems. This is fundamental knowledge to the question, “Should I take pain relievers for cramps?”
This classifies menstrual cramps into:
- A primary menstrual cramp that comes with the normal menstrual cycle and
- Secondary menstrual cramps that come due to uterine fibroid, pelvic inflammatory disease etc.
The latter must require adequate treatment beyond pain- relievers. The reason the above exposition remains basic and indispensable.
What Helps with Menstrual Pain?
Having laid an important foundation, it is essential to know what type of menstrual cramp it is, this here points to the importance of consulting a medical doctor to rule out whether it is primary or secondary.
Associated symptoms like foul-smelling discharge, previous history of itching and rashes in the vagina, and burning sensation are indicative of pelvic inflammatory disease which requires meticulous attention from requesting a vaginal swab for microscopic culture and sensitivity test to prescribing appropriate antibiotics to eliminate the organism.
In this case, handling the infection is tantamount to handling the menstrual cramp. Thus, seeking medical attention is very important. However, if it is primary, then the answer to the question; should I take pain relievers for cramps is a yes.
What Helps with Period Cramps Instantly?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS e.g. Ibuprofen, piroxicam, meloxicam) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
How These Drugs Act
Menstrual pain occurs due to a chemical that is produced during that time called “prostaglandin”. This causes the uterus to tighten up. Throughout your menstrual cycle, the uterus, the muscle organ where a baby grows, contracts (tightens up). The uterus contracts more heavily during menstruation as more of this prostaglandin is produced.
When the uterus contracts (tightens up) excessively hard, it can press on adjacent blood arteries, cutting off the oxygen supply to muscular tissue. When a muscle loses its oxygen supply for a short period, it causes discomfort that comes with menstrual pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs act by preventing the production of Prostaglandin which is the main culprit. Acetaminophen (Tylenol or paracetamol) acts by blocking that pain transmission thus relieving pain although it is not as strong as NSAIDs because it does not affect prostaglandins directly.
Aside, from medications for primary menstrual cramps, there are other methods to employ to help get rid of cramps;
What to Do Instead of Taking Pain Relievers for Cramps
1. Applying Heat
Heat can help relax the muscles contributing to cramping, so applying heat to your abdomen or back can help relieve your pain.
Using a heating pad or soaking in a warm bath are great ways to ease period pain.
When you’re in pain, you may believe that the greatest thing you can do is relax and sleep. Physical activity, on the other hand, is a natural pain reliever. Easy anaerobic exercises you can do at home can help in this aspect.
Exercise causes the release of endorphins, which are substances generated by the body that assist suppress pain perception.
Furthermore, exercise is an excellent way to lower stress, which influences how you perceive pain.
3. Stress Management
Stress impacts your body in a variety of ways, including reducing your pain threshold (one’s limit to bear pain). Taking steps to relieve stress naturally can help you get rid of period cramps naturally. They include;
4. Taking an Adequate Diet
Food rich in vitamins and minerals also contributes to reducing period pain. Taking adequate fluid is also good. People who eat junk and refined sugars have experienced much more pain than those who do not.
Do These Medications Affect Menstrual Period in Any Way?
Before you decide; ” should I take pain relievers for cramps ” know that they affect you. Yes, it is very important to know that most drugs or medications have side effects. Most NSAIDs e.g. Ibuprofen can reduce menstrual flow by 28-49% and are very high doses can even halt it.
This is because one of their side effects is clot formation (i.e. they cause the blood to thicken). Also, the prostaglandin is what causes the Uterus to contract and bleed subsequently and this chemical (prostaglandin) release is affected by NSAIDs.
Aspirin on the other hand is a blood thinner and so can cause heavy flow. Other side effects such as Peptic ulcers, gastritis, and kidney disease (from long-term use of NSAIDs).
How and When Should I Take NSAIDs e.g. Ibuprofen
It is advisable to take NSAIDs before the onset of menses and continue for 1 to 3 days or the usual duration of painful symptoms. Patients with severe symptoms may begin taking an NSAID 1 to 2 days before the onset of menses.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium and paracetamol can be used.
Start taking the pain reliever at the beginning of your period, or as soon as you feel symptoms, and continue taking the medicine as directed for two to three days, or until your symptoms are gone.
- Tab. Ibuprofen 200mg three times daily with food
- Tab.Diclofenac 50mg morning and evening with food
- Tab.Naproxen sodium with food 500mg morning and evening
- Tab.Paracetamol 500mg three times daily.
There is also a need to try as much as possible to do away with medications during menstrual pain and to utilize the other method above.
The question”Should I take relievers for cramps?” have been the most challenging question for ladies with painful menstruation. This question is however only an umbrella to many other questions. The correct answer is “Yes”, and other aspects have been addressed in this article.
Let me know if I skipped your burning question in the comments.
