How to Relieve Menstrual Pain Without Medication: 10 Alternatives to Drugs
Relieve Pain from Periods, Naturally
Many women suffer from painful menstrual cramps during the first day or two of their periods. Most women instantly turn to over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Midol for pain relief. While these drugs may help to reduce period pain, they also may cause unwanted side-effects. As our knowledge of side effects of medication increases, many women are turning to more natural methods of pain relief for period pain and cramping. Here are ten ways to help you manage your period pain without meds.
1. Practice Yoga
Practicing yoga during your period can help to relieve pain from period cramping for some women. Yoga is beneficial in reducing both the physical and psychological symptoms associated with menstruation. There are certain yoga poses that are especially effective in relieving period pain. These poses help to relieve pain from menstrual cramps as well as lower back pain associated with your period. It should be noted, however, that you should avoid doing inversion poses during your period. These types of poses may make cramping worse.
2. Exercise Before and During Your Period
Ramping up your regular exercise routine the week before your period begins may also help to reduce the pain you experience during your period. Many women find that their periods become less painful once they begin exercising more frequently, or with more intensity during the days leading up to their menstrual period. Exercise increases your blood circulation, which can help reduce the cramping you experience during your period. Exercise also reduces stress, which has been shown to have an effect on physical pain.
3. Drink Rose Tea
Rose tea has many health benefits, including relieving menstrual pain. Rose tea has been shown to regulate certain hormones associated with period pain and cramping to reduce the severity of pain experienced during menstruation. Rose tea may also help to reduce instances of mood swings caused by PMS and menstruation. A study conducted in 2005 found that women who drank rose tea over a span of several months had much less severe cramping and menstrual pain than women who did not drink rose tea.
4. Drink More Water
Keeping hydrated is important during your period. When you are dehydrated, your body releases a hormone called vasopressin, which can lead to painful cramping. Drinking more water during your menstrual period might not completely eliminate cramping, but it will prevent your cramps from becoming even more painful.
5. Improve Your Diet
In addition to drinking enough water and getting plenty of exercise, improving your diet will reduce menstrual pain in addition to improving your overall health. Processed foods that are high in trans-fat, sodium, and sugar can make cramping worse during your menstrual period. Some nutritionists also advise avoiding dairy products during this time of the month. To reduce the pain, you experience during your period, you may want to add more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet, both during your period and throughout the rest of the month. Magnesium-rich foods, including bananas, leafy green vegetables, and even dark chocolate may help to reduce period pain.
6. Use a TENS Machine
A TENS machine is a non-invasive electrotherapy device that is often used for pain management. It uses two electrodes that are attached to the skin at the location where you are experiencing pain and sends an electrical signal through your body. These electrical pulses cause your brain to no longer register pain while the device is attached. TENS machines are used for many different types of pain, including menstrual pain. There are TENS machines available specifically for period pain, such as Livia, but general use TENS machines also work to relieve menstrual cramping.
7. Try a Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle
A tried and true method of reducing period pain without drugs is the use of a heating pad or hot water bottle. Applying heat to your abdomen and/or back while you are experiencing painful cramping helps to relax the muscles and improve blood flow, thereby reducing the amount of pain you experience. Electric heating pads and traditional hot water bottles are excellent ways to relieve period pain.
8. Switch to Reusable Menstrual Products
Many women find that they experience less cramping after switching from traditional disposable tampons and pads to reusable silicone menstrual cups or reusable cloth pads. It is believed that the chemicals contained in many brands of disposable pads and tampons irritate the body and contribute to increased cramping and pain while being worn. Silicone menstrual cups and cloth pads (especially those made from organic fabric) may help to reduce the pain some women experience during their menstrual cycles.
9. Practice Meditation
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress. Because stress can make period pain and cramping worse, a regular meditation practice can help to reduce this pain. Meditation will help you to become more mindful and aware of your body, which can help you to experience less pain during your menstrual period. Learning to relax and to effectively manage stress can go a long way in reducing period pain.
10. Have Sex
Though many women prefer to avoid intimacy during this time of the month, it may offer a natural means of pain relief. Climaxing has been shown to cause your body to release endorphins, including oxytocin and dopamine. These hormones are associated with pain relief. These hormones may also relive some of the psychological effects of your period, including feelings of depression or sadness. Be sure to continue using protection and contraceptives if you choose to use this method. Though it is rare, you can still become pregnant during your period.
Manage Your Period Pain Without Painkillers
There are many safer and more natural alternatives to over-the-counter painkillers to help manage period pain. There are plenty of ways to beat menstrual cramping without having to take drugs and medications. Though all of these methods might not work for everyone, you will likely find that some of them help to relieve your period symptoms without needing to resort to taking meds.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber