A common symptom and often bothering, menstrual pain is something women have to deal with every month. Cramps occur when the chemical prostaglandins rise, causing uterine contractions, inflammation and pain. More than half of women who menstruate say that they have menstrual cramps for a day or two during each cycle, especially the days before or during the first days.
6 ways to mitigate menstrual pain
- Improve your diet
Reducing fat and increasing vegetables help ease monthly cramps. Following a low-fat diet decreases overall levels of inflammation in the body so try easing cramps with a healthier diet. Swap out less healthy fats found in animal products and choose to eat healthier ones like unsaturated fats found in olive oil. The aim is to get 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories from healthier fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetables oil. Magnesium rich food such as dark chocolates, banana, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and arugula are bursting with the mineral, as are nuts like almonds and cashews.
- Stop inflammation with a painkiller
Sometimes you just need to turn to medicine such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) such as Advil and Motrin (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen) to stop period pain. NSAIDs lower prostaglandin production and decrease inflammation and pain.
- Massage with essential oils for menstrual cramps
Massaging with certain essential oils have been found to help relieve menstrual pain. Some of the best oils to treat this condition are:
- Marjoram essential oil help dilate the blood vessels and aid muscle relaxation. The analgesic properties of the oil help soothe pain and reduce inflammation in the uterus.
- Clary sage essential oil specifically helps with the regulation of a woman’s menstrual cycle and has been linked with relieving symptoms associated with menopause.
- Lavender essential oil is an anti-inflammatory that improves blood flow and have soothing properies that reduces cramping.
- Geranium essential oil is famous for its soothing qualities and can help alleviate symptoms of menstruation and menopause.
4. Using heat to relieve pain
The use of topically applied heat like a heat pad or hot water bottle for pain relief is known to help just as much as medicine for cramps. Increasing blood flow decreases cramps.
5. Boost endorphins with exercise
Endorphins are known for lifting mood and they also have a pain-relieving effect. Orgasms are known for releasing endorphins and so does working out. Exercise might be the last thing you are thinking about while in pain but regular aerobic exercise and stretching on other days will boost endorphin so let’s get active both in bed and out of bed.
6. Closing the ‘pain gates’
Another concept gaining traction among women is stimulating the nerves to “close the pain gates”. Livia is a device that clips onto the waistline of trousers, jeans or skirt, and uses a pain relief method that does not involve drug consumption. The idea is to stop pain by stimulating the body’s nerves with vibration, making it impossible for pain to pass so that you can get on with your day.
Over the counter painkillers is an easy way to get rid of the excruciating discomfort, but should be taken as soon as you feel pain. In the long term, it is important to regulate their use because of serious side effects such as bleeding disorders and damage to the liver that can be caused from overuse.