Period cramps can be all over the place. For some people, they feel like an inconvenience, while others experience debilitating pain. If you’ve spent the day laying in bed, unable to leave because of shooting pains, nausea, headaches or any other period symptoms, you’re not alone. In fact, 80% of women experience period pain at some stage of their lifetime, and for 5% to 10% of women, the pain is life-disrupting.
When your body is in pain, it is usually trying to tell you something. Extremely painful cramps can be signs of more serious conditions, such as endometriosis, so it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing constant period pain that disrupts your everyday life. Painful periods, may also be due to other lifestyle factors, and assessing how your nutrition and exercise routine play a role can be helpful. In the meantime, to get started, try incorporating some of these all-natural remedies that could be the fix you’ve been looking for.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in the body by helping to support muscle and nerve function, as well as energy production. It’s even more crucial during our cycles, as it’s physically present on the uterus to relax the muscle lining during a period. Up to 80% of women are deficient in magnesium, so it’s no wonder that taking a magnesium supplement may help to reduce painful period cramps. Magnesium aids in relaxing the muscles in the body, and one study showed that when taken with vitamin B6, magnesium produced significant results in the easing of period cramps.
Use a heating pad
Another aid in relaxing the muscles in the body is a heating pad. During menstruation, the uterus can work overtime during the cycle, which can cause soreness. One study shared that when applying heat to the pelvic area, it can ease muscle tension and relax abdominal muscles to reduce pain caused by muscle spasms. A heating pad, hot water bottle, or heating patch are all great options.
Try cycle syncing
The concept behind cycle syncing is changing up your nutrition and exercise through each phase of your cycle to make managing your period even easier. During your menstrual phase, consume more comforting foods, such as soups and stews, and engage in gentle exercises such as yoga and walking. In your follicular phase, do higher-intensity workouts such as running or cycling, and eat more iron-rich and fibrous foods to recover from your menstrual phase. Your ovulatory phase is a good time for HIIT workouts and hormone-balancing foods, such as cruciferous vegetables and maca. Lastly, during your luteal phase, try low-impact workouts such as strength training and increase your caloric intake with complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and whole grains.
Managing your hormones can also help you have better periods. Some foods and drinks spike hormones more than others, such as red meat, soy and dairy products, caffeine, and processed foods. Limiting your intake of these hormone spikers may be the difference between painful periods and pain-free ones. You can also check with your doctor about getting checked for a hormonal imbalance.
Try essential oils
Essential oils have a surprising number of benefits, including possibly helping ease painful cramps. Lavender and sage are two that help promote calmness and relaxation (and you can find them in the Being Frenshe Lavender Cloud collection). You can try rubbing essential oils on your lower stomach or add a few drops to a bath. Just be mindful that certain essential oils can be toxic to animals, so be careful if you have a pet!
Regular exercise, from walking to HIIT, can help improve your period symptoms. One study showed that women who engaged in an hour of yoga each week for 12 weeks were less likely to have severe cramps than those who didn’t. But if yoga isn’t your thing, that’s okay—any kind of movement helps.
Drink herbal tea
Similar to essential oils, some herbs in teas can be beneficial for easing painful cramps because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Red raspberry leaf, ginger, and chamomile have pain-relieving properties. Try one or two cups a day to help see the benefits, and to begin drinking the tea a week or two before your period begins.