Dysmenorrhea, this is the medical name for period pain. It can be so painful, professionals actually gave it a name. Experiencing dysmenorrhea is actually pretty common. Over 50% of women who have menstruated report experiencing cramps every month. Because this pain can be very uncomfortable, some countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia offer menstrual leave for women.
However, for those of us who live in countries where taking time off work is not always available, we have to find ways to relieve and ease period pain. Fortunately, OTC or over-the-counter medicine is always available. Taking a paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease period pain and make you feel comfortable throughout your cycle.
But depending on OTC pain meds is not the only way to alleviate painful menstrual cramps. There are many remedies that you can practice at home to naturally get rid of pain. Here are some good examples.
Use a TENS Machine
A tens machine is basically a device that emits electrical currents to block the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. This type of treatment is non-invasive, safe and can be performed at home which makes it a convenient remedy for menstrual cramps.
A tens machine for period pain is very easy to use. You can simply place the pads on the painful area and then turn the device on. The mode of treatment can be adjusted according to your preference so that it is personalized according to your pain level.
Considering that most women will menstruate for approximately 40 years of their lives, a tens machine is a better long-term and drug-free solution for dysmenorrhea.
Massage With Essential Oil
We all know that massages can be relaxing and most of us indulge especially after physical labor or a stressful day at work. However, a massage with essential oil can also help alleviate period pain.
You can ask somebody to massage essential oil to your lower back or pelvic region. A gentle massage can relax the muscles while the oil can also help you relax via aromatherapy. You can do this a few days before your period starts or even during your period, especially when it gets painful.
Lavender essential oil is reported to be effective not only for relaxation but also for alleviating pain in the area. You can also try clary sage oil and marjoram essential oil.
Boost Mood with Endorphins
Endorphins, also known as the “happy hormone” does not only make you happy, it is also the body’s natural pain reliever. There are 2 ways you can boost your endorphins naturally. The first is via exercise.
A study published in the Journal of Family & Reproductive Health shows that women who performed stretching exercises or aerobic exercises at least 3 times a week experienced reduced cramping.
Another way to boost endorphin levels for period pain relief is by having an orgasm. The surge in hormone levels is the reason why we generally feel good and happy after experiencing one.
Another home remedy for menstrual cramps is to eat better. Women should try to avoid eating sugary treats which can lead to bloating and inflammation which contributes to period pain. Aside from sugar, women should also say no to food rich in trans fat and salt.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet instead. Anti-inflammatory foods like whole grain, vegetables like carrots, eggplants and broccoli and fruits like bananas and berries are good alternatives to sweets and junk food. Not only are they healthier, they are unlikely to cause bloating and inflammation which in turn relaxes your body and improves your overall health.
Limit Caffeine Intake
Coffee tastes better with doughnuts but you should probably avoid both of them a few days before your period to help make your period pain bearable. Coffee is rich in caffeine which dilates and constricts the blood vessels which can lead to more painful cramps.
If you really need coffee to function, switch to decaf in the meantime. But instead of the doughnut, grab a high protein snack and go for a 10-minute walk to feel better.
Better yet, switch to tea like chamomile and peppermint which are known for their calming effects. Drink lots of water too; it helps prevent bloating.
Take Vitamin Supplements
Consider taking vitamin supplements too. Vitamin D can help your body absorb calcium better and reduce inflammation in the body. Omega-3, vitamin E and magnesium can also help reduce inflammation and make period pain less painful.
But don’t just take supplements during your period. You consistently take the vitamin consistently as part of your diet and routine. However, supplements can interact with medication that you’re taking so it’s best to check with a healthcare professional to find out which supplements work with your current medicines.
Generally speaking, smoking is bad for everybody regardless of sex and age. There are no health benefits associated with smoking and they are also bad for the environment. So stop smoking.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who smoke are more likely to experience cramps lasting more than 2 days. In fact, women who started smoking early are more likely to experience ongoing period pain compared to women who have never smoked.
Smoking makes periods more painful because it causes blood vessels to dilate, hormone levels to fluctuate and decrease oxygen intake. So do yourself a favor and stop smoking for the betterment of your overall health.
Our tips outlined above are not only home remedies that you can follow to make menstrual cramps, they are also necessary lifestyle choices that you can choose to adopt in order to live a long and healthy life.
Consult with a healthcare professional before employing any of our suggestions as these changes are significant and can impact your health. This is especially true if you are still experiencing dysmenorrhea even though you have followed all of our tips.