The menstrual cycle is also known as the female sexual cycle and can be defined as a series of organic processes that predispose and prepare the uterus to host a pregnancy each month . This preparation is carried out by means of a specific set of varied physiological changes, which have as main protagonists the female sexual gametes (also called ovules).
Within the female reproductive system, a group of changes are generated that are intended to prepare the body for fertilization. These changes are driven by the action of female hormones intended for this purpose (estrogens and progesterone ). If you want to know and learn more about the menstrual and reproductive cycle of women and all the issues related to it ,.
We recommend that you read this article in its entirety, which comprehensively addresses some of the most important aspects of human reproduction.
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Causes and symptoms of the menstrual cycle
The main cause of menstruation has its origin in the non-fertilization of the ovum . As is well known, each month the female body is renewed and prepares to develop a possible pregnancy. If the pregnancy does not occur, the endometrial tissue detaches, which is expelled along with the remains of the unfertilized ovum and the blood. As a result of this, a hemorrhage known as vaginal bleeding occurs.
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Disorders of the physical state of the woman that produces the menstruation
The physical state of the woman is affected with the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Some disorders that may be evidenced are the following:
- general discomfort,
- migraines or headaches ,
- ailments at the level of the joints and muscular system,
- vertigo or dizziness
- fluid retention,
- inflammation in the breasts
- fatigue or dejection
- stomach problems such as pain, diarrhea, or a feeling of heaviness
- dermatological problems such as acne breakouts or skin eruptions among other physical manifestations.
TENDERNESS AND SWELLING OF THE MAMMARY GLANDS
The breasts may become inflamed for about 10 days before menstruation. The swelling can generate a feeling of discomfort and / or ultra sensitivity and this can become annoying and painful.
FOCUSED ACNE BREAKOUTS
These outbreaks can appear about 3 days before menstruation. They generally appear on the face (in areas such as the forehead, chin, and nose), back, and chest . This symptom occurs most often in adolescence and is usually less common in women who are older.
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This usually appears a few days before menstruation . It does not necessarily manifest as pain, it is important to note that not all women feel it . For some, only an uncomfortable feeling of bloating, heaviness, accompanied by slight discomfort may arise.
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PAIN IN THE BACK SIDE OF THE BACK
This is a very particular sign that usually appears specifically in adolescents or young women who are not yet mothers.
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Disorder of the emotional state of women by the menstrual cycle
The emotional state of the woman is also affected with the beginning of the menstrual cycle due to the deployment of hormonal action. Some mood disorders that may be evidenced are the following:
- feeling of deep sadness without apparent justification,
- exacerbated irritability
- fits of anger
- flare-ups of anxiety
- sudden mood swings.
It is important to emphasize once again that each woman is unique and each one will be able to live this process related to the menstrual cycle in a unique and singular way, so they will be able to present other changes in their emotional state in addition to those mentioned here.
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MOOD SWINGS AND IRRITABILITY
Due to all the physiological processes that take place in the woman’s body and the hormonal action that unfolds during menstruation, it is very common that clear signs of irritability and sudden changes in mood are usually evident.
It is important to emphasize that not all women have the same symptoms uniformly. Probably each woman is affected by menstruation in a different way and manifest very own and unique symptoms.
Stages of the menstrual cycle
The female or menstrual cycle is made up of three stages or phases:
- The follicular phase,
- The ovulatory or ovulation phase
- The luteal phase
The phase or follicular stage
It is the phase that begins the cycle and begins on the first day of the cycle, that is, the first day of the menstrual period . This phase is called follicular because in it the follicles originate (a follicle is a kind of cavity that exists in the ovary) that will house the ovum.
The follicles begin to develop thanks to the action of the nervous system that produces the follicle-stimulating hormone FSH. As they develop, they begin to generate estrogen. Completely at random, a follicle is chosen where the ovum will mature, which will strengthen until it reaches approximately 20 mm, after this it will break, thus releasing the mature ovum in the direction of the fallopian tube.
Ovulation or ovulatory phase
The ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle also known as ovulation begins when the level of estrogen increases considerably, thus generating the degradation of the follicular tissue, this facilitates the maturation of the ovum and its subsequent release.
