Nobody enjoys that time of the month. In addition to possible bouts of acne and diarrhea, periods also often mean cramping and abdominal pain. Cramps are a result of the uterus contracting to squeeze the lining off the uterine wall, which leave the body as a period. Luckily, there are several home remedies which may help reduce the pain and discomfort of period cramps.
1. Heat Therapy: Applying heat to the lower abdomen or back can help relax muscles and reduce the severity of cramps. This can be done through a hot shower, a heating pad, or a warm towel or water bottle. Soaking in a warm bath can also help to relax the back, abdomen, and thighs.
2. Light Exercise: Even though it may seem like the last activity you want to do during your period, light exercise like yoga or walking can help to alleviate menstrual cramps. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, and help to improve blood flow and reduce tension.
3. Massage the Abdomen: Gently massaging and putting pressure on the abdomen may help relax the pelvic muscles and alleviate cramping. When massaging, you can use a massage oil, body lotion, or a few drops of rosemary, roman chamomile, clary sage, or peppermint essential oil, along with a carrier oil, to give additional relief and added relaxation via aromatherapy.
4. Drink Tea: Warm drinks like tea may help to both reduce cramps and encourage hydration, and certain flavors of tea have inherent properties that may also aid in the reduction of bloating and pain. Specifically, studies have found that ginger and peppermint tea may help reduce bloating and stomach cramping, respectively, though there is no published research investigating ginger or peppermint tea’s effects on menstrual cramps specifically. There is one study, however, that found that women who drank green tea had reduced menstrual pain, linked to the plethora of healthy antioxidants found in most green teas.
5. Use Over-The-Counter Medication: If these home remedies still aren’t offering relief, many women also use medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen while on their periods, as these medications can relieve inflammation and pain and reduce the effects of menstrual cramps. When using these medications, be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the bottle and speak to a doctor if you are still not experiencing relief. If you experience severe or persistent pain, it is important to speak to your OB/GYN to determine if there might be other factors worsening your period pain.
While menstrual cramps can be uncomfortable and painful, there are many home remedies which, in addition to staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and limiting stress, can help to reduce the severity of cramps. Heat therapy, exercise, massage, tea, and OTC medications are all simple ways to help reduce the intensity of cramps and may provide relief the next time you have your period.
- “How to get rid of cramps with 8 home remedies.” Medical News Today.
- “The 8 Best Teas for Menstrual Cramps.” Healthline.