Cramps affect many women before and during their period.
The pain from period cramps can be extreme and make a serious dent in daily life.
There are steps you can take to gain back control on how much pain you feel during your period.
Using a heated bag or wrap on your abdomen can help relax the muscles of your uterus. It’s these muscles that cause period cramps.
Heat can also boost circulation in your abdomen, which can reduce pain.
According to a study, wearing a heat wrap for cramps is actually more effective than taking an over-the-counter (OTC) pain relieve.
Besides being effective at easing pain and cramps, the research also showed that participants who used a heat wrap had less fatigue and mood swings.
Take an OTC pain reliever
OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin are effective treatments for period cramps.
These medications work best if they’re taken at the first sign of cramps or pain.
Be sure to take only as directed and talk to your doctor first if you have a history of heart, liver, or kidney problems, or if you have asthma, ulcers, or bleeding disorders.
Bloating can cause discomfort and make menstrual cramps worse.
Drinking water can reduce bloating during your period and alleviate some of the pain it causes.
Also, drinking hot water can help relax pain. This can lessen cramps caused by uterine contractions.
When your period is coming, keep a water bottle handy, and toss in some mint or a squeeze of lemon to encourage you to drink.
Try massage therapy
One study found that massage therapy significantly reduced menstrual pain in women with endometriosis.
Massages may reduce uterine spasms by relaxing the uterus. In order to most effectively manage period cramps, massage therapy should focus on the abdominal area.
But a full body massage that reduces your overall stress may also help to relieve menstrual cramps.
Oils that seem to be most effective at reducing period cramps include rose, lavender etc.
Stick to a low-fat, high-fiber diet: whole grains, lentils and beans, vegetables (especially leafy dark-green ones), fruits, and nuts to help ease the pain.
Nutrients such as vitamins E, B1, and B6, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids cut back on the hormone-like substances responsible for those painful cramps or help relieve muscle tension and inflammation.
Low-to-medium intensity aerobic exercise can help reduce pain caused by period cramps.
Scientists found that women who did 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week, for eight weeks, showed significant reductions in period cramps.
To fit an aerobic workout into your schedule, consider biking to work, going for a brisk walk at lunchtime, dancing to your favorite tunes, or playing a sport you enjoy.
A study suggests that, like aerobic exercise, yoga can also be helpful at reducing period cramps.
Experts found that women who participated in a 60-minute yoga class once a week for 12 weeks showed significant reductions in their period pain.
Try a class with both a physical and a relaxation component.
Research suggests this combination is most effective at reducing pain from period cramps.
Sleep might not come easily when you have severe cramps.
To make the most of your night’s rest, avoid taking your smartphone to bed.
Wind down with a calming bedtime routine in the days leading up to your period like some light instrumental music.
Stay away from Caffeine
Caffeine can make cramps worse, so steer clear of coffee before and during your period.
Make sure you’re not sneaking it in with soda, energy drinks, chocolate, or tea.
If you need a morning or midday pick-me-up, try a small smoothie packed with veggies and fruits instead.
Touching key places on your belly, back, and feet can increase blood flow and release endorphins to soothe both your body and mind for a little while.
There’s also a spot in the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger that relieves aches and pain.
See a trained, certified expert to help you find those points and explain how to stimulate them.
Treat yourself to a bath
Soaking in a warm bathtub is another way to surround your pelvic muscles with the warmth they need to relax.
You can enhance the pain-relieving power of a good soak by adding a few drops of essential oils like lavender, sage, or rose to your bathwater.
Try to relax in a warm bath for at least 15 minutes to get the most benefits from it.
Don’t have a bathtub? A warm shower can be soothing, too.
Avoid Salty Foods
It’s a good idea to avoid certain foods that can cause water retention, bloating, and discomfort
Some types of foods to stay away from when you have cramps include salty and fatty foods.
According to a study, a low-fat, vegetarian diet can help reduce period pain and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.
Talk to your doctor
For most women, cramps are normal, but sometimes they’re a sign of a more serious condition.
Birth control pill can stop period pain if cramps are caused by a hormone imbalance.
Balancing your levels of estrogen and progesterone helps thin the uterine lining so it sheds more easily.
Talk to your OB-GYN to be able to choose the type of birth control pill that works best for you.
Disclaimer: The advice provided is intended for informational purpose only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Consult with your doctor if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.