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I’m sure the majority of women on this planet can agree on one thing: cramps suck! Let’s be honest… it’s hard to not be angry with mother nature when those cramps hit. That time of the month when you feel low on energy, cranky, have multiple breakouts, and need to devour anything covered in chocolate – ugh!
But, all is not lost, my friend! It can be the little things that help us through this time. To make that time of the month a bit more tolerable, I found some easy ways to help you fight those lady pains so you can more easily survive that time of the month. The great news is, you don’t need to invest a lot of time or money, and you can do these simple tips in the comfort of your own home. More importantly, you don’t have to resort to meds to find relief from the pain. You can feel comforted knowing there are ways to stop period pain naturally.
Here are my top 4 simple tips for surviving cramps.
The Healing Power of Heat
It’s not just an old wives’ tale. Applying heat on your lower abdomen has been shown to help relax muscle contractions that cause period pain. Heat can also boost circulation within the body, which may help reduce pain.
One way to do this is by applying heat at the ideal temperature of 40°C (104°F) to the areas where you feel discomfort. This can get the blood moving and minimize cramping. You can place a hot water bottle or a heating pad to the spot just below your belly button and feel the comforting warmth soothe your pain. Or you can pour yourself a nice cup of tea. Sipping on hot tea can relax not just your body but also your mind and soul. Nothing a cup of tea can’t fix!
Another way you can apply heat is to take a bath or shower. It’s also an excellent way for you to decompress and take a few moments to yourself. Fill a tub with warm water then toss in bath salts or your favorite essential oil and relax. Lavender and ginger oils are good ones to help you destress. So, turn on your favorite relaxing music, grab your favorite book, make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy!
Massage Where It Hurts
Certain essential oils may help ease period cramps when massaged onto your tummy. They may also be effective at reducing discomfort and have the ability to increase blood flow. Here are a few oils to try.
- Lavender to destress the mind and body
- Cinnamon to reduce inflammation
- Rose to reduce inflammation and ease cramping
- Chamomile to relax muscles and boost your mood
Excited to try? You can find these oils easily online or at your local health food store. Alternatively, you can DIY it and make your own natural essential oils using flowers like lavender or garden herbs such as thyme and peppermint. Cut or chop them into fine pieces to release their lovely scent before adding them to the oil.
When you’re experiencing cramps, spending just a few minutes massaging your stomach can boost circulation in the body and reduce pain naturally. Here are 3 massage techniques to help you survive those days to make this an easy and achievable approach to relieve menstrual pain.
- Rest the tips of your fingers gently on your lower abdomen. Slowly move them in a circular motion for 5 minutes.
- Apply the palms of your hands to both sides of the navel. Then rub up and down over the lower abdomen. Do this for a minute or two.
- Place your hands on your back just under the ribs, applying pressure as you move your hands down towards your tailbone. Repeat 20 – 30 times.
Note: Essential oils should not be swallowed and typically diluted with a carrier oil before applying directly to the skin.
Step or Stretch It Out
You’re probably not in the mood to exercise but taking some time to move your body is one of the best things you can do at that time of the month. That’s because studies show that low- to medium-intensity aerobic exercises can actually help reduce pain caused by cramps. And research shows that women who exercise during their period have reduced cramps compared to women who take painkillers.
Exercise has been shown to raise the level of endorphins in your body. This can dull the pain, improve your mood, and accelerate prostaglandin burning. Light exercise such as walking, cycling, and stretching are great ways to alleviate your aches, pains, mood, and cravings.
Yoga is another exercise that can help you find relief. One of the most effective poses for menstrual pain is the Knees-to-Chest pose. This posture relaxes abdominal muscles and lower back, relieving tension and reducing pain. Knees-to-Chest pose increases circulation to the abdomen and aids the internal organs. For some, it can relax the mind and reduce anxiety.
Many have found yoga helpful for relaxing and stretching out tight muscles in the stomach and uterus that cause sharp cramps. It’s a gentle, loving practice that can support you, whether you’re feeling physical pain, discomfort, or just need a little TLC.
Regular yoga practice can help body posture and strengthen core muscles and naturally reduce pain. During yoga, mindful breathwork can increase relaxation and lead to better blood circulation, reducing cramping. Breathing also transports oxygen and nutrients to help the skin, organs, and brain.
Tip: When in Knee-to-Chest pose, rock from side to side and front to back to give yourself a back massage
It’s a good idea to avoid certain foods that can cause water retention, bloating, and discomfort during this time. Some types of foods to stay away from when you have cramps include salty food, alcohol, fatty foods, and yes….caffeine!
If you rely on a daily morning dose to get yourself going, you may be thinking, “heck no!” But it may change your mind knowing caffeine worsens the symptoms of PMS, including bloating, mood swings, aches, and cramps. It may even raise levels of anxiety and make your menstrual cycle irregular.
During your period, instead of your usual cup of joe, enjoy a cup of herbal tea or, even better, hot water with lemon. Herbal tea, such as chamomile and peppermint, has been proven to have healing properties. They contain glycine, which relieves muscle spasms, thus relaxing the uterus. Peppermint also has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, the effect of tea is cumulative and for some it can last for up to 2 weeks.
Listen to Your Body
Your body knows best. We’re all different, and, unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment against cramps. It’s always important to listen to your body! So if you’re feeling low energy and tired, or don’t feel like exercising, don’t. If you feel like killing someone for a cup of coffee, drink it. If you need a rest, cancel your meetings.
Trust your body and instincts. After all, they’ve been saving us for centuries.
Do you have your own period pain-relieving tips? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments. Your suggestions may help other women suffering from period pain!
Loving Life–The Reboot!
This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.