After the ovulatory phase, the luteal phase continues, which is where the corpus luteum develops , which will remain until a possible pregnancy is generated or, failing that, menstruation occurs and on the way to the next cycle.
In the case of fertilization of the ovum and if the embryo is implanted, the woman’s body begins to generate the special pregnancy hormone called gonadotropin, which will keep the follicle in activity, thus preventing the detachment of what lines the uterus, giving time for the placenta to strengthen as necessary to accommodate the pregnancy.
How is the flow during the menstrual cycle?
The vaginal discharge transforms at the same time as the stage of the menstrual cycle that is developing. Its appearance and texture can tell us what stage of the cycle we are in and also if we have any vaginal health problems.
When there is no ovulation and the female cycle is completely normal, the vaginal discharge has a whitish, almost crystalline appearance and the texture is somewhat light.
When there is ovulation and it is the most fertile period of the entire cycle, the vaginal discharge will change in appearance . It will become viscous and much more compact, very similar to the texture of egg whites. This peculiar consistency and thickness is originated to provide the sperm with the necessary conditions for their journey within the female body, thus they will reach the uterus to carry out fertilization. After this stage, the vaginal discharge will return to its usual appearance and texture.
If suddenly changes of any kind appear in the vaginal discharge, whether it has a strong yellow or green color, or emanates an unpleasant smell or itching or any kind of irritation in the vaginal area, it is highly recommended to visit the gynecologist with as quickly as possible, to determine if it is an infection or fungal outbreak and thus receive the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
In addition to the normal vaginal fluids, also the first day of the follicular cycle occurs the menstruation and appears what is called menstrual flow. This type of discharge expelled through the vagina is composed of waste from the endometrium, some blood vessels and remains of the unfertilized egg.
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Alterations in the body due to the menstrual cycle
The vast majority of women suffer or have suffered from some type of disorder or alteration in the female or menstrual cycle. These menstrual disorders can be manifested by heavy or meager vaginal bleeding and by delaying or early menstruation.
The most common disorders related to menstruation are the following:
Disorders in relation to non-presence, advance or delay.
It is when the period does not appear , that is, when vaginal bleeding does not occur for one or several months.
It is when the menstrual cycle is extended. Here the menstrual process develops normally except for the fact that it occurs every 45 days and not every 28 days, which is usual.
It is when the menstrual cycle is reduced. Here, too, the menstrual cycle develops normally with the exception that it occurs every 21 days and not every 28 days, which is usual.
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Disorders in relation to the amount of vaginal bleeding.
It is when the bleeding is abundant until it reaches the excess, so much so that blood clots can be found in the menstrual flow.
It is when the bleeding is scanty or meager . This disorder is usual during the beginning of menopause, and it also usually occurs when you are overweight.
It is when the bleeding time is considerably extended . It can take up to 8 days or more.
It is when the bleeding is accompanied by severe pain .
The causes of disorders or alterations in the menstrual cycle are varied. They range from hormonal disorders to genetic and hereditary reasons, diseases of the sexual organs, or other serious diseases of the liver and other important organs.
In addition to this, disorders or alterations of the menstrual cycle may occur due to stress , psychological disturbances and insufficient nutrition.
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What happens in the female reproductive system?
The female reproductive system performs a series of transcendental tasks, focused on achieving success in the field of human reproduction. These tasks are as follows:
- It completely generates the female gametes, better known as the ovules.
- It provides the optimal setting to host male sperm or gametes and provides the ideal environment for fertilization to take place.
- Provides the appropriate environment for the embryo to develop and develop, providing stability and support.
- It directs the reproductive functions through the incessant hormonal secretion.
Glands and hormones involved
The main female sex hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The hormonal binomial made up of estrogen and progesterone are those that traditionally guarantee the entire reproductive function of women and their female or menstrual cycle.
Any imbalance in the creation of these hormones can cause a derangement in the female cycle and can also negatively affect libido and cause a decrease in sexual desire.
The estrogens are responsible and directly responsible for sexual desire and the progressive increase libido. Together, these hormones are responsible for shaping the silhouette of the woman by properly arranging the distribution of fat.
The progesterone in turn binds to estrogen to prepare the uterus for the proper accommodation of the egg. If conception does not occur, progesterone will begin to decrease, until the endometrium decays and menstruation occurs.
