Every girl born in this world experiences menstruation or periods, normal vaginal bleeding that happens as part of a woman’s monthly cycle. This monthly cycle can be severely painful in the case of some women and is called as dysmenorrhea. This is the most commonly reported menstrual disorder and more than 50% of menstruating women experience some kind of pain for 1-2 days every month.
Dysmenorrhea can be classified as primary and secondary, each having different causes. Primary dysmenorrhea is the most commonly prevalent period pain (menstrual cramps) which is not caused due to other external factors but by natural chemicals called prostaglandins made inside the lining of the uterus. The pain can start a day or two before the periods and last for a few days in most women, while in some it can last for a much more prolonged period. The intensity of pain decreases with age. Usually there is intense pain just after a girl starts having her menstrual cycle and it becomes better as she ages. The pain also subsides or is minimal after giving birth to a baby.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused due to a disorder in the reproductive system. It occurs at later stages of life than primary dysmenorrhea and the pain worsens over time, instead of getting better.
The pain associated with secondary dysmenorrhea lasts longer than normal menstrual cramps, starting a few days before the onset of periods, reaching its peak during menstruation and continuing even after your periods ends.
Bear the Pain
Painful periods are mostly characterized by menstrual cramps which are a throbbing, cramping pain in your lower abdomen. Other common symptoms of pain include lower back pain, nausea, diarrhea and headaches. People often confuse this with premenstrual syndrome or PMS which is entirely different and whose symptoms include weight gain, bloating, irritability and fatigue. If you are interested in knowing more about PMS, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Instead of relying on medication to relieve pain, try generic pain relieving techniques such as:
If you have primary dysmenorrhea, your healthcare provider might suggest using hormonal birth control or pain reliever medication. If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, treatment depends on the source of the pain and in some cases, even surgery might be suggested.
Women who exercise regularly have less menstrual pain comparatively. To prevent/reduce pain, it is recommended to make exercise a part of your daily activity.
‘Good mood’ foods are becoming popular and are completely different from comfort foods that we reach to, when we are stressed or unhappy. ‘Good mood’ foods are healthy foods that help to de-stress ourselves in this fast-paced world. Some things are beyond our control and it is up to us to utilize the things that are within our control, and food is one such thing that gives us positive results when used in the right way.
Why don’t you try these foods to stay calm and balanced to take the pressure off your shoulders?
Folic Acid: Almost 40% of people with depression lack folate and once they start consuming folic acid-rich foods, they feel happier. Research too shows a link between folate deficiency and low emotional health. One of the best sources of folate is sitting right in front of you in the kitchen-cooked lentils. One cup of cooked lentils fulfils 358 micrograms of the 400 micrograms of folate required per day. Other sources of folic acid include asparagus, oranges, avocados, beans and leafy greens.
Blueberries: Eating those luscious tiny blueberries rich in flavonoids and vitamin C can help boost mood and avoid depression in young people, according to a study. These berries are rich in anthocyanins, a flavonoid that gives these berries the blue color and are heart-healthy. Vitamin C can decrease blood pressure and cortisol levels that can go haphazard during times of high stress. Try mixing a handful of these berries in your oatmeal cereal or smoothie.
Dark Chocolate (70%): Yup, it’s true! You can bite a few chunks of these extra-dark chocolate to uplift your mood when you feel low as it interacts with the brain’s chemical messengers that play a vital role in regulating mood and energy. High in polyphenols and flavanols, dark chocolate puts you in a great mood and lowers your blood pressure too. Studies also prove that eating dark chocolates and almonds help uplift heart health. The details of this study are given at www.firsteatright.com.
Seeds: Edible seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame, sunflower or flax seeds are rich in magnesium, a nutrient that is popularly known to increase well-being and stabilize emotions. You can add the seeds of your choice to garden-fresh salads or prepare your own seed butter.
Chamomile and/or Lavender Tea: Sipping a cup of freshly made chamomile and/or lavender tea can calm your nerves, decrease anxiousness and promote sleep. They are also caffeine-free and hence, totally safe to rely upon whenever you feel stressed. It can be your go-to drink first thing in the morning after getting up or the last thing in the night before going to bed.
Sunshine makes us bright and gay and as the sun sets, our energy levels too decrease. We are tired after a day’s hectic work and feel like cheering up with some comfort foods which is a deadly decision in the case of dieters. To add to all this, a new research has found that the hours after sunset might be the toughest few for individuals on a weight loss program or for those trying to stay slim.
Among all these negativism, one good thing is that people can take steps to curb overeating-they can have an early dinner followed by a portion of fruit after some time or combat stress with alternative ways.
This study is based on the two hormones ghrelin and peptide YY. Ghrelin is popular as the ‘hunger hormone’ and many researches were conducted earlier on this hormone to find out if it could prove to be useful in any way to curb obesity. You can read more about ghrelin at www.firsteatright.com. Peptide YY is a hormone that is linked with the feeling of fullness.
The study involved 32 obese/overweight people who were between the age of 18 and 50 years among which almost 50% of the participants were diagnosed with binge-eating disorder and were constantly trying to come out of overeating.
The participants fasted for 8 hours and were allowed to drink a liquid meal (608 calories) either at 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. Two hours after consuming the meal, the participants were subjected to a stress test where they were asked to place a hand inside a bucketful of cold water for two full minutes. Some 30 minutes after this stress test, all the participants were offered a buffet spread consisting of pizza, chips, cookies and candies.
The blood tests tracked levels of ghrelin and peptide YY every now and then all through the study. The results revealed that hunger hormone levels (ghrelin) rose and fullness hormone levels (peptide YY) fell more in the evening comparatively than the morning hours. The stress test upped the ghrelin levels only in the evening. So, we conclude that evening is the worst hours of the day for those trying to avoid weight gain as you are prone to overeating, especially more if you are stressed or used to binge eating.
Every woman is given utmost care and showered with affection during her pregnancy period. Even the most trivial symptom is taken care of. But how many of them realize that they might have cardiovascular issues during pregnancy? Almost none. This is because, the signs and symptoms of a heart failure closely resemble pregnancy symptoms. Common symptoms of a heart failure during pregnancy include rapid weight gain, swollen & fluid-filled legs, elevated BP levels, fatigue and trouble sleeping which are usually ignored as common pregnancy symptoms.
The same was the issue with Preeti, a 29-year-old pregnant girl. During her 35-week routine checkup, ultrasound and stress tests revealed that the fetus had stopped growing after the 30th week, the woman’s heart rate was extremely weak, and an immediate C-section was needed to save the life of both, mom and the baby. Mind you, still no one ever have the slightest doubt that Preeti could be suffering from a heart failure. She had a C-section delivery, and everyone were relieved that the symptoms were going to subside down. But the night after delivery, she had trouble sleeping and experienced breathing difficulties.
An echocardiogram test revealed that Preeti had fluid accumulation in her lungs and scarring in the valves, which are indications of rheumatoid heart disease. The hospital right away started her on the necessary treatment procedures and she was shifted from the maternity ward to the cardiac ward, where she became a cardiac patient officially.
After returning home, Preeti was mapped to a cardiologist and her treatment journey continued with open-heart surgeries and medications. Slowly down the line, she was able to resume her active lifestyle with no medical restrictions and only daily medications to stabilize her heart rate.
There are thousands of patients like Preeti. Never take anything lightly and assume that you are too young/healthy to be affected with heart disease, a common misconception among most women. Lead a healthy lifestyle, go for annual full-body check-ups and be happy. This is the only way to avoid or lower the risk of any health hazard. Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to help you with healthy diet charts and physical exercise to live a healthy life.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.