When good old Aunt Flo comes to town, most women get ready for uncomfortable cramps in their abdomen. Roughly 50% of menstruating women experience cramps for one to two days every month. Some women experience mild cramps, while others become crippled by the pain. Sometimes the cramps are cause for concern, leading doctors to diagnose women with dysmenorrhea, a condition thought to be caused by prostaglandins.
Why Do Menstrual Cramps Occur?
While on your period, the muscles of the womb contract and relax to help shed the built-up lining of the uterus. The cramping is often an indication that your muscles are contracting. On the first day of your menstrual cycle, prostaglandin levels are high, which explains the intense pain on the first day. As you shed the lining of your uterus, the level of prostaglandin decreases the pain lessens.
A woman should not have to live in pain, no matter if she experiences intense cramps or temporary cramps. There are many natural home remedies that can lessen the pain and provide some relief from menstrual cramps. Keep reading to see how you can relieve menstrual pain.
Home Remedies For Menstrual Cramps
A 2016 review in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews examined 42 studies on how acupuncture affected menstrual cramps. When compared to anti-inflammatory drugs and or no treatment at all, acupuncture treatment helped relieve pain with no side effects. Acupuncture works to relax the nervous system and enhance blood flow to internal organs. Many practitioners also praise acupuncture for its ability to relieve inflammation.
This is a tried and true home remedy. When applied to the abdomen, the heating pad helps to improve circulation, which leads to pain reduction. One study compared the use of heating pads for period cramp relief to ibuprofen for cramp relief. The results found that more women benefited from the heating pad with no side effects. If you don’t have a heating pad, soak a towel in hot water or take a warm bath.
Increase Your Magnesium Intake
Many nutritionists believe that magnesium helps to ease muscle spasms, including menstrual cramps. People who are low in magnesium often experience muscle cramps, anxiety symptoms, and osteoporosis, so it is best to increase your magnesium intake. Because magnesium is abundant in a variety of foods, it is easy to boost your magnesium levels. All you have to do is eat more spinach, black beans, almonds, Brazil nuts, quinoa, avocados, bananas, cashews, kale, raisins, or pumpkin seeds.
Yoga Poses Ease Menstrual Pain
Exercise is not the first thing on a woman’s mind during her cycle. We’re not asking you to do a high-intensity interval workout or anything, but many yoga poses can provide relief from your cramps. A small study with 40 undergraduate females found that the entire group that did an hour-long yoga session once a week for three months experienced reduced menstrual cramping, while the other group that didn’t do yoga experienced no relief. Many female instructors suggest that women should avoid inverted yoga poses during their cycle. The reason for this is because it can disrupt the body’s natural flow.
Massage With Essential Oils
Before we get into this tip, it is very important that you mix essential oils with carrier oils before you apply them on the skin. Some are very potent and can cause inflammatory or irritated reactions. The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research observed two groups of women during their menstrual cycles. One group massaged essential oil on the abdomen, while the other group used synthetic fragrances. Both groups reported less pain, but the essential oil group reported more relief from cramping. Another study found that lavender, clary sage, and marjoram essential oils were the most helpful at reducing menstrual cramps.
Avoid Certain Foods
Since bloating and water retention are two common symptoms during menstruation, it is best to avoid foods that cause both of those things. This means you need to avoid alcohol, salty foods, carbonated beverages, caffeinated beverages, and fatty/fried foods. When you eliminate these foods from your diet, you can help alleviate cramps and decrease tension in the abdominal region.