More than half of women who menstruate report some pain from period cramps for a day or two each month. To help with the pain, here are 10 safe and effective tactics.
1. Improving Your Diet Will Help Alleviate Period Cramps
Research has shown that reducing fat and increasing vegetables in your diet may help ease monthly cramps.
Swap out less healthy fats like the saturated fats found in animal products, and choose healthier ones like unsaturated fats found in olive oil.
2. Pop a Safe Painkiller to Cut the Inflammation
Not everyone wants to turn to medicine to soothe period cramps, but moderate use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), such as Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen), can help.
3. Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping
Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps. One example of an herbal tea that people use for menstrual discomfort is cramp bark. Tea with peppermint oil may also help.
4. Try Fish Oil and Vitamin B1 for Natural Relief
Another natural route to period cramp relief is taking fish oil supplements, vitamin B1, or both.
5. Acupuncture May Help by Relaxing the Nervous System
Both acupuncture and acupressure could reduce pain, but concluded that more evaluation was needed.
6. Massage With Essential Oils for Pain Relief
Massage with certain aromatic essential oils (such as lavender essential oil, clary sage essential oil, or marjoram essential oil) can also relieve menstrual cramp pain.
Just be sure you’re using essential oils safely. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy suggests diluting pure essential oils in an unscented cream or lotion or other type of oil before using directly on skin to avoid irritation and other problems.
7. Curl Up With a Heating Pad to Ease Period Cramps
A review of studies published in March 2014 in the Journal of Physiotherapy found that heat reduced women’s period pain significantly.
8. Boost Those Feel-Good Endorphins With Exercise
In addition to their pain-relieving effect, endorphins can also boost your mood. Working out does as well. Perhaps the last thing you want to even think about while in the midst of cramps is exercise, but activity can boost endorphins and help chase away pain.
9. Up the Magnesium in Your Diet to Help Magnesium is found in many foods and as a supplement if you can’t get what you need from your diet. Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle functioning, among other vital tasks; researchers who evaluated the evidence on magnesium call it a promising treatment for menstrual cramps.
10. Birth Control Pills May Lessen Painful Cramping, Too
The odds are that your birth control pills may help relieve painful cramps, as reported in a Cochrane review of 10 studies that was published in October 2009.