NOTE: This is a long, information-packed article on Home Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps. To make it easier to navigate, use the Table of Contents button to your right!
When a woman is menstruating, she is most likely experiencing a number of symptoms in her body. Most of these symptoms can be really irritating and uncomfortable. Some discomforts include bloating, diarrhea or constipation, lower back pain and abdominal cramping.
It is important to remember why these things are happening during this period. It is said that the uterus contracts when one is having her period. This contraction helps to expel the lining of your uterus.
Prostaglandins, which are the hormones associated with inflammation and pain, are higher during this time because it helps trigger the contractions in your uterus. According to studies, four out of ten women experience abdominal cramps during their menstruation.
There are thousands of pain relievers and medications that can help women manage menstruation cramps, but it is always a good idea to try the natural and organic methods. Even for those experiencing severe menstruation cramping, you can try the methods below and practice it regularly.
Though the effects of these methods can take quite some time compared to medications, organic options are still considered as healthier options. Choosing home remedies also saves you from higher medication costs.
Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
If youâ€™re currently or have suffered from cramps in the past and are looking for some remedies to try out at home, here are a few home-based solutions:
Itâ€™s common to see women suffering from period cramps boycott exercise and roll up in bed. While itâ€™s no harm in resting during the cramp cycle, saying no to physical activity can actually cause more harm than good.
Moderate exercise is beneficial, and it can also help with the condition. This is because muscles become loose from exercise and blood circulation to the pelvic area increases. The exercise that can be performed is simple brisk war for 30 minutes, 3 times a week.
Heat can help muscles and blood vessels relax. This is also true for a womanâ€™s uterine muscles, which are contracted when you are on your menstruation period. This contraction is the cause of pain and cramping. There are different options in the market that you can choose from if you want to try this method.
There are over the counter heating patches, a heating pad, a warm compress bag, etc. You just have to take caution when applying heat on any part of your body. Avoid burns by regularly checking the temperature of the material.
Nutrition for Period Cramps
The pain from menstrual cramps can be reduced by making changes to your diet. While you may already know the benefits of following a well-balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating the right foods during your cycle can help to prevent energy drainage. You should also include foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect. Foods rich in Omega 3 such as salmon and nuts are great picks.
You can also reduce prostaglandin levels in the body, which is the main hormone that contributes to the condition, by taking one or two services (tbsp.) of flaxseed each day.
Reduce Animal Fats
Not only is this likely to help menstrual cramps and period pain; reducing the intake of saturated animal fat may provide other health benefits, too, such as a lower risk of heart disease. Animal fats contain a substance called arachidonic acid, which reduces the production of progesterone by inhibiting a key prostaglandin. Inadequate progesterone may exacerbate menstrual cramps and pain.
Remember, red meat is not the only source of saturated animal fat. Dairy products like butter and cheese also contain animal fat.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Most of us know this, but few of us really want to hear it! The truth is, though, that refined, white sugar and corn syrup can cause water retention which can contribute to period pain and cramps. Another thing about sugar is that it uses up precious B-vitamins during its processing in the body. These B-vitamins, especially B-6, are said to increase progesterone levels in the body and help reduce water retention.
Some foods rich in B-6 include salmon, bell peppers, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and most whole grains.
Increase Good Fats
Plant-based oils have quite a reputation for improving women's health, and for good reason. Nutritionally, these good fats help keep progesterone and estrogen levels balanced, which in turn can help prevent and alleviate many PMS symptoms and cramps. You can take supplements of evening primrose or flax oils, or use these oils cold in your diet. If you use flax seeds themselves to obtain the healthy oils, nutrition experts point out that flax seeds must first be ground up for the body to use them (you can purchase ground flax seed for this purpose).
Fish oils are also important in maintaining healthy cycles with less period pain. Taking supplements or eating salmon, mackerel, sardines, and other cold-water fish is a healthy dietary move to prevent menstrual cramps.
Magnesium Intake Affects the Frequency of Menstrual Cramps
This important mineral gets its own section, because it's so helpful in relieving menstrual cramps. One study showed magnesium to reduce period pain that was so severe even codeine had failed! Magnesium supplements are worth keeping on hand during menstruation, and you can include magnesium-rich foods in your diet throughout your cycle. Black beans, almonds, broccoli, spinach, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are a few such foods.
Another perk regarding magnesium – it is reported to reduce water retention.
Eat a Variety of Healthy Foods
Nutrition experts have observed that there's no such thing as a complete and perfect food. A good rule of thumb is, the more varied your intake of nutritious food, the better your overall health will be.
Experts say that taking in fragrant tea, like chamomile tea, helps relax the overall condition of the body. It was also found that tea contains hippurate, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. This anti-inflammatory ingredient helps decrease the production of prostaglandin, thus decreasing the pain and discomfort of abdominal cramps.
Herbs to Help Period Pain, Cramping
Some herbs can be very helpful in preventing and easing cramps and period pain.
- Oat straw, which is high in magnesium, is a relaxing herbal tea to try.
- Cramp bark capsules can help ease muscle pain and cramping. Look for Viburnum prunifolium – other herbs known as cramp bark do not have the same uterine-specific action as Viburnum prunifolium.
- Red raspberry leaf has a reputation for toning and relaxing the uterus, and it makes a pleasant tea.
While this is not a conventional solution, swimming can help with menstrual cramps by reducing menstrual flow. Taking a hot shower can also reduce the flow of heavy menstrual, and the warmth will also make the lower abdomen muscles relax, reducing the pain from the cramps. Warm water whether itâ€™s in a swimming pool or a bath will have an overall calming effect on the condition.
Some yoga poses such as Downward Facing Pose and Bridge Pose can help you to get relief from cramp pain.
For the Downward Facing Dog pose, you need to stand straight, put your hands on the legs, and bend forward. Now take your head down to the knees. In next movement, bring your hand to the floor in front of your feet and bend your right leg and take your left leg backwards. Slope your back down and bring the bottom up. Downward Facing Dog and other similar poses will leave you relaxed.
There is nothing wrong with starting off with the natural and organic remedies before proceeding to medical therapy. If none of these work at all, then you can switch to traditional medicine. If you are experiencing severe discomforts during your menstruation, it is also a good idea to seek medical advice before doing any medical intervention of your own.
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