Monday, February 14, 2011

Crampage Control: The trouble with Midol.

I honestly think that Midol, along with all other forms of menstrual cramp pain medication (Aleve, etc) might be some of the dumbest inventions ever to grace drug store shelves.

I understand that many girls and women out there suffer from agonizing, debilitating cramps and that they simply cannot function in their day-to-day lives without some form of relief. I feel for you ladies, I really do.

However, for the majority of women out there, let's face it, cramps are really not that bad. And while popping a couple Midol may seem like an easy solution to the nagging pain of menstrual cramps, they are really more of a hindrance than a help in the long run.

It's quite simple.

What these drugs do is numb the muscles that contract and push the (guys, feel free to stop reading now. you were warned.) blood, uterine lining, etc, out of your body, which gets rid of the pain.

This presents a few problems: 

1) It makes your period last longer. The reason being that instead of contracting normally and pushing everything out in an efficient manner, the muscles, being numbed, fail to contract and all the blood and stuff just basically sloshes out of you (delightful) over time. It eventually does, since humans are typically upright most of the time, but it takes way longer than letting your body push everything out normally. 

2) If you continuously take these drugs every time you feel cramps (as I know many women and girls do), you never get used to them. So if you get into the habit of taking it, unless you one day decide to kick the habit (do it!), you will suffer the same painful cramps for many years to come. I have never taken Midol, save one or two times in my early teens, and honestly, when I do get cramps, they're just background noise. I can easily think/breathe my way through them while going about my daily tasks. And I do so willingly and with pleasure, as I have reason #3 to use as motivation to learn how to deal with cramps naturally... 

3) Menstrual cramps are your body's preparation for LABOUR! They are UTERINE CONTRACTIONS. The exact same muscles are being used during menstruation as during labour (just much less intense, obviously, since they're just pushing out a bloody sack and not a baby). Cramps are extremely useful. We're lucky to have them, really (don't laugh! lol). So basically, if you want any chance of having a natural labour in the future (or if you plan to birth in hospital where they'll just be DYING to break your waters and/or give you pitocin, both of which make labour pains more intense) it's really a great idea to kick the habit of taking pain killers for cramps years in advance. That way, you'll be giving yourself some time to understand and experience what uterine contractions feel like and develop your own methods for easing the pain so that you're not completely blindsided by labour and begging for an epidural. 

So there you have it. CRAMPS ARE YOUR FRIEND! They have a purpose. And honestly, for most women, they're not even that bad. So man up.

And for you ladies for whom mind-over-matter is not necessarily always a viable option, here are 3 more natural tips and tricks for relief of menstrual pain: 
1) RASPBERRY TEA. It increases blood flow to the area, and actually TONES your ladypart muscles so that not only are your cramps not as painful, labour will be quicker and less painful as well (double score!). Plus, it has been used for centuries by women all over the world :) 
2) The classic HOT WATER BOTTLE. Can be used either while relaxing at home or even at the office. 
3) Gentle YOGA. You can find lots of poses out there that are great for relieving menstrual discomfort, both in the form of written instruction accompanied by diagrams, and/or videos on YouTube (my personal preference) :)

And on that note, HAPPY BLOODY VALENTINE'S DAY, EVERYONE! hahaha <3 

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