Period cramps are awful. Period cramps in college are even worse. Sometimes Advil or Midol just doesn’t cut it. These are the best college-style remedies for relieving the pain that comes with your period.
1. Turn up the Heat
One of the best ways to get rid of period cramps is with heat. It loosens up the muscles that cause the pain in our lower abdomen.
Unfortunately, applying heat while in college can be difficult. Warm baths are off the table when you live in a dorm. Heating pads are great but the microwaves aren’t typically clean enough to use them. When these two solutions aren’t an option, there’s still something you can do.
Using a Keurig, brew two cups of hot water. That is, run the Keurig without one of the K-Cups inside. Put the hot water into a water bottle. Camelbak bottles work really well if you take out the straw, because you can squeeze the part at the top to let out steam. If you don’t let the steam out of your bottle, the top may fly open and you could get scalded with hot water, so be careful.
Now you just have to wrap the bottle in a towel or blanket and you’ve got a makeshift heating pad- or heating bottle.
2. No Caffeine
While your Keurig may be your new best friend for the sake of making your heating pad, it could also be your enemy. Caffeine can lead to a period cramp nightmare.
The reason caffeine is so detrimental to cramps is primarily because it increases blood pressure and constricts blood vessels. Pressure is the last thing you want when you already have tight angry muscles. It can also make you more tense and anxious, causing the cramps to get worse.
Unfortunately for many women in college, no caffeine means no coffee. If you really need that boost to get you through your 8 a.m. lecture, or even your 11 a.m. lecture, try decaf instead. The taste of coffee will likely wake you up, without the caffeine making your cramps any worse. It works because you’ve conditioned your body to understand that coffee equates to energy, and your mind won’t necessarily register that it’s caffeine free.
3. Eat Healthy
Drinking lots of water wakes you up in the morning sans coffee. When you’re hydrated, you’re overall healthier, but your blood vessels also dilate. This helps alleviate cramping. Certain foods can help you cope with period cramps as well. While chocolate and ice cream might come to mind first, these treats can actually do more harm than good. The best foods are anything that contain manganese, including cinnamon, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Other vitamin rich foods may help as well, improving not just the pain from your cramps, but making you feel better and healthier in general.
For some girls, even getting out of bed can seem impossible with cramps. If you can manage though, try exercising. Exercising could be going to the gym, doing yoga in your room, or even taking a walk. The exercise releases endorphins, which make you happy and can help you forget about the pain of the cramps. This means walking to class can actually improve your period cramps. And maybe once you’re there, the lecture will take your mind off it even further.
You don’t have to walk to class however. Just walking outside helps. Or maybe take a stroll down the hall to your lounge or a friend’s room.
Since you’re already up and walking, head down to CVS for candles and lotions. Calming scents tell your brain and your body to relax. Since cramps are caused by muscles tensing up, the relaxation helps the pain go away. Try finding lavender scented lotions or candles – if you’re allowed to light candles in your room. The aroma of lavender has been proven to be one of the best ways to relax. It has also been shown especially effective when it comes to curing period cramps. If you do have a bathtub available, trying taking a lavender scented bath. The combination of the heat and the scent might just feel like heaven.
- 5 Natural Remedies for Period Aches and Pains That Actually Work
- How can you make your period come faster?
- 16 Foods to Eat (and Some to Avoid) During Your Period
- 1. Water
- 2. Fruit
- 3. Leafy green vegetables
- 4. Ginger
- 5. Chicken
- 6. Fish
- 7. Turmeric
- 8. Dark chocolate
- 9. Nuts
- 10. Flaxseed oil
- 11. Quinoa
- 12. Lentils and beans
- 13. Yogurt
- 14. Tofu
- 15. Peppermint tea
- 16. Kombucha
- 1. Pro tip: Instead of pretending like it isn’t happening, track it.
- 2. Your instinct is to curl up in a ball and binge-watch PLL for an entire Sunday, but you should actually get off your butt. At least a little.
- 3. Instead of eating ALL the chocolate and French fries, reach for healthier carbs.
- 4. Resist the temptation to try a crazy miracle period drug.
- 5. Skip the Red Bull binge / caffeine IV.
- 6. Treat yo-self — it’s a way better alternative than being all BITCH BITCH BITCH pms pms BITCH BITCH BITCH.
