20 Ways to Manage Period Cramps
Relive Period cramps with these simple steps
The good news is that there are many ways to relieve these symptoms without relying on over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Try one or more of these natural remedies for relief:
1. Multipurpose Ginger
Ginger tea can be a great way to soothe menstrual cramping. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger per cup of boiling water; let it steep until cool enough to drink. You can also add honey if desired. Drink up to three cups daily during periods. If you have an upset stomach, try adding lemon juice instead of honey.
2. Bath to relieve stress
Take warm baths with Epsom salts before bedtime. The magnesium in Epsom salt helps ease muscle spasms.
3. Massage Practices
Massage your belly gently using oil such as coconut oil. This will stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling.
4. Watch Your Diet
Eat foods rich in calcium, including milk products, cheese, almonds, broccoli, kale, sardines, salmon, tofu, beans, lentils, spinach, collards, turnip greens, and fortified cereals. Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. It also reduces inflammation and calms muscle tension.
5. Keep track of how much fluid you consume each day
Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can keep your uterus from becoming too dry. Watermelon has been shown to increase urine output by about 20 percent.
6. Get some exercise
Exercise releases endorphins into your body that act as natural painkillers. Your best bet? A brisk walk outdoors. But even indoor activities like yoga, swimming, running, dancing, biking, hiking, tennis, squash, racquetball, weight lifting, and playing sports count toward getting active.
7. Use heat therapy
Heat packs applied directly to painful areas can provide instant comfort. Wrap hot pads in plastic wrap and place them against the area where you feel the most intense pressure. Hold them in place for five minutes at first, then gradually extend the time.
8. Don’t forget to eat healthy food
Eating lots of fiber keeps your digestive system moving smoothly, helping prevent bloating and other uncomfortable side effects of your cycle. Fiber also makes you feel full longer, reducing cravings for high-calorie snacks. Foods containing soluble dietary fibers include oats, barley, brown rice, applesauce, prunes, bananas, pears, oranges, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, and yogurt.
9. Stay hydrated
Dehydration leads to increased levels of estrogen, causing further irritation and cramping. Make sure you get adequate amounts of liquids every day.
10. Practice relaxation techniques
When you tense yourself up, you create stress hormones that cause your body to release inflammatory chemicals. Relaxing through meditation, deep breathing exercises, massage, listening to music, reading, watching TV, talking to friends, exercising, or taking walks all help calm down those hormones.
11. Consider acupuncture
Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into specific points along certain meridians in your body. These points correspond to different organs and systems. By stimulating these points with a needle, acupuncturists believe they can balance out imbalances within your body. Studies have found that it’s effective in relieving symptoms associated with PMS.
12. Try herbal remedies
Herbs such as chamomile tea, black cohosh, dong Quai, licorice root, red clover, evening primrose, ginger, fennel seed, hops, aloe vera gel, and echinacea tincture are often recommended during periods because they contain compounds called phytoestrogens that mimic the action of human sex hormones. They’re believed to reduce inflammation and relieve muscle spasms.
13. Take supplements
Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient that helps regulate hormone production. It can be taken orally or used topically. Magnesium is another supplement that many doctors recommend. It works on nerve cells and plays a role in relaxing muscles.
14. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine stimulates adrenaline secretion, increasing blood flow to your reproductive tract. This causes uterine contractions and increases prostaglandin levels, leading to more bleeding. If you must drink coffee, limit yourself to one cup per day.
15. Eat foods rich in calcium
Calcium is important for bone health and strong teeth. Your bones need about 1,200 milligrams daily; dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt supply plenty. You’ll find this amount in two cups of low-fat milk, four ounces of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, three slices of bread, half a container of nonfat frozen yogurt, or eight ounces of tofu.
16. Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation has been linked to higher levels of cortisol — a stress hormone that contributes to fatigue and irritability. Getting seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night will do wonders for your mood.
17. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise reduces anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins that make us happy. In addition, regular exercise improves circulation and oxygen intake throughout your body.
18. Don’t smoke
Cigarette smoking raises levels of nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, and other toxins in your system. Smoking also decreases the absorption rate of iron from food sources. Iron deficiency is known to contribute to irregular periods.
19. Keep track of your cycle
Knowing what time of the month you ovulate allows you to plan ahead so you don’t miss any chances to conceive. The best way to know if you’ve ovulated is to keep track of cervical mucus changes.
20. Sip Chamomile Tea
Sipping chamomile tea may help reduce cramps when you menstruate. Chamomile tea is full of anti-inflammatory substances that inhibit prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are made by cells in the endometrium of the uterus.