Menstrual period cramps are crampy pains in a woman’s lower abdominal regions which she experiences during her menstrual periods. These pains could be mild or severe. They could also be sharp or achy in nature. Furthermore, most often, the pain is intermittent in nature and not continuous.
The medical term for painful menstrual periods is dysmenorrhea.
These cramps are not usually a cause for concern. However, if they are severe in nature, they could affect your daily activities.
Menstrual cramps are caused by hormone-like lipid compounds called prostaglandin that cause the uterine muscles to contract during a menstrual period.
Some women start feeling the cramps a couple of days before their menstruation begins. Additionally, cramps tend to subside about 3 days into the menstruation.
Factors that can increase the likelihood of having menstrual cramps include; heavy bleeding during periods, hereditary, early onset of puberty (reaching puberty at an early age), sedentary lifestyle, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and certain medications.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with menstrual cramps;
- Ensure you stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water daily.
- Placing a cold compress on your abdomen could also help relieve pain.
- You can take up yoga and meditation to help soothe the pain.
- Avoid stress and stressful situations as stress could exacerbate the pains caused by the cramps.
- You could also improve the quantity and quality of your sleep during your periods.
- Avoid wearing tight belts and clothes during your menstrual periods.
- You could also opt for hot showers to help soothe your muscles and relieve muscular pain.
- Take fish, fish oil and other foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help get relief that may be caused by hormonal imbalance.
- Avoid consuming highly oily or highly processed foods.
- Ensure you include fruits and vegetables, such as celery, broccoli, berries, and watermelon, in your diet as they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Below are effective home remedies to relieve menstrual period cramps;
1. Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb that helps to balance the hormones to reduce the monthly period symptoms. Furthermore, it contains caffeic acid which works as a natural pain-killer. To make the infusion, steep one tsp of dried basil leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes, strain off and drink every few hours. Alternatively, crush the leaves to extract the juice, add to a cup of water, and drink three times daily. You can as well incorporate fresh basil leaves in your meals.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is packed with L-theanine, an amino acid that aids in the relaxation of abdominal muscles. Other than that, green tea has catechins which help to reduce pain and inflammation. The tea also promotes blood flow and keeps you hydrated. To reduce the pain that comes with menstrual periods, steep some green tea leaves in a pot of water for 5-7 minutes, add some honey, and drink 3-4 times a day.
3. Take Iron-Rich Diet
Iron is beneficial to women who experience heavy bleeding during their periods. It’s estimated that women lose between 40-90ml of blood during each menstruation. This is equivalent to 15-25ml of iron. For this reason, you should take iron-rich diet like spinach, lentils, legumes, beef, and soybeans to replenish the lost iron.
Cinnamon is a good source of calcium, manganese, dietary fiber, and iron which are linked to the relaxation of the uterine muscles. Furthermore, cinnamon has an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect which makes it an effective pain reliever. To brew cinnamon tea, steep a quarter tsp of powdered cinnamon in a cup of water for 10-15 minutes, strain off and then add some honey. Drink the tea 1-2 days before your periods start. Alternatively, mix half tsp of cinnamon powder with one tsp of honey and then add into a glass of hot water. Drink the solution the first day of your menstrual periods.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D reduces the production of cytokines and prostaglandin which are associated with period cramps. With this in mind, you should consume foods rich in vitamin D like egg yolks, cheese, fish, cereals and orange juice. You can also take vitamin D supplements five days before your period’s start. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.
6. Peppermint Oil
Apart from alleviating sinus problems, peppermint oil is beneficial to women with painful menstrual cramps. It has a wonderful aroma that helps to relieve a headache and nausea which are commonly associated with menstrual cramps. To keep period pain at bay, mix 3-5 drops of peppermint with a carrier oil (jojoba oil/coconut oil) and massage the lower part of your abdomen.
7. Heating Pad
Applying a heating pad on your abdomen can help to relieve period pain. This is because heat has an amazing anti-inflammatory effect on the muscles. So, when you have menstrual cramps, just place a heating pad on your abdomen. Another way is to soak a towel in water, heat it in a microwave for 1-2 minutes and place it on the lower part of the abdomen. It works just like ibuprofen (painkiller for menstrual pain).
8. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds contain phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antioxidant effects. Fennel seed is capable of bringing down the pain within an hour. You should prepare the herbal tea by boiling 1-2 teaspoons of fennel seeds in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, strain off, and then add some honey. Drink the concoction three days before the start of your cycle and continue until the pain stops.
9. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is packed with flavonoids which exhibit antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it effective in relaxing the uterine muscles. To brew the tea, steep a chamomile tea bag in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, allow it to cool, and then drink on a daily basis. Experts recommend that you take the tea one week before your menstrual periods start.
10. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is potent in treating menstrual cramps. It’s packed with magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamin B6 which help to soothe the uterine walls. Moreover, it reduces blood clots which lessen the menstrual cramps. Simply add half tsp of blackstrap molasses in a cup of milk and drink when you start the monthly periods. If you have excessive menstrual bleeding, you can increase the intake.
If you are searching for quick relief from painful periods, you should try a hot cup of ginger tea. It helps to relieve stomach pain and nausea which normally accompanies the menstrual periods. Additionally, ginger fights fatigue which is a sign of premenstrual syndrome. To brew ginger tea, boil small ginger root in a cup of water for 5-7 minutes, and then add some lemon/honey. Drink the herbal tea three days before the onset of your periods.
12. Lavender Oil
Lavender essential oil works effectively in relieving period cramps. It has anti-inflammatory properties which makes it so instrumental in combating the symptoms that come with menstrual periods. Furthermore, its calming and soothing effects help to improve blood flow. Simply mix 3-4 drops of lavender oil with one tsp of coconut oil or jojoba oil and then apply the mixture to your abdomen. You can also disperse the oil into the air to induce sleep.
13. Parsley Leaves
Parsley leaves have strong analgesic properties which makes them useful in stimulating the menstrual process. Furthermore, they contain essential compounds (myristicin and apiol) which help to regulate irregular cycles. If you have throbbing pains on your abdomen, prepare parsley tea by boiling a handful of leaves in a pot of water for 5-10 minutes, strain off and sip the tea while still hot. For best results, drink the tea twice a day.
Papaya is a rich source of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and carotene which helps to combat the menstrual pains. It also contains papain, an enzyme that eases muscle contractions and soothes the uterine walls. To minimize menstrual cramps, take a ripe papaya before and during your periods.
15. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolates are rich in flavonoids and magnesium which helps to alleviate cramps. There is also some evidence that dark chocolate has magnesium, zinc, potassium, sulfur, copper, and B-vitamins. These minerals ensure your uterine muscles are functioning properly. Since other chocolates have lots of sugar, you can satisfy your cravings with a dark chocolate. To keep menstrual cramps at bay, make sure you start your day with some dark chocolates.
Flaxseeds have hormone stabilizing properties that help to balance the estrogen-progesterone ratio throughout the cycle. Furthermore, they are rich in essential fatty acids which aid in reducing the intensity of menstrual cramps. So, if you have painful periods, sprinkle some flaxseeds in your yogurt, salads, cereals, and smoothies. Alternatively, eat 2-3 spoonfuls of flaxseeds every day.
17. Pickle Juice
Pickle juice is capable of inhibiting synaptically induced muscle cramps, especially in poorly hydrated individuals. Furthermore, its high sodium-potassium balance is critical for better hydration. To get rid of painful menstrual cramps, drink half a cup of pickle juice on an empty stomach. However, avoid taking pickle juice in an empty stomach.
Oats are loaded with magnesium which helps to increase energy and most importantly prevents moodiness. Also, they are a good source of zinc and fiber which aids in replenishing the lost glycogen during the periods. Just have a little oatmeal in the morning throughout your periods.
Apart from promoting a healthy digestive system, yogurt possesses large amounts of calcium and vitamin D which relieve menstrual discomfort. To treat painful periods, you should consume up to four servings of yogurt every day. It works best when taken 5 days before the periods begin.
