Over half of women who menstruate experience period pain for one to two days every months. Even though period pain can mean headaches or general discomfort, the pain is typically caused by menstrual cramps.
Menstrual cramps occur when your uterus contracts to shed the uterine lining. This can cause pain in your stomach, lower back, groin or upper thighs.
Here we talk about what might be causing your period pain and provide 10 home remedies you can try to stop it.
How to stop period cramps
Dealing with cramps every month can be as frustrating as it painful. Luckily there are a many remedies that might helps you relieve period cramps. It’s important to remember that these techniques won’t always work, especially for chronic conditions, but they can offer relief for mild to moderate period pain.
- Drink more water: Bloating can cause discomfort and make menstrual cramps worse. Drinking water can reduce bloating during your periods and alleviate some of the pain it causes. Also, drinking hot water can increase blood flow throughout your body and relax your muscles. This can lessen cramps caused by uterine contractions.
- Enjoy herbal teas: Herbal teas have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-spasmodic compounds that can reduce the muscle spasms in the uterus that cause cramping. Drinking chamomile, fennel or ginger tea is an easy, natural way to relieve menstrual cramps. Herbal teas can also have other benefits like stress relief and helping insomnia.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods: Some foods can offer natural relief for cramps and they taste great. Anti-inflammatory foods can help promote blood flow and relax your uterus. Try eating berries, tomatoes, pineapples and spices like turmeric, ginger or garlic. Leafy green vegetables, almonds, walnuts and fatty fish, like salmon can also help reduce inflammation.
- Skip the treats: While a brownie or French fries might sound delicious, foods high in sugar, trans fat and salt can cause bloating and inflammation, which makes muscle pain and cramps worse. Grab a banana or another piece of fruit to fight sugar cravings, or go for unsalted nuts, if you want something more savory.
- Reach for decaf: Caffeine causes your blood vessels to narrow. This can constrict your uterus, making cramps more painful. If you need your coffee fix, switch to decaf during your period. If you rely on caffeine to beat the afternoon slump, eat a snack high in protein or take a quick 10 minute walk to boost your energy.
- Try dietary supplements: Vitamin D can help your body absorb calcium and reduce inflammation. Other supplements, including omega-3, vitamin E and magnesium, can help reduce inflammation and might even your periods less painful.
- Apply heat: A little heat can help your muscles relax, improve blood flow and relieve tension. Try sitting with a heating pad, taking a hot shower or relaxing in a hot bath.
- Exercise: If you are in pain, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. But even gentle exercise releases endorphins that make you feel happy, reduce pain and relax your muscles. Fifteen minutes of yoga, light stretching or walking might be all you need to feel better.
- Reduce stress: Stress may make cramps worse. Use stress relief techniques like meditation, deep breathing, yoga or your own favourite way to relieve stress. Stay focussed on this space for at least a few minutes while you take slow deep breaths.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines: The hormone prostaglandin can cause muscle contractions and pain. Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen can provide fast-acting relief by reducing the amount of prostaglandins in your body. For best results only take OTC medicines when you start to feel cramps.
These are some tips to reduce your periods pain and cramps. But if you are tired of all these home remedies and still going through painful periods, a little help from a doctor might be the best way to stop dreading your periods.