If your keen to try a more holistic approach to tackling your period pain then there are some really exciting new alternatives coming into the mainstream right now. But also remember there is no shame in needing to use stronger pain medications to help deal with your period pain , always do what feels right for you!
Exercise- time to get that yoga mat out!
First up and this one might seem obvious but getting some daily exercise can be a huge pain reliver. We are all unique so finding what exercise works for you is key here. Some of us might love going out for a super long run when our period hits , others might prefer to chill out and stretch out those cramping muscles to help with our period pain. Need further convincing on the power of exercise for period pain? Well science backs it up too….
- Results of a 2015 study by Trusted Source showed that doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week significantly reduced the severity of menstrual cramps over the course of 8 weeks.
- A study published in October 2017 in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies concluded that women who practiced yoga 30 minutes per day, two days a week, for 12 weeks at home had a significant improvement in menstrual pain and physical fitness over the control group.
- Another study, published in January 2017 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that Hatha yoga practice was associated with a reduction in levels of chronic pelvic pain in women with endometriosis.
Heat – and relax…
How many times have you reached for your hot water bottle when that first cramp hits? Hotwater bottles can be a lifesaver for period pain- the soothing heat helps relax those cramping muscles. Heating pads are another great alternative and there’s some pretty strong evidence to suggest heat really works for period pain!
There’s evidence that heat may be as effective as ibuprofen for relieving menstrual cramps. Simply place a heating pad on your lower abdomen for relief. Soaking in a hot bath can also really help with period pain. Why? well soaking in a hot bath soothes your lower abdomen and back. It’s also incredibly relaxing and a great way to relieve stress. So the next time period pain hits get those bath bombs out and some candles and sit back and soak in the bath!
Supplements- vits to get you through period
The evidence for supplements to treat menstrual cramps isn’t well established, but you may find something that works for you if you’re open to experimenting. Check with a nutritionally-trained practitioner before taking a supplement—like any medicine, they can have side effects and interfere with levels of other nutrients in the body. Here are the top-evidenced supplements for period pain:
- Ginger, it seems, may be as effective as common painkillers. Two systematic reviews of ginger for menstrual pain found that the root was likely more effective than a placebo for reducing pain . Clinical trials of more than 100 students with moderate to severe period pain found that pain was similarly reduced in students taking ginger, as students taking the NSAIDs Ibuprofen or mefenamic acid.
- Magnesium (and magnesium deficiency) may play an important role for some people in dysmenorrhea . A systematic review that included three studies on magnesium found that it was effective in lessening menstrual pain better than a placebo and may be helpful in limiting the need for pain medication Magnesium carries few side effects, but can cause loose stools, so you may need to ease into it. The three studies used different doses of magnesium, so you may want to talk to a practitioner to get a recommendation.
- Zinc supplementation may be effective for a similar reason as magnesium, but more research is needed . In a randomized control trial of 120 women, the duration and severity of period cramps was significantly improved in those taking zinc, compared to those taking a placebo
- Vitamin B1 has been shown to be effective in reducing period pain. One large trial found that people taking 100 mg daily had less menstrual pain than those taking a placebo.
- Other dietary supplements have also been researched for a possible role in easing cramps, such as vitamin E, B6, and high doses of vitamin D, as well as agnus castus, and 3+ months of fish oil (1,20,34). Results thus far are promising, or mixed.
TENS Machine- the new kid on the block when it comes to period pain
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine may also help to ease symptoms. This sends mild electrical signals to your skin near the place you feel pain. These are thought to affect the pain signals that travel to your brain. TENS machines can be bought from your local pharmacy and are safe to use.
Lastly stress and lifestyle choices can play a part. Eating healthy and doing whatever you can reduce stress can also hugely help with period pain!
Please feel free to share with us what’s working for you. We love to hear from our followers about any new and up and coming period pain relievers!
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