A woman holding a hot water pack on her abdomen

Menstrual Pain

Managing Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain can be mild or debilitating, and makes daily life for women very difficult. There are many ways to manage it proactively. This article will define what exactly menstrual pain is, and offer proactive, natural, and traditional pain relief solutions to ease it.

What is Menstrual Pain?

It is the throbbing or cramping of the lower abdomen caused by contractions of the uterus. Women experience it in varying degrees and intensities. It is believed that up to 20% of women suffer from menstrual cramps that are so severe that their daily lives are impacted.

The symptoms are not necessarily confined to the abdominal area, either; nausea and fainting can also be associated with menstrual pain. Some women also experience acne breakouts on their skin, or sensitive breasts before or during their menstrual cycle.

Eating Habits

A healthy diet, consistent exercise regimen, dietary supplements, and hydration can proactively minimize menstrual pain. Foods high in boron are beneficial in reducing the length and severity of menstrual pain. Bananas, peanut butter, prunes, chickpeas, and avocados contain high concentrations of boron. Dietary supplements associated with minimizing period pain include fish oil, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, and magnesium.

Because retaining water is a fact of life during the menstrual cycle, it is especially important for women to drink plenty of water to counteract it. When suffering from cramps, considering drinking warm or room temperature water because cold weather can make the cramps more intense. Water-dense foods such as lettuce, celery, watermelon, and cucumbers can also be consumed.

Natural Remedies

Among the many natural pain relief remedies available, acupuncture is one of the most popular for easing the pain that comes with menstrual cramps. Acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which relaxes the nervous system and stimulates blood flow. Acupressure, which stimulates the body without the use of needles, produces similar results.

Herbs can also be helpful. Ginger and basil have pain killing properties. Cinnamon and fennel are anti-inflammatory herbs. Chamomile can relax the uterus, and parsley can assist in the regulation of irregular menstrual cycles.

CBD oil, a compound found in marijuana, is one of the newest natural remedies. In fact, it is considered new age relief to the age old problem of menstrual pain. Since CBD has been shown in clinical trials to be extremely effective in managing pain, using it for menstrual pain is a natural extension.

Traditional Treatments

Traditional over-the-counter medications can also help alleviate menstrual pain. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, and aspirin have long been used. Midol is a brand name medication containing acetaminophen and caffeine that is specifically marketed for helping with the cramps, aches, and fatigue associated with menstrual periods.

Heat in the form of warm baths or hot water bottles can help ease menstrual cramp pain. Pain relief pads are portable, drug-free methods of managing pain. Thermacare pain relief pads cover the entire abdomen, discreetly stick to underwear, are air-activated, and last for up to eight hours.

Final Notes

As awareness has increased about menstrual pain, the remedies available have multiplied. Women have many alternatives and should try as many as possible until they find something that works for their bodies. Consulting a doctor is also a wise course of action as menstrual pain may have an underlying cause related to hormonal issues or irregular cycles that only a physician can address.