- Women's Health
12 Home Remedies For Menstrual Cramps
Home Remedies for Menstrual cramps
The term dysmenorrhea has been derived from Greek (dys, difficult; men, month) and in medical terms, it means painful menstruation. Primary dysmenorrhea is defined as lower abdominal pain during periods, in the absence of any pelvic disease. This is type of dysmenorrhea that most women suffer from especially adolescent girls. It’s a common complaint and so frequent that it’s considered normal. But primary dysmenorrhea can cause so much pain and weakness that women can remain out of work or school for days.
Barnes and Chamberlain write,
‘’Most normal women experience discomfort at the onset of menstruation, but in dysmenorrhea pain is severe during the first hours or days of the periods; it may be continuous or spasmodic, like colic; it is often accompanied by vomiting, fainting, headaches and malaise. Pain is felt in the pelvis and lower back and may radiate to the legs. It is commonest in single women or infertile married women. It tends to lessen after 25 and to disappear after 30’’
Main cause of period’s pain or primary dysmenorrhea
Prostaglandin (group of compounds with hormone-like effects) performs many important functions in female’s reproductive system. The most notable is that, they stimulate uterine contractions.
Throughout the menstrual cycle the frequency and intensity of these contractions vary. More contractions occur in women who feel periods pain than those who feel no menstrual cramps or pain.
When you feel periods pain, prostaglandin release in your body is increased. With each contraction blood flow to uterus is reduced, which may contribute to menstrual or period’s pain.
Herbal remedies for periods pain
You can try herbal remedies at home.Herbs like ginger,turmeric,chamomile,red rasberry etc. are very safe and good for health.I have been using them without experiencing any side effect.
Try Chinese Peony or White Peony
If your periods pain is crampy and comes in intermittent waves, then you should try antispasmodic herbs like Chinese peony.
Chinese peony has analgesic , antioxidant and spasmolytic actions.It moves the blood in pelvic area thus its good for uterine stagnation including conditions such as uterine fibroids, PCOS and endometriosis.
Several studies have shown that Chinese peony or white peony when combined with licorice inhibits the production of chemicals that cause muscle cramps thus reducing menstrual pain.Chinese peony used alone is also effective.It not only relieve periods pain but can also treat the underlying causes of menstrual pain.
Traditional Suggested Usage:
- Boil the dried 3-6 g root in 3 cups of water.
- Drink it 1-3 times a day.
Chinese peony can be used safely for up to 4 weeks at a time.
Chinese peony has anticoagulant action so it might interfere with anticoagulant medications.Do not use it if you are using blood thinning medications.
Ginger and Cinnamon for periods pain
Ginger and cinnamon are warming herbs and improve the action of antispasmodic herbs,like Chinese peony ,especially when the period’s pain is aggravated by cold and relieved by warmth. Ginger and cinnamon can be used alone or added together to food or used in the form of tea.
How to make Ginger tea
- Cut 4 cm of ginger root into thin slices.
- Add 3 cups of water to a small saucepan add ginger and bring to boil.
- Turn the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Strain out ginger slices and discard.
- Add honey to taste and sip while still hot.
Warming herbs are best when taken hot. Ginger also eases nausea and is useful for period pain accompanied by vomiting.
Home remedies for menstrual pain
Use Turmeric to relieve pain
Prostaglandins cause menstrual pain, so prostaglandin inhibiting herbs may relieve your pain.
Herbs that are easily available like ginger, fever few and turmeric can be used as prostaglandin inhibiting herbs. Turmeric has proven prostaglandin inhibting effects.it has long been used for periods pain. Adding turmeric and ginger to food is the easiest way to use these herbs.It also gives flavor and good taste to food.Make a habit of adding turmeric and ginger to food.
Corydalis for Pain Control
Corydalis has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for pain control. It’s been used for backpain,headaches,inflammation and menstrual pain. Dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) is the compound in corydalis that’s believed to block pain signals in the brain―like prescription medicine do― but it doesn’t carry the risk of addiction.