- 10 Ways to Relieve Period Cramps
- 2. Pop a Safe Painkiller to Cut the Inflammation
- 3. Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping
- 4. Try Fish Oil and Vitamin B1 for Natural Relief
- 5. Acupuncture May Help by Relaxing the Nervous System
- 6. Massage With Essential Oils for Pain Relief
- 7. Curl Up With a Heating Pad to Ease Period Cramps
- 8. Boost Those Feel-Good Endorphins With Exercise (or Orgasms)
- 9. Up the Magnesium in Your Diet to Help Nerve and Muscle Function
- 10. Birth Control Pills May Lessen Painful Cramping, Too
- Are severe menstrual cramps normal?
- How to relieve menstrual cramps naturally
- 3 Important Things To Keep In Mind:
- 1. Tea To Relieve Menstrual Cramps
- 2. Heat Treatment
- 3. Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps
- 4. Can Marijuana help with menstrual cramps?
- What works best for you?
- Natural Remedies to Reduce Period Pain
5 Natural Remedies for Period Aches and Pains That Actually Work
When it’s that time of the month, most women can bet on bloating, sore breasts, headaches, irritability, and mood swings galore.But for many of us, migraines and menstrual cramps can accompany our periods as well, especially in those first few days. Not only are these symptoms uncomfortable, but they can occasionally be severe enough to completely confine some women to bed.
As unpleasant as menstrual cramps are, they play a vital role during your period. The uterus is comprised mostly of muscle cells whose main mode of activity—like any muscle—is to contract, Joshua U. Klein, MD, chief medical officer and reproductive endocrinologist at Extend Fertility, tells Health. He adds that when blood and tissue shed during menses, an inflammatory reaction that provokes contraction of the uterine muscle occurs, which causes menstrual cramps. “In order to limit the amount of menstrual bleeding, uterine contractions ‘clamp down’ on blood vessels called spiral arteries that feed the uterine lining,” Dr. Klein explains.
Birth control, hormonal treatments, and over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help alleviate period aches and pains, but natural remedies can help, too. Here are five to consider next time you’re experiencing cramps.
Remember when you had menstrual cramps in high school and your mom whipped out a heating pad? Well, mom was right: Applying heat to the lower abdomen or lower back increases blood flow to the area, which helps to flush out pain-producing substances like prostaglandins, says Orlando-based ob-gyn Christine Greves, MD, a fellow of the American Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (Need a new one? We like the PureRelief XL Heating Pad, $50 on amazon.com.)
Dr. Greves notes that there were two randomized controlled trials completed in 2010 and 2012 to test the performance of heat- and steam-generating (HSG) sheets for relief of menstrual cramps and compare them to ibuprofen for treating period cramp pain. The trials found that topical heat therapy can be equally, if not more, effective for menstrual cramps than over-the-counter pain medication.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help fight inflammation and pain in general, and period cramps could be no different. The source could be important, though, Dr. Greves says. In a small 2003 trial, researchers observed 70 participants who were diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and treated for three months with either Neptune krill oil or fish oil.They found that the women who were given krill oil ended up needing to take fewer pain medications during their menstrual cycle compared to those who took fish oil. The participants taking krill oil experienced significantly reduce dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation) and the emotional symptoms of PMS.
This power plant boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe painful menstrual cramps. Two of ginger’s components, gingerols and gingerdiones, work to inhibit leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis, decreasing period cramping pain, Dr. Greves tells us. Stash ginger chews or ginger tea in your office desk in case cramps catch you off guard at work.
Although more studies on CBD oil for menstrual pain are needed, Daniel Clauw, MD, professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, tells us that it wouldn’t surprise him if CBD oil helped ease period cramps, since “it does act as a weak anti-inflammatory, not unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are the most commonly used treatments for this type of pain.”
Studies specifically on the connection between diet, exercise, and menstrual pain are limited, but other studies have found that women who partake in regular physical activity experience less pelvic pain overall. So, next time it’s your time of the month, throw on your sneakers and go for a run, hit your favorite yoga studio, or sign up for spin class.
Menstrual pain is often considered to be one of the worst ailments a woman experiences throughout her lifetime. Although many people turn to pain medicines, like ibuprofen, there are some period pain remedies that may help you manage the pain at home naturally and simply.
Applying a heated pad, a hot water bottle, or sleeping with a heated blanket can be a great way to relieve some period pain, particularly from cramps. Even something as simple as a strong peppermint lotion can help relieve some pain when applied to the lower stomach. Drinking a hot herbal tea (it’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages) will also benefit the stomach as it creates a direct way for heat to reach the lower stomach and warm the cells in this area. This can help sooth cramps. Some herbal teas will also help with bloating, which creates a general feeling of lousiness, and which may also contribute to period pain.
