It’s here again, like clockwork. The muscle tension in your lower abdomen. The aching, pounding pain that prevents you from moving: Menstrual cramps. That time of the month is arguably every woman’s least favorite time of the month, we get it. Sadly, the annoying and occasionally unbearable feeling comes with womanhood for most of us, and while you can’t always prevent cramps, you can still treat them. How, you ask? Keep reading, we've got you covered with seven ways to help beat your menstrual cramp blues with ease!
1. Practice Yoga or Gentle Exercise
Gentle exercise is one of the best ways to relieve period cramps. Yoga and stretching ease and lengthen your muscles, allowing you to move easily. To manage cramps, it’s best to do moves that stretch your thigh and groin area. Take a look at these exercises to relieve cramping that you can include in your next sweat session.
Massaging your lower abdomen effectively with essential oils or synthetics fragrances will relax the tension in your muscles. Essential oils are recommended because they are natural and provide better results. According to a study overviewed by Everyday Health, “researchers found that the duration of pain was reduced from 2.4 to 1.8 days after self-massaging with essential oils.”
3. Take a Bath
Warm baths are a simple and efficient at-home solution to easing cramps. While you bathe, your aches will wash away as your muscles relax in the warm water.
4. Apply Heat
Based on a 2001 study by Evidence-Based Nursing, “topically applied heat was just as effective as ibuprofen for period cramps.” Heating pads are generally used to treat them, but if you don’t have one, a hot water bottle will also get the job done.
5. Watch Your Diet
When it comes to what you eat, a low-fat diet is known to reduce some levels of inflammation in the body. This can have a huge effect on your menstrual cramps, Everyday Health reports. Foods with a high sodium content may contain a large amount of estrogen, as well. This can increase bloating and the level of pain experienced from cramps. Check out this article for foods to avoid and eat on your period.
6. Take a Painkiller
Turning to medicine is another easy, at-home answer for cramps. Reasonable use of prescribed or over-the-counter painkillers can help ease discomfort and bring you much-needed relief. Remember to always check with your doctor before taking new medication to ensure they are a good fit for you.
7. Consider Birth Control
For some, birth control also can help alleviate period pain. However, for others, the contraceptive can result in major side effects as Gabrielle Union shared. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss whether birth control is the best option for you.
Have any other tried and true ways to battle cramps? Share them with us in the comments below!
SOUL REPORTER | Shelby Wingate is a rising senior at Whitefield Academy in Mableton, Georgia. The extremely competitive athlete plays basketball and runs track for her school. While she does love sports, Shelby uses her competitive nature to excel in academics and will apply that same drive when she attends college to major in Journalism or Communications and minor in French.