For those out there who experience the double whammy of cramps and headaches (aka the “Terrible Twos”) during menstruation, getting your period can be a painful and annoying experience every month. Sometimes popping a Tylenol or Advil pill just isn’t enough or doesn’t seem like a healthy option. If this is the case, there are a plethora of natural and easily accessible home remedies that can do the job just as well and with more satisfying effects to boot.
1. Heat packs
Heat packs are very effective tools to fight lower abdominal cramps. The heat relaxes muscles and eases tension while the heat receptors that are activated block chemical pain messengers. ThermaCare has a line of heat pads that are adhesive to clothing; you can attach one to the inside of your underwear, camisole, or T-shirt. This is especially great for when you’re at school or work and don’t want a huge heat pack interfering with your flow. If you don’t want to splurge, there’s also a DIY heat pack option with instructions here.
2. Dark chocolate
This one is a super delicious way to ease pain. Dark chocolate helps with cramps and bloating by acting as a natural painkiller. However, make sure to pick dark chocolate that has 70% cocoa content or above. Any plain chocolate is generally high in sugar and can exacerbate the pain. Ghiradelli and Lindt make excellent dark chocolate bars that are a treat and are sold at most markets and groceries. Don’t forget to consume in moderation; chocolate is chocolate after all.
3. Lavender oil rub
Use a few drops of lavender oil extract and rub it onto your lower stomach or other areas of pain. Rubbing it on with your palms and thumbs with concentric motions is a nice method. The smell of lavender itself is soothing and the massaging motion will help increase blood flow.
4. Peppermint oil massage
Similar to the lavender oil rub, using peppermint oil and massaging it on your temples will have a relaxing and refreshing effect and help reduce the pain from headaches!
Most teas are anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic and will soothe muscle cramps. Others swear by a cup of tea making the aches of migraines go away. Try chamomile, green, cinnamon, or ginger for the best (and tastiest results). Add a bit of honey to naturally sweeten it, but don’t add sugar! It’s also important that the tea is caffeine-free as caffeine is proven to induce more pain.
6. Light exercise
The idea of exercise while suffering from menstrual pain is excruciating in and of itself. If high intensity cardio isn’t something you’re keen on, try an exercise you can do in the comfort of your own bed. One great one is slow bicycle kicks while reclined or simply lifting each leg continuously. This will help keep blood flowing and reduce pain by increasing oxygen flow. The best part is that you can do this while reading a book, surfing the web, or watching TV.
Celery is a great snack to munch on that decreases water retention (excess water retention causes bloating that may be uncomfortable). Plus the best part is that it’s completely calorie free!
8. Hot shower
A hot shower is not only incredibly refreshing and usually puts people in a good mood, but the heat and steam will relax muscles much like a full body heat pack.
Give these natural remedies a try next time and kick the pain pills to the curb!
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.