Taking a warm bath applies the theory that heat helps soothe cramps while allowing one to be submerged in water. The warmth of the bath can help with back pain, joint pain, and muscle pain as well. Simply soaking in the tub for as little as 45 minutes can help soothe the contractions of the uterus and even provide a sleep aid.
Rubbing the lower stomach, particularly in the area of the uterus, can help relieve pain from not only cramps, but gas and bloating. Rubbing the lower stomach helps to break up gas bubbles that are otherwise blocking the stomach and causing pains that can feel similar to cramps. Many paediatricians will recommend that mothers rub their child’s stomach when they get a stomach ache, which feeds into the hypothesis that rubbing the stomach even as an adult will trigger that psychological remembrance of comfort.
Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is known to release the same chemicals in a woman’s brain that are released during sex, feelings of romantic love, and outdoor activity. This powerful chemical is called serotonin. Serotonin plays a great part in feelings of happiness, comfort, and contentment, as well as a boost to the immune system. A small amount of dark chocolate will not only satisfy cravings that occur during the menstrual cycle, but will also release serotonin, triggering the body’s response to pain management and helping soothe cramps and aches.
Although many women feel as though exercise is not on the agenda during their period, exercising is one of the most advantageous things to do during the menstrual cycle. Exercise generates endorphins and serotonin, adding to the immune system’s response to pain as well as improving one’s mood. The release of these chemicals will also help stretch muscles that tense up during the period, and will help to distract from the pain. Specific exercises like running and sit-ups are often considered to be most ideal in this situation, although an activity like dancing or swimming will be very beneficial as well.
An interesting thought: While it may not be the case for all women, there are many instances in which users of menstrual cups have reported a decrease or lessening in the severity of their period pains and cramping while using a cup
How can you make your period come faster?
Share on PinterestHormonal birth control can change a menstrual cycle.
The only reliable method for changing a menstrual cycle is by using hormonal birth control. However, diet, exercise, and stress reduction may also help.
There are no ways to induce a first-ever period. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a person’s first period will typically arrive between the ages of 12 and 13. ACOG also estimate that 98 percent of females will have a period by the time they are 15.
The following sections discuss methods that may help induce a period in someone who has already had a menstrual period.
Hormonal birth control
Using hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills or the ring, is the only reliable method of taking control of the menstrual cycle.
The combined pill, which contains both estrogen and progestin, is the most effective method for controlling periods. People take hormonal pills for 21 days, then stop taking them or take a dummy pill for 7 days. They have their period in these 7 days.
People can stop taking the hormonal pill early to make their period come earlier.
Note that if a person does not take their birth control pills as their doctor prescribes, they may be less reliable in terms of preventing pregnancy.
People can also skip their period using birth control, which doctors generally consider safe. Learn about the safety of skipping periods with birth control here.
Gentle exercise may loosen the muscles and help a period come a little faster. However, the evidence for this method is anecdotal, and research has not confirmed that it works.
Some people have irregular periods because of vigorous exercise regimes. Exercising in moderation could help to restore the hormones needed to bring back a regular menstrual cycle.
Scientific research shows that high levels of stress have links to menstrual irregularities.
Finding ways to relax and de-stress may help, particularly if a person finds that their period is late or absent due to stress.
Gentle yoga, journaling, meditation, and time with friends and loved ones can all help to keep stress levels down.
Believe it or not, sex and orgasm could also help to bring on a period.
The combination of the hormones produced during sexual activity and uterine contractions during orgasm may help to dilate the cervix and help the uterus begin to shed its lining.
Diet and weight
Changes in a person’s body weight can affect their period. Low body weight can cause irregular periods or may even cause periods to stop entirely. This is because the body needs some fat to produce hormones related to menstruation.
Having a high body weight or experiencing a sudden change in weight can also cause irregular menstrual cycles.
Some people may notice that certain foods can delay or speed up their period and affect how heavy the flow is and its duration. This may be due to the relative fat, protein, and other nutrient content in foods.
Extreme calorie restriction or excessive exercise can both have an impact on the reproductive hormones and affect ovulation.
16 Foods to Eat (and Some to Avoid) During Your Period
Drinking a lot of water is always important, and this is especially true during your period. Staying hydrated can reduce your chances of getting dehydration headaches, a common symptom of menstruation.
