We all have them. For some of us, that time during the month is an utter nightmare. Others have that time of the month and barely even notice that something different is happening with their body. Relief is at hand. Here are some ways that period pain can be relieved or even avoided altogether.
Iron is lost during menstruation, so if you can up your chicken, lentil, fish and leafy green vegetable intake to avoid feeling tired and lethargic. Up your magnesium by eating bananas, avocados, nuts and green leafy vegetables as magnesium helps reduce the cramp severity and duration and helps to relax the uterine muscles.
Fish, especially salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and plant oils, contain omega-3s, which have antioxidant properties, reducing swelling and inflammation. Various anti-inflammatory foods can all help promote blood flow and relax your uterus.
Reach for some yoghurt, milk, tofu or soybeans as calcium has been found to reduce cramps, bloating and water retention. If you crave chocolate during your period, you're in luck as It turns out that dark chocolate is helpful when you're dealing with menstrual cramps, as it contains loads of magnesium to ease your aches by reducing the pain.
Spices like turmeric, cumin, dill, mustard seed, ginger and garlic are all known to reduce muscle spasms and cramping and reduce pain and inflammation. So get to cooking or make yourself a Gold Latté with hot milk (cow’s or plant), turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and honey.
Massage with essential oils. Lavender and clary sage oils are the most popular. Besides being a relaxant, Clary Sage naturally balances your hormones because it is estrogen-like. Lavender oil is a natural muscle relaxer that helps release the tension associated with cramping.
You can rub the essential oils on your stomach during your period for cramp relief, or you can rub it on the bottom of your feet and the inside of your wrists. Always blend with a carrier oil like grapeseed or coconut oil as undiluted oils might be harsh on the skin and cause a rash or burning sensation.
Heat therapy will help relax the muscles of the uterus, increasing blood flow and easing pain. Place a heating pad or a hot water bottle on the area where the pain is, as this will help relieve any symptoms.
Take a hot bath or shower to relax, massage in a light circular motion around the abdomen as this will also help with period pains.
Drink water, as staying hydrated can boost you during your period as it flushes out waste, which helps fight bloatedness.
Reach for herbal teas such as chamomile, fennel and ginger. Chamomile is full of anti-inflammatory substances; fennel inhibits uterine contractions and ginger reduces pain and inflammation.
Exercises like yoga, walking, or light aerobics are highly recommended to relieve muscle tension and increase blood flow. Put aside 15 minutes to do some easy exercise to help you feel balanced.
When you orgasm, your body releases hormones that act as pain relievers and help with menstrual cramps. Vaginal orgasms involve your entire body; the blood rushes to your uterus, which helps relieve cramps.
Using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is the most common medication use when it comes to period pain. Ibuprofen, paracetamol and naproxen are available over the counter and work to block the effects of prostaglandins (these cause the uterus to contract to shed the uterine lining).
Please always consult your doctor before taking medication.
Since its inception in 2016, Livia has gone through three separate clinical studies and is FDA and CE approved. This small, discreet and comfortable device for period cramps clips onto your waistband, providing relief in as little as 30 to 60 seconds.
Now, I know what you're thinking. How does this little device help with period pains? Livia is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device. There are two electrode gel pads for pain relief, which means you place the two flower-shaped gel pads where you feel pain (at least 10cm apart), and these pads stimulate nerves to block pain.
You can buy the Livia kit which is an excellent alternative to pain killers and is both safe and effective. This little beauty comes in four standard colours, Lavender, Blue-Green, Pink and Purple, but you are not limited to just these colours as you can change the skin at any time to suit your preferences.
Please do not use this device if you have a pacemaker or are undergoing fertility treatments.
Periods are never convenient, but they are incredibly inconvenient while travelling. No lady wants to have stomach cramps, bloating and back pain while hiking. Periods have never made camping, swimming or sun tanning more fun.
Ensure to pack enough feminine hygiene products, pads, tampons, menstrual cups and panty liners. Pack the products you would usually use whilst travelling; it is not the greatest time to experiment with new products, rather have what you know than get stuck with something that doesn't work for you.
Pack in wet wipes, hand sanitiser, extra knickers, pain killers, tissues, heating pads and resealable plastic bags. These will come in handy if the unexpected happens. Pack these products where you can easily find and access them. If you're not on the contraceptive pill (which regulates your cycle), it is advisable to have some products as a backup in your backpack, handbag or hand luggage.
It is advisable to pack in some of your comfortable clothing, such as loose-fitting trousers and t-shirts, for those days you are not feeling your best.
Just remember that travel can affect your normal cycle, especially when you're going through different time zones. So, being prepared for such an occurrence will help you relax and enjoy your time away.
The keyword is preparedness. Take daily supplements, pack the essentials, consult with your doctor and get a Livia. Cover all your bases and your period will be less of a cramp in the belly than ever.