Menstruation is a beautiful albeit annoying part of womanhood that brings with it struggles, that to be honest, we’d rather not experience (side-eyeing you, Aunt Flo). One of the most common being dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramp that causes a dull, throbbing pain in the lower abdomen and back.
Most of the time, dysmenorrhea is rarely a cause of concern with the pain mild enough to be ignored or powered through with little to no help from meds. But sometimes, it can become severe to the point of it disrupting our daily activities. When this happens, most of us just reach for the nearest painkiller, rest, and repeat the cycle until the pain is all but gone. And while effective, relying too much on mediation such as ibuprofen or mefenamic acid can have its own side effects— with the least being your body building a resistance to it, and the worst, developing bleeding disorders, irregular heartbeat, and damage to the liver.
While not as quick-acting as OTC meds, there are many other ways to help relieve dysmenorrhea that are easy and cost-effective as well!
Heat It Up
One of the easiest and most effective ways to stave off menstrual pain. Simply curl up with a heating pad or take a hot soak to help relieve cramps. The heat relaxes your contracting muscles and improves blood flow to dissipate the pain.
At work or school? Use an empty water bottle or a tumbler and fill it with hot water for a DIY solution.
Turn to Herbal Tea
As dysmenorrhea is caused by muscle spasms, ingesting anti-inflammatory herbs and spices do the trick of stopping the pain. Ginger, cinnamon, chamomile, and basil are just some of the best organic solutions that Mother Nature has to offer. Tea made from these herbs & spices are best prepared with fresh ingredients but ready-made tea bags are okay too.
Up Your Magnesium Intake
Magnesium helps in preventing water retention and helps regulate muscle functioning, making it a must for when it’s that time of the month. Get your daily dose of magnesium from multivitamins or nutrient-rich food such as bananas, spinach, almonds, and even dark chocolate!
Give Yourself a Massage
Research has found that massage therapy can significantly and immediately reduce menstrual cramps. Pressing specific pressure points around your abdomen, side, and back works to relax tense muscles and smooth out the kinks in your system. Couple the massage with essential oils such as lavender and marjoram oil for additional benefits.
Work Up a Sweat
And speaking of getting physical to beat the pain, exercise is a great way to release endorphins which helps combat prostaglandins that causes cramps. Low-impact to moderate forms of exercise such as walking and yoga are easy and gentle enough to do during this time of the month.
Try out these hacks the next time you’re feeling the urge to pop the pill and share with us what works best for you! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook @iamclaireph!