TRIED AND TRUE: HEAT & MEDICATE:
You know how in every tampon commercial (the “before” part, of course!), they show a woman writhing in pain on a bed holding a hot water bottle to her stomach. Turns out there’s some truth to it. Applying a heating pad, wrap or water bottle to your tummy works miracles when it comes to relieving period cramps because it works to help your muscles relax.
It works just as well, they say, as taking medication like ibuprofen or aspirin. In fact, a combination of both over-the-counter pain killers and sporadic applied heat is what most women use to survive the worst of dysmenorrhea pain. If you don’t have a hot water bottle or wrap on hand, laying in a hot bath or under hot running water, or wrapping a towel soaked in hot water works just as well. But just remember to give your body a rest when using hot products as to not burn your skin, and to follow directions to ensure you’re overdoing the medication.
GET TO THE POINT:
This certainly isn’t something we expected to be a reliever of menstrual cramps, but it turns out that both acupuncture and acupressure are therapeutic for those who suffer with bad period pains. The treatments work by stimulating trigger points on the skin that in turn produces certain effects (the good kind, of course) on your body. In fact, both acupuncture and acupressure are recommended for many medical conditions, not just menstrual cramps.
While acupuncture is something that has to be done by a professional (it literally involves sticking needles into your skin), anyone can practice acupressure – even by yourself at home. Start by learning trigger points, how to stimulate them and practice applying pressure using your own hands. Some trigger points include certain spots on your back, stomach, feet and even the meaty part between your thumb and index finger.
BUST A MOVE:
We know that the last thing anyone wants to do during their period is put on sneakers and hit the gym, especially if your stomach is all but killing you, but as it turns out, studies show that exercising actually helps to relieve menstrual cramps. Exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which are chemicals that make you feel happier and better. Think about them as your body’s natural pain-killer.
So while you don’t have to run a marathon, getting in a little workout during your period can help your cramps in no time. Plus, practicing a core-based exercise and stretching like yoga helps to engage the muscles in your stomach and soothe your pain.
FIGHT WITH FOOD:
“I know I’m getting my period cause all I want is a massive salad” – literally, no one ever.
We know the struggle that is period cravings: chocolate, chips, ice cream, anything really. You name it, we want it. But sugary, fatty and salty foods like these aren’t the cure to our period pain (no matter how badly we want them to be!). Apparently, eating well is the answer we’ve been looking for this whole time.
Choose to chow down on anti-inflammatory foods like cherries and blueberries, squash, tomatoes and bell peppers, calcium-rich foods like beans, almonds and darker greens. As it turns out, these foods help to combat inflammation and help to relieve the pain attacking your body. But they also say we should try to eat this balanced diet year round, and not just during our period week – but baby steps!