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Regular or irregular cycle?
In order to affirm that a female cycle is regular, it must occur every month and it does not have to occur on the same exact date, but it is required to occur fluently from month to month. If, on the contrary, it does not occur month by month but is frequently advanced or delayed, we can affirm that we are facing an irregular female cycle.
There are countless causes for an irregular cycle to manifest. If you have an irregular cycle, it is best to consult a specialist doctor , in order to determine the exact cause of this irregularity and obtain a prompt and timely solution.
Is the menstrual cycle contraceptive?
Some people claim that having sex during menstruation represents a cheap and effective contraceptive method, since the chances of fertilization are very low at this time of the female cycle.
However, despite the fact that statistically speaking the probability of getting pregnant is quite low, there are still chances of getting pregnant .
An extended female cycle and premature ovulation can certainly make a woman fertile even when she is menstruating. That is why if you do not want to get pregnant, the safest thing is that you make the correct use of contraceptive methods.
Fertility and infertility
It is that ability to beget or have children.
Women remain fertile for about 35 years during their lifetime, between puberty and menopause. From your first menstruation to the last of them.
It is that inability not to beget or have children. If a couple has a whole year having constant sexual relations and without the use of any contraceptive method and pregnancy is not achieved, we say that we are facing a case of infertility.
In this case, if the couple wishes to have children, they must attend the doctor, and through specialized studies determine the causes of their infertility in order to undergo the indicated treatments (if any).
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Fertilization and pregnancy
Fertilization is the union and subsequent fusion between the female sexual gamete (ovum) and the male sexual gamete (sperm).
This union is possible through prior copulation or intercourse. This consists of the introduction of the male sexual organ (penis) into the vagina and the expulsion of semen into the vagina. Currently there are other ways to achieve fertilization where intercourse is not necessary, such as in vitro fertilization .
If there is no barrier (contraceptive methods), the semen will enter the vagina and cross the uterus until it reaches the fallopian tubes. Few are the sperm that will actually reach the ovum and only one of them will be able to penetrate the special membrane of the ovule in order to carry out fertilization.
The fertilized ovum gives rise to the zygote. Then it will begin to fragment at the same time as it is transferred to the uterus. The new cell formed is known as an embryo. After a week, the embryo reaches the uterus and implants itself in the endometrium.
Pregnancy begins when the embryo implants in the endometrium. Here the periods stop until the time the baby is born.
First, the embryo feeds on the pre-existing reserves in the ovum. Then, to effectively nourish the embryo, a new organ called the placenta is formed.
The placenta is one of the most peculiar organs that exist, it measures approximately 20 centimeters and through its subtle walls it allows the embryo to take in oxygen and take advantage of the nutritious substances from the mother’s blood.
Parallel to the creation of the placenta, the amniotic sac is formed, which is a subtle membrane within which is the amniotic fluid, which surrounds and protects the embryo.
After this, the gestation process begins to develop fully, a period where the embryo, consecutively fetus, will develop within the mother. This period lasts approximately nine months, in which the baby’s organs will form.
In the first month , the nervous system and the heart begin to form, which from that moment begins to beat.
By about the second month the brain is formed. The embryo already measures around 3 cm and its appearance has clear human features, therefore it is called a fetus.
By the third month the fetus already measures between 5 and 7 cm and manages to carry out movements. You can see the eyes and also the ears in their respective places. Genital organs are also formed. And the renal and circulatory systems are defined.
By the fourth month : The fetus is already about 10 cm. The bone structure begins to form and the circulatory system is fully operational.
By the fifth month : the hair begins to grow and the eyebrows are formed and also the eyelashes.
By the sixth month : The pulmonary system is almost entirely formed. And the fetus measures about 30 cm and weighs about 1 kg.
By the seventh month : The fetus has all the organs necessary to survive outside the uterus.
For the eighth month : By this date the fetus begins to settle into the appropriate position for its exit to the outside. And it has a weight close to 2.5kg.
By the ninth month the fetus has all its perfectly formed organs, and is ready to be born.
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Polycystic ovaries and the menstrual cycle
Polycystic ovaries represent a fairly common female health disorder that affects women of any age (from adolescents to adult women. This disorder is linked to hormonal imbalances.
