I'm absolutely certain that some people's period pain is worse than giving birth. The reason why your body feels like it needs to curl up into a ball is because of painful muscle contractions in your lower abdomen that inhibit blood flow. There are natural ways to fight it, trust me!
I've traveled around the world to figure out the best natural methods to make your time-of-the-month a little more enjoyable. Here are 10 tried-and-tested natural ways to relieve your period cramps. No more birth control, no more pain medication.
1. Herbal Tea
Coffee is supposed to make us feel alert and alive, especially during a time when we feel like we're about to collapse into the fetal position on the floor, but try to avoid it. Drink herbal tea instead of a hot caffeinated drink. Research has found that chamomile tea has sedative properties that relaxes your muscles in a short amount of time.
I cannot stress enough how great Omega-3s are for your body! Salmon is rich in this fatty acid, which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that taking fish oil supplements are more effective to treat your menstrual cramps than pain medication like ibuprofen.
You should already be drinking a few glasses of water every day, but you should be drinking more glasses than usual when you're on your period. Water not only keeps you hydrated, it also fills up your bladder, which presses on your uterus, releasing the accumulated blood that's causing your cramps.
4. Walking Slowly
This may sound counterintuitive, but exercise actually makes you feel better. When you're up and moving, your body releases feel-good hormones that mitigate pain. Of course, you can't start break dancing when it feels like someone has stabbed you in your uterus, but try your best to get up and walk around your house for a bit. I find it hurts more when you're clutching your stomach on the floor than when you're slightly hunched while making an effort to walk. It's a little painful at first, but in a minute or so you'll feel better.
5. Aloe Vera Juice
You probably put aloe vera on your skin when you have a sunburn. The cooling gel relieves the pain and helps heal your damaged skin. This happens because the plant has anti-inflammatory properties that ease pain, which has also been found to relieve menstrual cramps. You can apply the gel on your lower abdomen and back, or drink the juice.
You'll want to write these next tips down!
6. Hot Water Bag
Ice is great for a recent injury, but heat is best for chronic conditions. Unfortunately, period cramps are basically a chronic problem. Applying a hot water bag or keeping something warm around your lower torso will help relax your muscles and encourage blood flow.
7. Dark Chocolate
Don't feel guilty about indulging in your favorite sweet during your time-of-the-month! The only downside here is that you have to say goodbye to sweet milk chocolate, if that's the only kind of chocolate you like. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar and rich in vitamin E, which works like an antioxidant. It's a win-win!
8. Essential Oils Massage
A study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research found that women who massage their lower abdomen with aromatic essential oils like lavender, clary sage, or marjoram, have less period cramps than those who don't. I've tried massaging my lower back and lower abdomen with lavender before and it's worked wonders. I would imagine that just the act of massaging those areas itself will relax the muscles and stimulate blood flow.
9. Have an Orgasm
Having an orgasm is definitely an unconventional way of relieving period pain, but it works. Studies have found that orgasms are like exercise: The act of climaxing releases endorphins in your body that relaxes your muscles and encourages blood flow.
10. Avoid Foods That Cause Bloating
I've listed ways you can alleviate your period cramps, but I think it's important to mention the kinds of foods you should avoid a few days before your period and while you're on it. You've probably already noticed that you have more pain when you're bloated, so try cutting back on dairy, processed foods, alcohol, fried food, and foods high in salt and sugar.