It’s that time of the month again. You’re plagued with monster menstrual cramps that just won’t let up.
Ugh, it’s that time of the month and you’re dealing with dreaded cramps. It’s common to feel uncomfortable around your abdomen, thighs and lower back when you’re menstruating. In fact, about half of women who menstruate have some pain—called dysmenorrhea—for one to three days each month.
Menstrual cramps are throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. The muscles of your womb contract and relax to get rid of built-up lining. And that’s when you may get cramps, with some women experiencing more pain than others. The discomfort is merely annoying for some women. For others, cramps can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities for a few days each month.
But the key when you want to relieve menstrual cramps naturally lies in the following:
Sip some tea.
Teas have been used to help combat menstrual pain. Start sipping whatever tea gives you relief a week or so before you anticipate your period. Some people have used cramp bark. Tea with peppermint oil may also help. And chamomile tea increases urinary levels of glycine, which helps relieve muscle spasms and acts as a nerve relaxant. Speak with your health care provider before trying these remedies, especially if you’re on a blood-thinning drug.
Break a sweat.
Pick what appeals to you; relieve cramps in the bedroom or via exercise. When you do either of these activities, you get endorphins, which help boost your mood and decrease your perception of pain. Sure, working out or having sex may be the last thing you want to do when you’re suffering from cramps. But these activities can help reduce pain and relieve the muscle tension that contribute to cramps.
If you drink water, you can actually help prevent your body from retaining water and avoid painful bloating. Aim to consume warm or hot water, which is better for cramps. That’s because hot liquid increases blood flow and may help relax cramped muscles. You can also eat foods that are water based including celery, lettuce, watermelon or cucumbers.
Try reducing fat consumption and increasing your vegetable consumption. A low-fat diet decreases the overall inflammation in your body. Plus, it will promote overall good health. You can start by swapping out unhealthy saturated fats and choosing healthier unsaturated fats (such as olive oil). Opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Getting more magnesium can also ease the pain of cramps. Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle functioning, among other tasks. It’s found in foods such as dry almonds and boiled spinach.
You also want to avoid foods and drinks that typically cause bloating and water retention. Some culprits include alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine and salty foods. Opt for caffeine-free ginger or mint teas or hot water flavored with lemon. When you’re in need of a sugar fix, snack on strawberries or raspberries. Read more about Mistakes You’re Making During Your Period.
Curling up with a heating pad can help ease menstrual cramps. One of the oldest medicinal remedies, heat helps muscles relax and increases blood flow to tissues.
Purchase a heat wrap or pack, which you can wear beneath your clothing and against your body. You can also take a warm bath or use a hot towel or hot water bottle.