Both women and men produce sex hormones. Women produce estrogen and progesterone, to a lesser extent androgens popularly known as male hormones.
When women generate an exaggerated amount of androgens, what is called polycystic ovary syndrome occurs, since this increase in this hormone hinders the normal development and subsequent release of the ovum. Therefore, instead of the ovules being formed, so-called cysts develop in the ovaries, which are like tiny sacs filled with fluid. Women with PCOS usually have irregular menstrual cycles and in some severe cases they do not menstruate.
This disorder can also be linked to an excessive increase in insulin in the body. The greater the amount of insulin, the greater the amount of male hormones generated.
Polycystic ovarian disorder can trigger a number of unwanted and unpleasant consequences for the woman who suffers from it, including possible infertility, abnormal growth of body hair, skin problems or acne, being overweight, diabetes, and abnormal bleeding.
However, despite the fact that polycystic ovarian disorder is incurable, for it there are various treatments that will help those affected in achieving a better quality of life.
How many days long is the menstrual cycle?
The regular female or menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days . If it is less or more days then we are facing an irregular menstrual cycle.
Phases of the fertile and infertile days
THE FERTILE DAYS
They are those where there is a high probability of achieving a pregnancy, since the ovum is ready for a potential fertilization, generally the most fertile days occur in the middle of the cycle.
THE INFERTILE DAYS
In reality there is no infertile day, there are only days with less chance of achieving a pregnancy.
What do ovarian and endometrial mean?
Relative to or linked to the ovary. The ovaries are a fundamental part of the female reproductive system. Each woman has two small, almond-shaped ovaries, they are located on each respective side of the uterus. The ovaries are the ones that make and protect the eggs.
The ovarian cycle : it is defined as the process where the ovules mature.
Relative or related to the endometrium. The endometrium comprises the inner lining of the uterus. The endometrium is regulated by the action of female hormones and develops thanks to them.
The endometrial cycle: It is regulated by the monthly manufacture of estrogens and progesterone secreted by the ovaries.
This cycle composes:
- Desquamation (Menstruation).
What is the name of a woman’s first menstrual cycle?
The first menstrual cycle of women is called Menarquía and represents a crucial point in the life of the pubescent, both from a psychic and organic perspective.
The arrival of the first period brings about the beginning of the fertile life in the woman .
Therefore, after the onset of menarche, any type of sexual act without the proper use of contraceptive methods can lead to pregnancy.
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Sexual intercourse and the menstrual cycle
The issue of having sex during menstruation generates many debates and controversies, for some the fact of having sex during this stage of the female cycle represents a kind of contraceptive method and for others it is something unnatural that can even cause health problems.
Advantages of having sex during menstruation
- Decreases the chances of fertilization and pregnancy.
- Some studies on female sexuality claim that sex during menstruation can alleviate the characteristic belly pain that often accompanies vaginal bleeding.
Disadvantages of having sex during menstruation
- It will not necessarily prevent a possible pregnancy.
- There is a risk of contracting diseases as blood and semen can carry various microorganisms that generate AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis or hepatitis. Therefore, the use of a condom is recommended.
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Menstrual cycle and contraceptive methods
The use of contraceptive pills always keeps the level of estrogen and progesterone high since they contain synthetic adaptations of them.
Essentially, birth control pills paralyze ovulation and the development and subsequent breakdown of the endometrium, therefore natural menstruation does not arrive and the bleeding that usually appears is called withdrawal or withdrawal bleeding.
The contraceptive hormonal origin can disrupt your body, your mood and your skin may be affected if you do not want your menstrual cycle being altered we suggest you employ other methods of contraception mechanical such as condoms, diaphragms or intrauterine devices.
How is the menstrual cycle before and after pregnancy?
Before pregnancy, menstruation is normal . Once fertilization has occurred, there is a delay in it, which becomes the most premature symptom of pregnancy.
When the period does not appear in a period of 3 continuous months, it is considered that the woman has amenorrhea or that she is indeed pregnant.
Usually it is not possible for menstruation to appear in pregnant women, but in rare cases slight bleeding may occur. After childbirth, the reappearance of menstruation can vary greatly from one woman to another and will depend on specific factors.
