Nobody likes to talk about period pain, (people don’t talk about periods in general as much as they should) but it’s nonetheless something that affects most women. It’s official name is dysmenorrhoea but most of us refer to it simply as a recurring nightmare that at best seriously affects our quality of life and is at worst debilitating enough to make women miss school and work. Indeed, 1 in 10 women regularly find that their menstrual pain causes them to miss out on work or social commitments.
While it is an incredibly common occurrence, there’s surprisingly little on the market specifically for the combatting of period pain. Although it is one of the most common causes of abdominal and pelvic pain in women, see patient.info for more information, the few medications on the market for it tend to be common anti inflammatories with over inflated price tags. Here you’ll find some perfectly natural and extremely thrifty solutions to this age old problem…
As always, the first step is diet
It’s sad how quickly we leap to medication when often a dietary solution can be found for a range of health problems. Vegetarians and vegans can look as smug as they like here because it turns out that a diet that’s low in saturated fats has a natural anti inflammatory effect meaning that those of us who consume more fibrous veggies and eschew meat, eggs and dairy products are at less risk from period pains and cramping and inflammation all over the body. That’s not to say that all fats are bad. Far from it. The fats found in olive oil, coconut oil, seeds and nuts have been found to be effective in aiding menstrual cramps. Don’t make the mistake of going out and buying lots of prepackaged “low fat” processed foods. Cook with whole foods and plan your meals (it’s much cheaper that way too) and eschew processed foods which are usually laden with harmful refined sugars and synthetic trans fats.
Many of us use it when we need the comfort of a hot drink but are conscious of our caffeine consumption, but it turns out some herbal teas can be extremely effective in the battle against period pain. Peppermint tea is a common go-to as are camomile, marjoram and fennel but cramp bark is largely believed to be the most effective solution. It can be boiled in a tea or consumed as a tincture. Needless to say, as with any kind of cramping ensuring that you’re well hydrated is always helpful.
Massage with essential oils
Even if this doesn’t work, what the heck? You deserve to be spoiled! A study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecological research available here showed that a massage with essential oils like lavender, marjoram or clary sage eased menstrual cramps. It is suspected that the act of massage combined with the soothing effects of the essential oils led to a reduction in the longevity and severity of the pain. Of course if said massage leads to other more rambunctious activities it’s worth noting that intimate time with your partner boosts your brain’s production of endorphins which are (amongst other things) natural painkillers.