Menstrual cramps are felt in the lower abdomen and female reproductive tract as a result of menstruation. These cramps are discomforting and quite painful, but they can be easily relieved using a healthy diet and several home remedies. One of the most important things is to take a diet rich in Iron and other vitamins and minerals i.e. micronutrients. As a result of the blood loss during menstruation, women may be low on Iron for a few days so be sure to eat nutrient rich food, especially during the menstruation period.

Symptoms

The condition of cramping and pain during the menstruation time is called dysmenorrhea or more commonly period pain. Cramping is not the only symptoms associated with this condition. There can be other signs like

  • Pain – There may be a pulsating pain in the abdomen, especially the lower abdomen. This pain may radiate to the pelvis, upper thighs, lower back and the flanks.
  • Cramping – Apart from the pain, there is a cramping which is caused by strained muscles. Cramping creates a sharp pain which is distinct from regular pain or ache. One can easily distinguish between the cramp pain and any other pain.
  • Upset Stomach – Because of the cramping and weakness, there can be all sorts of things going on in the stomach, like burping, flatulence, loose stools or constipation

Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps ( Period Pain relief )

There are many home remedies for a muscle cramp, but some of them are more suited for relieving the symptoms associated with a period cramp. Many of these foods or herbs are a tonic for the female reproductive system and the urinary system.

1. Eat Lots Of Yogurt

Women who eat lots of yogurt during their menstruation generally feel a weaker sesnation of discomfort and cramping. How much yogurt to eat ? One should aim to eat at least 2 cups of yogurt per day, distributed over 2 meals. Yogurt is excellent for digestive system health as it contains probiotics ( healthy bacteria )[1]. The yogurt should not be eaten when frozen. Make sure it is at room temperature. Also go for high quality organic yogurt, and not the synthetic yogurt.

2. Heating Pad

Placing a heating pad on the lower abdomen. There are various ways to make a heating pad at home, inexpensively.

  • Take a sock and fill it up with warm rice. One can also use hot salt.
  • Take a cold compress bottle and fill it with hot water instead.
  • Just place a warm water bottle.

Warmth soothes the muscles and they relax. This alleviates the cramping.

3. Take a Essential Oil Bath

This is not your regular quick shower. In order to reduce menstrual cramps, one has to take a salt water bath.
  • Ingredients
    Epsom salt
    Water
    Clary sage essential oil
  • Directions
    Heat up the water and fill up your bath tub. Add 1 cup Epsom salt and 20 drops Clary sage essential oil. Stir the water around a bit to let the salt dissolve in it. Take a long bath in this water. It brilliantly relieves menstrual cramps, and cramps in whole body.
  • Why it works ?
    Epsom salt contains magnesium. This mineral is excellent for relieving cramps, either topically or when taken in diet. Secondly, Clary sage essential oil has been noted to be helpful in menstrual cramps[2].

4. Cinnamon tea

You love drinking your daily cups of green tea. Well, it is time to spice it up a bit, in order to relieve menstrual cramps. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of green tea when hot. Stir the tea for 1 minute and then strain it again. Drink this tea. It tastes sweet and spicy at the same time. Enjoy your cinnamon tea and relax for more relief from menstrual cramp pain.

5. Ginger Milk

This remedy is popular among the grandmothers. It involves drinking milk made with ginger. By the way, have you ever tried ginger milk. It tastes so much better than regular milk.
  • Ingredients
    Ginger
    Milk
  • Directions / How to prepare
    Add 1 tablespoon of grated ginger to a cup of boiling water. Let the milk boil slowly and gradually to allow the nutrients from ginger to steep into milk. Strain the milk out after 10 minutes. Let it cool a bit and then drink it.
  • Why it works ?
    Ginger is a natural pain reliever ( analgesic ) [3]. It is also an antispasmodic ( reduces spasms ). Moreover, ginger is great for the digestive system. So, it alleviates problems like nausea, indigestion and abdominal pain.

6. Massage Ice

Most people would apply mild heat to calm strained muscles. But one can also make use of ice to reduce inflammation and pain. As many physiotherapists would tell you, there is nothing more handy for pain that ice. It is used for reducing pain in bruises, cramps, sprains, strains and other injuries. Put some ice cubes in a cold compress and then place it on your lower abdomen. It may have a mild numbing effect, but it surely alleviates menstrual cramps.

7. Wintergreen Oil ( Pain Reliever from Mother Nature )

Wintergreen oil is a powerful pain relieving essential oil. It can be applied on the skin to reduce any kind of pain, even cramps.

  • Ingredients
    Wintergreen oil
    Olive oil
  • Directions / How to use
    Add 8 – 10 drops of wintergreen oil to about 100 ml olive oil. Use this oil to massage the lower abdomen and pelvic region, avoiding sensitive skin areas. This is important as wintergreen essential oil can irritate can sensitive skin. It can quickly alleviate pain.
  • Why it works ?
    Wintergreen oil contains very high amounts of methyl salicylate [4], which works similar to aspirin in relieving pain.

