Menstrual cramps are caused when the uterus sheds its inner lining during period. The process is triggered by hormones that cause the uterus to contract to push the lining out and, when the muscle spasm, that is when you feel the cramps. You can, of course, take painkillers to ease the discomfort of menstrual cramps, but what can you do if you don’t want to take medication every single month? Fortunately, there are lots of more natural ways that you can make menstrual cramps more bearable and here are twenty of the top natural ways to ease painful menstrual cramps.
Although you may not feel like doing it, it is important to keep exercising when you have a period. Gentle exercise will help to release pain killing hormones into your body that will help to ease the pain of menstrual cramps. Wear loose clothing, though, when you exercise, especially around the waist, or you will compress the muscles and that will make the pain worse.
Applying heat to the abdomen is the easiest way to naturally relax the muscles that cause menstrual cramps. You can use heating pads to warm your lower back and abdomen, or you could just use a towel soaked in hot water. Even taking a hot shower will help to relax the muscles and relieve some of the pain.
3. Blackstrap molasses
Blackstrap molasses is a well-known remedy for menstrual cramps that has stood the test of time. Blackstrap molasses contains vitamins and minerals that will soothe the muscles, reduce blood clots and reduce the pain. The best way to take black strap molasses is by adding a teaspoon full to a cup of warm milk.
4. Take your mind off it
Another simple tip on how to ease menstrual cramps is to take your mind off it. This might sound like the advice you’d give to a child who has scrapped his knee, but if you do lay in bed thinking about the pain, you will feel it more. Listen to some music, read a book, or have a chat with some friends. It won’t stop the pain, but it will take your mind off it, so it you won’t notice it quite as much.
There are a number of herbs that can be used to ease menstrual cramps and one of the most effective is basil. Basil contains caffeic acid, which acts as a natural analgesic, so it will reduce the pain. You could add basil to your cooking, or you can drink it as a tea. To make basil tea, add two basil leaves to a pint of boiling water and leave it to cool. You can then drink the cold basil tea whenever you feel the need.
6. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are another one of the old and trusted natural remedies for menstrual cramps. They reduce the cramps by making the blood flow more regularly. You can eat sesame seeds as a snack, or soak them in water first if you prefer. For the best results from sesame seeds, start eating them a couple of days before your period is due.
Ginger can work to reduce menstrual cramps in a number of ways. It helps to reduce the pain causing hormones in the body and it will give you more energy, so it will help you beat the lethargic feeling you can get when you have a period. Try adding a small piece of ginger to some boiling water and then add some honey and lemon juice to the mixture. If you drink this tea three times a day you should feel the menstrual cramps reduce in severity.
8. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea had both anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that will ease the pain and reduce the severity of the muscle spasms in the uterus. Just brew up a cup of chamomile tea in the usual fashion and add a teaspoon of honey for sweetness. As with many of these natural remedies, people say that it works better if you start drinking the tea a couple of days before your period starts.
Cinnamon tea is another natural way to relieve menstrual cramps. You can make it by simply adding a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to boiling water and then leave it to sit for five minutes. Then add a teaspoon of honey and you will have a delicious drink that will calm inflammation and soothe the pain. Sipping a cup of cinnamon tea, three times a day, will greatly ease the symptoms of menstrual cramps.
Adding papaya to your diet just before and during your period will ease the pain too. Papaya contains vitamins and minerals that will soothe the walls of the uterus and make the contractions less painful. Papaya also has potent anti-inflammatory properties which will also help to ease the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
Drinking fennel tea is another one of the wonderful herbal remedies that can help with menstrual cramps. To make a soothing fennel tea, add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to boiling water and simmer for about five minutes. Let the tea cool for a while and then add a teaspoon of honey for some sweetness. Fennel has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that will ease the cramps.
Coriander seeds can both reduce menstrual pains and help to make the menstrual cycle more regular. To make use of the powerful anti-inflammatory and other properties of coriander seeds, boil a handful of seeds in water until most of the water has boiled away. Strain what is left of the water and drink it while it is still warm.
Simple cow’s milk can also be an effective remedy for menstrual cramps, as can any food that is high in calcium. Calcium helps to control muscle tone and muscles that don’t have enough calcium in them can become hyperactive. There have been several studies conducted into the effect calcium has on menstrual cramps and it has been found that women who consume 1,200mg of calcium per day experience less painful cramps.
14. Ice packs
Some women find that, rather than heat, the cold of ice packs can reduce the pain of menstrual cramps. Hold an ice pack, wrapped in a towel, against your abdomen for about fifteen minutes and it will make the blood vessels contract, which can ease the severity of cramps. Some women find that this treatment actually works far better than applying heat.
15. Foods rich in magnesium
As we mentioned earlier, calcium is known to ease menstrual cramps, and magnesium helps the body to absorb calcium more efficiently. So, as well as increasing how much calcium rich foods you eat, you could also try increasing the amount of magnesium you are consuming at the same time. Foods that are rich in magnesium include whole grains, nuts and beans.
16. Cut down on coffee
The caffeine that is contained in coffee and other caffeinated drinks can aggravate menstrual cramps. Caffeine can irritate the intestines and, because it is a stimulant, it can increase nervous energy, thereby by increasing the severity of the cramps. Some women find that cutting down on the amount of coffee that they drink during their period, significantly reduces the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
17. Take a hot mineral bath
Heat reduces the muscle spasms, so a hot bath will always help with menstrual cramps, but you can go one step further by adding some extra relaxing minerals to your bath water. The simplest way to create a mineral bath is to add one cup of baking soda and one cup of sea salt to a hot bath and then lay back and soak for twenty minutes.
Parsley is an herb that brings with it the benefit of two compounds that reduce your menstrual cramps. Apiol and myristicin are both effective at situating the process of menstruation, making it easier and less painful. To make a tea from parsley, fill a mug a quarter full of fresh parsley leaves and then add boiling water and leave it to steep. Strain the solution and drink while it’s still hot.
19. Try to relax
The more tense and anxious you are, the tenser your muscles will be, and that will only make the cramps feel worse. It can be hard to do when you are suffering with the pain of menstrual cramps, but try to relax and avoid getting into stressful situations. If you can steer clear of stress, it will definitely help to relax your muscles and ease the pain.
20. Eat a balanced diet
Your body needs a healthy intake of vitamins and minerals more than ever when you have a period. A balanced diet will give you the energy that you may be lacking and it will help your muscles to work in the way that they should and avoid cramping. Avoid too much sugar and salt, as these ingredients can act as inflammatory agents and make the pain worse. Dehydration can aggravate the problem too, so avoid drinking too much alcohol and make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day.