Every month it’s the same thing for some women: cramping, pain, bloating, fatigue. Sure, you may have dealt with this all before, or maybe it’s your first truly horrible period, but no matter the case, there is no reason you need to continue to put up with period pain.
There are quite a few tips and tricks to make your period less painful. Give these a try! If you are still concerned about the discomfort you are experiencing, your OBGYN Dr. Lodge, in Cool Springs, Tennessee, and the team would be happy to discuss it with you further.
Exercise for Cramps
When you’re cramping during your menstrual cycle, it might seem counterintuitive to move around, but it’s true. Getting regular exercise, even during your period, is known to release endorphins and reduce period pain. So get off that couch and hit the gym!
You can do stretching and light to moderate exercises like walking, yoga, or casual jogging. By getting your blood moving, you can reduce bloating and extra water weight. Some great yoga poses for cramping are Cobra, Cat, and Fish pose.
Some yoga teachers advise against doing inversions during menstruation. The reason is because of a downward energy called Apana-Vayu that flows down during this time. Recommendations say to “go with the flow” and not practice inverted poses that may disrupt the energy flow of blood out of the body.
Give Into the Chocolate Cravings
What else releases endorphins? Chocolate. There is a reason many women crave this after their period starts. Dark chocolate contains magnesium and potassium, which relaxes muscles and can reduce pain. Endorphins are released, which help you to feel relaxed and peaceful. These endorphins can help with premenstrual syndrome, as well.
Don’t go overboard with it, but eating a little bit of chocolate may provide some relief to your cramping. Remember, everything in moderation.
Eat Healthy Foods
Sure, enjoy a little bit of chocolate now and again, but remember to stick with a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and cut down on your sodium and alcohol intake. Eating extra sodium can increase bloating and discomfort.
Some doctors even suggest a low-fat, predominantly vegetarian diet to cut down on period pain. Many doctors recommend that your diet should be no more than 25-35% fat. These fats should come from healthy sources like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Omega-3 fatty acids are another type of fat that can reduce menstrual cramps and inflammation in the body. These are available in salmon, tuna, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and some fortified foods like yogurt and plant-based milk.
Drink More Water
Trying to reduce bloat? Drink more water. All that bloating is due to water retention, and it’s a sign that your body isn’t getting enough water in general. When you’re dealing with blood loss, like during your period, staying hydrated reduces pain and helps the body heal itself. Without enough water, the walls of the uterus will cramp more than necessary.
Enjoying a hot tea can be a great way to relax and hydrate during menstrual periods.
Hot Water Bottles
Some women swear that applying heat can help soothe tense muscles during your period, and there’s even evidence to back it up. A study conducted in 2001 showed that applying a hot water bottle to your abdomen during your period can be just as effective at reducing pain as standard over-the-counter pain medications.
The heat released helps relax the uterus and promotes blood flow to the area. For those who experience chronic pain during menstrual periods, a hot water bottle is a must.
Pain relief medications available over the counter can be useful for reducing the pain and swelling associated with your period. Some women also find that their periods are less painful once starting hormonal birth control. Birth control pills can regulate the period and reduce heavy menstrual bleeding.
If you prefer a more natural remedy, both fish oil supplements and Vitamin B1 improve period pain. Some also suggest that magnesium supplements can help with period pain as well.
Many women have painful periods, and some women find relief using one or more of the methods above. Have you have tried all those methods and have found no relief? Or are you experiencing abnormally painful periods that prevent you from completing normal activities? This could be a sign of endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
If that is the case, then it is time to discuss your period pain with your doctor. No woman should have to endure painful periods. Visit our OB GYN office in Franklin, Tennessee for a feminine health check-up.