Period pain is common, but that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer for too long. Here are a bunch of remedies for getting rid of period pain, from light cramps at school to more intense ones that might have you staying home. We should point out: severe period pain is not normal and please consult your doctor if the discomfort is interrupting your daily activities. Scroll to the bottom for answers on FAQs about period cramps.
Natural and home remedies for period pain: Relief without medicine
If you aren’t ready to reach for the medicine cabinet, there are loads of natural ways that you can treat menstrual cramps. From what you eat to how you move — take note of these simple and holistic ways to take care of your body when you’re on your period.
Foods for period cramps
A well-balanced diet can help protect your body and reduce painful cramps. Eating the right vitamins and minerals (like Vitamin D & omega oils) will help boost your body’s natural defences and combat any painful period cramping. There are plenty of foods out there that can help fight off your period cramps. Now, we know you’re hungry (and hangry) thanks to PMS. Here are a few foods that can help alleviate your cramps and get rid of period pain.
This ancient root is known for lessening inflammation and pain, making it the perfect fighter against your toughest cramps. Ginger is also known to relieve nausea, a common side effect to cramps. The best part? It’s versatile! Ginger can be added to almost any meal and can be enjoyed in tea, soup, or on its own.
This might seem fishy, but an oily fish like salmon is packed with omega-3, a known anti-inflammatory fat. Not only will it lessen the pain of your cramps, but omega-3s are also known to reduce anxiety and depression, can fight off heart disease and increase your eye health! No brainer, right?
Steak or Lentils
You can lose anywhere from around four tablespoons to a cup of blood on your period, which means you’re also losing a ton of iron. Loss of iron can not only make you extra sleepy, but can also make your period cramps worse. Load up on foods high in iron like steak to ward off these symptoms. Not a meat eater? Not a problem– look legumes like lentils or dark leafy greens like spinach or kale to replenish those iron levels.
Chocolate is the #1 food craved by people on their period. If you’re one of those people, we’re here to tell you to go for it! Follow your heart, satisfy your cravings and eat all the chocolate you want – doctor’s orders. Excess sugar is bad for your cramps, which is why dark chocolate is the best option and can help with period pain relief. It’ll keep your sweet tooth happy while relaxing your muscles and giving you a much-needed boost of magnesium!
The high levels of potassium in bananas make them super good for you, and a lack of potassium can actually lead to period cramps. If you’re not feeling the whole fruit, consider making a banana smoothie, or try other potassium-rich foods like white beans, kale, and apricots.
Heat will help ease your period pain
Is it getting hot in here, or is your stomach just on fire? Heat soothes period cramps and takes your mind off things.
Take a Bath
Take a much-needed break from your pad, tampon, or menstrual cup and have a nice soak in the bathtub. Not only is it relaxing, but the warm water will relax your muscles and help soothe your cramps. For added ambiance and ultimate relaxation, try adding some Epsom salts, a bath bomb, and your favourite crystal.
Use a Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle
Don’t have a bathtub or just not a fan? We got you– try a heating pad! There’s a whole world of heating pads out there– ones you can pop in the microwave or fill with hot water and bring wherever you go! Whether you’re watching television, in the car, sitting at your desk or lying in bed, you can hold a heating pad against your stomach to get rid of those pesky and painful period cramps. You could also go the old-fashioned route and try a hot-water bottle.
Period pain relief through movement and exercise
Get moving! Whether it’s a walk around the block, an HIIT workout, or pilates, exercise can help. Exercise increases blood circulation, which can reduce cramps. Exercise is also known for lowering stress and– wouldn’t you have it– your stress levels are directly related to the severity of your cramps.
Not feeling up for it? Even a simple stretch can help alleviate your period pain: Here are two simple moves you can try to help tackle period pain:
- Lie down and raise your feet either straight up or against a wall — being in a relaxed position will help ease your pain naturally.
- Try the sphinx pose (pics & tutorial here) to help relieve tension and aches.
