People experience periods differently; some never develop period pains or cramps, others have mild pains, and others experience severe pains. It helps little that medical science hasn't found the exact reason why people get painful periods. Perhaps you fall into the category of people who dread their next period because of the pain and cramps they feel. These things impact your mood and work productivity for some days and then repeat next month. Perhaps you've tried to find temporary and permanent reliefs with little success. In this article, you'll discover whether home remedies work for period pain or not and what home remedies are popular and considered effective for period pain relief.
But first, what causes period pain?
Menstruation is the regular shedding of womb tissue such as blood and lining; the womb muscles contract to remove the inner womb lining. Menstruation typically occurs every month and comes with some pain in most people. Typical signs of menstruation include nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, and pains. Period pain is associated with menstruation because several things happen before and during the discharge. Some of the factors associated with period pain are:
If you have any of those factors, there's every chance that you will experience period pain. While you have little control over most of them, there's a way to get relief from period pain —home remedies.
Do home remedies work for period pain? Certainly, they do. However, most people experience period pain differently, and several unique factors contribute to it. Your unique situation determines the effectiveness of these home remedies.
When you feel cramps, place a warm towel or heating pad over your stomach. Applying heat to your stomach helps the muscles relax faster. Remember that the womb muscle contracts a lot during menstruation. Heat therapy works to relax muscles and provide relief. It is proven that heat works just as fine as prescription drugs such as NSAIDs. Heat therapy has no side effects and is practically free. You can use a heating pad, water bottle, or a thick towel at home. Heat the pad to the right temperature, allow it to cool for a few minutes, and then hold it to your stomach. Avoid heating the pad beyond the right temperature, or you'll scald your skin and increase the pain.
Curled up with your arms around your stomach, exercising could be the last thing you consider to relieve pain. You may not believe it, but doing some exercises could provide instant relief from period pain and help you overcome bouts of tiredness. Why? When you exercise, your body secretes endorphins, a hormone, in response to stress and pain. Endorphins reduce pain by blocking out the sensations.
Though some levels of endorphins are released when the period of pain sets in, you can increase the secretion by exercising. Simple exercises such as stretching, leg raises, and planks are good. When on the move, you want to make sure you're as comfortable as possible. So finding the right period underwear is a must to ensure as little discomfort as possible. But who says exercise should be boring? Some people also have sex to help with painful periods. Sex triggers the release of endorphins and other hormones that promote pleasure.
Massage therapy is a popular home remedy for issues ranging from inflamed muscles to bruises and even period cramps. What's the logic? Remember that certain muscles contract to shed the womb's inner lining for periods. You can reach those muscles to provide relief. Oil massage is an effective home remedy to soothe cramps. Use essential oils to massage your stomach. Essential oils with fragrances such as lavender rose, and mint is good for aromatherapy. Sit back or lay down, rub the oil into your skin and slowly massage your stomach. The combined effects of the massage and aromas will help you get relief. Although oil massage works, don't expect instant relief. It takes between a few minutes to an hour for the effects to kick in.
Vitamins B6 and E, iron, boron, manganese, and calcium perform different functions in the body. You lose some important minerals during periods and must regain them. Taking dietary supplements will help you regain the nutrients your body needs and provide instant relief. Calcium helps muscle recovery and could reduce your cramps. These nutrients occur naturally in certain foods. You can also buy vitamin supplements over-the-counter but speak with your doctor first.
Modifying your current diet may also help you. You might have to drop some foods to reduce period pain. Foods don't cause period pains, but some may worsen it. For example, caffeine, salty foods, fats, and alcohol may worsen period pain by increasing water retention and bloating. Also, avoid eating late-night foods to prevent indigestion. Dietary modifications are difficult because periods come with hormonal changes that sometimes cause mood swings and food cravings. But you can do it. Test the remedy by removing different foods to observe the ones that reduce period pains.
Besides cooking, herbs and spices are age-long home remedies for many health issues. You can reduce period pain with herbs and spices. Cinnamon, sage, and clove could provide the relief you need. Use powdered herbs to make hot tea, sieve the tea and keep for a few minutes before drinking. You can also drink chamomile and mint tea. Herbal teas may not provide instant relief, so you have to drink a cup or two occasionally to get relief.
The TENS machine delivers low, controlled voltage to stimulate the muscles and nerves. According to the NHS, TENS may help your period pain. Think of it as an electrical massage assistant. The device is battery-operated and has no known side effects. To use a TENS machine, ensure that your stomach is dry, and place the pads directly on your stomach with at least 1-inch space between. Turn on the machine and relax. You can use TENS regularly and for as long as you like. The stimulation brings a tingling sensation; contact your doctor if you feel something else.
OTC NSAIDs may qualify as home remedies because you don't need a doctor's prescription to buy them. Many people consider NSAIDs last when seeking relief from period pains. Some examples are Ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. Do not take NSAIDs a few days before your period begins. Use them only when you feel pain. Do not turn to NSAIDs every time, so you don't become dependent.
A hot bath may be all the relief you need. Whether you stand under a shower or lie in your bath, ensure the water is hot enough to relax your muscles. A hot bath could reduce muscle cramps and spasms that trigger period pain.
Although yoga is a form of exercise, it is often grouped separately because yoga goes beyond exercising. But yoga can help you get relief from period pains. Some yoga positions help relax the stomach muscles, reducing stress and promoting endorphin secretion.
Every single female is unique. Many of these home remedies might work in easing period pains for some women, not others, and vice versa. Period pain can be an uncomfortable and at times, excruciatingly painful experience. Finding ways to ease the pain is a goal many aims to achieve.