Cramps affect many people before and during their period. While some people only experience mild cramps, others aren’t quite as lucky. In some cases, the pain from period cramps can be extreme and make a serious dent in your daily life.
If period pain is cramping your style every month, there are steps you can take to gain back control. Here are 10 proven home remedies that may ease your discomfort, and help you get back on track with your busy life.
Use a Heat Patch
Using a heated patch or wrap on your abdomen can help relax the muscles of your uterus. It’s these muscles that cause period cramps. Heat can also boost circulation in your abdomen, which can reduce pain.
Massage Your Tummy with Essential Oils
Research suggests that some essential oils can help ease period cramps when massaged onto the abdomen, especially when used in a blend of oils.
Take an OTC Pain Reliever
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin (Bufferin) are effective treatments for period cramps.
These medications work best if they’re taken at the first sign of cramps or pain.
Scientists found that women who did 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week, for eight weeks, showed significant reductions in period cramps.
Soak in a Tub
Soaking in a warm bathtub is another way to surround your pelvic muscles with the warmth they need to relax.
You can enhance the pain-relieving power of a good soak by adding a few drops of essential oils — like lavender, sage, or rose — to your bathwater.
Try to relax in a warm bath for at least 15 minutes to get the most benefits from it.
Like aerobic exercise, yoga can also be helpful at reducing period cramps.
Experts have found that women who participated in a 60-minute yoga class once a week for 12 weeks showed significant reductions in their period pain.
Several studies suggest that different types of dietary supplements may help reduce period cramps, though it’s not known exactly how they work. Some supplements that show promise in reducing period pain include:
- vitamins B-6, B-1, E, and D, plus magnesium and zinc
- vitamin B-12 and fish oil
talk to your doctor if you’re taking any other medications, as they may interact with supplements.
Avoid Caffeine and Salty Foods
While supplements may help ease period pain, it’s also a good idea to avoid certain foods that can cause water retention, bloating, and discomfort. Some types of foods to stay away from when you have cramps include:
- salty foods
- fatty foods
According to experts, you’re more likely to have abdominal cramps during your period if you’re dehydrated.
Aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. You’ll need more if it’s hot, if you’ve been exercising, or if you simply feel thirsty.
Acupressure is a noninvasive Chinese medicine treatment that’s used for many health issues. This treatment involves using your fingers to apply firm pressure to specific body parts to help ease various symptoms.
Rubbing circles on your calf at a point above your ankle can relieve period pain.
The way to do this is to:
- Measure four fingertips up from your inner ankle bone.
- Firmly rub this area for several minutes.
- Repeat daily as needed before and during your period