Home Relief of Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps (or “dysmenorrhea,” if you want to get technical) are no fun. This cramping occurs when the uterus contracts to shed the blood lining it. All women having a period experience the contractions, but only about 50 percent of women experience accompanying discomfort or pain. No matter whether you suffer from a persistent, dull throbbing in your pelvis for a few days during your period, or go through gut-wrenching agony, these sensations are something most women would rather do without. Happily, you don’t have to stoically bear any discomfort nor take drugs for pain relief. There are home remedies that can help ease the pain of menstrual cramps. Not every treatment will work for every woman; you’ll have to determine which helps you the most.
Heat can help keep the muscles in your pelvis relaxed and thereby ease the pain of menstrual cramps. Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to your lower back or belly whenever you are suffering. You may opt to take a warm shower or soak in a hot bath.
Certain yoga poses that loosen the hips can also provide relief for menstrual cramps. One pose, in particular, is said to help. Sit on a yoga mat or carpet with your back straight. Place the soles of your feet together to make a diamond shape with your legs. Inhale deeply. Keeping your back straight, exhale and bend forward as far as you can go. As you inhale again, resume your original position. Repeat the process several times.
Hot Herbal Tea
Ingesting gingerroot is an excellent way to ease menstrual cramps, as well as any accomanying nausea. Brew your own ginger tea by peeling a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger and slicing it thinly. Bring 4 to 5 cups of water to a boil and add the ginger. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes, then strain the ginger pieces from the water and drink the resulting tea. Drinking peppermint or other kinds of mint can also be soothing.
Exercise might be the last thing you want to do when you’re suffering from cramps, but it might help you feel better. There’s no need to hit the gym; just take a walk. Walking can reduce muscle tension that exacerbates the pain of cramps and may improve blood circulation in your pelvic area. Stretching—particularly the area between your ribs and hipbones—may also help.
Adding calcium and magnesium to your diet during your period may provide relief. In addition to the usual dairy products, increase your calcium intake by eating broccoli, kale, almonds, oranges or spinach. For increased magnesium, eat beans, whole grains, shrimp, tofu, scallops or peanuts.