Throbbing or cramping pains in your lower belly? More than 50% of woman who menstruate experience period cramps. Period cramps, also known as Dysmenorrhea, occur when your uterus contracts during your period due to the natural drop in the hormone progesterone. Although these lower abdomen contractions may feel painful, the squeezing of the uterus actually helps period blood flow by assisting the uterus walls shed its lining.
Cramping up can definitely take a toll on your lifestyle, but there are many ways to get relief. Check out InsiderEnvy’s quick guide to alleviating pelvic cramping to get you through your period with these 6 simple tactics:
One of the most common methods to alleviate symptoms is to put a heating pad on your lower back or belly. Whether you’re in the office, car, or in bed, holding a heating bad against your body can help reduce pain. Add in gentle tummy massage with essential oils like lavender for extra relaxation.
Opting for a hot bath instead of the usual shower can help soak your muscles and ward off bad cramps. Heat increases the temperature of aching muscles and blocks pain sensors bringing relief to your entire body. You can also add Epsom salt and natural oils to loosen up tense muscles and improve blood flow.
Believe it or not, having an orgasm by yourself or with a partner can actually help release endorphins and relieve pain. Masturbation and sexual intercourse reduces pain from menstrual cramps by increasing blood flow and balances hormones. Vaginal stimulation has been shown to increase women’s pain threshold by 75%. Not only can orgasms help with tummy pains, but they can also help relieve stress and reduce anxiety.
Psychological exercise helps increase blood circulation and reduces cramps by boosting endorphins. Taking a walk around the block, an intensive workout class, or even some yoga to help lower stress levels. Manage your stress by taking time to properly rest. Stop thinking about work for a little bit and listen to a podcast, read a book or the newspaper, or just sit outside in the sun. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Eating a well balanced and anti-inflammatory diet can help protect your body and ward of cramps. Swap out unhealthy fats for unsaturated fats, increase your daily intake of vegetables, and eat a low-fat vegetarian diet to decrease inflammation. Eating foods high in iron help replenish your loss of iron as you lose around four to one cup of blood on your period! Studies show that fish oil supplements, magnesium, and vitamin B1 can also help alleviate symptoms.
If you’re looking for over the counter medication to help ease cramps, ibuprofen (Advil), nproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are a couple of options you can find at your local pharmacy. Talk to your doctor about taking pain medication for period cramps and make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle.
While menstrual cramps may be painful, they’re much more common than you think. Every woman is different and you may have to experiment with these tactics to find what’s right for you and your body. The key is to get comfortable. Drinking hot water, wearing looser clothing, and taking hot showers may be all it takes for your pains to subside. Talk to your doctor about managing your pain or if you experience any unusual symptoms for an extended period. Your
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