If you’re looking for ways to relieve menstrual cramps, you’ve come to the right place. Grab some tea and settle down as we give you a rundown of effective remedies to period pain.
Not all periods are created equal. While some can breeze through their monthly cycles with minimal difficulty, there are cases where the cramps get so bad that they are unable to move throughout the day.
You can, at one moment, be crying over the latest episode of that drama you were watching, then be screaming at the top of your lungs over the smallest inconvenience the next. A lot of thoughts can be swirling in our heads, but in all these situations, the same question gets asked time and time again: how do we relieve menstrual cramps?
There are many different options out there in the market; and ranging from your grandmother’s advice, your aunt’s “foolproof” natural remedies, or to medication, not all solutions work on everybody. There can be cases where the natural methods work more than medicine, or vice versa.
The best advice would be to try a bit of everything, see what works, what doesn’t, and make a list of all the things that do work. That way, you have a go-to list of things to do during that time of the month.
10 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Period pain is definitely not something any of us can control. No matter how much we want to remove the agonizing pain, we have no choice but to deal with menstrual cramps. Good news though, as there are remedies that could help you ease the pain.
We got you the list of most effective remedies to menstrual cramps. Most of the methods on the list can be done at home, while some ways require medical help. Let’s dive right in!
1 Put a hot compress on your abdominal area.
Heating up your abdominal area during cramps can help relax the muscles, effectively reducing the pain it causes.
These compresses can range from the electric one that you plug into your wall socket or the ones with the silicon balls that you can microwave. Whatever your preference works, as long as you can heat up the area for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Though this is an effective way to relieve menstrual cramps, it mostly works on mild cases. For severe cases, you may want to combine other treatments along with this remedy.
2 Go for some light stretching and exercise.
We know that movement is already constricted enough during a cramp, but when the pain isn’t that movement impairing, light stretching actually helps in relieving menstrual cramps. What you can do in this case is to lay flat on your belly, and push your body upwards in a reverse C position. This stretches your abdominal muscles and ideally helps lessen the pain.
Exercising also helps relieve menstrual cramps. While this may seem counterproductive at first, light exercise has been shown to ease period cramps, provided of course that the cramps don’t completely inhibit you from moving.
3 Drink hot tea.
Drinking tea (ginger tea and not milk tea, sweetie) is known to help relieve muscle tension. It’s also known to be a natural remedy to relieve menstrual cramps.
If you’re interested on taking ginger tea, you’ll need to boil a few pieces of ginger in a pot, then pour its contents into your glass or mug. Don’t forget to strain the ginger out! The amount of ginger depends on how strong you want the tea to be, but the general average is around 1 or 2 pieces.
Other options can also include peppermint tea, but of course, the best type of drink might be different for each person. If you want to check other options, try consulting a doctor on what might work best for you.
4 Cut down your caffeine fix!
If you’re the type that won’t be able to get through the day without at least downing 3 or 4 cups of coffee, you might want to cut down on your dosage when you’re on your period. For coffee lovers out there, this sucks but hey, you want to relieve your menstrual cramps, right?
Caffeinated food and drinks, such as sodas, energy drinks, ancd choolate, may contribute more to period pain. Now if you still want that kick without consuming caffeine, you can go for antioxidant smoothies, berries, or protein powder (Note: If you have high levels of creatinine in your body, steer away from protein powder!)
5 Get a massage.
Most times, period cramps can affect other muscle groups in other parts of the body. By massaging these areas aside from just your abdomen, it can more often than not also help relieve menstrual cramps. Foot reflexology works the same way. By massaging a related area, it could mean better blood flow into the affected part.
The most popular spot would be the lower back, as it directly supports the pelvic area where the uterus is. It’s also possible to massage the abdomen itself; a few minutes of massaging within the day can also help relieve pain.
6 Take over-the-counter medications.
When the pain may get too much, and all the natural remedies might look pretty bleak, there’s no harm in popping a safe painkiller to ease the inflammation a bit.
Medicine like ibuprofen, such as Advil, can really help relieve menstrual cramps. Other more specific medications for dysmenorrhea exist and can be bought at your local pharmacy as well, but in those cases, it’s best to consult your physician about which types of medicine are best for your body.
7 Consider taking birth control pills.
For more extreme cases where chronic pain becomes too much and nothing else seems to work, taking regular birth control medication might be a solution. The pills help regulate menstrual cycles and keep it to a minimum. Fewer days mean fewer menstrual cramps which also means less suffering.
However, taking birth control pills can cause a lot of different side effects for different people. You should talk to your doctor about it and weigh your options first before taking this route.
8 Have a healthier diet.
Another way on how to relieve menstrual cramps, in the long run, is by reducing the intake of fats, sugar, and salty foods during your period. You may be craving them during that time of the month, but it may end up causing more harm than satisfying the urge.
If the craving gets overwhelming, there are other healthier alternatives to curb the craving. For example, if you’re craving something salty, you can instead eat nuts and seeds as a substitute. Cashews are a prime example of this. If you’re craving chocolate, you can instead eat magnesium-rich foods such as avocados, peanuts, oatmeal, or pumpkin.
Changing your diet may prove difficult. However, the long term effects could mean that the cramps will hurt less in the future. It may even be a factor in getting rid of them completely.
9 Try Acupuncture!
Meant for easing nerves and relaxing muscles, acupuncture is a widely recommended solution to relieve intense menstrual cramps. It’s been around for a long time, about over 2,000 years, and has been used as a pain relief method since ancient times.
For those unfamiliar with the procedure, hair-thin needles are placed on specific points around whatever area needs to be treated. They aren’t painful, and in fact, are so thin that you don’t even feel them break the skin. A lot of women have reportedly tried acupuncture for their menstrual cramps and felt major improvement. However, studies revolving around them are inconclusive. Nevertheless, it could prove to be something that works for some more than others.
10 Get more sleep!
Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle has a big effect on menstrual health, and overall health as well. Sleeping better can help prevent the cramps from getting worse. Stress and in some cases, insomnia can contribute to getting worse menstrual cramps.
Try going to bed more consistently at a certain time. Make sure you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you can try listening to soft music or taking a hot bath or shower. Maybe you can even read a book to wind down and give your body the signals it needs to sleep. While this is recommended indefinitely to promote better health in general, to reduce period cramps, going to bed earlier and more consistently should be done in the days leading to your monthly cycle up until it ends.
You got this, sis! While there are many ways to combat menstrual cramps, it’s up to you to decide which methods work best, and which ones don’t have any effect at all. Some methods, like medication, don’t work on certain women, while to some, heating up a hot compress doesn’t work either. It’s best to try things out one at a time, but slowly, so as not to overwhelm your body.
Ultimately, however, it’s always a good idea to maintain a healthier lifestyle in general. This is to alleviate the painful cramps that plague your abdomen every month. If you’re already doing that, then maybe it’s best to consult your physician. Maybe they can advise you on how to best relieve yourself of your pesky menstrual cramps.