When it’s that time of the month and menstrual cramps are at their worst, sometimes there is no such thing as complete relief. There are many home remedies for menstrual cramps however that can help take the edge off your pain.
Here’s a look at a handful of recommendations to try out the next time you feel like life, as you know it, may soon be over. As bad as they are, menstrual cramps at least have one thing going for them in terms of discomfort: improvement should come even just as the hours pass and our cycle fades.
1. Water: nature’s best anti-bloating medicine
Say yes to water
While on our periods, retaining water can be a huge factor in causing abdominal discomfort. Bloating can actually even cause the stomach to cramp, which is a symptom nobody wants to deal with on top of uterine contractions.
Although it might seem counterintuitive at first glance, you should drink more water to help your body stop retaining water. Giving your body access to more water will help aid digestion, flush out your system and promote healthy functioning. Quenching your thirst will also help your body avoid experiencing additional side effects like headaches, dizziness and fatigue, which can come from dehydration.
Say no to soda, coffee & alcohol
While drinking eight glasses of filtered water every day, avoid substances that will increase your body’s likelihood of retaining water. Minimize your sodium consumption and stay away from alcohol, which can make you become dehydrated and worsen your state of water retention.
Caffeine can also contribute to dehydration problems and should be kicked to the curb. Everytime you go to reach for a can of soda, cup of coffee or bottle of beer, remind yourself that the moment of consumption isn't worth the lasting health effects.
For best results, give up the drinks entirely rather than simply when you're on your period.
2. Vitamins & minerals: the simple solution we often overlook
It seems too simple that giving your body access to the right vitamins and minerals will help ease your menstrual pain every cycle so we often ignore the correlation between eating healthful foods year round and how we feel when Aunt Flo is in town.
If we’re sticking to a nutrient-rich diet throughout the month, we’ll be in a better position to endure period-related discomfort when the time comes. Additionally, we can increase our vitamin and mineral consumption while menstruating in order to provide same-day relief.
3. Do-it-yourself herbal tea: alternative medicine at its finest
Spices like ginger and cinnamon have been used for ages as natural pain relievers in the world of alternative medicine. Making your own herbal tea can help you avoid caffeinated options and stick to the ingredients you actually want to have in your concoction.
Ginger can help treat headaches, menstrual pain and flu-like symptoms. Grate a fresh chunk and add it to boiling water. Then, let the mixture steep for ten minutes. The warm water itself can help soothe your insides as well.
Cinnamon is a known digestive aid and actually provides calcium, iron, magnesium and fiber. You can break up a cinnamon stick or simply add ground cinnamon to boiling water and let the combination steep for ten minutes. If you want, you can add a natural sweetener like a teaspoon of honey, a slice of orange or a little bit of almond milk to the homemade herbal tea.
4. Exercise: the pain remedy you may not want to talk about
Menstrual pain isn’t limited to abdominal cramping and can commonly include constipation, diarrhea, headaches, lower back pain and aching legs as well as irritability, tiredness, anxiety and depression.
Regular physical activity can help improve all of those conditions, but, admittedly, when you’re in the midst of a bad bout of cramps, going for a run may be the last thing you’re willing to do.
Making exercise a daily habit throughout the month can help encourage you to keep up the healthy routine even when you’re on your period. Even if you do skip out on a full, intense exercise session for a few days when your cramps are at their worst and nausea is knocking on your door, your body will still benefit from an overall commitment to regular exercise. A general state of health and fitness can limit the severity of symptoms like uterine cramps, fatigue and depression.
5. Heat: a topical way to forget your problems
Whether you like a heating pad, a hot water bottle, a warmed-up rice pillow or a nice sitz bath, introducing some sort of heat source can reduce pelvic pain and ease your menstrual cramps.
You may even be inclined to simply run a hand towel under hot water and then place it on your ouchy tummy. Some heat sources work better than others for particular individuals so you just need to find which method suits you best and go with that.