When you get cramps, it can be so tempting to reach straight for the painkillers for a bit of quick and simple relief. If you’re anything like me, however, you don’t like to just pop a paracetamol every time your cramps come back.
With over half of people with uteruses experiencing cramps for one or two days every month, it’s a pretty common and often dismissed symptom. Cramps can range from an uncomfortable feeling to making you feel sick with pain. I prefer to opt for more natural methods of pain relief which can often provide instant comfort. I also recommend trying some small lifestyle changes in the run up to your period for longer lasting results.
It’s a well-known fact that salt makes you retain more water, which can lead to bloating. This in turn can make your cramps feel much worse due to the additional discomfort. Try putting less salt in your food and take a look at the nutrients list on food packaging to make sure you don’t get too much.
A classic, but it works every time. Heat can relax the muscles, improve blood flow and relieve any tension you may hold. If a hot water bottle doesn’t work for you, try a long bath or shower with some calming essential oils.
Often the last thing I want to do when I have cramps, I’ve found that gentle exercise can really help in reducing pain. This is because exercise releases endorphins. Stretching, yoga, or going on a short walk can make a lot of difference, and usually works pretty quickly.
Drinking water can aid your digestion, which again reduces bloating and alleviate the extra pain due to this. Try adding some lemon to hot water, as warmer temperatures are also relaxing to your muscles. This can relieve cramps caused by contractions in your uterus.
Massage therapy around your lower back, abdomen and sides with essential oils can ease some of the tension in the muscles in those areas. In addition, this lessens your stress levels, something that can often make your cramping worse.
As mentioned, warming drinks can reduce some symptoms of cramping. Specific herbal teas, such as chamomile or peppermint, can also help you further by calming and reducing stress.
While these methods can aid the relief of cramps in many people, if you experience severe cramping, you should always talk to your doctor about it.