If there’s one thing that all the adult female population can agree on, period cramps are the worst thing. Also, every female has cursed the existence of periods at one point or the other.
As girls reach their prime preteen age, they are given “the talk.” Firstly, conversation happens at school, which includes too much biology to comprehend for the age. Moreover, elaborating on the complex mechanism of their body, hygiene, and most importantly, health.
Then follows an awkward conversation by the mother or the older sister/cousin assigned to enlighten you with further details. Every culture perceives this routine in women’s life differently; some are eloquent about it while some keep it hush.
Also, it is not uncommon for girls to consider periods as an unfair punishment that the gender has to go through.
Nonetheless, with time, we learn to cope. However, that does not mean girls with severe period pain quit doing everything within their power to reduce the monthly pain.
Medical News Today talks about a way that may help relieve period pain.
Period Pain—Symptoms and Causes
Menstruation or period is a normal part of the menstrual cycle. Vaginal bleeding that is often accompanied by menstrual cramps or period pain characterizes it.
For many women, these cramps are merely an annoyance that they can ignore. However, for some women, period pain is much more severe, such that it can even interfere with their daily activities.
Period pain mostly consists of menstrual cramps; however, other symptoms such as:
- Back pain that reaches the thighs
- Pain and throbbing in the lower abdomen
During menstruation, the uterus contracts to expel its lining. Prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) trigger these contractions. In cases of high levels of prostaglandin, menstrual cramps are more severe.
A few causes of period pain are uterine fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, cervical stenosis, or Pelvic inflammatory disease.
Other conditions that affect the reproductive system can also lead to period pain.
A few risk factors include women younger than 30 years, irregular periods, and a family history of menstrual cramps, smoking, and hitting puberty early.
However, you can try to relieve period pain using a few methods that are:
- Using certain yoga techniques or meditation to relax
- Taking a hot bath
- By the use of a hot water bottle or a heating pad on the lower abdomen,
- Over-the-counter pain medicines (NSAIDs, including ibuprofen)
Gluten – A Controversy?
Gluten is a family of proteins in which glutenin and gliadin are the paramount proteins. Undoubtedly, proteins are an essential part of our diet; however, there is controversy on the health benefits of gluten.
On the one hand, scientists believe it is safe for consumption for everyone except those who have celiac disease. On the contrary, some researchers believe it to be harmful to everyone.
We can majorly find gluten in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. When we mix flour with water, it becomes sticky as the gluten proteins form a network with a glue-like consistency.
Moreover, people with celiac disease are prohibited from consuming gluten as their immune system treats gluten as a foreign invader and attacks it, disrupting the gut lining in the process. Celiac disease is gluten intolerance.
Additionally, if a person with celiac disease continues to consume a gluten diet, it leads to further complications. These include multiple sclerosis, neurological conditions, infertility, osteoporosis, and anemia.
Furthermore, some people with irritable bowel syndrome also show positive effects of eating a gluten-free diet. Also, people may experience wheat allergies after gluten consumption.
Therefore, people who go for a gluten-free diet know the foods containing high gluten levels, like wheat, bread, pasta, beer, cakes and pastries, cereals, rye, and barley. Moreover, gluten is also present in many processed foods.
Advantages and Risks of Gluten-free Diet
Like in everything else, a gluten-free diet also has both pros and cons. However, in a survey conducted by a market research company, it was found that 30% of adults in the United States are actively trying to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diet.
Moreover, very little research supports the benefits of consuming a gluten-free diet if one doesn’t suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, a huge part of the population is following a gluten-free diet, regardless.
This has more to do with public perception than scientific evidence. Furthermore, the easy availability of gluten-free products also aids people in cutting them out of their diet.
Additionally, research does not support the misconception that there may be a link between gluten and autism. However, in a study, scientists prove that celiac disease may be linked with epilepsy.
Moreover, there is also some indication of schizophrenia being linked to celiac disease; however, more research is needed for confirmation. Therefore, people with epilepsy and schizophrenia may benefit from a gluten-free diet.
On the contrary, switching to a gluten-free diet also has its disadvantages. A gluten-free diet may lead to nutrition deficiencies, including iron, calcium, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and folate if not done properly.
Furthermore, it leads to a deficiency in fibers, and the reduced intake of whole grains impacts cardiovascular health.
Gluten-free Diet and Period Pain
Medical News Today talks about the causes, treatment, and a possible pain reliever for period pain. The article tells us that period pain is an inflammatory response to the shedding of the uterus lining.
Along with cells, there is blood present in the menstrual discharge, which results from the rupturing of the blood vessels in the uterus. Dr. Polly Cohen talks about the treatment for this pain.
She mentioned starting with paracetamol and moving up to NSAIDs and hormonal controls. However, some people don’t respond to any of these treatments. Eve is one of those people.
She suffers from severe period pain that interferes with her daily life. She tried switching to a gluten-free diet and found it to be effective. However, science doesn’t support that gluten is directly related to period pain.
Nonetheless, some scientists have previously observed a link between gluten, wheat, and inflammation. Therefore, the change in diet can be a probable reason for no period pain. However, this does not work for everyone.
Though, this is breakthrough research that can relieve many women from going through monthly torture. However, more research is needed to identify the factors that help relieve period pain when following a gluten-free diet.