If you want help feeling more comfortable while exercising during your period, give our moisture-wicking period panties a try!
What herbal supplements to take for period pain
Homeopathy is another way to tackle period pain, though there are no guarantees that it will work for you. Every body is different, but here are some well-known holistic methods for tackling period pain. Consider trying these if you’re interested in the natural route.
Chamomile tea and molasses have both been recommended for their restorative properties when you’re on your period. For meat-eaters and pescatarians, you can also increase your omega-3 oil intake by taking fish oil capsules.
Acupuncture has worked for some people who suffer from chronic period pain, but you may want to sit this one out if you don’t like needles.
Massage + essential oils ease sore stomachs and backs
Massage, whether you do it for yourself or get someone else to help, is a great way to relieve period cramps and muscle tension in your body. Combine a gentle tummy massage with some essential oils like lavender for super pain relief and relaxation. Focus on your lower back and abdomen, and keep the movements light and gentle.
Taking pain pills for period cramps
If you need to get rid of period cramps fast or the pain just hurts too much, it may be time to reach for some over-the-counter medication. They’re the easiest, most universal relief you can find to ease your period pain. Here are some pain killers you can consider.
This one may seem obvious but pain killers, uh, reduce pain. There are pain relievers such as Advil and Tylenol, but also pain relievers targeted towards period symptoms like Midol. It’s best to take these pills right at the beginning of your period, before the cramps get too bad, to ensure
Birth control isn’t only meant to ward off unwanted pregnancy– it has plenty of other benefits. Not only can birth control regulate your period so you always know when it’s coming, it can also help reduce your cramps while you’re on it.
Avoid these to help with future period pain
Your period cramps may never fully go away or stop, but there are ways that you can protect yourself against them. It’s all about having a healthy, balanced lifestyle and keeping yourself active.
- Fatty foods
- Dairy (in large quantities it has been shown to make things worse for some people)
- Too much stress
Seeing your doctor for severe cramps
If all else fails – talk to your doctor. Are you cramps lasting all day, or making you vomit? Do your cramps feel more like contractions? Is your period pain so bad and unmanageable that you feel you have to stay home from school or work? If your cramps don’t feel normal or are worse than usual, you may need to seek medical help. Your doctor can check for underlying causes that may be making your cramps worse, like endometriosis. A doctor can also help find the best birth control for you, if you’re interested in going that route. If you’ve tried everything on this list and nothing worked, consider giving your doctor a call.
Period pain FAQs
What are period cramps exactly?
They tend to happen after ovulation as the egg travels down the fallopian tube, and they are caused by hormonal and biological changes in your body. Usually, they begin a few days before your period is due or in the first couple of days during your period.
What does a period cramp feel like?
A cramp can be an intense stomach pain or more of a dull ache, and it can be accompanied by back pain, pain on your right or left side, and nausea. You may also feel dizzy and get diarrhea.
Where will I feel period cramps?
Generally, you will feel period cramps around your abdomen and back, but it can also affect your legs, or cause you to have headaches.
How long do period cramps last?
Anywhere from two days to almost a week– they can start before your period and continue for the entire duration. Every body is different, so you may have cramps for more or less days than your friends, family members, or partner.
Can I have cramps and no period blood?
Yes, period cramps often happen before the onset of your actual menstrual flow.
How do period cramps start?
Twinges and a dull ache are usually the first signs, which can then get worse and become more full-blown cramps.
Are there different types of period cramps?
Every menstruating person feels cramps differently, and some people don’t have them at all. Some people start their periods with no cramps, and, as they age, pain can start to appear. Conditions like Endometriosis make period pain a lot worse.
Period cramps and pregnancy — is there a link?
Sometimes people can have cramping during the early stages of their pregnancy that feels like period cramps, but other than that, they are not related.
Do period cramps get better with age? Do they ever go away?
Birth control can help some people control cramps. While they might never go away for good, it’s possible to control and manage them with any of the tips above, medicine, diet, and/or exercise.