Some women are lucky and have no premenstrual symptoms that plague them monthly – and then there are the rest of us. If we didn’t log our cycles on the calendar, we’d still know that our period lies just ahead by the way we feel. More specifically, by the pain that we feel.
Depending on how bad your periods are, you may suffer from abdominal cramping, headaches, back pain, and more. So, how do you deal with the discomfort of being a female without spending 3 to 7 days in bed doped up on meds and unsure of your own name?
1. Go For a Walk
Health experts recommend staying active as a way to ease period pain, citing the link between physical health and menstrual health when you increase the circulation to your pelvic area. Ideally, you want to stay active all month long so that you can reduce if not eliminate your symptoms, rather than trying to find ways to deal with them after they’ve already hit.
Go for daily walks or join a fun fitness class. Try a new Pilates DVD or enjoy a game of tag with your kids. It doesn’t matter which fitness avenue you take, but if you keep your body in top physical shape it may be enough to ease your monthly period aches and pains.
2. Watch Your Salt Intake
If you suffer from salt cravings right along with menstrual pain, then this section is for you. Although it might seem like you’re being kind to your body by giving in to its relentless craving for salt, you may actually be worsening your pain and making your symptoms increase in strength.
Excessive sodium intake causes your body to retain water. Salt is an irritant so it tries to dilute it the best it can by holding on to any water you ingest. This creates additional discomfort during that time of the month and can make your cramps feel worse than they normally do.
So, reduce your intake of salty snacks and foods when you know that your period is close. Slow down on the chips, olives, pickles and other processed foods that are high in sodium (like canned soup and frozen dinners). You’ll save yourself a lot of abdominal aggravation if you do.
3. Get a Heating Pad
When you are plagued with cramps and doubled over in pain, a hot compress may help relieve the pressure. Apply it to your lower abdominal region and it will deliver soothing heat to the muscles that are tensing you up and causing you trouble.
You can buy heating pads over the counter at most any pharmacy or chemist, or you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Simply pour a bag of uncooked rice into an old sock and tie it off so that none can fall out. Throw it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and you have a do-it-yourself compress that will bring you much relief.
It may even help to take a hot bath and let your whole body soak in the heated water. The principle is the same, so it is up to you which one sounds more appealing.
4. Schedule a Massage
Not that you need a reason to get a relaxing massage once a month, but if it makes you feel physically better to have one, then by all means use it! Getting a rubdown that eases your body all over (maybe with special attention to your tense abdominal area), and your pain will slip away to the soothing caresses of the masseuse.
A lot of pain is created when your muscles around your reproductive organs spasm and contract, which is why a massage is a viable period pain treatment option. Besides, if you have to endure monthly cramps and aches for 30 years or more, you should at least get the benefit of monthly massages to go along with them, right?
5. Consider Birth Control
Certain forms of birth control can actually help you ease your period related pain. For instance, a lot of pills will reduce the length and intensity of your period, resulting in less pain than you normally get with your regular monthly flow.
Some birth control stop your periods entirely. You may get some period-like symptoms even though you have little or no monthly blood loss, but they are generally milder and only slightly uncomfortable versus breathtaking pains that cause you agony.
A few options that do this include the Depo Provera shot and an IUD (Intrauterine Device). You may get a slight period when first starting them, but many women report that they go away entirely within the first few months.
6. Take an Over the Counter Pain Medication
Even though you may not want to be zoned out on a strong pain medication prescribed by a doctor, that doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from something over the counter. A small dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be enough to help you take the edge off your pain. Just make sure you stick to the recommended dosage as this is one case where more definitely isn’t better.
7. See a Doctor
If you’ve tried all of these suggestions and still don’t get relief, maybe it is time to make an appointment with your doctor. There may be something else going on with your reproductive system that needs medical intervention.
Some women get ovarian cysts that are extremely painful when they burst and others suffer from a condition called endometriosis, which is a buildup of scar tissue around your uterus that can bring about tremendous pain. So, further testing may need to be done to determine if you have one of these or some other condition that requires a different treatment route.
Monthly period pain may be the price you have to pay for being the Queen you are, but it doesn’t mean that you have to pay a fortune. Keep your cost to a minimum by trying some of these options today – and relieving your period pain tomorrow.
Share your own pain relief tips with us in the comment section below!