Life’s gift to women was the ability to reproduce, unfortunately for us though the gift was accompanied with a menstrual cycle.
While it’s not always great to complain, I think we ladies can all agree on one thing, we could do without having a visitor that comes to wreak havoc in our uteri for a few days every month.
We had the honor of speaking to Dr Nokukhanya Khanyile a Johannesburg based medical doctor, and she shares some much needed period and period pain insight.
Why do certain women experience more pain than others?
Period pains are a result of muscle contraction in the uterus when it begins to shed blood once an unfertilised egg passes through it.
Women with higher levels of prostaglandins, a chemical compound which assists in contraction and relaxation of muscle tissue in the uterus, often tend to experience more painful periods than women who don’t.
What are the psychological effects of painful periods?
“Psychological effects can include hopelessness, sadness and feelings of inadequacy.”
“This can result in women withdrawing from communicating with friends and family, and often causes them to snap at people around them”, says Dr Khanya
“Being isolated may cause a loss of concentration which results in poor performance. “
“This could affect things like your job and household which results in more psychological troubles like stress.”
How can one ease harsh period pains?
Dr Khanya says, “You can get an over the counter drug that can help with pain.”
“However, some home remedies include making sure you are dressed warmly for the duration of your period.”
She also advises that you take special care to you keep your feet warm.
“Keep your feet warm, use a hot water bottle or bean bag around your lower abdomen or back (wherever you’re experiencing pain).”
She also says that you should drink warm drinks, eat healthy meals and do some exercises to warm your muscles which helps them relax.
Are harsh period pains linked to anemia or low iron levels?
“There isn’t a direct link between heavy period pain and anemia.”
“However, the cause of anaemia could be due to heavy bleeding and severe pain from conditions like leiomyosis (fibroids), endometriosis or a possible cancer that could be developing.”
How do I stop myself from binge eating?
Dr Khanya says you should track your period so that you can properly prepare for it.
“Mark the dates of the first and last days on a calendar or even download an app to be ready.”
“Next, make sure you plan your meals no matter whether you are or aren’t on your period.”
“This will help you make sure you always have healthy food around”, she concludes.
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