Menstrual cramps are usually not a sign of a serious health condition, but they can still pack a punch and interfere with your life. While some may be severe enough to warrant a trip to the pharmacy, these natural approaches for easing your pain might do the trick.
If you’re using cramps as an excuse not to get it on, you’re missing out. Sex is a natural pain reliever and works especially well for menstrual cramps as having an orgasm releases pain-fighting endorphins.
Soothing, powerful and rich in gingerols (an anti-inflammatory substance), ginger is a vital ally in the battle against menstrual discomfort. According to one study, it’s as effective as ibuprofen. Add it to your favorite fruit or vegetable smoothies, mince it into a great stir-fry recipe or make warm ginger tea. Ginger is typically safe for most people, but it can have a blood-thinning effect, so talk to your doctor first if you are taking blood thinners or planning to have surgery.
It might be the last thing you want to do when you’re dealing with menstrual cramps, but it’s also one of the most effective natural remedies. Moving with purpose releases mood-boosting endorphins and increases blood circulation, which helps to alleviate pain. Don’t forget that stress can intensify menstrual cramps, and exercise is a proven stress-reliever. A 30-minute brisk walk, bike ride or hike is a great place to start. If you prefer a good stretch, there are specific yoga poses known to ease menstrual pain.
Don’t let the needles scare you away. Acupuncture treatments are relatively pain-free and are one of the most popular options for reducing chronic pain without medications. This technique regulates blood flow and can calm muscular contractions. This is another natural remedy that is being proven as effective as over-the-counter pain relievers that often come with unwanted side effects.
Using food as medicine is a powerful and natural way to reduce inflammation and menstrual pain. What to incorporate into your daily meal plan? Stick with foods high in magnesium (leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, avocados, whole grains, bananas and dark chocolate), papaya and these other delicious anti-inflammatory foods.
Remember to make healthy living a part of every day!
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste. – Dr. Nandi
My prescriptions for less painful periods:
- Move with purpose. A Health Hero moves with purpose every day. Set aside 30-minutes daily for mild to moderate exercise. Even a brisk walk will help alleviate menstrual pain.
- Make smart nutritional choices. Stick with anti-inflammatory foods, healthy fats, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid sugar, processed foods and saturated fats.
- Make time for intimacy. In addition to easing your menstrual cramps, you’ll boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and add years to your life by enjoying some intimacy with a trusted partner.
- Talk to your doctor. If you regularly experience severe cramping with little to no relief, make an appointment to discuss any possible underlying health issues.