Do you dread getting your period each month and you want home remedies for menstrual cramps that actually provide relief? Then you’re in the right place!
Even though menstrual cramps (aka dysmenorrhea) are quite common – about 50% of women report having them – you don’t have to put up with them!
In this article, we will look at how to stop period pain naturally, using essential oils, supplements and other natural remedies.
So, whether you have mild, moderate or severe menstrual pain, this article is full of tips that you can start using today!
Note: this post contains some affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.
WHY WE GET PERIOD CRAMPS
Although some medical conditions – like fibroids and endometriosis – are the cause of menstrual cramps, for the majority women period pain is actually a result of lifestyle habits.
More specifically, the root cause of most menstrual cramps is chronic inflammation and toxicity.
In order to understand how inflammation leads to menstrual cramps, we have to first talk about prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are fat-based hormones that help the uterus contract.
These contractions are necessary in order for the uterine lining to be expelled from the body each month.
Now, here’s the really interesting thing about prostaglandins: they have both pro-inflammatory AND anti-inflammatory properties.
Here’s what that means:
1. Women who don’t experience period pain have a healthy balance of both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins throughout their cycle.
2. On the other hand, women who do get cramps have an imbalance (higher levels of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins).
But now the question is: what causes high levels of prostaglandins anyway?
The main cause of high prostaglandins during your period is inflammation and toxicity.
The good news is that you have control over both of these two things!
Reducing inflammation and toxicity is all about supporting your body with food, supplements and other natural remedies that we will look at in this article.
PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION FOR MENSTRUAL PAIN: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Like many women, you have probably used NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) like ibuprofen when you need menstrual cramp relief.
While pain medicaton does provide relief, there is concern about its long-term effects on the body.
That concern has to do with the fact long-term, regular use of pain meds can cause side effects such as:
- Stomach pain
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- Mild headaches
- Feeling lightheaded
- Difficulty focusing
- Problems with balance
Did you notice something strange about the above list?
Take a close look and you’ll see that some of the side effects of pain meds are similar to period symptoms. Ironic, isn’t it?
Another concern with pain meds is that they can ruin the gut.
This is worrisome since the gut is necessary for hormone balance (which directly affects every aspect of our period!).
So, all in all, if you use prescription drugs, be are of the risks involved.
If you’d rather try natural, home remedies for cramps then keep reading!
7 NATURAL WAYS TO REDUCE PERIOD PAIN AT HOME
1. Use Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps
The study used a 2:1:1 ratio of lavender, clary sage and marjoram oils, in a 3% dilution.
I’ve gone ahead and put together the recipe for you so that you can use it whenever you need it!
So, what makes the above combination of oils one of the best natural remedies for painful periods?
It has to do with the main components of the essential oils. Specifically:
- Linalyl acetate
It is worth noting that the last ingredient in the list, beta‐caryophyllene, is a very powerful natural pain reliever that is also found in oils like clove, black pepper, hemp and copaiba oil.
There’s a lot of buzz about the pain-relieving properties of beta-caryophyllene and it is definitely worth trying for menstrual cramps.
This recipe also uses a 3% dilution.
2. Fill in Nutritional Gaps With a Multivitamin
Unfortunately, it is estimated that 2 out of 3 people in developed countries are magnesium deficient!
So, if you are struggling with mild or severe menstrual cramps, you may simply need to up your magnesium intake in order to start feeling better.
A simple (and relaxing) way to do this is with a magnesium spray like this one, designed specifically for period cramps.
In addition, you want to make sure you are getting enough of vitamins D, E and B1…they’ve all been shown to provide relief from menstrual cramps.
But keep in mind that these are just a few of the nutrients that the body uses to reduce pain and inflammation.
To ensure that you’re covering all your nutritional needs, it’s a good idea to take a complete, daily multivitamin.
This takes away the guesswork so you don’t waste time and money buying a bottle of each individual nutrient (and having a ton of pills to take).
The vitamin I recommend using to help painful periods is Beyond Tangy Tangerine 2.0.
It has all the vitamins and 90 trace minerals the body needs, plus prebiotics and probiotics to support your gut.
3. Use A Heating Pad To Improve Circulation
As a remedy for pain, heat works for one simple reason: it increases circulation.
Increased circulation leads to a reduction of pain.
In fact, a study done with 147 women compared the effects of a heating pad and ibuprofen on period cramps.
The study revealed that a heating pad is just as effective as ibuprofen!
And the best part is that with a heating pad you don’t have to worry about nasty side effects!
To get the same benefits for yourself, simply place a heating pad over your lower abdomen, or lower back.
This should provide quick relief and you can repeat the process as often as necessary.
To learn more about the benefits of heat and how to get the most out of it, be sure to read this post on heating pads for menstrual cramps.
4. Release Tension Through Light Exercise
Although exercise might be the last thing you want to do when you have cramps, it’s actually one of the best ways to reduce your period pain.
