The Best Natural Remedies to Relieve Period Pain
What causes menstrual cramps?
During menstruation (your period), the muscular walls of the uterus contract and relax to help the uterus shed its internal lining. This results in discomfort that can range from mild to severe in some people. Factors that can make menstrual cramps worse include being underweight or overweight, stress, lack of sleep, or a poor diet. Certain medical conditions can worsen menstrual cramps, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
There is strong evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet can help alleviate period cramps. An anti-inflammatory diet minimises processed foods and added sugars, and prioritises whole foods.
What foods should you include on an anti-inflammatory diet?
Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, an abundance of healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil & avocado, fish & seafood, nuts & seeds and lean proteins.
Heat therapy is one of the most common techniques for relieving menstrual cramps. Applying warmth to your lower abdomen is an effective way of relaxing the uterine muscles and reducing pain. You can use a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or even take a warm bath to soothe period cramps. The heat increases blood flow, easing the tension in your pelvic region. A heat pad or hot water bottle can also help relieve the back pain that accompanies period pain for some women.
Magnesium is often referred to as a "calming mineral" for a reason. It can help relax the muscles and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. You can boost your magnesium intake through foods like leafy greens, cacao, nuts and seeds. Alternatively, try Naked Harvest's Moon Mylk which contains 25% of the recommended daily intake for magnesium.
Several studies published in recent years suggest that ginger may be helpful for relief of period pain. Plus, if your period comes along with nausea, bloating, and upset stomach, a cup of ginger tea can help alleviate these issues too.
Ginger tea recipe: chop a fresh ginger knob (2cm approx.) into thin slices. Pour boiling water over the ginger and let steep for 15 minutes. Optional: add honey and lemon to taste.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique in which extremely thin needles are inserted into certain points of the body. Certain acupuncture points are thought to regulate blood flow through the abdominal cavity and relax the nervous system, which can help calm muscular contractions. Although acupuncture may not be an instant fix for period pain, regular acupuncture treatments can reduce menstrual pain over time.
Although you may not feel like it at the time, some gentle movement can actually help relieve menstrual pain. Gentle exercise, such as light walking, stretching and yoga can actually help relieve menstrual pain by increasing endorphins (“feel good” chemicals).
Have you checked in with your doctor?
Period pain can point to other underlying causes such as endometriosis or other conditions. If you believe your level of pain is not normal, definitely check in with your doctor and ask for further investigation.
As always, check with your healthcare practitioner before trying any new dietary, lifestyle or supplements.