Menstrual cramps are surely no fun for every woman and adolescent girl. As they are a natural part of our monthly period, the question ‘what helps to relieve menstrual cramps?’ is important to answer. The good news: there are different natural remedies which can help you deal with period pains. And the best thing? You don’t have to buy any costly products!
So, let’s get started – here are our best home remedies to reduce period cramps:
- Give yourself a break
Stress and a busy schedule will not help to reduce your pain. Relaxing can help to relieve menstrual cramps. Generally, you should try to get enough sleep to give your body the rest it needs to be fully functional during the day, especially during your period. Try to find which activity calms you down, you could listen to your favourite music, read a good book, try meditation or take a warm bath. By relaxing your mind and body, you help your muscles de-cramp and relieve period pain.
An old home remedy to reduce period pains is heat. Heat will relax your muscles and help to stop the cramps. Try putting a hot-water-bottle on your belly or your back, where the pain is located. You can also take a warm bath, which will help your whole body to loosen up.
- Tea Time
Heat from the inside is also helpful to deal with period pains. Herbal teas relax your muscles (and they taste good, too!). Try mixing different herbs like melissa, nettle and ginger to find out what works best for you.
Tip: drink hot tea instead of coffee during your period, as caffeine can worsen your period pains!
Don’t: Don’t drink just any tea. Black tea and green tea contain caffeine, too. Make sure the tea you choose to drink during your period does not contain caffeine, like pure ginger tea.
- Try a massage
By gently massaging your belly you can de-cramp your muscles and ease period pain. A self-massage usually takes between 5-15 minutes.
Try these 4 steps:
- Lay down on your back. Place both of your hands on your belly.
- Move your hands in circles over your belly. Try how much pressure feels good.
- Let one hand rest on your belly. With the fingers of the other hand do smaller circles and try to go a little deeper inside the belly. Do this gently, the exercise should not hurt you.
- In the last step you place both of your hands on your belly again. Breathe and relax.
Moving your body is probably the last thing you want to do when you are in pain, but it is one of the most effective ways to reduce period cramps. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go on a run! Taking a walk or trying some yoga poses can already make you feel better.
Here are 3 Yoga poses to ease period pain:
- Child’s Pose: Kneel down on the middle of your yoga mat (or a carpet) and sit on your heels. Your big toes are touching, your knees are hip-wide apart. Now with a forward bend lay down your upper body until your stomach touches your thighs and your forehead rests on the floor. Bend your arms forward and hold the position.
- Knees-to-Chest Pose: Lay down on your back. Bring your knees to your chest. Lay your hands on your knees or, if you can, gently wrap your arms around them but keep your back straight on the floor.
- Shavasana: Lay down on your back with your arms slightly extended to the sides of your body and your palms facing the ceiling. Your legs should be straight but slightly open and relaxed. Breathe deeply and try to actively relax your body while in this position.
Tip: Focus on your breathing and don’t rush yourself. If the poses feel good, stay a few minutes in that position while breathing deeply.
- Drink enough water
Drinking lots of water is an easy and effective home remedy to reduce bloating.
Tip: hot herbal tea counts as water, too.
- Take care of what you eat
Generally, you should avoid foods that are hard to digest or lead to bloating. For many women these include diary or meat products, but all bodies react differently so this might not be the case for you. What helps your friends, or your sister might not help you – don’t hesitate to try out different foods to find what helps you best to manage menstrual cramps.
Foods: Do’s and Don’ts during your Period
- Coffee, Coke, black tea and green tea – keep away from everything that contains caffeine. Caffeine narrows the blood vessels in our body, when this happens in the uterus your period cramps can get worse.
- Salt – try to use less salt in your food than usual, to avoid bloating and water retention as these can make your period pains worse.
- Diary & Meat products – according to some scientific studies, meat and diary like cow’s milk can worsen your PMS symptoms right before your period. Try to eat more veggies during your period, instead!
- Sugar – during our period chocolate or other sweets are often all we want. But beware: sugar cravings increase your insulin level for a short time to then decrease rapidly. This leaves you in a constant circle of craving sweets, while those foods like chocolate do not help to satisfy your hunger, but rather leave you bloated. It is okay to snack some sweets during your period but try to do it in moderation.
A healthy diet is always important but even more during your period. The right foods can not only help you to reduce period cramps but also prevent you from getting sick. Especially during the first days of menstruation, your immune system is more vulnerable. To reduce the risk of getting a cold or infection, you should eat healthy foods that contain many vitamins.
Here are the best foods against menstrual pain and to eat during your period to help you stay healthy:
- Fruit & Vegetables – Fruit and vegetables are important to nourish your body and strengthen your immune system.
- Pineapple – the fruit contains an enzyme that helps to relax your muscles and relieve menstrual cramps. Snacking healthy fruit like pineapple can also prevent you from cravings for unhealthy sweets, which might lead to bloating.
- Bananas – they can help to stop your period pain and prevent water retention, which makes you feel less bloated and more mobile.
- Vitamin B6 – foods that are rich in vitamin B6 help your body reduce blood loss. Try to include avocados, nuts, fish, eggs and bananas into your diet during menstruation as natural remedies to control heavy bleeding.
- Ginger – Ginger does not only taste great in tea, it also helps to reduce pain and fights nausea.
- Iron – When we loose blood during our menstruation, we also loose iron. Try to incorporate more foods that are rich in iron into your diet before and during your period, like nuts, lentils, soybeans and chickpeas.
Tip: Before your period starts you can reduce the symptoms of PMS by eating the right foods. Carrots, Sweet potatoes and pumpkins all contain lots of Vitamin A, which helps your body regulate and process hormones.
Tip: To avoid bloating, cook your vegetables instead of eating them raw and try to use less salt.
So, during your next period: relax, use heat from the in- and outside, try a self-massage, gently move your body and lastly, eat good foods and don’t forget to drink enough water! With these home remedies you can reduce period cramps effectively and have a pain-free menstruation.