Heat might be the first option that comes to your mind, and it’s been a beloved solution for so long because it works. A heating pad or a hot water bottle on your abdomen can relax muscles such as the uterine muscle, bringing some much-needed relief to your cramps and other discomfort. If you’ve also got back pain, heat can help there, too. You might also consider a warm bath to relax muscles throughout your body all at once.
One step you can take that is often overlooked is making some changes to your diet. For example, consuming plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and nuts can help you stay healthy and minimize cramping pain. It’s also essential to stay well hydrated as dehydration is often behind muscle cramps. Cutting down on salt and salty foods, meanwhile, can help to reduce bloating and fluid retention.
Let’s be honest: When menstrual cramps strike, you just want to curl up in a ball in your bed and shut out the world. The last thing you want to do is get up and start moving, yet many women find that taking a gentle walk, doing some yoga, or even some light stretching can really make a difference. In fact, a study in Taiwan found that yoga classes twice a week led to a reduction in menstrual cramps after just 12 weeks.
One approach that can be surprisingly beneficial when it comes to menstrual cramps is essential oils. A study that looked into the use of essential oils in abdominal massage found that the group who were massaged using a blend of clove, cinnamon, rose and lavender oils in an almond carrier oil base noted significantly more relief from menstrual cramps than the group using the carrier almond oil alone. You can get these essential oils and give yourself a massage to see if you find some relief.
Even without essential oils, however, massage can be an effective technique for relieving menstrual pain. Whether you enlist the help of someone to massage your abdomen or you do it yourself, it can help your pelvic muscles to relax and take the edge off of cramps. While essential oils have been shown to enhance the effect, you can also use coconut oil or even body lotion in a pinch.
In studies, women have found relief not just from PMS-related pain like cramps and headaches but also nervous tension, breast pain, and even sugar cravings by taking magnesium on a regular basis. You can find magnesium in foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, pumpkin seeds, avocados, dark chocolate and black beans, in addition to supplements.
If you have the misfortune of suffering particularly strong menstrual cramps, you might want to consider acupuncture, which reduces inflammation and releases endorphins to help you relax. An Australian study of women aged 18 to 45 found that those who underwent acupuncture more frequently noted greater improvements in the intensity of their menstrual pain and related symptoms.
If you’re opposed to taking pills for menstrual cramps, that doesn't mean you have to suffer every month. Try one or all of these natural remedies to see which one will bring you relief!
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