Drinking plenty of water can also stop you from retaining water and bloating.
Water-rich fruits, such as watermelon and cucumber, are great for staying hydrated. Sweet fruits can help you curb your sugar cravings without eating a lot of refined sugars, which can cause your glucose levels to spike and then crash.
3. Leafy green vegetables
It’s common to experience a dip in your iron levels during your period, particularly if your menstrual flow is heavy. This can lead to fatigue, bodily pain, and dizziness.
Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach can boost your iron levels. Spinach is also rich in magnesium.
A warm mug of ginger tea can improve certain symptoms of menstruation. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects, which can soothe achy muscles.
Ginger may also reduce nausea. Few studies confirm this, but a 2018 study found that ginger effectively reduced nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. Since it’s safe and relatively cheap, it’s worth trying.
Don’t consume too much ginger, though: Consuming more than 4 grams in one day could cause heartburn and stomachaches.
Chicken is another iron- and protein-rich food you can add to your diet. Eating protein is essential for your overall health, and it can help you stay full and sated during your period, curbing cravings.
Rich in iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, fish is a nutritious addition to your diet. Consuming iron will counteract the dip in iron levels that you might experience while menstruating.
Omega-3s can reduce the intensity of period pain, according to a 2012 study. Subjects who took omega-3 supplements found that their menstrual pain decreased so much that they could reduce the amount of ibuprofen they took.
A 2014 study showed that omega-3s can also reduce depression. For those who experience mood swings and depression around menstruation, omega-3s may be helpful.
Turmeric is known as an anti-inflammatory spice, and curcumin is its main active ingredient. A 2015 study looked at the effects of curcumin on PMS symptoms and found that people who took curcumin had less severe symptoms.
8. Dark chocolate
A tasty and beneficial snack, dark chocolate is rich in iron and magnesium. A 100-gram bar of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate contains 67 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for iron and 58 percent of the RDI for magnesium.
A 2010 study found that magnesium reduced the severity of PMS symptoms. According to a 2015 study, people with magnesium deficiencies were more likely to have severe PMS symptoms.
Most nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re a great source of protein. They also contain magnesium and various vitamins. If you don’t want to eat nuts on their own, try nut butters or nut-based milks or add these ingredients to smoothies.
10. Flaxseed oil
Every 15 milliliters of flaxseed oil contains 7,195 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. For perspective, the Office of Dietary Supplements says you need only about 1,100 to 1,600 milligrams of omega-3s per day.
A small study found that consuming flaxseed oil soothed constipation, a common symptom of menstruation. However, more research is needed to show how flaxseed oil can improve digestive health.
Quinoa is rich in nutrients such as iron, protein, and magnesium. It’s also gluten-free, so it’s a great food for those with celiac disease. Plus, it has a low glycemic index, which means you’re likely to feel full and have energy for a long time after eating it.
12. Lentils and beans
Lentils and beans are rich in protein, so they’re good meat replacements for vegans and vegetarians. They’re also rich in iron, which makes them great additions to your diet if your iron levels are low.
Many people get yeast infections during or after their period. If you tend to get yeast infections, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt can nourish the “good” bacteria in your vagina and may help you fight the infections.
Yogurt is also rich in magnesium and other essential nutrients, like calcium.
A popular source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, tofu is made from soybeans. It’s rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium.
15. Peppermint tea
A 2016 study suggests that peppermint tea can soothe the symptoms of PMS. Specifically, it can relieve menstrual cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
Yogurt isn’t the only probiotic-rich food with yeast-fighting benefits. If you’re avoiding dairy, kombucha tea is a great fermented food that’s more widely available than ever before. Try to avoid kombucha drinks that contain too much sugar.
1. Pro tip: Instead of pretending like it isn’t happening, track it.
Living in denial is a cool tactic when it comes to stuff that’s already out of your control — like that zit screaming “heyyy!” on your forehead. But keeping tabs on your period with free apps like Period Tracker Lite means you’ll never be stuck without a tampon in your purse when you need it — and you might feel better knowing exactly when it’s coming. “When you’re cranky or tired or bloated, sometimes it just helps to know you’re not crazy — it’s your period causing those feelings,” says Jennifer Ashton, M.D., an ob-gyn and the author of The Body Scoop for Girls. Plus, docs say there’s proof that taking OTC meds up to 48 hours in advance (yup, that far ahead of time) will make your cramps significantly less painful throughout.
2. Your instinct is to curl up in a ball and binge-watch PLL for an entire Sunday, but you should actually get off your butt. At least a little.
Listen, no one is saying you need to run a 5k when your period makes you feel like someone has drained the energy out of you with a syringe. But there’s legit scientific evidence that exercising to the point where you’re a little bit winded (think: walking at a catch-up-with-your-bae-in-the-hallway pace) will make you feel unbelievably better. “Exercise triggers your brain to release endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain reliever,” explains Melisa Holmes, M.D., an ob-gyn and founder of Girlogy.com. Another sneaky trick if your cramps are making you feel like 💀: Work out one hour after taking your meds, says Dr. Ashton — that’s when the meds will completely kick in and you’ll hit your sweet spot for pain relief.
3. Instead of eating ALL the chocolate and French fries, reach for healthier carbs.
You’d steamroll anything that stood between you and a plate of cheese fries right about now, yes? The struggle is real, and here’s why: During the week before your period, your brain experiences a dip in serotonin, the chemical that makes you feel happy. Your body’s natural response is to crave foods that trigger instant happiness — aka high-fat, high-sugar, high-carb EVERYTHING. The problem? That boost is very, very temporary…and the comedown is even worse. “It’s OK to indulge a little, but what will actually satisfy those cravings best is whole grains or complex carbs,” says Dr. Ashton. (Brillz ideas: Choose baked sweet potato fries over the regular kind, or spread some Nutella on a slice of whole-grain bread.)
4. Resist the temptation to try a crazy miracle period drug.
Avoid super-powered PMS drugs that sound too good to be true, says Dr. Ashton. “The ‘special’ over-the-counter period medications contain a pain reliever that doesn’t even work against the root cause of cramps,” she explains. What you really need: good old over-the-counter Ibuprofen, aka Advil or Motrin. Take up to 600mg with a small snack every six hours and you’ll feel real relief.
5. Skip the Red Bull binge / caffeine IV.
Eight million tons of lead in your limbs with a brain fog that never lifts — that’s how you feel all day/everyday when you’re getting your period. But before you reach for an energy drink or a Venti Extra-Caramel Frap — vices that combine your need for caffeine with your aforementioned craving for sweetness — remember this: All that sugar will make you crash hard, plus it can counter-act caffeine’s diuretic (read: de-bloating) effect. Instead, Dr. Ashton recommends green tea or coffee with just a touch of sugar, if you must. (And have it before 4 p.m. so it doesn’t keep you up — a good night’s sleep is #1 when it comes to coping with exhaustion and crankiness.)
6. Treat yo-self — it’s a way better alternative than being all BITCH BITCH BITCH pms pms BITCH BITCH BITCH.
Real talk: You’ve got 35-ish years of periods ahead of you. That’s too much time to waste beasting out about your cycle every month. Instead, try to find a way to kinda-sorta, as-much-as-humanly-possible embrace your time of the month. “Use your period as an excuse to do something nice for yourself,” suggests Dr. Holmes. “If you say, ‘I’ll buy myself a new song every time,’ it’s easy enough — and it reduces the dread.” Amen to that.
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10 Ways to Relieve Period Cramps
Trying to achieve a healthier diet? To start, swap out less healthy fats like the saturated fats found in animal products, and choose healthier ones like unsaturated fats found in olive oil, suggests the American Heart Association (AHA). And if you’re having dairy, pick low-fat or fat-free products. Overall, try to get 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories from healthier fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils, the AHA suggests. A balanced plate is essential; examples can be found at the .
2. Pop a Safe Painkiller to Cut the Inflammation
Not everyone wants to turn to medicine to soothe period cramps, but moderate use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), such as Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen), can help, Palmieri says. Menstrual cramps occur because of local release of substances called prostaglandins, he explains, and NSAIDs lower prostaglandin production and decrease overall inflammation and pain.
Check first with your doctor to be sure NSAIDs are a good choice for you, especially if you have a history of bleeding or kidney issues. And read the label for dosing instructions to be sure you don’t accidentally take too many.
3. Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping
Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps, says Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the San Francisco Bay area.
Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, say experts, but teas have been used traditionally and can help. Because some of the herbs may act as estrogens, ask your doctor first before using one, especially if you have a history of a hormone-related cancer or take blood-thinning drugs.
One example of an herbal tea that people use for menstrual discomfort is cramp bark, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Boil 2 teaspoons of the bark in a cup of water, simmer for about 15 minutes, and drink it three times a day. Be sure to clear this remedy with your doctor first, especially if you’re on diuretics for blood pressure or on lithium.
