It's that time of the month again. Your body starts aching. You're tired. You're irritable. You're so not looking forward to the next week. That's right, it's time for your period. And while we love our periods (deep, deep, deep down inside) because they make us women, they can be the most frustrating and not to mention, painful, things ever. While no one wants to be bogged down by constant menstrual pain or cramps, we also don't want to take pill after pill in order to feel better. So- what do we do when we don't want the side-effects of our periods or the side-effects of chemical filled medicine? We choose the natural route. And while you might not think natural remedies for period pain are as effective as medication, they are- if done correctly. Read below to find out thirteen ways to get rid of period pain naturally and start feeling better instantly.
13 Get Heated
Invest in a heat pad, heat up a wet towel, or warm a water bottle. Apply the heat to your abdomen just as you would if you got injured or had a tight muscle. Heat will help relieve pain caused by muscle contraction in your uterus. Sit still with the heat on your stomach for fifteen minutes. If you have pain in your lower back, place the heat on your back. Repeat several times a day if need be. If your whole body aches, heat up a warm bath and soak away. Any type of heat will help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.
12 Sweat It Out
I know, we just talked about relaxing. And while, the thought of physical activity while your on your period may seem like the worst thing in the world- it's actually not. It helps. Why? Because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins which in turn, stabilize your mood and even reduces cramping. We suggest a brisk walk or some sort of light aerobic activity while you're on your period. If you know you suffer severe menstrual pain, studies show that regular exercise helps reduce overall menstrual symptoms.
11 Have Some Vitamin D3
If you're suffering regular menstrual cramps, it may be because you have a vitamin D3 deficiency. Studies suggest that women who have enough of the vitamin D3 led to a decrease in overall menstrual pain and those who had a vitamin D3 deficiency suffered more menstrual pain. Remember, prevention is the best cure. Therefore, it's best that you try to consume foods with vitamin D3 before you get your period as it takes time for your body to process and absorb nutrients. Foods with vitamin D3 include beef, liver, cheese, eggs, and fatty fish.
10 Have Some Tea
Not only does tea promote relaxation, but it helps relieve pain. What kind of tea? Green tea and chamomile. A study in the Journal of Agriculture and Chemistry showed that chamomile tea actually has special pain-relieving properties and holds medicinal value. Additionally, because of the anti-oxidants in both green and chamomile tea, they act as an anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce menstrual cramps. On top of that, tea, unlike coffee, is hydrating so it can decrease things such as bloating and constipation. Include chamomile tea and green tea in your diet regularly in order to promote healing, not just when you're on your period.
9 Get Intimate
While some people may think it's strange to do the deed on your period, it's actually healthy, normal, and highly beneficial. That's right. And while it is great because it releases "feel good" hormones, climaxing is even better. Before you finish, your uterus becomes relaxed and when you climax, the blood flow to your uterus increases. This, in turn, reduces pain caused by menstrual cramps. What's better is that climaxing helps relax your entire body making you able to fall asleep easier and escape any bodily cramps that may be the result of your period.
8 Try Acupuncture
People undergo acupuncture treatments for many reasons. Acupuncture, a component of traditional Chinese medicine, involves stimulation of different parts of the body through the use of small needles. People see acupuncturists for menstrual cramps because they can increase blood flow to the uterus which helps reduce cramping. Additionally, acupuncturists can help balance out the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (the thing that regulates your hormones) which in turn, helps stabilize your mood and emotions. That's right, you can get rid of both your physical and emotional pain by visiting an acupuncturist.
7 Cut Out Certain Food Groups
If you know you suffer from terrible menstrual pain, the week before you get your period, pay special attention to what you consume. Avoid foods that increase your blood sugar, lower your thyroid function and reduce your liver's ability to get rid of extra estrogen such as grain or soy based foods. Get rid of dairy and dairy based foods as they are packed with hormones that will only make it harder for your body to balance your natural hormones. If you have severe menstrual pain, try eliminating things such as caffeine, added sugars, and foods high in sodium.
6 Incorporate The Right Foods
To avoid menstrual pain, it's important your body has the right nutrients. Before you get your period or while you're on your period, make sure you consume enough fatty foods as you need the fat to absorb certain nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Additionally, you'll need to consume a plethora of leafy greens to ensure you have enough calcium, magnesium, iron, and other minerals that help you detox and manage pain. To help you balance your hormones, include flax oil, anti-oxidants, and fatty fish in your diet.
5 Get In Your Zzz's
You already know how important sleep is- however, it's even more important while you're on your period. Why? Because your body is working harder than it does on a daily basis and it needs time to restore and rejuvenate itself. When you're menstruating, pay special attention to your sleep patterns and ensure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. The more healing your body can do while you're asleep, the less pain you'll be in during the day. If you're having a hard time falling asleep at night due to pain, allow yourself extra time in the morning to sleep in. You'll be better off because of it.
4 Go Herbal
If you're sick of taking those chemical filled medications but still want quick relief, try herbal supplements instead. These all natural alternatives offer the same healing benefits without doing any damage. Some of the best herbal supplements for period pain include black cohosh, primrose, ginger, raspberry leaf, dandelion, and chaste berry. Herbal supplements are easy to find at health food stores and even at your local grocery store. They can be taken in pill form or consumed raw. Tip: If you know you suffer from menstrual pain, include these supplements in your diet regularly so that your body gets used to digesting them.
3 Stop Stressing
I know- easier said than done- but still, it's important. When you're in a constant state of stress, you're putting unnecessary pressure on your body. And when you're menstruating and stressing- you'd better bet you're going to be miserable. On top of that, stress is known to amplify pain, exhaustion, and irritability. How can you reduce stress? Plan ahead. If you know your period's coming, try to decrease your workload for the week and set aside extra time to relax. As crazy as it sounds, it's a good idea to plan special events (such as parties, or other things that'll stress you out) during the three weeks that you don't have your period.
2 Treat Yourself
To further reduce stress and reduce aches and pains caused by menstruation, treat yourself. How? Get a massage or visit the spa. Not only will the massage help relax you, but it will also increase blood flow to certain areas of your body which will reduce the muscle contraction causing your aches, pains, and cramps. If you're feeling like you have a lot on your plate, order take-out instead of cooking. Added Bonus: When you treat yourself right, you automatically feel better and improve your mood.
1 Curb Cravings The Right Way
It's hard- all you want to do when you have your period is eat junk food. And while those sugar filled snacks are really tempting, they're actually making the side-effects caused by your period worse. Not only do they make your blood sugar spike adding to your irritability when you crash, but they also require your body to do more work because they take a lot of energy to be digested. On top of that, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave. Therefore, it's important you indulge the right way. Instead of oreos, have some dark chocolate. If you're craving ice cream, go for some greek yogurt or a dairy free alternative.