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7 Ways to Handle Painful Period Cramps

Hint: You don’t have to suffer.

Menstrual pain sucks, period. Nobody wants it, and yet a tonne of us are reduced to grumbling messes twelve or so times a year. If you’re one of the lucky few whose periods pass them by without so much as a flutter, and you go about your life period cramp-free, we envy you…big time! But if you don’t count yourself in the clan of painless menstruators, read on!

1. Heat It Up

1. Heat it up

Heat is a menstruator’s best friend! Seriously. Whether you’re pressing a hot water bottle to your abdomen or warming up one of those microwavable hot bean bags, heat is scientifically proven to provide relief from painful menstruation, even if it’s temporary. You can also buy heat patches from the pharmacy or shops, which can last up to a couple of hours.

2. Move your body

Exercise is proven to provide pain relief during your period. On light flow days, try yoga or pilates, or go for a walk. If you’re up for it, more cardio-intensive workouts, such as running or swimming, also work well as a period pain treatment.

3. Pop a pill

Anti-inflammatories and painkillers can help ease period pain. Not a fan of taking medicine? Sometimes we think that menstrual pain and discomfort is something we should just put up with. But nobody needs to live in pain, especially if it can be eased as most period pains can. Remember to always speak to your healthcare professional or pharmacist before taking medication, and never to take a friend or relative’s over the counter medication.

4. Try An Epsom Salts Bath

4. Try an Epsom salts bath

Try taking an Epsom salts bath as the hot water alone will soothe your cramps and Epsom salts, which are cheap and readily available from a superstore or online, contain magnesium, which can alleviate cramping.

5. Lower your intake of salt and caffeine

We know, we know. You were planning to eat pizza tonight, weren’t you? While you don’t have to completely avoid all the best things in life, it is a good idea to drink less coffee and cut back on your sodium when you’re menstruating. Both sodium and caffeine can cause dehydration, especially if you’re not drinking enough water during the day, which can make your menstrual cramps worse.

6. Have sex

Yeah, you read that right. The oxytocin released during sexual intercourse can help provide relief from period pain. And guess what? You’re not the only one who is more aroused during their period. If you and your partner are comfortable with period sex, and it helps your menstrual pain, then why not? Remember to make it safe sex, though. Always.

7. Seek Treatment For Extremely Painful Periods

7. Seek treatment for extremely painful periods

There is a huge difference between light cramping and dysmenorrhea, which is the medical term used to describe severe period pain. So, if hot water bottles and ibuprofen just don’t cut it when you’re on your period, it might be an idea to chat to your doctor or healthcare professional. If the pain is debilitating enough to disrupt your day, prevent you from working or cause you to experience vomiting or fever, dysmenorrhea may be being caused by an underlying health condition, and should be thoroughly investigated by a healthcare professional.

Periods FAQs

Can I have sex when I'm on my period?

Yes you can. In rare instances, you can still get pregnant. You should also bear in mind that you can still catch a sexually transmitted disease when on your period

Will I smell when I’m on my period?

You might notice a slight odour when you're on your period. Tampons can help with this because they're worn inside your body. If you prefer to use pads, make sure to change them regularly if you notice a strong odour.

What do I do if my period has stained my clothes?

First off, don't panic, it happens to all of us at some point in our lives! The key is to treat the stain as soon as possible with cold water. Hot water causes the stain to heat and seep deeper into the fabric, so cold water is absolutely key! Hold the stained item taut under running cold water and you may find this gets all of the blood out. If not, give the stain a rub with some soap or laundry detergent and put it in the washing machine. Remember, some stains can be really stubborn so don't give up if it doesn't work straight away, they may just need another wash. Also, if you're pushed for time and can't wash your items straight away, pop them in cold water to soak - it'll make it much easier to deal with the stain later if it hasn't had the opportunity to dry!

How will the contraceptive pill affect my periods?

Some brands of contraceptive pills can reduce your flow or shorten the length of your period. Your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you during your consultation.

My periods are really heavy, which products should I use?

You've got lots of options available. Lil-Lets Non-Applicator Ultra Tampons have the highest absorbency in the UK and are great for extremely heavy periods. If you prefer to use an applicator tampon, our super plus extra applicator tampons are a really good choice too.

What can I do to relieve my period pain?

Although you may not feel like doing it at the time, stretching or gentle exercise will ease this discomfort. Healthy eating is also known to help relieve any period pain. Alternatively, treat yourself to a relaxing bath or cuddle up on the sofa with a hot water bottle.

If none of these help, your local pharmacy can give you guidance on suitable pain relief.

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