Tea with peppermint oil may also help, Angelone says. She advises her patients with cramps to start sipping the whichever tea gives them relief a week or so before they expect their period. Ask your doctor if that might work for you.
4. Try Fish Oil and Vitamin B1 for Natural Relief
Another natural route to period cramp relief is taking fish oil supplements, vitamin B1, or both, according to research published in September 2014 in the Global Journal of Health Science. Scientists assigned 240 teens with menstrual cramps and other pain to take B1 and fish oil, B1 alone, fish oil alone, or a placebo. The teens took 100 milligrams (mg) per day of B1 and 500 mg daily of fish oil supplements.
When the teens reported their pain, those taking either the fish oil, B1, or both had significantly less pain than the placebo group. The pain also didn’t last as long if they took fish oil or B1.
5. Acupuncture May Help by Relaxing the Nervous System
Acupuncture can help relieve cramps, says Jeannie Bianchi, a licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco. “We’re relaxing the nervous system,” she says, which causes more robust blood flow to the internal organs. Acupuncture is also thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
In a January 2011 Cochrane review, experts looked at six studies that observed the effects of acupuncture on period cramps. They compared acupuncture with no treatment or conventional treatment (such as anti-inflammatory drugs) on 673 women. In another four studies, they compared the effects of acupuncture versus no treatment or conventional treatment in 271 women.
Overall, they found that both acupuncture and acupressure could reduce pain, but concluded that more evaluation was needed.
6. Massage With Essential Oils for Pain Relief
Massage with certain aromatic essential oils (such as lavender essential oil, clary sage essential oil, or marjoram essential oil) can also relieve menstrual cramp pain, according to a study published in May 2012 in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research. Investigators assigned 48 women with menstrual cramps and other symptoms to massage either essential oils or a synthetic fragrance on their lower abdomen. The women used a mixture of diluted essential oils from the end of one period to the beginning of the next. Lavender, clary sage, and marjoram were used in a 2-1-1 ratio, and the essential oils were diluted to a 3 percent concentration overall in an unscented cream (a solution created, for example, by adding 3 milliliters (ml) of essential oils to 97 ml of an unscented cream).
Women in both groups reported less pain, but the essential oils group did better. Based on the women’s reports, researchers found that the duration of pain was reduced from 2.4 to 1.8 days after self-massaging with essential oils.
Just be sure you’re using essential oils safely. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy suggests diluting pure essential oils in an unscented cream or lotion or other type of oil before using directly on skin to avoid irritation and other problems.
7. Curl Up With a Heating Pad to Ease Period Cramps
” a heating pad has been studied, and it seems to work,” says Palmieri. Indeed, one small study published in 2001 in Evidence-Based Nursing found that topically applied heat was just as effective as ibuprofen for period cramps. Examples of over-the-counter medicines containing ibuprofen include Advil and Motrin.
The researchers assigned 84 women who had cramps to one of four groups. One used a combination of a heated patch and ibuprofen (200 mg every 6 hours). A second group used an unheated (placebo) patch and ibuprofen. A third group used a heated patch and a placebo pill. A fourth group, the control, was given an unheated patch and a placebo pill.
Over the two study days, the women using heat plus ibuprofen, heat alone, and ibuprofen alone reported greater pain relief than those on the placebo. Women using heat with ibuprofen did not report differences in pain relief compared with those using ibuprofen alone. But with heat, they experienced faster improvement in pain relief: about 90 minutes after starting, compared with nearly three hours for those taking medicine alone. More women who used both heat and ibuprofen reported complete pain relief compared with those in the control group, the researchers found.
A review of studies published in March 2014 in the Journal of Physiotherapy found that heat reduced women’s period pain significantly.
8. Boost Those Feel-Good Endorphins With Exercise (or Orgasms)
In addition to their pain-relieving effect, endorphins can also boost your mood. Having an orgasm releases endorphins, Palmieri says. Working out does as well. Perhaps the last thing you want to even think about while in the midst of cramps is exercise, but activity can boost endorphins and help chase away pain.
A report published in March 2015 in the Journal of Family Reproductive Health indicates that both aerobic exercise and stretching helped soothe period cramps for 105 students in the study.
