Menstrual pain is normal and natural, but that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer and accept it in silence! Here are some awesome remedies for period pain, from dealing with light cramps at school, to coping with more severe ones you might get late at night...
Natural and home remedies for period pain — without medicine
If you aren’t ready to reach for the medicine cabinet, there are loads of natural ways that you can treat menstrual cramping. From what you eat, to how you move — take note of these simple ways to take care of your body when you’re on your period.
How your diet can give you relief from menstrual cramping
A well-balanced diet can help protect your body and reduce painful cramps. Eating the right vitamins and minerals (favor Vitamin D & omega oils) will help boost your body’s natural defences and combat any painful period cramping.
Eat up! There are plenty of foods out there that can help fight off your period cramps and we know you’re hungry thanks to PMS. Here are our top foods to stop your period from cramping your style:
Ginger. This guy is known for alleviating 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. Best part? It’s versatile! Ginger can be added to almost any meal and can be enjoyed as tea, soup or on its own.
Salmon. 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. You can lose anywhere from around four tablespoons to a cup of blood on your period, which means you’re 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. If you don’t eat meat, look to dark leafy greens like spinach to replenish those iron levels.
Dark Chocolate. Chocolate is the #1 food craved by women on their period. We’re here to tell you to satisfy your craving and eat all the chocolate you want – doctor’s orders. Excess sugar is bad for your cramps, which is why dark chocolate is the better option. It will keep your sweet tooth happy while relaxing your muscles and giving you a much-needed boost of magnesium!
Banana. The high levels of potassium in bananas make them super-good for you, and a lack of potassium can actually lead to cramping. Reach for a banana smoothie, or try other potassium-rich foods like white beans, kale, and apricots.
Heat will help ease the pain
Is it getting hot in here, or is your stomach just on fire? Heat soothes period cramps and takes your mind off things.
Bath. Take a much-needed break from a pad or tampon and have a nice soak in the bathtub. Not only is it relaxing as hell, but the warm water will relax your muscles and help your cramps chill out. Add some Epsom salts to the bath for extra relief.
Heating Pad. Don’t have a bathtub or just not a fan? Get a heating pad! There are a variety of heating pads 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 – hold a heating pad against your stomach to reduce the pain of period cramps.
Period pain relief through movement and exercise
Get moving! Whether it’s a walk around the block, a HIIT workout or yoga, exercise can help. Exercise increases blood circulation, which can reduce cramps. Exercise is also known for lowering stress and your stress levels are directly related to the severity of your cramps!
Not feeling that energetic? Here are two simple moves you can try to help tackle period pain:
- Lie down and raise your feet — being in a relaxed position will help ease your pain naturally.
- Try the sphinx pose (pics & tutorial here) to help relieve tension and aches.
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. Chamomile tea and molasses have both been recommended for their restorative properties when you’re on your period. 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 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 pills for cramps — immediate relief
Don’t be afraid of these little helpers! They’re the easiest, most universal relief you can find to ease your period pain.
Ibuprofen. 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.
Birth Control. Birth control isn’t only meant to ward off pregnancy, it has plenty of benefits! Not only can birth control regulate your period so you always know when it’s coming, it can also help reduce your cramps.
How to stop period cramps at school
Cramps at school — yikes! It can be tough going to school during your period, but there are some ways to reduce pain and discomfort if period cramping strikes:
- Carry a heat pack on you.
- Dress in loose, comfortable clothing and stay warm.
- Take painkillers in the morning before you go in.
- A sports drink may help thanks to its electrolytes, or snack on some of the superfoods like dark chocolate we mentioned above.
- Do some light exercise and go for a little walk.
- Speak to someone like a teacher or school nurse if you’re struggling to concentrate.
Avoid these to help with pain
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.
Avoid these :
- Fatty foods
- Dairy (in large quantities it has been shown to make things worse for some women)
- 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? 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. So, if you’ve tried everything on this list and nothing worked? Give 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.
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 should I feel period cramps?
Generally, it’s 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.
Can I have cramps and no period blood?
Yes, 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 woman feels cramps differently, and some women don’t have them at all. Conditions like Endometriosis make period pain a lot worse.
Period cramps and pregnancy — is there a link?
Sometimes women 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 women control cramps. Whilst they might never go away for good, it’s possible to control and manage them.
Bad cramps may be accompanied by heavy bleeding (though not always). Try our leakproof boyshort on for size during your heavy flow days when you need a bit of extra support...