Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, affect more than half of women who menstruate. Usually, they are not a sign of a serious health problem but they can affect your lifestyle.
Here are 8 effective and safe ways to help with the pain during your period. However, if your cramps seem severe or you do not get any pain relief when trying some of these options, then talk with your doctor. Your symptoms may be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
1. Use a Heating Pad
Heat opens up the blood vessels, allowing blood and oxygen to flow more easily to the uterus. Heat also helps to reduce muscle spasms, causing the muscles to relax.
2. Eat Healthier
3. Try herbal tea
Some herbs in tea act as estrogens. Cramp bark is an example of an herbal tea used for menstrual discomfort. Chamomilla is great for mood changes, like irritability and anger. The University of Maryland Medical Center has a list of recommended herbs that help with specific issues.
4. Take Fish Oil
Fish Oil helps to lower inflammation. Studies have shown that women who took fish oil had less menstrual pain than those who did not. Unfortunately, it may raise the risk of bleeding. Talk with your doctor about using Omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil as a remedy, especially if you are on blood thinners.
5. Go For a Walk or Do Yoga
Exercising releases endorphins which help with the pain during your menstruation. Endorphins boost your mood. They are the body’s natural painkiller. You may not feel like going for a walk at first, but you will definitely feel better afterward.
A study earlier this year found that a certain type of yoga called Yoga Nidra can help relieve menstrual pain. This style of yoga focuses on deep relaxation with guided meditation. The study found that in this deeply relaxed state, there was a drop in hormones that play a key role in menstruation.
6. Add More Magnesium to Your Diet
Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle functioning. An ounce of dry almonds or half a cup of boiled spinach contains about 80 mg of magnesium. The daily amount recommended for women, 20 to 30 years of age, is 315 mg of magnesium. Peanut butter, yogurt, oatmeal, and bananas are great sources of magnesium.
7. Taking a Hot Bath with Epsom Salt
Taking a hot bath and adding Epsom salt may help with menstrual cramps. There are high levels of magnesium in Epsom salt which helps with muscle tension and soothes inflammation. I recommend only being in the hot bath for no longer than 5 minutes.
8. Use essential oils
Studies have shown that using essential oils have reduced menstrual pain. A mixture of diluted oils was used from the end of one period to the beginning of the next. They used a mixture of lavender, clary sage, and marjoram in a 2-1-1 ratio. The essential oils were diluted to a 3% concentration then mixed into an unscented cream. The women reported that the duration of pain was reduced from 2.4 days to 1.8 days. Be sure to use the oils safely and to always dilute them.
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