How to Relieve Period Cramps: 7 Things You Can Do

It’s that time of the month! You are feeling the unpleasant pain hampering your everyday activities. Sometimes it can be so bad that you don’t want to get out of bed.

Only that you don’t have to worry, there are methods that can help.

Period cramps affect more than half of all childbearing age women. Some women experience much less pain or no pain at all. Even then, once in a while they might get hit with a bad one.

This article will try to answer how to relieve period cramps.

What Are Period Cramps?

Period cramps are normal. When you are on your period, your uterus squeezes and cramps up. When this happens, the layer surrounding the wall of your uterus comes off. It’s a natural process where cramping drives blood flow out of your vagina.

Some of the symptoms of period cramps are:

  • Throbbing pain: Sometimes it can be so severe that it affects your everyday activities
  • Pain in your thighs and lower back
  • Constant, dull pain
  • Aching starts a couple of days before the period. It becomes most intense during the first day and fades away over the next few days.
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness and disorientation
  • Loose stool

What Are the Causes?

Not all women have the same symptoms. Some experience all the issues, and some have none. It depends on many factors:

  • Age: Younger women are more prone to throbbing cramps
  • Early puberty (younger than 11 years old)
  • A family history of medical cramps
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Heavy bleeding

How to Relieve Period Cramps

These are some ways to get rid of period cramps:

1. Adjust Your Diet

The cause of intensive pain could be inflammation. To try and prevent this from happening, you should improve your diet. It may even improve some other body conditions. Eating low-fat food can reduce inflammation. Try to eat more:

  • Unsaturated fats (olive oil)
  • Fish
  • Nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Chicken
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Papaya, banana, prunes, avocados

If you add herbs to your diet, you may also notice an improvement. Some herbs can have high anti-inflammatory effects. Try to add some of these herbs to your nutrition:

  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Fennel seeds

2. Exercise

Exercise should be a part of your everyday routine. It makes your body healthier and regulates hormones. In this case, exercise releases endorphins. The release of this hormone may reduce pain and cramps.

Just go for a walk if the pain prevents you from doing intense physical work. Yoga is also a good choice since it doesn’t need too much movement, but it may reduce the level and duration of cramps.

The best endorphin booster is having an orgasm. So, if you’re looking for some effective exercise and a pain reliever, that is your answer.

3. Massage with Essential Oils

Lots of essential oils have anti-inflammatory traits and may act as a pain reliever. Some of the best oils to use for period cramps are lavender and clary sage oils.

You can mix a drop of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil (vegetable or nut). Apply this mixture to the area where you feel the most pain. Some feel the most intense pain in the abdomen. But, sometimes the worst pain can be in the back or your side. Massage gently in circular movements for 20 minutes.

You can use this method one to two times a day when the pain starts. Continue until it’s gone.

4. Take Some OTC Medication

Many women don’t want to use painkillers to relieve the pain. Even if sometimes they are the quickest way to solve the problem. Safe painkillers like NSAIDs are good to use if you want to soothe the inflammation right away.

Ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can help you enjoy your everyday activities.

5. Avoid Certain Products

Bloating, irritation, inflammation and water retention all affect the level of pain. Some products that we consume can cause these problems. Some of them are:

  • Salt (salty food and snacks)
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco

6. Apply Heat

Applying heat to the painful part can help relieve it. You can do this in many ways. The best is to put a heating pad on your abdomen or back, depending on where the pain is the strongest. You can buy one or make a heating pad out of a plastic bottle and hot water or a hot towel. Taking a warm bath helps too!

7. Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal birth control pills can ease menstrual pain. The studies show that women who take birth control pills have less intense menstrual pain. Most of them don’t even get their periods at all when they’re on the pill. These pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation.

Visiting a Doctor

If your cramps are intensive, there is a chance that the causes are:

  • Uterine Fibroids: Common benign growths on the uterus wall that makes it harder for blood to flow
  • Adenomyosis: The tissue on the edge of the uterus begins to grow into the muscular tissue of the wall
  • Cervical stenosis: If the opening of the cervix is too small it may make it harder for blood to flow through. This is what makes uterus contracts more and causes cramps.
  • Inflammation: Usually an STD causes inflammation of the intimate area
  • Endometriosis: Endometrium is the tissue that coats the inside of the uterus. Sometimes this tissue starts growing outside of the uterus and even on other organs.

If OTC medications don’t help and neither do the methods mentioned in this article, you should see your doctor. Also do so if severe cramps start at a later age (over 30 years of age) or are accompanied by a fever. Sometimes the pain is caused by a serious condition. You’d want to pay attention and treat it as soon as possible.

In the End: Are Period Cramps Usual?

Cramps and pain during your period are normal. You may experience worse cramps than someone else but it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. What you can’t prevent, you can try and treat.

If you pay more attention to what you eat and how do you treat your body, you may relieve yourself of pain. When the pain comes, use essential oils, painkillers, heat, and exercise to make it go away. With a greater quality of life, cramp-free periods should follow!

 

References:

http://www.ayujournal.org/article.asp?issn=0974-8520;year=2012;volume=33;issue=2;spage=311;epage=313;aulast=Omidvar
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3093183/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/symptoms-causes/syc-20374938
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/menstruation/what-can-i-do-about-cramps-and-pms

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