The goal of participating in this challenge is to better yourself, self-improve your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. I know along the line, some may stop but I promise you, you’ve got nothing to lose but more to gain. This challenge is aimed towards finding inner peace, discovering oneself, challenging oneself, and as a result be a better person. Give this challenge a go as it takes just 30 days to see the impact in your life. You can write it down in a jotter, place them somewhere close to your bedside, design a board, or set an alarm to remind you. Now, transform your life with this December challenge in 2021.
December 2021 Challenge
Day 1: Set a Goal for This Challenge
Hello! I don’t know what your goal for this challenge is but now is the time to decide on one or two.
What is your goal? Work on this and come to a decision because this will motivate you towards bringing your best to the table.
Do you want clear skin? Do you want abs and biceps?
Are you intending to start a workout routine?
Or do you want to work towards a new degree?
Set that goal now!
Day 2: Set Up a Morning and Evening Routine
What’s a December challenge in 2021 without a routine? Having a routine will help you in working towards that goal and also it becomes a habit in the long run.
Have tea at 9 am.
Read a book at 10 pm.
It could even be something with more activity but always come up with something you want to make sure you do every morning and night every day.
Day 3: Meditate for at Least 30 Minutes
Meditation is the sole act of focusing the mind on a particular thought, object, or activity to train attention and awareness, to achieve a mentally clear and emotional, calm, and stable state.
You should incorporate this as a part of your morning routine as it helps in reducing stress and anxiety.
See the importance of medication.
Day 4: Make a List of What You’re Most Grateful for in This December Challenge 2021
This is quite easy and not much of a hassle. There are many things in life to be grateful for and being alive is the most important. Make a list of things you are most grateful for and reflect on them every now and then. This ultimately motivates you to not give up on that goal you’ve set for yourself.
If you’re having trouble proceeding with this challenge or making this list, then check out the 50 important questions you should ask yourself.
Day 5: Go Healthy for This Month
Do away with soft drinks this December.
Give up on junk foods and other foods that are bad for you.
Go without alcoholic drinks.
Also, you can go without starchy foods for a month. I mean, this is a self-improvement and personal development December challenge in 2021, so I had to include health in it.
Challenge yourself to take out junk, sugar, and alcohol from your diet for this month. Let’s go!
Day 6: Read a Book or at Least 50 Pages
There are books for this challenge, for growth, inspiration, motivation, and many more. They are indeed the best when it comes to attaining self-improvement and personal development in one’s life.
An interesting one I’ll never forget and would like to recommend is Attitude is Everything by Keith Harrell.
You should definitely purchase one online or get a hard copy.
You can read books that help you become smarter or books that help you find inner peace, your choice. Whatever you do, just make sure you read a book.
Day 7: Challenge Yourself to Do Something Creative
When it comes to self-improvement, your mind should be open to creativity and brainstorming –be it painting, drawing, just anything. Do something that gets your mind to think out of the box.
Try to make it fun though.
Normal is boring.
Day 8: Ask Yourself the “What do I want in life?” Question in December Challenge 2021
This question when answered by you either motivates or encourages you. It does no harm at all. Determine what your career goals should be, what your passion and hobbies are, what gets you going, and what fulfils you.
Write them down and let them be your ultimate guide to self-attainment.
Day 9: Decide on a New Goal
I know, that was fast. It’s a week already but a week of purpose. Now, set up a thing or things you want to get done for the coming week.
Week 1 was about setting a goal or goals which you must have in mind now. Now, this week must carry a new goal. Decide what you want. Good luck with that.
Day 10: Create a Vision/Dream Board
A vision/dream board is a collage of images, pictures, words, and affirmations of one’s dream and desires, designed to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation.
This board gives you the ‘my vision/dream will be a reality’ feeling as you see it every day and it kick-starts your day with positivity. Make sure to add images, throw in quotes, cut out pictures, and make the board attractive and realistic to look at every day.
Day 11: Walk Down a Self-Discovery Lane
“The challenge is in the person in front of the mirror” they always say.
Look at yourself, know yourself, and discover who/what you are. For me, it took a long while to realize what my talents are but right now, I’m doing just that and I’m getting a handle on things by making things better. It’s been fun, worthwhile, and worth it.
Discover yourself and that will be the greatest thing you’ve accomplished and that will be the guide you need to take the next step towards growth, self-improvement, and personal development.
Day 12: Listen to Educative Talk Shows and Podcasts
Music is one way to relax. That I know but sometimes, switch things up a bit. Listen to educational shows and podcasts that are inspirational and motivational.
They uplift and encourage you to do something. Give this a try.
Day 13: Try Yoga in This December 2021 Challenge
Like meditation, yoga is the next thing you need for mental health and alertness. There are different yoga programs you could look up online.
Check one out and indulge yourself in it. It’s either going to be yoga for you or meditation.
Day 14: Spend Time Outside
Do you know that 10 minutes walk you see people do in the movies? Yes. That is the boost for your mind, mood, body, and soul. It instantly uplifts you when nature hits you or you see beautiful sceneries around you.
Indulge in this when you can and I promise, it will definitely brighten you up or maybe meet the love of your life outside. Who knows?
