Women are superheroes. Bloating, lower back pain, cramps, headache, mood swings, just because you’re not pregnant. Seriously? It makes you wonder why you can’t just be a man. But if you are not lucky enough to breeze through your periods like nothing happened, it becomes necessary to look for ways to reduce and deal with painful periods.
Is it that time of the month, and you already dread the cramps that come with it? It is common to feel uncomfortable around your period. In fact, half of the women who menstruate experience pain called dysmenorrhea for up to 3 days every month.
Menstrual pain is a throbbing pain or cramping in the lower abdomen. Here, the walls of your uterus contract and relax to shed the lining of the uterus. And that’s when cramps happen, with some women experiencing mild pain and some women experiencing a high level of pain that interferes with their daily routine.
I’m sure you want to relieve your pain. Maybe you are tired of using pills. Here are remedies that can make you feel better naturally and work wonders for you.
Your body and its entire organs will thank you for swapping your soda drinks and coffee for herbal tea during your period. There are many herbal teas you can get from your local convenience store, but any tea with:
- Chamomile: This sweet and beautiful herb is anti-inflammatory. Because it is a mild sedative, it helps you relax your body and induce a restful state. Chamomile is best sipped before and during your period. You can also sprinkle some into your favorite cereals or a cup of hot cocoa. This can be useful to address cramps, anxiety and irritability.
- Motherwort: Incredibly powerful, and you can’t go wrong with it! It reduces cramping and muscle spasms. It also relieves dizziness, insomnia and hormonal headaches.
- Fennel: Herbal teas that contain fennel help to reduce cramps. Fennel inhibits uterine contractions that are caused by prostaglandins. It’s a good option if you usually cannot go about your daily routine during your period. However, you should not use it if you have epilepsy.
Hot Water Bottle
Curling up with a hot water bottle can help ease menstrual cramps. Remember the first time you had cramps in high school, and your mum brought out a hot water bottle? Well, your mom was right. Applying heat to your lower abdomen or lower back increases blood flow to the area. You can place a heating pad on your lower back to relieve back pain. It doesn’t heat your uterus, but it stimulates the skin, which distracts other neural pathways involving pain, like prostaglandins. According to the review of studies in the International Journal of Physiotherapy, heat application is as effective as using ibuprofen.
Another option is taking a warm bath. This helps to relax the muscles in your abdomen, back and legs. Sipping warm fluids can also relieve the pain,
If you are feeling dehydrated, your uterine muscles may cramp more. Ensure you are drinking enough water. Cultivate the habit of drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day, especially when menstruating. Add lemon or some mint to make it more palatable. While doing this, reduce your salt intake. Avoid alcohol which causes dehydration.
Due to fluctuating oestrogen and progesterone levels, women experience bloating during their period, making their bodies retain water. This can affect your digestive system and lead to constipation which makes cramps feel worse. Drinking enough water helps to tackle these things. It’s not only for cramps; staying hydrated is good for your overall health. Moreover, drinking warm water helps with cramps.
Yes, exercise works! I know you’re thinking, how will I do that when I am dying of pain? Working out can seem like the last thing you want to do when you are dealing with cramps. But exercising increases circulation to your pelvic region and releases endorphins that counteract the hormones that cause your uterine muscles to contract during your period.
No one expects you to run around your neighborhood or go cycling. Take a brisk walk or do some yoga poses. Simple stretches can increase blood flow to your body cells. Even little activity can release endorphins in your brain, which serve as natural painkillers
It helps if you lie on your back with your knees bent. Regular exercise is important to your overall health, but you should take it more seriously if you are prone to painful period cramps.
With its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is a natural painkiller and a favorite for many. It can lower the level of prostaglandins in your body and relieve nausea, bloating and stomach upsets which many women deal with during their periods.
Adding ginger to your daily meals is more than using it as a spice for your food. You can take ginger tea during your period by grating a small piece of it into a cup of warm water with lemon. If you can’t stand the ginger flavor, add ginger supplements to your diet.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Meals
Consider cutting dairy products. A fair amount of medical research reveals that sensitivity to dairy products also causes menstrual cramps. This is due to A1 casein, a popular protein in milk and yogurt. Cut down red meat and egg yolk intake to a maximum of 2-3 times a week. This is because egg yolk and red meat have been discovered to cause cellular inflammation in some people.
You may be craving fatty and sugary foods during your period. I’m sure you know these foods are not your friend. Skip that jam doughnut and salty potato chips. Anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes, cucumber, banana, blueberries, squash and bell peppers are good for you. Eat dark leafy greens and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, almonds, and calcium-rich beans.
These foods combat inflammation. Many women report that eating leafy greens helps to ease period pain and boost their overall health. It is best to eat a balanced and healthy diet every day, not just for a few days in a month or during your period.
A warm bath can be exactly what you need to soothe the pain you’re feeling and relax your muscles. Start by adding some essential oil to your bubble bath. Soak yourself in the bath and read your favorite book to melt the tension away. If you are not a bath person, a warm shower can give similar results.
It’s not surprising that psychological stress makes menstrual cramps worse. This is because when stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that increases muscle contractions in your uterus. There are no studies on the best stress reduction techniques you can use to relieve cramps, but there are several things you can try at home to reduce cortisol in your body, such as
- Getting quality sleep
- Mindfulness meditation
For these methods to work, aim at reducing stress during the second phase of your cycle before you ovulate and not just when your period is close.
Have an Orgasm
Having sex while on your period isn’t for everyone. Most women see it as unacceptable. However, Mother Nature has a different idea. There’s a reason why many women have high libido during their period. This is because the changing level of estrogen during menstruation can boost your sexual appetite. And if you follow those sexual instincts, you will find a host of benefits which means you can ditch that heating pad and paracetamol. It is not only sex that does the job; even masturbation can do the trick. The primary thing is that you reach orgasm. While reaching orgasm can make your period less painful, your periods can even make your orgasms better and more intense.
Orgasm increases blood flow to your uterus, which helps to relieve your cramp. It also triggers your body to release dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones are both natural pain relievers
Get A Massage
A massage helps to relax your muscles which means lesser pain. For the best results, massage your abdominal area. But a full body massage that relieves your overall stress can also help to relieve period pain. Apply a mixture of essential oils to your hands and gently massage your abdomen. Essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, rose bulgar, clary-sage, chamomile and fennel have been shown in different studies to relieve painful periods when massaged into your lower abdomen
Continue doing this in a gliding manner. Perform this for a few minutes and repeat around your waistline too.
Acupuncture may be more effective at relieving period cramps than NSAIDs. The idea behind acupuncture is to target specific areas of your body, known as acupoints, to release natural pain-relieving chemicals.
It is easy to reach for that painkiller on your table when your period starts, but it shouldn’t be the option all the time. These natural remedies can give you the comfort you seek. For best results, they should be paired with supplements and lifestyle changes that can positively impact menstrual cramps.