That’s because exercise releases hormones known as endorphins.
These endorphins give us an all-around feel-good sensation.
Endorphins also interact with pain receptors in the brain, therefore reducing our perception of pain.
Now, when it comes to exercising during your period, it’s important to do light activities.
Yoga is my favorite form of exercise for that time of the month (I know, shocking that a yoga teacher enjoys doing yoga!).
But seriously, setting my aside my personal bias, you’re better off doing low intensity activities during your period.
The reason for this is that low intensity activities put less stress on the body.
High intensity activities, on the other hand, can worsen pain because they put added stress on the body. You really don’t need more of that!
5. Practice Slow, Deep Breathing
Have you considered slow, deep breathing as a natural remedy for cramps?
It’s a small practice that can make a huge difference.
Slow deep breathing refers to breathing with the belly and diaphragm.
Simply put, it means you allow your belly to expand when you inhale, and then you relax the belly toward the spine on the exhale.
When this type of breathing is done slowly, it triggers the nervous system to calm down, ultimately reducing the intensity of pain.
To get stared, try this simple demo from Yoga by Adriene, where she uses deep breathing with the ujayi breathing technique.
Ujayi is a unique breathing method that creates a deeper sense of relaxation.
Give it a try 🙂
6. Use Anti-Inflammatory Herbs
Cramp bark, ginger and turmeric are three herbs that have been shown to be very effective at providing relief from period pain.
* Cramp Bark
As the name suggests, cramp bark is an herb that has traditionally been used to treat various types of pain, related to periods, arthritis and other conditions.
If you enjoy drinking tea, then you can make cramp bark tea as follows:
- Place 2 teaspoons of dried cramp bark into a cup of water
- Bring the mixture to a boil
- Reduce to a low temperature and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes
When it comes to herbal teas, it is generally recommended that you drink about 3 cups a day to get medicinal benefits.
Alternatively, you can also buy cramp bark as a tincture.
In addition to ginger’s pain relieving benefits, it can also relieve other PMS/period symptoms like headache, nausea, back pain, and gastrointestinal issues.
It’s hard to talk about natural remedies without mentioning turmeric!
This anti-inflammatory herb is very effective at all things related to inflammation and that includes reducing menstrual pain fast.
So, how does turmeric provide relief from period pain?
Well, first it regulates the production of prostaglandins, and as we saw earlier, it is thought that excess prostaglandins leads to severe cramps.
Also, turmeric is a great liver-supporting herb and is also great for supporting detoxing.
Since your period is essentially your monthly detox, turmeric supports that process and eases the overall stress (and pain) on your body.
7. Drink A Pain-Fighting, Hormone-Balancing Smoothie
Everything about our cycle is tied to hormones.
Therefore, starting your day with a hormone-balancing smoothie that also relieves pain can make your life much easier.
What Is The Best Essential Oil for Menstrual Cramps?
Some of the best essential oils for menstrual cramps are lavender, clary sage, frankincense and basil. This article on What Essential OIls Are Good for Menstrual Cramps covers the top 10 oils and provides guidelines on all the ways you can use them at home.
Where do you put essential oils for menstrual cramps?
For the best results, massage essential oils onto the part of the body where you experience pain.
For period discomfort, this usually means the lower belly and lower back.
Also, always make sure to dilute the oils with a carrier oil (use this essential oil dilution chart as a reference),
What Foods Help Get Rid of Menstrual Cramps?
Whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory foods are the best foods to include in your menstrual cycle diet.
This means fruits, veggies, raw nuts and seeds, gluten-free grains, herbal teas, natural sweeteners (like honey, stevia and maple syrup) and wild caught-fish.
Is Chocolate Good During Periods?
Good quality, dark chocolate (70% cacao or more) is actually quite soothing and can provide from period cramps.
Do Bananas Help Period Cramps?
Bananas are a great source of potassium, a nutrient that is known to alleviate all forms of cramping. In addition, bananas contain vitamin B6, which is essential for hormone health.
In the article, Do Bananas Help with Menstrual Cramps, I provide more details on why this tropical should be part of menstrual cycle diet. Be sure to check it out for more details.
Should I Exercise On My Period?
Doing some physical activity during your period is a good way to reduce the stress (and inflammation) that leads to period pain.
However, stick to low-intensity activities so that you don’t place more stress on your body.
Can You Do Yoga When You Have Your Period?
Absolutely! Yoga (and other light exercise) is very effective at soothing cramps, bloating and other discomfort that often comes with your period.
In summary, the best home remedies for menstrual cramps involve eating nutrient-dense foods, while also supporting the body with things like essential oils, supplements and exercise.
I hope this tips get on the path to finding relief fast (and permanently!).
Now, over to you…what are your favorite home remedies for menstrual cramps?
Drop a comment below!