Natural Cramp-Relief Remedies
While we complain about everything through every cycle, curled up in bed wishing for it to end, period pain can be quite annoying. Throw in mood swings and you’re in for a fun week! This is when you give yourself the break you deserve. You don’t always need to tough out the pain. In an attempt to stay away from popping pills, here are a few ways to calm down the raging war inside your uterus and to naturally soften the anguish:
1. Fluid it up:
Replacing loss of fluid with plenty of fluids is the simplest and most important. This always works, as fluids ease bloating. A healthy habit of drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day will make it easier for your period. While you’re at it, cut down on the salt to avoid retention and bloating. If plain water gets you bored, glam it up with fruit-infused or mineral water, or make yourself a pitcher of cucumber, mint, and lemon water to drink throughout the day!
2. Jump on the bed:
Sounds insane, but some of the best ideas usually are. Curling up in bed with a huge comforter only makes you focus on the cramps more. Jumping on your bed will get your blood flow right. This works like a charm and like any other exercise, but with brownie points-you don’t have to put on your sports bra and running shoes for this.
It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, find a warm glass of mulled wine and it will help you get rid of your cramps better than anything else in the world. The aroma is refreshing, the sweetness is soothing, and the alcohol just relaxes your muscles right up. Grab a glass before bedtime during your next period and sleep soundly and painlessly.
4. Eat right:
You already know what this means. Sadly, avoid everything that you’re craving and all that’s oily, full of chocolate, sugar, and salt. Skip the tobacco, as it only make your cramps worse. What you could refresh yourself with are anti-inflammatory foods like cherries, blueberries, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Fish rich in omega-3, beans, almonds, and (sorry) dark leafy greens will play a huge part in easing pain. It's best to eat a healthy, balanced diet year-round, and not just for a few days a month during your period.
What to avoid: white refined food like bread and pasta, trans-fatty food like cookies, and caffeine.
As a substitute, try smoothies loaded with antioxidant-rich greens, berries, and protein powder. The nutrients will give you a much needed pick me up without the increased pain that caffeine brings along.
5. Stock up on tea:
Prostaglandins in your uterus are responsible for nausea, pain, headache, and cramps. Sipping on a good hot cup of ginger, black pepper or chamomile tea inhibits these pain-causing glands and enhances menstrual flow. Ginger is the best drug-free alternative for period pain relief. As a bonus, it also helps make irregular periods regular and fights fatigue associated with premenstrual syndrome.
6. Anti-cramp calcium: Everyone needs calcium, but most menstruators don’t get enough. Adequate calcium helps relieve cramps and ensures a comfortable cycle. Load up on low-fat dairy products, fortified orange juice, canned sardines and salmon, and other calcium-rich foods to get your daily fill.
7. Magnesium: Almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, and black beans are essential to regulate your flow and fuel more than 300 enzymes. When taken with vitamin B6, it also keeps your PMS under control. Having said that, magnesium can interfere with the activity of other medications, if you consume any. Seek a doctor’s advice before you go ahead with this.
8. Turmeric and cinnamon treat: This might not be the most exciting, but the curcumin in turmeric never fails to solve your pain problems. It combats inflammation and improves behavior, mood, and physical symptoms. Mixing it with food or a warm glass of turmeric milk before bed present a lot of different ways to merge turmeric in your diet. Additionally, a sprinkle of cinnamon in your dish, on your cereal or a cup of hot cocoa will go a long way to reduce bleeding, pain, and nausea.
Massaging your lower abdomen for 5 minutes a day relieves cramps as it encourages blood flow. Essential oils like sage, lavender, and sesame oil have additional benefits for the body. These oils contain compounds that relieve pain and soothe dysmenorrhea.
10. The Herbal way: Quite a few herbs can treat cramps and have effective pain relief. These include:
Parsley- is a natural relaxant that fights bloating and water retention, thanks to its cleansing property
Fennel- this one’s potentially underrated, but it happily helps you bid adieu to period pain. Add fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water and watch it regulate your flow
Jeera and ajwain- make sure this one’s a go-to part of your herbal tea as it instantly helps you relax with its anti-spasm effect
11. Heat and exercise:
You can never go wrong with a hot water bag. As cramps are a result of muscles lacking flow, heat easily ramps this up. It doesn’t just provide comfort and have a placebo effect - it deactivates the pain at a molecular level in pretty much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work. Also, working your core with light exercises keeps the blood pumping and eases pain. Taking a walk works best.
12. Time for a bubble bath:
Is there anything a luxurious bubble bath with your favorite bath salts cannot solve? It may be just the thing you need to soothe pain and relax tense muscles. Unwind with a good magazine and melt your stress away. If you’re not a bath person, a warm shower is equally relaxing. It will help reduce pelvic pain, improve circulation, and help you sleep better.
Use these the next time you are plagued with cramps, and have a (somewhat) happy period!
Written by Nibha Patil
Cover by Khyati Patkar