9. Up the Magnesium in Your Diet to Help Nerve and Muscle Function
Dietary magnesium seems to help ease the pain of cramps, says DeJarra Sims, ND, an assistant professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University’s California campus in San Diego and the author of Your Healthiest Life Now. A Cochrane review of dietary and other remedies published in 2001 concluded that getting enough magnesium can help relieve pain.
Magnesium is found in many foods and as a supplement if you can’t get what you need from your diet. Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle functioning, among other vital tasks; researchers who evaluated the evidence on magnesium call it a promising treatment for menstrual cramps. But they cannot recommend a specific dose, because researchers have studied various doses. The recommended dietary allowance of magnesium for women of childbearing age is about 320 mg daily. An ounce of dry almonds or one half cup of boiled spinach each has about 80 mg.
Dr. Sims says the dose you may need depends on the severity of your cramps and other factors. Ask your doctor about the best magnesium intake for you.
10. Birth Control Pills May Lessen Painful Cramping, Too
The odds are that your birth control pills may help relieve painful cramps, as reported in a Cochrane review of 10 studies that was published in October 2009. Experts didn’t find any difference between low- or medium-dose estrogen contraceptives in producing pain relief for period cramps. But oral contraceptives come with side effects for some, which may include spotting, breast tenderness, nausea, and low sex drive — in addition to a higher risk of blood clots.
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A couple of months ago, a study showed that menstrual cramps can be as painful as a heart attack. What I felt when I read this was satisfaction. Finally, after years of sucking up torturous menstrual cramps, my pain was credited for. Finally some valid source of evidence proving I was not just being hysterical or exaggerating about “period pain”.
Are severe menstrual cramps normal?
Menstrual cramps are normal and a common sympton especially the days before or the first days of your menstrual cycle. But the moment they interfere with your everyday life, meaning you can’t participate in social activities or go to work, you should talk to your doctor about it.
How to relieve menstrual cramps naturally
I did a lot of googling on menstrual cramps and how to best treat them naturally. So far, my solution was ibuprofen, not very natural.
I wanted to look for solutions that support my body and hopefully, reduce the cramps and hence, my ibuprofen intake.
In a perfect world, the first day of my period would consist of loads of me-time, lots of sleep, slow PMS-Yoga, healthy foods and drinking litres of herbal tea and access to all the snacks I fancy. That’s my personal period-utopia but it is not always compatible with work and, well, life.
Running errands and keeping up the speed of my normal every day to day chores while having painful menstrual cramps is, simply put, hell. I know that better than anybody so I went looking for a solution that is more than just painkillers.
3 Important Things To Keep In Mind:
The key when you want to relieve menstrual cramps naturally lies in the following:
-) Accept them, don’t hate your body for them and work towards relieving pain in the most gentle way. Like I said, I’m not a big fan of just taking a bunch of painkillers and going on with your day full power as if nothing were going on in uterus town. It’s basically shedding its inner tissue – that is not nothing and takes up lots of energy.
-) If you feel like cancelling appointments, do it. Give your body the rest it needs, as best as you can. You’re not a machine that has to function to everyone’s satisfaction 24/7 every day of the month. If you think of what your body is going through when it prepares for menstruation or during menstruation, grant it the rest it deserves.
-) Feed your body and soul with good things. A huge game-changer for me was switching from tampons to a Ruby Cup. My cramps decreased. And not having to change tampons every couple of hours felt like giving my vagina a soul vacation. I felt like through using my menstrual cup, I got more in touch with my body. I started listening to it, eating healthy and using more natural products to enhance my well-being.
Doing these things was the key to make peace with my period and I swear, that change of mindset made all the difference.
Here is my list of Top 4 products to relieve menstrual cramps naturally.
1. Tea To Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Drinking tea to relieve menstrual cramps is a no-brainer. It will keep you hydrated and when you use the right herbs (raspberry leaf tea for instance), it will ease the pain and loosen up cramps. But which tea actually helps against menstrual pain?
My all-time favourite is fresh ginger tea – no doubt. But it’s nice to vary between hot beverages especially during a long day at the office. The Femna Care Teas take that to a whole new level.
To enhance effectiveness it’s important to start the tea treatment already some time before you have your period. Here are two of the Femna Teas that help relieve menstrual cramps naturally:
Harmonizing tea that will help your body keep its hormones in balance, especially when you feel tense and moody.
How to use: Drink daily for 7 days before period starts.
The herbs chosen for this tea have traditionally shown to de-cramp, warm and relax the body. It includes, amongst others: ginger, raspberry leaves, lemon verbena, peppermint.
