Also known as dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramps are cramping or throbbing pains that affect the lower abdomen. Most women experience menstrual cramps during or before their menstrual periods. While menstrual cramps do not lead to any medical complications, they may interfere with your work, social activities, and school.

Below are the best ways to relieve menstrual cramps.

How to relieve menstrual cramps fast

 

  1. Gentle Yoga Poses

Some yoga poses can help relieve menstrual pain and reduce emotional symptoms associated with them. A recent study showed that a group of undergraduate students who practiced yoga for around 60 minutes per week for 12 weeks felt less period pain and menstrual distress compared to those who did not try it. (1)

When choosing yoga poses, think about the body parts that experience pain. They include the pelvis, belly, lower back, and hips. The best yoga poses to try include staff pose, adopted child’s pose, bridge pose, and bound angel pose.

2. Sip Some Herbal Teas

Perhaps, you enjoy a cup of tea every day alone, with your family, or with a group of friends. A cup of tea can strike a conversation and help you get closer to a person. But guess what? Some teas may help you relieve abdominal discomfort and cramps during menstruation. Herbal teas have anti-inflammatory properties that will help soothe and ease period cramps. Glycine, which exists in chamomile tea, reduces muscle spasms and relaxes the nerves, relieving pain.

Some other teas to try include ginger tea, peppermint tea, and green tea.

 

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3. Massage with Essential Oils

People have been using essential oils to treat various conditions such as heartburn and headaches for many years. These potent plants’ oils started gaining popularity recently because more people are opting for nontraditional treatments. Essential oils give off a pleasant smell for aromatherapy, but you can also use them as massage oil after diluting one or two drops in vegetable oil. It will help reduce pain and discomfort associated with periods.

Avoid swallowing essential oils because they can be toxic. The best essential oils to try for period pains include lavender, cinnamon, and peppermint oil. An oil blend, such as one consisting of cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender, may also help.

4. Heating Pads

Women have used heating pads to relieve menstrual pain for many centuries. The pads increase blood circulation and therefore relax the cramped muscles. One theory on why heating pads effectively relieve notorious cramps suggests that they relax the myometrium or the middle layer of the uterine wall, which houses the smooth muscles. The layer also contracts to cause pain.

The market offers many heating pads, such as electric, portable, cordless, and microwavable heating pads. To benefit from heating pads, place them on the place you experience more pain. If your lower abdominal part is very sensitive to heat, place the heating pads on the lower back.

5. Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are among the oldest healing treatments from the east, and they produce the desired effects by triggering some points on the skin. The therapies are effective for various medical conditions, such as period cramps. The acupuncturist will use needles to reduce the pain. Still, they will show you the location of the trigger points on your skin and teach you how to use pressure from your hands to reduce the pain.

Application of pressure to the trigger points on your abdomen, lower back, feet, and the fleshy parts between your index finger and thumb will reduce the pain. One big benefit of acupuncture and acupressure is that they are drug-free, and you can use them at any time, regardless of where you are. An acupuncture and acupressure practitioner will provide you with diagrams to help you use the techniques effectively.

 

Related post:8 Common Menstrual Hygiene Mistakes Women Make

 

6. Diet Changes

Some foods are known to worsen the uncomfortable symptoms of menstruation, but others are known to lessen them. That means adding some foods to your diet and eliminating others could help reduce the pain. The foods to include in your diet are fruits, leafy green vegetables, chicken, fish, dark chocolate, nuts, lentils and beans, yogurt, and tofu. Some of the things to avoid are alcohol, salt, sugar, spicy foods, red meat, coffee, and the foods you do not tolerate well.

7. Increase Water Intake

Water is the first drink you should drink to ease menstrual cramps. Research shows that dehydration during periods may worsen cramps and cause discomfort. Bloated belly and hormonal fluctuations are among the common symptoms during periods. Further, the body retains more water as the progesterone and estrogen levels recede. That may affect your digestive system and cause gas, constipation, and bloating.

Drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day during the period will help fight bloating. flavor your water by adding some lemon or mint to make the water palatable and remember to reduce your salt intake. Salt increases bloating and fluid retention in the body. Also, avoid alcohol because it promotes dehydration. Some women experience vomiting or diarrhea along with menstrual cramps, and replacing the lost fluid is important. Here is a list of water-rich foods that can also help you stay hydrated.

8. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep relaxes the body and mind. Research suggests that menstrual problems increase in women when they have poor sleep quality. So it is important to sleep well during your periods. However, it is not that simple to sleep when you are dealing with period cramps.

But did you know that some sleep positions could relieve period pain? That is the reality. One of the sleep positions to try is the fetal sleeping position. This sleep position requires you to curl your body more like that of a fetus in the womb. That will relax the muscles surrounding your abdominal area and offer the needed relief. It can also reduce leakage in the event of a heavy flow.

Alternatively, you can lie on your back and place a pillow under the knees. Remember to keep your legs straight and not too low or too high because that can affect the flow of blood. This position will relax your body muscles and ease the period of pain.

9. Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), will relieve the cramps. Start taking them at least one day before your period at regular doses and stop after the pain goes.

It is always good you keep some pain relievers at home, in your car, or at work so that you can always have them on hand when you need them. People with health issues should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because they can worsen the bleeding or trigger gastrointestinal ulcers. Always seek your healthcare provider’s advice before starting a new medication.

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10. See Your Doctor

If your periods get heavier and cramps get worse within a period of 2 to 3 months, over-the-counter medications do not relieve the pain or you experience pain after the menstruation period has elapsed, then you should visit your doctor.

Some conditions like uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical stenosis, and endometriosis are known to cause menstrual cramps and, therefore, treating them may help reduce the pain.

Your doctor may prescribe some oral birth control that contains hormones to reduce the severity of the cramps. Surgery may also be an option if the menstrual cramps result from disorders like fibroids and endometriosis.

Final Thoughts

Over 50 percent of menstruating women experience cramps, but 15 percent of them may experience pain that is hard to manage. If you are one of them, the above easy ways to relieve period cramps will be helpful. Drink water, make diet changes, and practice good sleep hygiene. You might need to visit your doctor if the condition does not improve.

References

  1. Effects of a Yoga Program on Menstrual Cramps and Menstrual Distress in Undergraduate Students with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial – PubMed (nih.gov)
  2. Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial – PubMed (nih.gov)
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/what-to-eat-during-period
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/symptoms-causes/syc-20374938

 

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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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