More than half of the menstruating women in the world experience period cramps. It is also known as dysmenorrhea. These four days are the lowest days for these women, who suffer physically and mentally during this time. Menstrual cramps are deterring and annoying. These cramps can occur in the belly, abdomen, lower back, hips, and thighs. The pain can be accompanied by loose motion, vomiting, or constipation. Though these period cramps are normal, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek relief from them. Let us look at some of the home remedies you can use to relieve period pain.
- Heat application
This is the most common and tested home remedy for getting period pain relief. Heat therapy relaxes the muscles and reduces inflammation. You may apply heat to the areas of period cramps. For this, you may use a warm towel, a heat patch, a heating water bag, or an electric heating pad. You may also take a warm bath or a sauna and steam bath. This will give you relief from the menstrual cramps for some time at least. Since you cannot apply heat the whole day, it is not practical to consider this remedy the ultimate solution to your pain. But you may get some relief for a limited period. You may take a heat shake a couple of times a day.
- Over-the-counter medicine
Over-the-counter medicine is one of the most common and quickest remedies anyone could think of for menstrual cramps. These pain relievers are the same that you take for headaches or other body pain. They are ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, etc. If you experience moderate to severe pain, you may pop these pills twice a day to get pain relief within 30 minutes. You may continue to take these for the next 2–3 days of your menstruation. If the pain still persists, you may, under your doctor’s prescription, take an anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
Exercise should be a way of life for healthy well-being. It may sound intimidating to exercise during menstruation, but, any form of light exercise helps release endorphins from the body, which relieves period cramps. You may do stretching, yoga, cycling, walking, light jogging, swimming, mild cardio, aerobics, etc. Having sex during this time also helps in relieving your pain. It also increases blood circulation throughout your body. As a result, you can reduce the intensity of your exercise during these times but not completely stop it.
- Birth control
This is one option you may seek if you are not planning to get pregnant any time soon. If you cannot find any relief from menstrual cramps, you may see your doctor and let him know about your willingness to take birth control pills. These pills help release hormones that ease your period pain. There is a wide array of options for birth control. You may talk to your doctor and choose one that suits your lifestyle and body. Besides birth control pills, you can opt for injections, a patch, an intrauterine device, etc.
Dysmenorrhea can be treated by taking supplements that are usually deficient in your body. One of the most common supplements to relieve period cramps is chasteberry. This helps with cramps, headaches, and breast aches. It also works as an anti-depressant as it controls mood swings. Magnesium and vitamin B6 relieve the emotional and physical stress during menstruation. They also regulate metabolism and improve the immune system and nervous systems. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and fish oil tablets help reduce muscle inflammation.
Herbal remedies are the best remedies for any ailment. If you are looking for the most natural way to get period pain relief, then there are a few herbs that have undergone clinical trials. They have shown results in healing muscle spasms. Herbs like ginger, fennel, Chinese herbs (Dang Gui Shao-Yao San), cramp bark, and Pycnogenol have proved to lessen period pain. It is crucial that you consult your healthcare provider before taking any herbs to learn about the pros and cons of each one. You can have a consultation about which form of herb to consume, when to consume it, and how much to consume.
- Acupressure/ Acupuncture
Acupressure and acupuncture are two ancient natural healing methods. Acupressure means pressing pressure points in the body that cure a specific part of the pain. This therapy can relieve period pain for up to 2 hours. The pressure points are located between the base of the thumb and the base of the index finger. You can alternatively press these points and hold them for a few seconds while pressing. You can switch hands after 5 minutes. You can feel significant cramp relief. This is a slow process, and you need to do it for a longer period of time before you bid adieu to period cramps.
Acupuncture involves inserting needles in the skin to balance your energy flow, called Qi. Acupuncture clears phlegm and heat and stimulates the blood to clear stasis. Along with relieving the pain, it also stabilizes the period flow.
- Menstrual pain relief device
There is a menstrual pain relief device available in the market that you may use in order to get relief from period cramps. Welme makes this device, which is based on TENS technology and is 100% drug-free and natural. The device is worn on the abdomen, and its electrodes send vibrations to the body. These vibrations block the pain vibrations from reaching the brain. This is a portable and chargeable device.
Things to avoid
While we discussed some home remedies above, there are some things you should avoid if you want to avoid period pain. Alcohol, smoking, tea, caffeine, sugar, and preservatives are a few things that you should avoid not just during periods but also in general life. During menstruation, consuming these will make your pain worse.
When to seek a doctor
If you are experiencing severe menstrual cramps, abnormal bleeding, bleeding lumps, long durations of bleeding, or if you go unconscious, then it is time you see a doctor. Painful menstruation can be treated. You may be suffering from other ailments for which you have to get checked. Your doctor may do some tests, including a pelvic examination. He shall understand your history, lifestyle, etc., and suggest modifications and medicines in order to relieve the menstrual cramps.