Sometimes, your period cramps can get so bad that you have to seek help to alleviate the pain. If this is your case, don’t fret. You’re not alone in this.
More than half of women who menstruate experience period pains for one or two days every month. That is obviously a large number, so these menstrual cramps are not uncommon. The pain is usually mild, but for some women, it can prevent them from carrying out their daily activities.
Specialists think this pain is caused by some natural compounds called prostaglandins in the body. These chemicals cause the uterine wall to contract.
Before menstruation each month, the prostaglandin level in the uterine lining increases.
After the first few days of your period, the prostaglandin level decreases. That explains why period pains are usually worse in the first few days.
There are many ways to manage this occurrence and ensure you can function normally during your periods. We'll list some of them.
Tips For Managing Menstrual Pain
If your menstrual cramps are severe, you can try some of these to help ease your pain.
Take Over-the-counter Medicine
It's not uncommon for someone to recommend tossing back some ibuprofen when having these cramps. Well, that is because they work.
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen help lower your prostaglandin level and reduce pain. Taking them a day or two before you begin menstruating and for the first 2-3 days of your period can prevent these cramps.
Avoid Certain Foods
Some foods should be avoided during periods, as they can cause bloating and water retention, which worsen menstrual pains. These include fatty foods, salty foods, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and caffeine.
A heating pad is a great thing to have during your period, as it is almost as effective as NSAIDs in reducing menstrual pain. If you don’t have a heating pad, a hot water bottle can suffice, but ensure to wrap it in a towel to minimize heat transfer.
Include Some Herbs into Your Diet.
Some herbal remedies have been proven to be effective in the alleviation of these menstrual cramps. Their anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the contractions and swellings associated with menstruation.
We’ll take you through some of these herbs.
Some Notable Herbs for Menstruation
The Chinese Angelica root, also known as Dong Quai, is one of the most potent herbs for menstruation. It is found in Japan, China, and Korea and has been called the ‘female ginseng’ because of its different benefits to female sexual health.
As a herb for menstruation, Angelica roots supplements help reduce the associated abdominal pain and even help normalize irregular menstrual cycles. This herb also balances the estrogen levels in the body, reducing the hot flashes associated with menopause.
It has been an important herb in Chinese traditional medicine for menstrual cramps for centuries, and that hasn’t changed. Angelica roots can be taken powdered, in an extract, or as a tablet.
Herbs usually don't have many scientific studies backing their effects, but that is not the case for Chamomile. This herb for menstruation, which can be taken as tea, has multiple studies that prove its actions.
Chamomile supplements has anti-spasmodic qualities, which help reduce muscle contractions that come with menstruation. It has also been proven to check excessive bleeding during menstruation.
This herb for menstruation can also be effective for pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS), as it modulates the actions of dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters can help alleviate the depressive symptoms of PMS. Chamomile tea has also been linked to better sleep, which can also help calm the mood.
This herb has gotten a bad name due to its penchant for popping up among the flowers in your backyard. For this reason, the Dandelion is even considered a weed in some areas. However, this ‘weed’ can be quite effective in alleviating the bad parts of menstruation.
Menstrual cramps can be worsened if there is an imbalance of estrogen, especially when the levels of this hormone are on the high side. In this scenario, the Dandelion root enhances the liver's action. The liver then goes on to detoxify the body of the excess estrogen, easing cramps.
Red raspberry is another excellent herb for female reproductive health. This herb can be taken as tea during the menstrual period to elicit some positive effects.
Red raspberry tea has been proven effective in normalizing blood flow for women with congestive dysmenorrhea (period pain caused by impaired blood flow). It also helps reduce the cramping, diarrhea, and nausea of periods with the action of a chemical called Fragerine.
Red raspberry tea also has beneficial effects during pregnancy, but you are advised to wait until you are at least 32 weeks in before taking it.
Ginger can be found in the kitchen cabinets of many homes. While this spicy herb is excellent for all those weekend cookouts and sumptuous meals, it is also a potent healing herb.
This wonder herb for menstruation is effective in multiple scenarios. It is a commonly used traditional Chinese herb for menstrual pain. It has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities that some studies have compared with ibuprofen.
The herb is also great for digestion, so the bloating, loose stools, and nausea that come with menstruation are also reduced. You can take a nice cup of hot ginger tea each day, starting two days before your period and ending on the last day.
These herbs for menstruation are tried and trusted to ease the stress of periods. However, you should see a doctor if your cramps are more severe or last longer than expected. All these herbs are available as supplements in our herbal supplement store. You can try each of these herbs, then stick to the one that works best. With them, you can kiss those painful period cramps goodbye.