It's the unsolicited cramps for me 🧚✨
How many of you feel attacked by menstrual cramps despite doing everything in your power to prevent it? Truly buffoonery at its finest 🙃
Still, if there are ways to reduce the pain, even just a little bit, it's worth a try, right?
Here are 10 ways to deal with menstrual cramps during your time of the month.
1. Use a heat patch
Using a heated patch, pad or hot water bottle can help relax the muscles of your uterus that cause cramps. Heat can also boost blood circulation in your abdomen, which can reduce pain!
In fact, according to a 2004 study, continuous low-level topical heat therapy for cramps is actually more effective than taking an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, like acetaminophen.
The research also showed that people who used heat therapy had less fatigue and mood swings! Now, that's what I'm talking about.
You can find easy-to-use heat patch at local pharmacies and right here at Enya! They can be used on the go, just peel and stick them on your abdomen.
Heating pads and hot water bottles aren't as convenient and portable. However, they're great choices if you have the time to lounge around at home!
2. Do some gentle exercise like yoga
I know what you're thinking — Exercise? During my period? I know, but hear me out.
Regular low-to-medium intensity aerobic exercise can also reduce period cramps significantly! Listen, science doesn't lie. Such workouts include biking, brisk walking, dancing or playing any sport you enjoy.
Yoga is a gentle exercise that also releases endorphins and helps prevent or reduce menstrual symptoms. In a 2011 study, three different yoga poses — Cobra, Cat, and Fish — significantly reduced intensity and duration of pain during menstruation for young women ages 18 to 22.
Here are 4 yoga poses you can try to relieve your menstrual cramps:
3. Soak in a warm bath or have a steamy shower
Soaking in a warm (your vagina is sensitive!) bathtub is another great way to bathe your pelvic muscles in heat, literally!
You can make most of your soak with adding Epsom salts to the water to help provide pain relief with muscle cramps or tension, or a few drops of essential oils — like lavender, sage, or rose — to your bathwater.
Try to relax in a warm bath for at least 15 minutes to get the most benefits from it.
If you simply don't have the time, try taking a hot shower and facing the spray—it should have the same effect!
4. Drinking warm water
Yeah, sounds just like your mom right?
Seems weird but drinking water actually keeps your body from retaining water and helps to avoid painful bloating during menstruation. Warm or hot water is usually better for cramps, as hot liquids increase blood flow to your skin and may relax cramped muscles.
You can also eat water-based foods to increase your hydration, including:
- berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
5. Getting a relaxing aromatherapy massage
Research shows that massage therapy for about 20 minutes can help reduce menstrual pain caused by endometriosis. The researchers found that massages significantly reduced pain immediately and afterward.
Massage therapy for menstruation involves pressing specific acupressure points! Here's a video tutorial:
But not just that, aromatherapy or the use of essential oils can elevate massages to reduce the amount and duration of pain significantly, compared to synthetic fragranced creams.
Oils that seem to be most effective at reducing period cramps, due to their ability to boost circulation, include:
Do read up on how to use essential oils properly, as you have to mix them with carrier oils!
6. Practice a good sleeping routine
Going through shark week will definitely make you feel much more tired than usual, so it is super important to have a good sleeping routine in place before your period starts!
That means — sleeping and waking up at specific times of the day — making sure that you get enough rest hours as well.
If you're looking for the best position to catch a snooze, try the fetal position. Experts say it takes pressure off the abdominal muscles, reducing tension and cramps! Besides that, having your legs squeezed together also reduces the likelihood of any leakage.
But leakage? We don't know her ever since we started using Enya.
7. Avoiding certain foods
It goes without saying that we should avoid all the weird stuff we crave during our period — caffeine, alcohol, salty & fatty foods.
Carbonated beverages also are not a good idea as these foods cause bloating and water retention which leads to more painful cramps! When you're dehydrated by all these salty, processed foods, your uterus will cramp more.
One word: Yikes!
8. Sip on some chamomile or ginger tea
Herbal teas can help with relaxing your body and soothing pains with their warmth.
Chamomile has been proven to relieve muscle spasms and known for its calming effects, commonly regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer.
Meanwhile, ginger helps with pain relief and also has the ability to warm the body by increasing blood circulation.
These warm and soothing teas may definitely help alleviate cramps and decrease tension. I mean, we need all the help we can get!
9. Pop a pill of OTC pain medication
Over-the-counter pain medication like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can really help with period cramps and any other pains that comes with Aunt Flo.
Ibuprofen, aspirin and ponstan are effective treatments that you can ask your local pharmacist for. If you have any history of heart, liver, or kidney problems, or if you have asthma, ulcers, or bleeding disorders. Also, be sure to only take as directed!
These medications work best if they’re taken at the first sign of cramps or pain. They work to dampen the release of prostaglandins, leaving you with less pain and cramping. So taking them when the pain is great, will not be as effective.
10. Taking fish oil supplements
This sounds crazy, I know, but we've heard from a few friends that it works for them!
Taking fish oil supplements regularly will reduce period cramps, periodt. Even research says it can be better than ibuprofen. What?!
Other studies also claim that daily doses of fish oil and vitamin B-12 may help with other menstrual symptoms like headaches, nausea and fatigue.
Sounds like the miracle pill to me!
And if all else fails, girl, just curl up in bed for a good ol' Netflix and chill.
If your cramps just wanna get you down, take it as an excuse to relax!
Will it help with the pain? Probably not. Will it make dealing with the pain less awful than trying to actually put on clothes and be a person? Yeah, probably.
It's 2020, we say: self care, baby.