20. Epsom Salt Bath
Most women who experience painful menstrual periods are deficient in a number of minerals especially magnesium. Since Epsom salt is packed with magnesium, it can give some relief from abdominal cramps. Just prepare the salt bath by adding 1-2 cups of Epsom salt, in a bath of water, then, soak in for 15-20 minutes. That way, the salt will get absorbed into your skin in a more natural way. It’s also a perfect way to de-stress.
Numerous acupressure techniques can help to return your menstrual cycle to a normal state. Basically, the best pressure points are located on the feet. To improve the blood flow on the lower part of your body, massage the points above your ankle bone with your index finger. Acupressure is especially effective in relieving symptoms like insomnia, bloating, and dizziness. You could also contact an acupressure specialist for guidance.
22. Lemon Juice
Apart from its alkalizing effect to the body, lemons are a rich source of vitamin C which aids in the absorption of iron. Additionally, lemon juice helps to reduce painful headache which is one of the symptoms of menstrual cramps. To prepare the regimen, add half a cup of lemon juice and some honey in a glass of water, and drink for 3 days before your periods start. You can also eat one fresh lemon before breakfast.
23. Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds have vital nutrients that help to treat irregular and heavy periods. Additionally, they are effective in reducing period cramps thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects. To make the concoction, boil some seeds in a pot of water for half an hour, add some sugar and drink throughout your menstrual cycle.
24. Carrot Juice
Carrot is an excellent source of vitamin A, beta-carotene, dietary fiber, and potassium which are good for overall health. The juice is suitable for women who are experiencing symptoms like anxiety, constipation, and indigestion. Besides reducing the cramps, a glass of carrot juice can help to regulate the blood flow during the menstrual period. A raw carrot will also give the same benefits.
25. Beetroot Juice
Beetroot helps to alleviate menstrual symptoms like irritability, anxiety, depression, indigestion, and constipation. On top of that, it relaxes the uterine muscles and relieves pain. Beetroot juice is more effective when combined with orange juice. Just mix them in equal amounts and drink 5 days before your menstrual period.
Bioflavonoids help to regulate the hormones, especially when you have irregular periods that are accompanied by cramps. Since flavonoids show up in foods that are rich in vitamin C, you should consume foods such as broccoli, kales, peppers, and more. You can also go for vitamin C supplements as directed by your doctor.
27. Carom Seeds
Carom seeds infusions are used in Ayurvedic medicine to cleanse the stomach during the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, the seeds can help to relax the uterus during painful periods. If you’re experiencing unbearable pain, roast a handful of carom seeds and eat on an empty stomach.
If you are looking for a natural alternative to ibuprofen, you should try massaging your lower abdomen with thyme oil. It contains caffeic acid which helps to relieve pain and cramps. To prepare thyme tea, in order to consume this remedy, steep 2 tsp of dried leaves in 500ml of water for 10-15 minutes, strain off and sip every 2-3 hours. Alternatively, extract the juice from fresh leaves, mix with a cup of water and drink once a day.
29. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera helps to alleviate the pain and discomfort that comes with menstrual periods. Additionally, aloe vera contains B-complex vitamins which regulate the pH in the stomach. Research has also linked aloe juice in regulating the blood flow during menstruation. To relieve the painful cramps, drink fresh aloe juice 3-5 days before your periods begin.
30. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are characterized by a pungent-sweet flavor. They contain lysine compounds which help to reduce period cramps. To make the infusion, soak two tsp of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water for about 10 hours, and drink early in the morning when on an empty stomach. The drink is more effective when consumed a couple of days before your periods begin.
31. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds contain healthy fatty acids that help to relax the stomach muscles to reduce the cramps. In addition to that, sesame seeds are a rich source of magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6, and zinc which are affiliated with menstruation relief. To reduce the menstrual cramps, boil 1-2 tsp of sesame seeds in a cup of water and drink during your periods.
SAVE TO PINTEREST