Period pain can be so painful that doctors have actually given it a medical name. It’s called dysmenorrhea, and it’s a very common condition. More than half of women who menstruate report some pain from period cramps each month, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Cramps without a doubt can hinder your everyday life, having to cancel plans with friends or even missing work are not unheard of when the pain is excruciating. Luckily, menstrual cramps can be treated at home most of the time. Here are some safe and effective home remedies for menstrual cramp relief.
Try Some Yoga Poses
Whether it’s the stretching of your muscles or the relaxing effect of the poses, regular yoga practice can indeed help your cramps. When 20 undergraduate students did an hour-long yoga program once a week for three months, they had less menstrual cramping and period distress than 20 women who didn’t, according to research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. You can practice during your period or between them, but some instructors advise women against doing inverted poses during menstruation, as it could interfere with your natural flow.
Use a Heating Pad
Your uterus is a muscle, so anything that helps relax the other muscles on your body, like applying heat, can be beneficial. Research has found that topically applied heat was just as effective as ibuprofen for period cramps.
Drink Herbal Tea
Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps. Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, but teas have been used by menstruating women in numerous cultures for centuries. Chamomile and peppermint teas are often recommended for menstrual pain because they are calming to the body. Other teas associated with dysmenorrhea are those made from cramp bark, ginger, or fennel.
Massage with Essential Oils
Massaging your skin with certain aromatic oils can relieve menstrual cramp pain, according to researched published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research. Women with menstrual cramps and other symptoms were asked to massage with either essential oils or a synthetic fragrance into their lower abdomen between periods. Women in both groups reported less pain, but the essential oils group did better. Based on the women’s reports, researchers found that the duration of pain was reduced by almost half a day after self-massaging with the essential oils. Some oils that have been found to be helpful include lavender, clary sage, and marjoram essential oil.
Boost Feel-Good Endorphins with Exercise
Not only does your body’s natural endorphins boost your mood, but they also have a pain-relieving effect. One the best ways to boost your endorphins is through aerobic exercise. A study published in the Journal of Family & Reproductive Health found that either stretching exercises or aerobic exercise done three times a week for two months reduced cramping.
As you can see, menstrual cramps can be treated at home majority of the time. But if your pain is severe and impacts your lifestyle, don’t be afraid to talk to your HealthLynked provider. You might need medicines that are only available by prescription or some other treatment to help.