Periods can be really bad. It can be so worse that you need an off day from school or work. Are you one such woman who is often duvet-bound during your menstrual cycle? Then this article is for you. It lists some natural home remedies that can help reduce menstrual cramps and other period symptoms. Read on to learn the helpful foods, DIY therapies, and exercises. We are sure these natural remedies will help you combat period pain and other menstrual symptoms with more ease and strength.
Common discomforts of menstruation
Menstruation can cause discomfort for many women. These discomforts can vary in intensity and duration and affect a woman’s daily life. The most common among them are:
- Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhoea, are one of the most common menstrual discomforts. Uterine contractions during menstruation cause pressure in nearby blood vessels, restricting blood flow, which causes throbbing, cramping pain around the abdomen. The pain can be mild or severe and can be accompanied by pain in the lower back and thighs.
- Bloating: Hormonal changes during menstruation can cause water retention and bloating, leading to discomfort and a feeling of fullness. Bloating is one of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome as well, which you may experience a few days before your period.
- Headaches: Changes in hormone levels during menstruation can cause headaches, which can be mild to severe. Particularly, women with migraine episodes have a period link and experience headaches both before and during a period.
- Mood changes: Mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are common due to hormonal imbalances during periods. Mood changes are also a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome.
- Fatigue: Many women experience fatigue during their period, called period fatigue, due to a drop in estrogen levels and the physical toll of losing blood.
- Breast tenderness: Hormonal changes can cause breast tenderness, swelling, a sense of fullness in the breast, and pain, and these symptoms most likely occur around the time of ovulation. A common symptom of premenstrual syndrome, it tends to go away when you get your period.
Does every woman experience period discomfort?
While many women experience some form of discomfort during their menstrual cycle, not all women experience period symptoms. Some women may have a relatively pain-free and symptom-free period, while others may experience severe pain and symptoms affecting their daily lives.
Best natural remedies for menstrual cramps and other period symptoms
Though menstrual cramps and other period symptoms can be bothersome, they are harmless and get better on their own as you start bleeding. Also, when your symptoms seem too hurting, you can try several natural home remedies that help ease period symptoms and make menstrual pain more bearable. The natural remedies for reducing menstrual cramps and managing period pain include good foods to include, bad foods to avoid, helpful herbs, alternative therapies, yoga poses, light exercises, and relaxing techniques.
1. Foods that help with period cramps and other menstrual symptoms
Making dietary changes such as increasing water intake, reducing salt and caffeine, and adding magnesium-rich foods is the best home remedy to manage menstrual cramps and other period symptoms.
The following are some tips about foods to include or avoid for specific symptoms during periods, including period pain.
Foods for period cramps
Period cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, affect almost half the menstruating women during their periods. Trying dysmenorrhea home remedies will help relieve menstrual cramps and improve other period symptoms.
Foods with good anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation caused by uterine spasms, thus soothing achy muscles.
Ginger, fatty fish rich in Omega-3 fats, pineapple with enzyme bromelain, dark, leafy greens packed with calcium, probiotic yogurt rich in calcium, peanut butter with vitamin E, and dark chocolate with potassium are all good foods to deal with those nasty periods cramps.
Foods for period bloat
High progesterone during periods makes your body retain water and salt, causing bloating.
It may seem counterintuitive, but keep yourself well hydrated to relieve water retention. In addition, potassium-rich foods like spinach, bananas, avocados, and tomatoes, can help balance fluids and reduce period bloating.
Foods with diuretic properties, such as celery, cucumber, lemon, garlic, and ginger, also help reduce period bloating. In addition, take a low-sodium diet with lean protein.
Foods for menstrual migraines
The pain from menstrual migraines is usually one notch higher than the regular ones.
A study published in Headache found magnesium as an effective option for preventing menstrual migraines. Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds, fatty fish, avocados, dark chocolate, leafy greens, and bananas.
Foods to regulate estrogen levels
Flaxseeds, sesame seeds, fibrous fruits and vegetables, carrots, sauerkraut, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli help produce and regulate estrogen.
Foods to regulate progesterone
Some of the best foods to regulate progesterone levels are fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, cruciferous vegetables, sulfur-containing foods such as onions, and vitamin C-rich foods such as sweet potato, strawberries, oranges, papaya and pumpkin.
Foods to reduce menstrual fatigue and increase energy levels
Iron is a key nutrient you lose significantly with heavy period bleeding causing fatigue. In addition, it is natural to crave high-energy, sugary treats during periods. Try to resist such foods, and instead, take a high-protein, healthy-fat balanced meal to keep you energetic and stop your body from slumping.
