Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are one of the most common menstrual symptoms that women experience. Although they can be painful and debilitating, there are many natural remedies for menstrual cramps.
The pain is usually short-lived and can last anywhere from one to three days.
Why Do I Get Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps occur when the uterus contracts or tightens, which causes muscle spasms in the abdominal wall. These contractions are usually caused by prostaglandins, chemicals that make the body produce more uterine mucus.
They also cause blood vessels to dilate (open wider), allowing more blood to flow into the uterus.
Tips to Prevent Menstrual Cramps
When you get your period, you may feel like you’re going through the worst time of your life. It’s frustrating, uncomfortable, and can sometimes be downright painful.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to help prevent menstrual cramps and make them more bearable when they come on. There are also some natural remedies that could help you get through your period with less pain.
Here are some tips for relieving your menstrual cramps:
If you exercise regularly, your body will become more efficient at burning fat and carbohydrates. This means that it will produce fewer prostaglandins than usual. Exercise also helps keep your weight down, which can help reduce the number of menstrual cramps you experience.
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Eating well-balanced meals can help regulate your hormones, which may reduce the severity of your menstrual pain.
Eating healthy foods such as whole grains and vegetables is especially beneficial because they provide fiber and other nutrients that aid digestion and prevent constipation, another cause of menstrual pain.
Increase Your Magnesium
Magnesium is known as an anti-inflammatory mineral that can reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the uterus, according to Everyday Health.
Many foods contain magnesium, including nuts and seeds, so adding them into your diet may help ease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps
A number of different oils can help to relieve menstrual pain. Some oils to try for menstrual cramps include:
- Sandalwood essential oil
- Clary sage
- Cypress oil
- Clove oil
- Basil oil
Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
There are many natural remedies for menstrual cramps. Here are some of the best.
Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated during your period is important because it helps to alleviate the bloating, constipation, and nausea that can occur during your period. If you’re dehydrated, these symptoms will only get worse.
Drinking water also helps prevent headaches during your period by helping to flush out toxins from your body.
Slow, Deep Breathing
Taking deep breaths helps relax tense muscles and calm your mind so it’s easier to fall asleep at night when you feel tired after a long day in school or work and all the stress that comes with it.
Slow breathing also helps relieve pain because it lowers blood pressure and reduces stress hormones such as cortisol which are released when we’re anxious or stressed out.
Apply a Heating Pad
A heating pad helps reduce pain by warming up your abdomen area where menstrual cramps originate. If you don’t have access to a heating pad, use another warm compress such as a washcloth soaked in warm water or an electric blanket set on low heat.
Apply the compress for 20 minutes at a time until the pain subsides or you fall asleep.
Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Tea
Herbal teas that have anti-inflammatory properties such as ginger root or chamomile tea may help relieve menstrual pain. Soaking in a warm bath with lavender essential oil can also be relaxing and soothing for painful periods.
Many women have found relief from menstrual cramps by taking nutritional supplements like calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium work together to relax the muscles in your body, which can help alleviate pain caused by menstrual cramps.
You can take these supplements several times per day or just before bedtime at night if you experience more severe symptoms during sleep.
Apply a Heating Pad
A heating pad is an effective way to relieve menstrual cramps. The heat helps relax tense muscles and reduces inflammation. Use it on your lower back and abdomen, and cover the pad with a towel or terry cloth. Do not use the heating pad on your eyes, face, or breasts.
Use a Hot Bath with Epsom Salts to Relieve Painful Periods
Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate crystals that can be added to your bath water for pain relief during your period. Magnesium sulfate helps relax tense muscles and reduce inflammation in the body.