Are period cramps cramping your style? While reaching for a painkiller like ibuprofen can offer quick and efficient relief, you may have reasons to pass on the pills and be looking for natural remedies. (Certain painkillers, like Tylenol and Advil, can be rough on your liver and stomach (respectively) if taken in excess, but do talk to your doctor first if you have concerns about whether these painkillers are or are not right for you!)
Ginger does double-duty when it helps to calming your less enjoyable menstrual symptoms: not only can ginger candy and ginger tea calm the nausea that can accompany severe cramps, a double-blind study found that “ginger (250-mg capsules) was as effective as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs mefenamic acid (250 mg) and ibuprofen (400 mg) in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea,” – so break out the sweet and spicy!
2. Eating Fewer (or Healthier) Fats
Whether chocolate-cravings are something you experience during your cycle or not, there IS a pretty good reason you may want to opt for something healthier when you’re beset by menstrual cramps. Some research has shown that a low fat, vegetarian diet seems to be linked to a decrease in cramping, though you may also be able to see some of these benefits without going veggie if you make sure that that majority if the fats in your diet come from nuts, fish, and vegetable oils. So yea, avocado counts!
Getting into yoga pants may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’ve got cramps, but research supports the idea that both aerobic exercise and stretching can help relieve your cramps. You may not want to do 100 sit ups, but focusing on your core – imagine the pain as a ball in your tummy that you’re slowly unfolding in time with your breathing – while doing yoga can help. Or, channel the rage you have at something inconsequential from work that day into kickboxing or running a 5K; either way the endorphins released with exercise will help with pain relief, plus you have a long, hot shower afterward to look forward too!
Speaking of using happy brain chemicals to help relieve pain, orgasms are a great way to do so! The actual pain relief may be short lived – ie solely during sex or masturbation – but the contractions of your body during climax can help relax your cramped up body.
5. A Hot Touch
There’s nothing quite like snuggling up with a hot water bottle – or a hot pad you can stick to your stomach – and research shows it may be as effective as ibuprofen when it comes to relieving your cramps. You can use warm massage oil to gentle massage your abdomen, as well as diluted essential oils if you find aromatherapy works for you, for that extra ‘treat yo self’ satisfaction!
Please note that advice offered by Tips For Healthy Living may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.