Most women who menstruate experience some level of pain or discomfort for at least a day or two each month. Even women who don’t have serious health problems find that cramps can put a damper on their regular daily activities. If you want to get relief from pain or discomfort without taking drugs, we have a number of natural methods which you can try. If these don’t work, you should see your doctor.
1. Drink More Water
Uncomfortable bloating is common for many women and drinking more water can help to reduce it. If you don’t normally drink six to eight glasses of water daily, you should try to increase your intake during your period. If you vomit or experience diarrhea, it is even more important that you replace the fluids you use. Adding a slice of lemon or cucumber to your water can make it easier to swallow. You can also drink unsweetened herbal teas if you get bored with plain water.
2. Apply Heat
Heat helps to relax your uterine and abdominal muscles. Placing a heating pad or a hot water bottle against your tummy can, therefore, ease cramps and discomfort. If you get lower back pain as well, heat can also work magic there. Another option is to soak in a warm bath to relax the muscles in your legs, back, and abdomen. Bath bombs designed specifically for relieving menstrual discomfort can make your bath even more beneficial.
3. Get Gentle Exercise
You may not feel particularly motivated to exercise if you don’t feel your best, but gentle movement can bring pain relief. Stretching, practicing yoga poses or going for a walk may help. That’s because exercise releases endorphins which reduce stress and pain naturally. Regular aerobic activity can also help to boost your mood and reduce symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.
4. Use Essential Oils
Research has shown that using essential oils for abdominal massage can bring relief from menstrual pain. One study found that a mixture of lavender, rose, cinnamon, and clove essential oils in a base of almond oil was more effective than almond oil on its own. The next time you experience cramps, mix at least one of these essential oils with a carrier oil and give yourself an abdominal massage.
5. Make Changes to Your Diet
Eating more of certain foods and skipping others can help to reduce bloating and cramping. Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetable, lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and whole grains will improve your health. However, you should limit the amount of salt and caffeine you consume. Salt can lead to fluid retention and bloating while caffeine can be dehydrating. Avoiding white bread, pasta and trans-fats is also a great idea since these foods can increase inflammation and help to cause period pain.
6. Acupuncture and Acupressure
Stimulating the body’s acupressure points has proven to be an excellent way to deal with a number of medical conditions. If you’ve never considered seeing an acupuncturist, you may want to consider it if you struggle with menstrual pain. In addition to treating you during your session, the therapist can show you how to stimulate the relevant trigger points with your hands. This way, you’ll be able to use the techniques whenever you want.
7. Get More Sleep
The quality of your sleep can affect your menstrual symptoms. Going to bed at roughly the same time each night can make your symptoms easier to manage. This is difficult for many women but getting into a nightly routine can help you to get more rest. Try taking a bath, having a cup of tea or listening to soothing music. Avoiding the use of electronic devices before bed may also make it easier to wind down each night. In addition, you may find that different sleeping positions feel more comfortable during your period so feel free to move around.
When You Need to See a Doctor
Many women find one or more of the above suggestions to be effective. However, doctors can suggest additional home remedies or prescribe pain relievers or birth control pills to help you manage your symptoms. Some symptoms which indicate you should see a doctor include:
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe pain or discomfort
- Cramps that worsen over time or last for more than two or three days
- Cramps that make it difficult to perform normal daily activities
- Extreme mood swings
Menstrual cramps and discomfort are common before and during your period. They usually don’t indicate a serious health problem and home remedies can be enough to make you feel better. If you try our suggestions and you don’t get the relief you need or your pain is severe, it’s best to speak to a doctor. They’ll help you to identify any underlying problems and get the correct treatment.
About the author:
Dani Fogel. is a Communication Coordinator at Brandable, based in Los Angeles, CA. She works on the Queen V brand within the company’s Digital and Ecommerce department.