Menstrual cramps can be an annoyance for some and a debilitating interruption of daily life for others.
Whether it is a mild form of muscle cramping in the lower abdominal area or stabbing, sharp pains throughout the lower body, the unwelcome symptoms of menstruation are seemingly a natural part of life.
This doesn’t mean that women have to suffer in silence. Want to know how to stop menstrual cramps fast? Read on as we share 10 of the best natural remedies.
What Is Menstrual Cramping?
The painful cramping women experience during the menstrual period is caused by a release of the hormone prostaglandin. This stimulates the muscles in the uterus to contract. The pain can radiate to the lower back and usually diminishes within the first few days. Other causes of the cramps experienced during this time may be linked to poor diet, emotional stress, thyroid irregularities, or environmental toxins.
The severity of the cramping can depend on genetics, quantity of blood flow, and whether symptoms began at an early age. A person’s lifestyle habits may also affect menstruation such as smoking, physical activity, and the use of alcohol and any illegal drugs.
Menstrual cramps may become less prevalent after childbirth, but luckily, we have some less drastic methods and tips for how to stop period cramps below.
How to Get Rid of Period Cramps Fast
There are home remedies for period cramps for those who want to alleviate and possibly eliminate symptoms naturally. We have compiled 10 of the best for you to try.
Water may be the best natural medicine for any condition as it necessary for nearly all of the major functions of the body. With menstrual cramps, water helps by treating the painful bloating symptom.
Drinking more water will actually prevent the water retention that leads to your expanding waistline. During the days leading up to and while experiencing cramps, have a water bottle with you at all times.
You can add lemon or mint for flavor. You may need to increase water intake if you have consumed alcohol or salty foods as both can draw out essential water from your body.
When the need for comfort food is great, choose treats wisely. Fatty foods like cake, pies, potato chips, and chocolate will only settle your mind, not your body.
Combat cramps by consuming plenty of low-fat, high-fiber foods such as beans and lentils, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fruit. You can also fight the pain and inflammation with foods enriched with magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins E, B1, and B6.
Limit or avoid dairy products as well during your period. The American Heart Association recommends taking 25% to 35% of your day’s calories from healthy fats.
3. Cut Caffeine
In the days leading up to and including the duration of your period, avoid caffeine. This includes coffee, energy drinks, chocolate, and some teas. Replace your morning java with a veggie smooth made with juice.
4. Warm Your Belly
Apply heat to your lower abdomen to ease muscle cramps. Use a heated pad or hot water bottle while resting at home. You can also use the microwavable heating pads that attach to the body under your clothes while at work and play.
You may feel like staying in bed under the covers, but the best thing is to get up and exercise. Stretching the abdominal muscles will relieve the painful cramps. Your brain will also allow the release of natural, feel-good hormones known as endorphins.
Walking and swimming are two of the most popular activities for stopping the cramps as oxygen is increased to relax tense muscles.
With everyday stresses, we really need no excuse for a massage, but period cramps are as good as any other reason.
Massage your belly at least five minutes every day to promote blood circulation while easing tense muscles. You can use essential oils such as lavender, marjoram, and clary sage for their pain-alleviating properties.
The ancient tradition of using pressure points on the body to cure ailments may be used to relieve muscle cramps and other menstrual symptoms. These will release endorphins and promote better circulation and blood flow.
Because stretching promotes muscle relaxation, performing yoga poses is a good treatment to try at home. Try poses such as bridge, staff pose, and bound angel for the greatest impact. Concentrate on your breathing as well.
9. Sleep Well
Sleep is just as important during this time as it is at any other time of your life. It may be harder to sleep with the muscle cramps.
Before bedtime, ease your mind and body by avoiding watching television or using your smartphone in bed. Keep room as dark as possible and find a comfortable position. If you can, take short power naps during the day to catch up on lost sleep at night.
The natural components of herbal tea could combat muscle cramps as well as an array of other menstrual symptoms. One popular tea is called cramp bark.
Boil two teaspoons of the bark and water before allowing the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes. Drink the tea three times each day. You can also substitute with peppermint tea. Begin drinking the tea at least one week before your expected start of your period.
You Don’t Have to Suffer
Muscle cramps during the menstrual cycle are generally mild with no debilitating effects. That said, there are many women who unfortunately suffer with severe pain and muscle tension.
The range of cramping discomfort often depends on the timing of puberty, genetics, and lifestyle choices. You could stop cramps fast, and possibly even prevent them from developing before your period, with natural home remedies. By changing your diet, routine, and incorporating exercises that target the stomach muscles, you may be able to stop stressing about your next period and enjoy daily activities every day of the month.
Doheny, K., “10 Ways To Relieve Period Cramps”, Everyday Health; http://www.everydayhealth.com/treatment/womens-health/ways-to-relieve-period-cramps/, last accessed June 9, 2017.
Ipatenco, S., “How To Get Rid Of Menstrual Cramps Fast,” Live Strong, August 16, 2013; http://www.livestrong.com/article/269800-how-to-get-rid-of-menstrual-cramps-fast/, last accessed June 9, 2017.
“13 Ways To Get Rid Of Your Period Cramps,” Web MD; http://www.webmd.com/women/ss/slideshow-get-rid-of-cramps, last accessed June 9, 2017.
“Home Remedies to Relieve Menstrual Pain,” Healthline, Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT on February 3, 2017; http://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/menstrual-cramp-remedies#overview1, last accessed June 9, 2017.