How to use: Take 1-3 cups daily, 2 weeks before menstruation. Continue 2 days into menstruation
2. Heat Treatment
Staying warm and toasty during my period is the most important thing to keep my mood from dropping to below zero and loosening up cramps. A hot water bottle is nice, but a cherry stone pillow is nicer. The stones in the cherry stone pillow act like a massage on the stomach, increasing blood flow hence decreasing cramps.
The Ruby Cherry Stone Pillows has just the right size to put it on your lower abdomen without being too heavy and pressuring your bladder (very important if you drink all that tea 😉 ).
3. Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps
I’m a huge fan of the PMS Wonder Roll-On and Loosen Up Roll-On, also made by Femna. The oils in the PMS Roll-On have loads of comforting benefits, especially when everything seems a little overwhelming right before your period starts.
How to use them: I just dab a little on my wrist at work. The smell is relaxing and freshens up my mind when I’m battling fatigue. The PMS Roll-On contains Ylang Ylang which eases stress, Vetiver which relieves sleeplessness (yes please!), the Lemon boosts circulation and Orange eases water retention.
A nice little trick for at home is also to add a few drops of an essential oil that relaxes you onto the warm cherry stone pillow. It will slowly spread around you, calming and relaxing like the cloud of comfiness you need.
4. Can Marijuana help with menstrual cramps?
I’m sure you’ve heard about marijuana tampons, right? They’ve made a couple of headlines last year. Personally, ever since I switched to a Ruby Cup, nothing will ever make me use a tampon again – no matter what goodies might be in there.
Also, the idea of a marijuana tampon makes me wrinkle my forehead in scepticism, especially since there have been no studies done yet and does it mean it’s the same dose for every person!?
So, everybody who also doesn’t quite trust the marijuana tampon might find the right medical marijuana product provided by our favourite Sister Whoopie Goldberg! She recently started her own medical marijuana product line that is said to work wonders in relieving menstrual cramps naturally.
I have not tried any of her products (yet), but I do see how they can potentially relieve menstrual cramps. Some studies that investigated pain treatment with marijuana show that the Cannabinoids seem to significantly block pain.
The biggest medical benefit of using cannabis for painkillers is if opiate painkillers render ineffective (such as with cancer patients) and have been, therefore, used to treat their pain mostly successfully.
So why not use them for menstrual cramps if you want to avoid taking painkillers all the time? I’d give it a shot.
When using marijuana to treat menstrual cramps, Whoopie Goldberg underlines that it’s not about getting high: “For me, I feel like if you don’t want to get high high, this is a product specifically just to get rid of discomfort” in an Interview done by Vanity Fair.
And her products do sound alluring. For instance, her product “Savor”, which is medical cannabis coupled with raw, organic cacao is said to help with inflammation, sleep, pain, irritability, joint pain, and menstrual cramps, ”all while providing for a truly health beneficial experience.” Can we have some of that, please? 🙂
What works best for you?
Do you have any special products you can’t do without when trying to relieve menstrual cramps with natural products? We’d love to hear about them!
Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a medical or health professional. The purpose of this blog is informative and to share an experience – not to give health or medical advice. You should always do your own research when it comes to your health.
Natural Remedies to Reduce Period Pain
Want to know how to reduce period pain naturally? Take a look at our recommendations.
Women are blessed and cursed with periods every month. Regular periods are a sign of good health, but periods come hand-in-hand with a variety of uncomfortable side effects: skin breakouts, cravings, hormonal imbalances, bloating and last but not least, dysmenorrhea aka period cramps.
90% of younger women experience dysmenorrhea at some point, with cramps ranging from mild to severe. Some period cramps can be so crippling that it becomes impossible to do daily tasks. In fact, more than half of the women who took part in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2016 said that their period interferes with their job. On top of that, only 27% of them felt comfortable enough to tell their boss about the problem.
We all know that there is still a taboo around periods – from hiding your tampons and rushing to the bathroom, to sitting at your desk and suffering in silence dreaming of 5 o’clock when you can rush home to bed and curl up with your hot water bottle. But until then we rely on painkillers, and a couple of painkillers throughout one week of each month of the year doesn’t sound like much until you consider that the average woman spends 2,280 days on her period throughout her lifetime. That’s an awful lot of painkillers!
So, if you like me suffer from period cramps but don’t want to overdo it with painkillers and would prefer to have a healthy, happy and less painful period naturally, then try the following natural remedies: