Periods are a natural part of the female reproductive system but can be painful and uncomfortable. Many women suffer from menstrual cramps (aka primary dysmenorrhea), bloating, and headaches during their periods. While over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen can provide relief, some women prefer natural remedies to alleviate menstrual pain. Here are some of the best natural period pain relief remedies.
1. Heat Therapy
Applying heat to the abdomen can help relax the muscles and alleviate menstrual cramps. This has been proven by scientific studies, with one of them showing evidence that heat therapy is more beneficial for period pain when compared to no treatment.
You can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad to apply heat to your lower abdomen. Alternatively, take a warm bath or shower to soothe your muscles. Heat therapy can also help with bloating and headaches.
Exercise can help reduce menstrual pain by increasing blood flow and releasing endorphins, natural painkillers. Low-impact exercises like yoga, walking, and swimming can be particularly helpful during menstruation. This is demonstrated by this 2018 study, which recommended that aerobic exercises be used to treat menstrual cramps. However, avoid high-impact exercises like running or jumping, as they can aggravate cramps and cause discomfort.
3. Dietary Changes
Certain foods can exacerbate menstrual pain and bloating, while others can provide relief. For example, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods can worsen menstrual symptoms. On the other hand, foods rich in magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6 can help alleviate cramps and improve mood. Foods like bananas, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds are good sources of these nutrients.
4. Herbal Tea
Drinking herbal tea can help relax the muscles and soothe menstrual cramps. Chamomile tea is a popular choice, as it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate pain and discomfort. Ginger tea is another good option, as it can help reduce nausea and bloating. Other herbal teas that help with menstrual pain include peppermint, fennel, and raspberry leaf tea.
5. Natural Supplements
Taking natural supplements can also be a helpful way to alleviate menstrual pain. Some effective supplements include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin E. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil and flaxseed oil, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce menstrual pain. Magnesium can help relax the muscles and alleviate cramps, while vitamin E can help reduce the severity of menstrual pain. However, scientific evidence backing the effectiveness of dietary supplements for menstrual cramps is not strong and so more research is needed. Talking to a healthcare provider before taking any supplements is important, as they can interact with other medications and have potential side effects.
6. Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used topically or aromatically to provide natural period pain relief. Scientific studies have consistently shown that aromatherapy with essential oils is an effective alternative treatment for menstrual pain. Some of the best essential oils for menstrual pain include lavender, clary sage, and peppermint. You can apply these oils to your lower abdomen or add them to a warm bath for a relaxing soak.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points of the body. It has been shown to help alleviate menstrual pain and improve overall well-being. Acupuncture can also help with other menstrual symptoms like mood swings, fatigue, and headaches.
According to several studies, acupuncture provides better relief to menstrual cramps when compared to painkillers like ibuprofen (NSAIDs).
Many natural remedies can help alleviate menstrual pain and discomfort. Heat therapy, exercise, dietary changes, herbal tea, essential oils, and acupuncture are all effective options for period pain relief. If you have severe or persistent menstrual pain, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions.