Menstrual cramps in Bangladesh and how to tackle them

June 02, 2022

Menstrual cramps in Bangladesh and how to tackle them

Every lady has to go through the immense pain of menstrual cramps. Sometimes, it makes you vulnerable, and the physical and mental effect it has on you is indescribable. However, with the proper intake of food and medicines, this pain can be cured. Although in Bangladesh, the very topic of female hygiene is considered taboo. This should change. In this article, we'll talk about what causes your menstrual cramps, what you can do to tackle them, and many more! 

Menstrual cramp

What Causes Period Cramps?

Period cramps can appear because of many reasons. It's primarily because of the changes in your hormones. When the estrogen level gets higher in your body, you experience period cramps. 

You must be familiar with the term PMS which stands for premenstrual syndromes. PMS is another form of pain during one's period. PMS causes bloating, headache, mood swings, nausea, and many other symptoms. 

Another problem women face is dysmenorrhea. It is a pain that you suffer from menstruation. Dysmenorrhea is a menstrual disorder from which more than half of the female population suffer. 

There are two types of dysmenorrhea. 1) Primary and 2) Secondary. The primary one is basically your menstrual cramps. Secondary dysmenorrhea is often caused by health issues like cysts, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.

Both kinds are very much painful. It can affect your day-to-day life to a great extent.

Amenorrhea is another menstrual health issue. Women who have missed their menstruation for at least three months in a row suffer from this situation. Girls who don't get their period even at the age of 15 usually get amenorrhea too.

Now that we know of all the possible reasons, the question automatically arises if there's a way for women to tackle these challenges. Are they able to get rid of them in any way? 

Actually, there are many ways to do it. There are medicines that can have side effects, and there are functional foods that are a better and healthier option. Now,

What is Functional Food?

The concept of functional food originated in the 1980s in Japan, where the world's healthiest people live. Later in 1994, the USA passed a bill called the "Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act '', shortly DSHEA, which included a functional food section. The Functional Food Center In the USA stated that any food or ingredients with the necessary bioactive compounds are considered a functional food. 

How Does Functional Food Help with Period cramps?

Functional foods can be fortified with additional ingredients like- vitamins, minerals, probiotics, or fiber. It helps by increasing the food’s health benefits. These foods reduce inflammation, enhance immune function, and improve heart health. 

Functional food has bioactive components that help women with their pain during the menstruation cycle. Nutrients filled with ingredients in functional food can lower the estrogen level and eliminate fats from the body. That way, the hormones responsible for all the pain are in control, and it's easier during your period. 

What is a bioactive food component?

According to an encyclopedia, "The term "bioactive food component" refers to nonessential biomolecules that are present in foods and exhibit the capacity to modulate one or more metabolic processes, which results in the promotion of better health." 

So as we can already assume, bioactive components help increase the nutritional value of food, and that makes it bioactive food. Effective bioactive compounds like Quercetin Kaempferol, Apigenin Luteolin, Hesperetin Naringenin, Catechins, etc. are found in bioactive foods.

Bioactive Compounds

Examples of bioactive substances can be carotenoids, flavonoids, carnitine, choline, coenzyme Q, phytosterols, phytoestrogens, glucosinolates, polyphenols, and taurine. These elements can gravely affect the nutritional value of food, creating bioactive food. Let's get to know some of the most vital bioactive compounds and where to find them.

Flavonoids. Flavonoids are incorporated in almost all plants and are found mainly in cereals, legumes, nuts, olive oil, tea, red wine, vegetables, and fruits.

Phytoestrogens are present in soy and even in flaxseed oil, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Apigenin is found in numerous fruits and vegetables, parsley, celery, celeriac, and chamomile tea.

Carotenoids are one of the most potent antioxidant combinations. They are found in most fruits and vegetables, particularly in apricots, carrots, mangoes, tomatoes, and pumpkins.

The glucosinolates are raw components of many scented plants such as mustard, cabbage, and horseradish. 

Luteolin is present in broccoli, green pepper, parsley, oregano, carrots, and rosemary. Luteolin lessens the chances of cancer.

Functional Food in Bangladesh 

Yes, functional food is available in Bangladesh. Through research, a group of nutritionists in our country have successfully proven that specific ailments can be cured through "functional food.".

Menstrual cramp

This research report was titled "Safety and Efficacy of Curcumin-Based Formulated Food (Karkuma Super Food) on Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms: A Randomized Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial," and it was released at an event at the auditorium of the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council. The event was organized by Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University (MBSTU).

This study was conducted by Dr. Khaleda Islam who's a professor at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science, the University of Dhaka, and Dr. AK Obaidul Haque, a professor of Food Technology and Nutritional Science at MBSTU.

Researchers developed a functional food which is called "Karkuma Super Food." It was given to women who suffered from physical issues during menstruation.

Nutritionists said that functional foods could be naturally or scientifically produced. Researchers are said to have developed "Karkuma superfood " from raw materials collected from reliable, organic sources that have been certified by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Based on the type of pain experienced by female participants of the study, menstrual cycles were divided into three categories. The study showed that 47% of women suffer from typical problems, 45% from moderate difficulties, and 8% suffer from a range of other issues, including severe cramps. Women were divided into three groups based on three types of issues. Physical, mental, and behavioral.

The study was run for five months, and during this time, clinical trials were conducted on 52 women. One group of women was given Karkuma superfood  on a daily basis, whereas the other group continued ingesting everyday food. 

Dr. Khaleda Islam stated, "There is a clear difference between those who were given the Karkuma superfood and the control placebo group. Individuals in the former group were less likely to get sick. People who suffer from severe menstrual cramps have also felt much better after this food. No side effects were found."

So as we can see, the role of functional food is pretty huge in order to live a sustainable life. If the side effects of medicines can be avoided through eating functional food, then it is indeed a significant change for us. 

Every woman suffers from the unexplainable pain of period cramps. And in Bangladesh, as this topic is considered taboo, women suffer more because they don't even talk about it or know much about the things they can do for pain relief. But this should change as menstruation is a biological cycle that every lady has to experience and it's not a topic of stigma or taboo that you have to avoid it. 

So, in hopes that women and men in Bangladesh will be more open to this topic and open their minds to gaining more knowledge about it, we are ending this article for today. We hope that you find this article informative and helpful and may you live a healthier life.


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