1. Avoid These Foods
During menstruation, it’s a good idea to avoid foods that cause bloating and water retention. Some of the biggest culprits include:
- Fatty foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Salty foods
Reducing or cutting out these foods can help alleviate cramps and decrease tension. Instead, try soothing (caffeine-free) ginger or mint teas or hot water flavored with lemon. If you need a sugar fix, snack on fruits like strawberries or raspberries.
Applying heat on the lower abdomen is the easiest way to control menstrual cramps. Heat helps relax the contracting muscles in the uterus.
Place a heating pad on the lower part of your abdomen and lower back. You can even use a regular plastic bottle filled with hot water. Apply the heat until you feel more comfortable.
Alternatively, soak a towel in water, wring out the excess water and then heat it in the microwave for one minute. Place it on the lower abdomen until the towel cools. Repeat every few minutes until the pain is gone.
Even taking a hot shower may relieve pain and make you feel more relaxed.
Ginger is a wonder herb that can effectively ease menstrual cramps. This herb plays a key role in lowering the levels of the pain-causing prostaglandins. It also helps fight fatigue associated with premenstrual syndrome and can make irregular periods regular.
Grate a small piece of ginger and boil it in a cup of water for five minutes. Strain it and add a little honey and lemon juice. Drink this tea three times a day during your menstrual cycle.
You can also add ginger in your food while cooking or suck on some ginger candies.
This may seem crazy to you, considering you can barely move (let alone brisk walk) when you’re dying in pain. But exercising increases circulation to the pelvic region and releases endorphins to counteract the prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that cause the uterine muscles to contract during menstruation).
5. 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, according to a study published in May 2012 in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research. Investigators assigned 48 women with menstrual cramps and other symptoms to massage either essential oils or a synthetic fragrance on their lower abdomen. The women used a mixture of diluted essential oils from the end of one period to the beginning of the next. Lavender, clary sage and marjoram were used in a 2-1-1 ratio, and the essential oils were diluted to a 3 percent concentration overall in an unscented cream (a solution created, for example, by adding 3 milliliters (ml) of essential oils to 97 ml of an unscented cream).
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 from 2.4 to 1.8 days after self-massaging with essential oils.
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 types of oil before using directly on the skin to avoid irritation and other problems.