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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s menstruation, and then there’s menorrhagia, which is defined by having substantial blood loss in every monthly cycle. There's a huge difference and it's important to understand in case you may be suffering.Find out more