All women experience period pain. Some live through it and some take measures to alleviate it. Although it’s natural and a sign of fertility, it can be unbearable. So much that it has turned it into a monthly nightmare for most women.
And let’s be honest…
No one likes this bloody week.
You are uncomfortable, tired, grumpy, nauseated, dizzy, and sometimes it feels like someone is pulling at your insides.
Who wants to feel that way?
This drives many to turn to painkillers. Not just one, but sometimes even two or more to get rid of the discomfort sooner. Although these pills are helpful, they have many side effects that are not worth the momentary relief. According to Dr. James N. Dillard, author of The Chronic Pain Solution, these pills cannot completely destroy your pain. Instead, you can find natural alternatives at your kitchen.
We’ll get to it.
But first, let’s talk about what the pain actually is.
What is dysmenorrhea?
Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea occurs when the lining of the uterus is destroyed during menstruation. The pain appears in the lower abdomen and intensifies on the first day of your period. This pain can start a few days before the menstruation and last up to four days. Sometimes it travels to your lower back and kidneys. The affected areas can be different in each person.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the common pain associated with menstruation and it’s not too intense. On the other hand, secondary dysmenorrhea is associated with an intense pain that will not alleviate and is indicative of a disorder, like endometriosis.
Sometimes the pain is so severe that it forces women to give up on their daily activities and lie down.
So it’s good to have a few ways to reduce this pain and get back to your lives.
Below are some of the things you can do.
How to alleviate period pain?
The first thing is to change your eating habits. Salty snacks, sweets, and caffeine are not your friends during this time. These will increase inflammation and worsen the pain. A recent study shows that following an unhealthy snacking pattern can increase the risk of moderate to severe dysmenorrhea. Instead, eat lots of vegetables and fiber. The whole body will benefit from healthy nutrients. But changing dietary habits may not be easy for everyone.
There are other options.
Heat is a good remedy. You can place a heating pad or a warm towel on your stomach. Another way is to massage some lavender oil on your abdomen. Lavender oil is proven to be effective for reducing menstrual pain. Sleep quality is another factor that can affect your period.
Another great way is to turn to your kitchen for some easy and accessible remedies. Traditional medicine has been practiced in eastern cultures for a long time and researchers are only now starting to prove its effectiveness. Here are the most common foods that are used for relieving period pain.
10 Natural Remedies for Reducing Period Pain
Turmeric has been used for reducing pain and improving digestion for many years. Turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties and supports the function of neural cells. Curcumin is also helpful for irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases.
Use turmeric by adding it to your food or milk.
A study shows that cinnamon is effective for reducing primary dysmenorrhea, menstrual bleeding, and nausea. Also, there are no side effects with using cinnamon for reducing pain.
Add ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to one cup of hot water. Wait for 5 minutes and add some honey to sweeten it. Enjoy your drink.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin. This chemical compound stimulates the nerve endings and reduces the chemical transporter of pain signals.
Just opt for some spicy food during your period to relieve the pain.
Ginger is an old solution for soothing stomach pain, fighting seasickness, and nausea. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat abdominal pain, arthritis, and migraine. A study shows that ginger is similar to ibuprofen and mefenamic acid in alleviating primary dysmenorrhea.
Add ginger to your food, or boil it in water and drink it with honey and lemon.
One study shows that fennel can prevent prostaglandin producing contractions and reduce menstrual pain. Prostaglandins cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches during menstruation.
Add one teaspoon of fennel seeds to one cup of hot water and boil it for 5 minutes. Add one teaspoon of honey. Drink it while it’s hot to get the most benefit.
Mint prevents muscle spasms and relieves the pain of irritable bowel syndrome. A study shows that drinking hot mint tea during menstruation will significantly reduce the pain.
To make the tea, add mint leaves to hot water and let it rest for 10 minutes for the flavor to come out. You can add some lemon for an extra kick.
Chamomile contains many anti-inflammatory agents that stop the functions of prostaglandins and acts like ibuprofen. It also increases glycine, which reduces muscle spasms. Research shows that this soothing effect alleviates menstrual cramps.
Make chamomile tea by adding half a tablespoon of chamomile to one cup of hot water and letting it rest for 10 minutes.
It was proven in a study that dill is as effective as mefenamic acid in reducing period pain. Dill can also improve the hormonal balance of the body and help digestion. Although it might cause allergic reactions in some people. So be careful.
You can use dill as a garnish or add it to salads. You can also add one tablespoon of dill to one cup of hot water and let it rest for 10 minutes before drinking it.
Cherries contain anthocyanins that are strong antioxidants. Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties as well. By fighting inflammation, they act like aspirin and alleviate the pain. A recent study shows that eating cherries with breakfast can reduce inflammation and improve health.
So sweeten your mornings with a small bowl of cherries.
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish help improve blood flow. One study found that fish oil is more efficient in reducing period pain than ibuprofen. Another study found that omega-3 supplements can significantly reduce primary dysmenorrhea.
So add some fish to your diet during your period.
By using these tips and consuming the suggested foods, you can rid yourself of the agonizing pain of your period without putting harmful chemicals in your body.
With all that said, if the amount of pain and bleeding is too much and feels unnatural, you should pay a visit to your doctor.
I hope this was helpful to you. If you try any of them, let me know how it works out, and if you have any tips of your own for reducing period pain, feel free to share it with me.