8. Chiropractic style massage of the back

To relieve menstrual cramp pain, try a back massage. This helps a lot. It should not be an ordinary oil massage, rather a chiropractic massage. This involves using the wrist and knuckles to stimulate vertebral joints in the spine. For this, one needs help from another person. This massage relieves pressure and compression in the spine, and also helps in muscle cramps [5].

9. Drink lots of water rich fruits

Most people would advise you to drink more water to relieve cramps. It helps though, but not as much as eating foods that naturally rich in water. You get many more vitamins, minerals and most important of all, electrolytes like sodium, potassium and calcium. Make sure to include some of these foods in diet.

These foods really hydrate the body like nothing else. And one can feel the difference in the skin within a few hours.

10. Drink Cranberry Juice

The juice of cranberries is tart. It is not sweet in reality, so if you find cranberry juice sweet, then it has added sugar in it, which is very harmful. It is better to extract cranberry juice at home, and way cheaper. Drink about 1 glass of tart cranberry juice each day. This relieves urinary tract infections [6] and menstrual cramps. Cranberry juice is one of the most powerful tonics for the urinary system and great for overall health.

11. The Delicious Tea

This is a simple and highly effective home remedy for menstrual cramps.

  • Ingredients
    Black tea
    Honey
    Lemon
  • Directions / How to use
    Prepare a cup of mild black tea. Add some drops of lemon juice and 1/2 a tablespoon of honey. Let it cool a bit and drink it slowly.
  • Why it works ?
    This tea is soothing and very relaxing. It may seem somewhat less powerful, but it does help a lot. Do not drink this tea right after a meal. Black tea can prevent iron from absorbing in your intestine.This can be harmful.

12. Stop drinking Coffee

That means only for the time around your periods. Many women have noticed that avoiding coffee for some days prior to the period lessens the severity of cramps and regular pain [7]. The reason behind this is obviously caffeine, which is a vasoconstrictor. It narrows blood vessels, which somehow seems to aggravate menstrual cramps.

13. Flax seeds

Eat 2 tablespoons of flax seeds every day. It provides high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a healthy fat which is required by the body from diet. You can put flax seeds in juice, recipes, smoothies, shakes. Flax seeds impact the menstrual cycle in a healthy way.

14. Vitamins and Minerals

There are some vitamins and minerals that are very important to be taken. Females lose a small portion of their blood nutrients because of menstruation. This needs to be replenished to overcome existing symptoms and prevent them in future. Make sure to get the following nutrients way more than the RDI.

  • Iron – Eat red meat, pumpkin seeds, liver, molluscs.
  • Vitamin C – This vitamin increases the absorption of iron. Eat citrus fruits, like lemons, lime, oranges.
  • Magnesium – spinach is excellent for magnesium. This mineral can be considered as an anti-cramp nutrient. It relieves cramping anywhere in the body.
  • Electrolytes – Sodium and Potassium are chief electrolytes within our body. Get them from bananas, pickle juice and milk.
  • Zinc – get high quality zinc from seafood and wheat germ.

15. Raspberry Leaf Tea ( Very Powerful )

This is a popular traditional remedy for menstruation problems. One can get raspberry leaf tea bags at a health store or online. Prepare a mild herbal tea using 1 teabag. Sip it warm. It is so powerful that you may even forget about period cramps.

These remedies can be quite helpful in managing menstrual cramps and leading a pain free life during periods. Cramps can drive out the energy in a person, making him or her lethargic. This can be prevented by following a nutrient rich diet all the time.

Precautions

There are certain precautions to be taken when dealing with menstrual cramps and painful periods.

  • Exercises like yoga, stretching or martial arts can help with the pain. But, these should be avoided at the time of pain. Frankly speaking, exercise should be done every day. Only then it provides the health benefits.
  • Red raspberry leaf is a herb, and as such can have side effects. It is generally safe for healthy adults, it should not be taken by people facing any kind of hormone related issues.

References

1. Yogurt and gut function.Adolfsson O, Meydani SN, Russell RM.NCBI
2. Effect of aromatherapy on symptoms of dysmenorrhea in college students: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial.Han SH, Hur MH, Buckle J, Choi J, Lee MS. NCBI.
3. Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions.Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG.NCBI.
4. Oil of Wintergreen – Can Med Assoc J. Aug 1926; 16(8): 971.
5. Spinal manipulation for primary and secondary dysmenorrhoea.Proctor ML, Hing W, Johnson TC, Murphy PA.NCBI.
6. Recurrent urinary tract infection and urinary Escherichia coli in women ingesting cranberry juice daily: a randomized controlled trial.Stapleton AE, Dziura J, Hooton TM, Cox ME, Yarova-Yarovaya
7. Painful menstrual periods – A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.
8. Effect of flax seed ingestion on the menstrual cycle. Phipps WR, Martini MC, Lampe JW, Slavin JL, Kurzer MS.NCBI.
9. Dysmenorrhea – Wikipedia




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