Dealing with dreaded cramps when it’s that time of the month is the worst!
We all know the uncomfortable throbbing and cramping pains around the abdomen, thighs and lower back that come with our monthly period. Around 80% of women experience period pain – also known as dysmenorrhea – at some stage in their lifetime. This can happen from your early teens right up to menopause. Not to mention just how emotionally debilitating PMS-ing can be. Severe pains accompanied with mood swings? It just doesn’t get any worse.
But guess what, ladies? You don’t always have to pop a pain killer. Here are a few remedies and tips to help you feel better naturally.
1. Drink More Water
Drinking more water helps get rid off bloating, which causes cramps. Try drinking at least 7 glasses of water (room temperature) a day. Adding some mint or a lemon wedge to it not only makes the water more palatable, but also encourages fluid retention. Since some women experience diarrhea during menstruation, it is essential to replace lost fluids by drinking plenty of water. Also, lay off the alcohol for a few days, since it promotes dehydration.
2. Avoid These Foods!
Your food choices can either help or hurt period cramps. We know how much you crave sugary and fatty snacks on your period, but these foods are not your friends! If you want sweets, go for healthy and anti-inflammatory sweets like cherries, blueberries and succulent fruits. The trans-fatty acids found mostly in commercially-prepared foods can lead to inflammation, which makes symptoms worse.
3. Ditch caffeine
Green teas are what you need! The nutrients in a herbal tea will give you a much needed pick me up during your period. Caffeine, in any of its forms – including coffee, soda or even energy drinks – does not help. According to several studies, chamomile teas have pain-relieving properties that help to decrease the prostaglandin production during menstruation, relieving abdominal cramps.
4. Stretch a little
Although intense exercises make the pains worse, stretching or yoga helps release endorphins into your system, which reduces the amount of pain you feel. Gentle forms of exercise are easier when you feel the period fatigue. So don’t forget to take it easy, but also don’t be afraid to break a sweat. It will help relieve the muscle tension and the stress that accompanies cramps.
5. Essential oils
Massaging your abdomen and your thighs for even 10 minutes a day does wonders! It helps relax the muscles and encourages blood flow. Go for suitable and relaxing essential oils such as clary sage, lavender and marjoram, which have additional benefits to the body. They are far more effective than creams containing synthetic fragrance that usually do not help soothe dysmenorrhea. Heat the oil for more fruitful results!
6. Sleep Hygiene
If you’re not getting enough sleep, expect your period cramps to have a greater interference with your daily activities. To keep menstruation symptoms at bay, you need to practice good sleep hygiene. If you’re experiencing insomnia, try listening to calm and soothing music or taking a long warm shower. Also, before you go to bed, refrain from using your cell phone or your laptop or any other screens for that matter, because that will NOT help you get a good night’s sleep.
7. Get some Heat
The perfect time to get a spa appointment is when you get your period. If you’re too busy for that, use a heat wrap or pack, which you can wear beneath your clothing. You can also take a warm bath or use a hot towel or hot water bottle. Heat helps relax the contracting muscles in your uterus, the primary cause of the pain. More women who use both heat and ibuprofen report complete pain relief.
8. Fish oil and Vitamin D
Another natural route to period cramp relief is taking fish oil supplements and Vitamin D. Prevention is always better than the treatment, so make sure your body has all the nutrients it needs. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help lower inflammation and pelvic pain. Your period cramps won’t last very long either. They also help with the bloating and other PMS symptoms.
Finally, make sure to visit your doctor or health care provider if your cramps seem severe or if none of the above tips have worked for you. Always remember to take care of your body!