During breastfeeding, how does it affect?
About 50% of women who do not breastfeed their babies menstruate again just 6 weeks after delivery.
In contrast, among women who breastfeed, only 15% of them menstruate again just 6 weeks after delivery. Some may go months or up to a year without menstruating. But if a woman’s menstruation has already returned, even if she is breastfeeding her baby, she can get pregnant again.
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Delayed menstrual cycle
The main reasons for a menstrual delay are the following:
Due to Pregnancy
Every sexually active woman with a late period is probably pregnant . The absence of menstruation is usually an unequivocal sign of pregnancy.
The cessation of the period usually appears in the third or fourth week of pregnancy . If you have a significant menstrual delay, we suggest that you take a pregnancy test.
Due to stress
The menstrual cycle can be altered by causes beyond the reproductive system. Emotional factors such as stress or anxiety can absolutely affect the manufacture of hormones.
Stress has become a global health problem, since its effects affect us on a physical level. Problems at work, financial problems and family problems can create a negative impact on our body and alter its natural cycles, including the menstrual cycle.
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Due to discontinuation of oral contraceptives
If you stop taking oral contraceptives, it is very likely that your natural menstrual cycle will take a period of time to return to normal.
Some women can go months without ovulating after they have stopped birth control. Naturally your menstrual cycle will be the same as before, you just have to be patient.
What changes occur at menopause?
Menopause is the natural cessation of menstruation and is triggered by reduced ovarian activity. It usually occurs in women over the age of fifty.
When you have not menstruated for a consecutive year, we say that we are facing a possible menopause. The obvious change in hormonal function can cause a variety of symptoms in women who suffer from it.
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Among the most common symptoms we find:
Heats or hot flashes
It consists of a sudden sensation of heat in the face, although it can spread throughout the body. Red spots may appear in various areas of the skin. They usually last about 1 to 5 minutes.
The genital area can become much drier and therefore sexual intercourse can be somewhat uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Decreased sex drive
In some women there may be a significant reduction in their sexual desire.
Some women may have trouble falling asleep due to intense hot flashes. This feeling of heat can cause them to wake up after sleeping and then have trouble falling asleep again.
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The hormonal changes present in this stage can generate episodes of irritability and sudden mood swings.
Changes at the body level
The waistline tends to widen, muscle mass is reduced, skin shrivels, and breasts become saggy and saggy. There is also a tendency to be overweight.
To reduce these symptoms and increase the quality of life, it is advisable to exercise, practice yoga or other physical discipline and eat a healthy diet rich in nutrients and minerals.
What happens to the menstrual cycle after an abortion?
After an abortion, the woman may experience severe pain in the belly. They may have bleeding for 3 to 6 weeks. You may experience an altered emotional state, and feelings of loneliness or sadness are frequent. At this time, the support and emotional support of family and friends is very necessary.
For more information you should read this article: Spontaneous Abortions: Causes, Symptoms, Types and Possible Treatments
Is there a menstrual cycle in men?
Men do not have a menstrual cycle as they do not menstruate. But although many people do not know it, men also have a particular cycle that causes alterations in their mood , and episodes of irritability. This almost unknown cycle for many depends entirely on the level of testosterone, which undergoes a series of ups and downs directly influenced by the environment and the mental state of each man.
This peculiar male cycle happens once every 24 hours , with a number of 6 to 7 ridges a day and with slight oscillations that happen every 15 or 20 minutes.
The level of testosterone that each man has can vary according to his general conditions of life and his physical state. It is important to note that testosterone levels also fluctuate according to the seasons. In summer, testosterone is generally on the rise, on the contrary, in the coldest season of the year, testosterone suffers an obvious decrease.
In most men, testosterone levels are generally highest in the morning and early evening.
A man’s testosterone level tends to increase when he leads a very active sex life, and as testosterone levels soar, male desire also soars. This can be very beneficial for the overall health of men . When men have low testosterone they tend to be more irritable and moody than normal.
Difference between menstrual and ovarian cycle
The ovarian cycle is the cycle where the ovarian follicles are generated and mature, this is verified in different stages that go from the essential follicle to the already mature follicle, at which time the ovulatory phase occurs and the ovum is released from the ovary to the fallopian tubes where it will wait for possible fertilization.
While the menstrual cycle, it is what happens once the egg failed to be fertilized. This cycle occurs alongside the ovarian cycle and both last 28 days in humans. When the embryo is not established, there is a drastic decrease in the levels of estrogens and progesterone, which triggers the desquamation of the endometrium and menstruation occurs. This process agrees with the final days of the ovarian cycle and in the first days of the next cycle.
Monophasic, biphasic or triphasic menstrual cycle
Single Phase Cycle
It is the cycle that does not present ovulation. In them there is a variation in ovarian function that stops the ovulation process.
They represent a series of psychosomatic alterations caused by hormonal transitions, which are manifested throughout the female organism, but which are specifically evidenced in the genital tract.
The biphasic cycle is essentially composed of:
- The ovarian cycle.
- The endometrial cycle: proliferative phase and secretory phase.
- The hormonal cycle (estrogenic stage and progesteronic stage).
Three phase cycle
This cycle occurs when the ovum is fertilized and transforms into a zygote or egg. This is the complete female cycle and lasts about 280 days.
Home remedies to relieve symptoms of period pain
The vast majority of women know how difficult menstrual episodes can be, specifically when they are accompanied by the well-known belly aches. That hateful discomfort that occurs in the lower abdomen area can appear one or two days before menstruation and continue until the end of the cycle.
The real reason for the pain that appears during the period is the substantial increase in prostaglandins, which is a hormone similar to the hormones that are responsible for causing uterine contractions. Fortunately, today we have several 100% natural solutions that can help us reduce and alleviate the undesirable menstrual pain that disturbs our quality of life during “those days.”
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Practicing any type of exercise can help you secrete endorphins. They are chemicals that reduce pain in a purely healthy and natural way. Running or walking and practicing different yoga postures can be a great support to eliminate menstrual pain.
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Use a thermal bag or thermal sack
Regular application of heat through the use of a heating bag on the lower abdomen reduces cramps and spasms, thus providing a wonderful feeling of relief. If you do not have a thermal bag, you can use any bag filled with hot water or apply cloths moistened with warm water.
Here we put several thermal bags to choose from:
- TERMOSAK mod. Owls 45 × 14 cm, Modulated thermal cushion with separations, hot-cold bag (heat / cold) of high density seeds and lavender with washable cover made of the same fabric.
- Thermal Sack of Seeds (Orange blossom, 50_cm)
- Thermal bag with a combination of wheat seeds and labanda for cystitis (small size), it has a washable cover with a beautiful combination of fabric in pink gingham colors and flowers.
If you have very intense menstrual cramps, it is advisable to rest and try to sleep. Rest and rest will promote the body’s natural relaxation and dramatically reduce menstrual distress.
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Chamomile tea is one of the most famous and effective solutions recommended to relieve menstrual ailments.
To prepare this excellent remedy, what you should do is add two teaspoons of chamomile flowers (that are dry) to a cup of boiling water and leave there for 5 minutes. To reinforce its effects, it is suggested to ingest 2 cups of this infusion a day the two days before the arrival of menstruation.
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Ginger is another wonderful remedy to ease menstrual discomfort naturally. Ginger tea works as an effective anti-inflammatory and prevents multiple spasms in the belly, reduces bloating and menstrual discomfort.
If you want to benefit from this tea, it is very easy to prepare it, simply boil a few pieces of the ginger root in a liter of water for at least 15 minutes, then you must strain it and drink this infusion at least twice a day.
For more information, see our articles on Ginger: Contraindications, side effects and slimming and anti-inflammatory properties
Cinnamon is a spice with a pleasant fragrance and delicious taste and it is also one of the best weapons to counteract menstrual ailments.
Due to its powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effect that encourages relaxation of the muscles, a fact that helps reduce stomach pain. To enjoy its incredible properties you can add it to your meals, desserts and other recipes, you can also consume it through a tea or infusion.
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You can boil a mixture of water and cumin, then strain it and drink it while it is still hot. Drinks when hot soothe and relieve the discomfort of menstruation and reduce the sensation of pain.
Eat foods rich in iron
They help normalize blood flow and therefore reduce pain. It is advisable to consume dates and spinach, among other foods rich in iron.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.