Cramps affect many people before and during their period. While some people only experience mild cramps, others aren’t quite as lucky. In some cases, the pain from period cramps can be extreme and make a serious dent in your daily life.
If period pain is cramping your style every month, there are steps you can take to gain back control.
Here are proven home remedies that may ease your discomfort, and help you get back on track with your busy life.
1. Drink more water
Bloating can cause discomfort and make menstrual cramps worse. Drinking water can reduce bloating during your period and alleviate some of the pain it causes.
Also, drinking hot water can increase blood flow throughout your body and relax your muscles. This can lessen cramps caused by uterine contractions.
2. Enjoy herbal teas
Herbal teas have anti-inflammatory properties and antispasmodic compounds that can reduce the muscle spasms in the uterus that cause cramping.
Drinking chamomile, fennel, or ginger tea is an easy, natural way to relieve menstrual cramps. Plus, herbal teas can have other benefits like stress relief and helping with insomnia.
3. Soak in a tub.
Soaking in a warm bathtub is another way to surround your pelvic muscles with the warmth they need to relax.
You can enhance the pain-relieving power of a good soak by adding a few drops of essential oils — like lavender, sage, or rose — to your bathwater.
4. Try dietary supplements
Vitamin D can help your body absorb calcium and reduce inflammation.
Other supplements, including omega-3, vitamin E, and magnesium, can help reduce inflammation and might even make your periods less painful.
For best results, take supplements every day, not just during your period. Also, because some supplements interact with medications, be sure to ask your doctor before taking anything new.
5. Reach for decaf
Caffeine causes your blood vessels to narrow. This can constrict your uterus, making cramps more painful.
If you need your coffee fixed, switch to decaf during your period. If you rely on caffeine to beat the afternoon slump, eat a snack high in protein or take a quick 10-minute walk to boost your energy.
6. Use a heat patch
Using a heated patch or wrap on your abdomen can help relax the muscles of your uterus. It’s these muscles that cause period cramps.
Heat can also boost circulation in your abdomen, which can reduce pain.
If you’re in pain, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. But even gentle exercise releases endorphins that make you feel happy, reduce pain and relax your muscles.
Fifteen minutes of yoga, light stretching, or walking might be all you need to feel better.
8. Reduce stress
Stress may make cramps worse. Use stress-relief techniques like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or your own favorite way to relieve stress.
If you’re not sure how to relieve stress, try guided imagery. Simply close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine a calm, safe place that’s significant to you.
Stay focused on this space for at least a few minutes while you take slow, deep breaths.
9. Massage therapy
Massages may reduce uterine spasms by relaxing the uterus. In order to most effectively manage period cramps, massage therapy should focus on the abdominal area.
But a full body massage that reduces your overall stress may also help to relieve menstrual cramps.
10. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Some foods can offer natural relief for cramps and they taste great. Anti-inflammatory foods can help promote blood flow and relax your uterus.
Try eating berries, tomatoes, pineapples, and spices like turmeric, ginger, or garlic. Leafy green vegetables, almonds, walnuts, and fatty fish, like salmon, can also help reduce inflammation.