- Oats for slow release of carbs and sustained energy
- Lean proteins for sustained energy release
- Iron-rich foods such as red meat, chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds, and lentils (Prostaglandins produced by the body during periods cause cramps. Remember, red meat is high in prostaglandins, so though high in iron, do not take in high amounts)
- Your brain loves strawberries for their vitamins and minerals, so they boost your mood during periods
- Include colourful berries for superior antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- The enzyme bromelain in pineapple helps fight really strong fatigue
Foods to avoid to prevent period pain and other symptoms
Limit salt, sugar, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods, and red meat to reduce menstrual discomforts and manage period symptoms well.
Bad foods for menstrual migraines
Some women experience sugar cravings and may want to reach out to delicious, simple carb foods. But, blood sugar fluctuations trigger hormonal imbalances, contributing to menstrual headaches. So staying away from simple carbs and having a balanced meal with proteins and healthy fats prevents headaches during periods.
Glutamate is known to damage neurons, which may trigger migraines. Progesterone and estrogen are glutamate scavengers. However, hormonal imbalances during periods may cause low levels of these hormones, so limit glutamate-rich foods such as eggs, milk, and soy products to prevent menstrual migraine attacks.
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2. Natural herbal remedies to relieve menstrual cramps and other symptoms during periods
Herbal teas for menstrual cramps
Consuming herbal teas, such as ginger, green tea, chamomile, fennel, cinnamon, and peppermint, is among the best natural home remedies for severe menstrual cramps.
Several studies have found that herbal teas can help soothe and relieve menstrual cramps. Not just period pain, herbal teas are a natural remedy for other symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, and bloating as well due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and pain-relieving properties.
Ayurvedic herbs for menstrual cramps and other period symptoms
- Shatavari: Also known as a woman-friendly herb, this herb helps correct hormonal imbalances during menstruation and hence helps reduce menstrual cramps. Take ¼ – ½ tsp of Shatavari churna with lukewarm milk or water twice a day for good relief from period symptoms.
- Asafoetida (Hing): Hing is a popular home remedy to relieve abdominal bloating. Mix ½ tsp asafoetida in a glass of lukewarm water and consume twice a day for relief from bloating before and during periods.
- Ajwain (Carom seeds): Ajwain tea is a popular home remedy for menstrual cramps. Add a spoonful of carom seeds to a glass of water and heat on low flame for eight minutes. Strain the seeds and sip the tea warm. Add honey for taste.
- Fenugreek seeds: This is one of the easiest home remedies to soothe menstrual cramps naturally. Soak a spoonful of methi (fenugreek) seeds in water overnight. Strain the seeds and start your day with this methi-infused water for lesser period pain.
- Turmeric: Another celebrated spice in Ayurveda, turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which help soothe period pain. Add ½ tsp turmeric to a glass of water, and warm it on low flame for 7 minutes. Sip it warm for relief from menstrual cramps.
3. Alternative therapies to ease period pain and other menstrual symptoms
Applying heat to the abdomen or lower back can help alleviate menstrual cramps and other symptoms. A hot water bottle, heating pad, or warm towel can be used.
Massage with sesame oil on the abdomen
Sesame oil is one of the best remedies for menstrual cramps. Ayurveda recommends massaging the areas around your belly button with sesame oil for immediate relief from period pain. Also, gently stroke downwards for best results.
Essential oils like lavender, clary sage, and peppermint can help relieve menstrual discomfort. These oils can be inhaled or applied topically. Lavender and clary are great oils for gentle massaging of the lower abdomen.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting needles into specific points on the body. It has been shown to help alleviate menstrual discomfort.
For some, period pain can be extremely hurtful, and Acupuncture can be the best remedy for severe menstrual cramps. In such a case, take expert help for excellent relief.
What a woman goes through during her monthly period greatly varies and is not the same for any two persons. The hormonal fluctuations and losing blood can cause various symptoms, from breast tenderness, bloating, headaches, and mood swings to severe fatigue and stomach cramps.
Any exercise promotes the release of the happy hormones endorphins, which hugely helps women manage the symptoms well.
Restorative yoga poses are helpful for menstrual cramps. Some yoga poses to help relieve period pain include Baddha konasana, Head-to-knee pose, Seated straddle, Seated forward bend, Setu bandhasana (supported bridge), cat-cow pose, and goddess pose.
The Child’s pose and neck stretches can soothe headaches. Meditation and breathing techniques can improve mood swings.
Walking in fresh air is a very good exercise for relaxing your body and mind during periods, significantly improving period pain, headaches, bloating, mood swings, etc.
The bottom line
The achy lower back, constantly paining pelvis and abdomen, and irritability and fatigue may make you dread the monthly period. However, looking closely, you can understand that some micronutrients, such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium, can greatly help improve your period symptoms. So if your menstrual cramps are severe and you also experience other period symptoms, include helpful foods, avoid the bad ones, try herbal remedies and practise restorative yoga asanas and meditation. Also, adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise lessens the occurrence and severity of period symptoms. Take charge of your period pain with effective natural remedies 🙂