Day 15: Try Something New
Like I said, instead of music, try an educational podcast. Trying something new is the trick you need sometimes to discover yourself in one way or another. Try something new once in a while helps you discover yourself more, what you like and do not like, what makes you happy, and what irks you.
There just might be a hobby out there for you that you haven’t realized. You just have to figure it out. If it’s something productive and of great service and benefits to people, then just set up a business or give help to people. Be kind.
Day 16: Make a Decision
Now that you’ve discovered yourself, what are those bad habits you want to get rid of, and what are those you want to improve on? What makes you a better person and what doesn’t?
Work on this and make a decision as this is a challenge for self-improvement and personal development. You really should work on those characters.
Day 17: Ask Yourself Where You Want to Be in 5 or 10 Years?
I want to be married.
I want to be a renowned writer/author.
I want to be a model.
Take a big look at this and picture it. Start planning how you are going to get there, what you should do to be there, and what sacrifices must be made. Take baby steps towards them.
Day 18: Challenge Yourself to Do Things Alone, Just You
Self! Alone! Solo! Just you, YOLO!
Walk on this self-improvement path by challenging yourself to do things alone. Go out alone, do things you do with friends alone, go on a date with yourself. This makes you a happier person as you tend to get comfortable with being by yourself all alone. Single life rocks.
Day 19: Keep a Journal
Okay! This isn’t old school or anything odd, I keep one myself. Keeping a journal is extremely important, most especially with regards to mental health. Write about anything and everything, every feeling, and accomplishment. Keep check about yourself and your life.
This makes things clear to you. Also, you gain control of your emotions and you begin to discover yourself. It takes time but baby steps, yeah.
Day 20: What Do You Want to Achieve in Life?
I want a car.
I want a medal.
I want to be famous.
Have a bucket list? Write them down and work towards checking them off slowly but surely.
Day 21: Try Something Out of Your Comfort Zone
“If you’re in your comfort zone, you’re not growing” the saying goes.
This is self-explanatory. So, do at least one thing challenging and less comforting every day.
Day 22: Travel to a New Place as a December Challenge 2021
This is one of the best ideas when it comes to self-improvement and personal development. This gives you the opportunity to do not only new things but also see new places, check out new areas, find yourself and of course, try out new food. In the long run, this will give you inner peace and inspiration towards the way you see and appreciate life.
It may interest you to see these Northern Nigerian foods everyone must try at least once.
Day 23: Exercise for at Least 30 Minutes
If you want to attain self-improvement and personal development, exercising should be your go-to. It boosts your mood, gets your heart pumping too (I hear it’s a good thing).
For me, I go to the gym sometimes on Saturdays, and that’s a good start.
Day 24: Write Down Your Dreams and Aspirations
Do you have a list of dreams and aspirations? Write them all down, there’s never a dream that’s too big. Write down what you want in life and out of life, figure it out and at the end, work towards achieving it.
Make a list of what you want to do towards aspiring to that dream; do you want to start photo freelancing to get a model agent or do you want to post about food online to eventually be a food blogger?
Take realistic steps, and work towards them.
Day 25: Get to Spend Some Time with God
Get spiritual yo! Take a time to pray to your Lord, Jesus, or Allah. Say your thanks and tell Him what and how grateful you are. Say what you want Him to help you with and believe.
In our everyday lives, things get tough but let’s never forget our Creator.
Day 26: Positive Talking
This is something I did at home once I think and really, it did what I wanted it to. I wrote in a paper and placed it on the mirror:
“You’re great. You’re beautiful”
It was something small but with a huge magnitude. Saying it during those days made an impact in my life and I love every moment. Write the words you want to say to yourself every day and say them every day.
Go in front of the mirror and say positive words to yourself. This helps to build confidence and boosts your self-esteem. In the long run, it helps with self-improvement and personal development.
Day 27: Practice Positive Statements
These are words of affirmations to oneself, words of encouragement, and determination. Try to make this a daily habit.
If you can’t find words or come up with for yourself, look them up online. There are a bunch of words of affirmation towards achieving self-improvement and personal development.
Day 28: Avoid Social Media for a Day
Uninstall an app if you really can’t stay without your phone. That’s a challenge for self-improvement and personal development if you can’t stay without it.
This is a hard challenge, I know but really, take a check out of social media for a day.
Day 29: Pamper Yourself
Treat yourself to something nice and exotic. Maybe a bubble bath, go to the beach, a spa, make a vacation plan as you write down your goals for the coming month and year.
Day 30: Set a Goal for the Rest of the Year in December Challenge 2021
Have goals and a plan for the rest of the year. Career goals, finance goals, life goals, marriage goals, couple goals, fitness goals, more challenging goals. Everything goals.
There’s no particular order to take this December 2021 challenge as the numbers could be done for any day.
Congratulations! As you’ve partaken on this journey to self-improvement and personal development. I’m sure that was challenging for you, but that’s the goal there. I hope you’ve made a list for the months to come.
Kindly drop a comment in the comments section below if I missed anything. Also, do let me know which one are you doing. I am eager to know!