Most women experience menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, around the time of their cycle. The level in severity of pain can vary from a slow, steady ache in the abdomen to the the laying-prostate-down-for-the-count kind of cramps. We’ve put together a list of do-it-yourself remedies to treat your PMS woes at home. Whether it’s some nurturing you are looking for or pain relief to keep up with your daily grind, rather than breaking out the Midol this round, give one of these 7 natural remedies for menstrual cramps a try.
1. Heat Things Up.
One of the most common and oldest remedies is to apply heat or a hot compress to your lower abdomen or lower back, which can be as effective as an over-the-counter medicine.
2. Go for a Little Soak.
Light a candle, put on some Nina Simone or Carla Bruni and head for some water therapy by soaking in a hot bath filled with bubbles or lavender epsolm salt.
Contrary to what was once taught, exercise can actually be a great way to relieve cramps. Releasing endorphins not only elevates your mood but acts as a natural painkiller for cramps. Try a few restorative yoga poses that help increase blood flow to the uterus, relieve stress and help you feel more relaxed.4. Herbal Power.
Swap out coffee for tea before and during your cycle to help reduce menstrual cramps. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, making blood vessels that serve the uterus constrict. So put a kettle on and try sipping some lovely tea blends like Yogi’s Woman’s Moon Cycle®, Traditional Medicinals PMS Tea®, or Healthy Cycle® tea. Alternatively, look for teas with cinnamon, chamomile, ginger or turmeric to help curb the dullest of aches in your abdomen.
5. Eat Your Nanners.
Bananas aren’t just good for leg cramps on a big hike, they are rich in potassium and vitamin B6, which can help reduce bloating and cramping. One banana can replace up to 487 milligrams, or 10% of your daily recommended intake, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Drinking lots of water can also help reduce bloating and the pain associated with it.
6. Relax and get your Zzz’s.
Spend some time reading a good book or meditating to help your body relax. We all know sleep is critical to overall good health, but it can be even more important at this time of the month. Having interruptions in your regular sleep rhythms can interfere with your cycle, potentially resulting in more irritability and cramps. Next time you find your sleep interrupted for this reason, curl up in the fetal position. According to an interview with Glamour, Dr Lisa Mindley, MD told the magazine that "sleeping in the fetal position takes pressure off the abdominal muscles,” as it causes the “the skeletal muscles around your abdomen” to relax.
7. Time to Get Busy.
It has been cited by many experts that having an orgasm can be a great way to relieve pain and release tension in the uterus. When the uterine muscles contract in an orgasm, the body releases various brain chemicals, including oxytocin and endorphins, which are natural pain relievers. Experts have also cited sex as a form of exercise and stress relief, so consider it multi-remedy-tasking. (Note: we will be covering period sex in a future post, so stay tuned…)
While every woman’s period experience is different and there is no universal solution for all women, trying something new can help you know your own body more.
What works for you? What do you do to relieve cramps or menstrual pain? Share with the community, so that others might benefit.
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