Sometimes, Mother Nature really cramps our style. Periods are a difficult and uncomfortable experience for many women, with some experiencing severe, even debilitating pain during their menstrual cycle.
The good news is that there are several ways you can relieve period pain and make your monthly visits a little more bearable. In this blog post, we'll go over the most effective methods for relieving period pain so that you can start making that time of the month less of a hassle.
Why Do Periods Cause Pain?
Period pain is caused by the presence of chemicals called prostaglandins in the uterus, which are released when the lining of the uterus starts to break down and shed. These chemicals cause your body to flex certain muscles and tissues in the abdomen, leading to decreased blood flow to those areas and causing cramps and pain that can be quite severe at times.
In addition to the only flex we could do without, period pains may also result from hormonal changes associated with menstruation such as a decrease in serotonin levels or an increase in inflammation-causing cytokines. The severity of period pains can either increase or decrease throughout a woman's lifetime, but most women experience period pain at some point in their life.
Tips for Minimizing Period Pain
1. Change Your Diet
Making dietary changes to reduce the intensity of period pain is a great step towards finding relief.
- Eating enough fiber, such as whole grains and fruits, can help regulate blood sugar levels which in turn helps control hormone levels that can contribute to painful menstrual cramps. Additionally,
- Avoiding processed foods and refined sugars can also help minimize discomfort during your cycle.
- Adding more calcium-rich food sources like dairy products and leafy greens has also been shown to decrease muscle contractions during menstruation.
- Eating plenty of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and chia seeds not only benefits your physical health but acts as an anti-inflammatory agent which helps alleviate some period pain as well.
2. Add a Supplement
Taking supplements to reduce the intensity of period pain is an excellent way to find relief.
- Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are both important for aiding cramps, as they both help regulate hormones that can be a contributing factor in painful menstrual cycles.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation and have other health benefits too.
- Herbal remedies such as chamomile, ginger, and raspberry leaf tea have been used historically to relieve period symptoms.
- Supplements like turmeric and curcumin also act as anti-inflammatories which can alleviate some of the discomforts that comes with periods.
3. Take Some Over the Counter Medication
Medication is another option that may prove useful depending on an individual's specific condition – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen being among the most popular choices available - although these should only be taken after consulting with a medical professional first as they might not always be suitable for everyone given possible side effects associated with usage.
4. Try Heat Therapy
Heat therapy has also been known to provide considerable relief from discomfort during periods due to its ability to relax tense muscles while promoting blood flow at the same time. Applying warm heat packs directly onto the stomach region in 15–20 minutes intervals often helps reduce inflammation considerably. Alternating hot/cold treatments have also been shown to produce positive results when tackling painful flare-ups.
When Traditional Pain Relief Isn't Working
If you can't get any relief by trying out the tips listed above, you may want to consider consulting a doctor. Period pain that interrupts your ability to do daily activities and that is unmanageable could be a sign of an issue with your reproductive system. Further testing may be necessary in order to diagnose the problem and find the best treatment options for you.
Find What Works For You
Periods can be an unavoidable part of life, but that shouldn't mean that you have to experience the full force of cramping and pain associated with them. Thanks to research done over the years, there are many different methods to reduce this pain. Whether it's a more natural, herbal remedy or a medication like birth control, finding the right period pain reliever for you can change your life- and your relationship with Aunt Flow- for the better.