In fact, some medical websites state that Corydalis can be used for mild mental disorders, mild depression, emotional disturbances, limb tremors and severe nerve damage.
Administration / Dosage
Corydalis can be bought as a whole herb. Experts recommend taking three to nine grams total per day, broken up into two or three doses.
How to make Corydalis tea
- Boil 3-4 cups of water.
- Remove the water from heat and add 6-8 gm of herb and steep for 5-10 minutes.
- drink it 2-3 times a day.
Commercially Corydalis comes in two forms: softgel capsules and granular form. In granular form, Corydalis is a single herb prescribed at one packet per day, mixed with hot water as a tea.
It is also available in a softgel capsule. Softgel caps contain the herbal ingredients in liquid form and can be easily absorbed.
- Corydalis should be used for significant pain or chronic moderate pain.It should not be used for minor pain.
- Pregnant or breast feeding women should not use it.
- People with irregular heart rythem should not use it.
- It may interact with cancer medications,hypnotic,sedatives and anti-arrhythmic drugs
Chamomile tea to relax you
Chamomile is a very safe, relaxing herb.It should be used,when you feel anxious or depressed besides feeling physical pain.
Chamomile tea has been used as a soothing remedy for menstrual pain. Current Studies have revealed the science behind chamomile tea’s ability to reduce pain. This herbal tea increases the level of amino acid Glycine which reduces muscle spasms, encourages the body to relax thus reducing menstrual cramps.
With chamomile’s gentle sedative effects, you'll be feeling better in no time!
How to make chamomile tea.
- To make one cup of tea.
- Boil 8 ounces of water.
- Remove the pot of water from heat,Pour it into a tea pot.
- Place chamomile tea bag or 2-4 tablespoon full of fresh chamomile flowers in hot water and stir a little.
- Place the lid on tea pot and let it steep for 5-10 minutes.Herbal teas are stronger and work better if steeped for longer time duration.
- Remove the teabag or tea flowers and Enjoy your herbal tea, the pain will go away.
Chamomile tea should not be taken if you are on blood thinning medications.
Feverfew for reducing pain
Feverfew is a herb that is used for reducing pain,anxiety and tension.It will not only reduce your pain but also the depression that sometimes accompanies menstruation.A cup of feverfew tea before going to bed,will calm your nevers and induce better sleep.
you can chew the fresh leaves or you can make a tea.You can grow your own feverfew and harvest the leaves
Consume one large leaf or three small leaves a few days before periods or during periods.
How to make feverfew tea.
• Boil 3-4 cups of water.
• Remove water from heat.
• Add 3 small fewfew leaves or one big leaf.
• Let it steep for 5-10 minutes and drink it
An easier way is, place a feverfew teabag in a cup of hot water.let it steep for 5-10 minutes and drink it.You can add honey or sugar for better taste.
It takes about 2 weeks of drinking feverfew tea or chewing leaves or taking feverfew supplements to feel good relief.Herbal remedies act slowly than prescription medicines ,but they are also much safer.
Do not take feverfew if you are on blood thinning medication.
For a quick relief from periods pain, you can rub a small amount of progesterone cream on lower abdomen.It’s believed that progesterone cream balances the estrogen levels thus reducing menstrual cramps or periods pain.A high estrogen level,causes backaches,cramps,moodswings and irritability.
Rasberry leaf tea provides much needed nutrients like calcium,iron,magnesium,manganese,vitamin E,B1 and B2.You can purchase loose raspberry leaves or tea bags.It’s safe to consume raspberry tea everyday.you should start drinking tea a few days before periods and continue drinking during periods.Rasberry tea will not only reduce pain but also help with irregular periods.
How to make Rasberry tea.
- Boil 250-300 ml of water.
- Remove the pot from heat and add one teaspoon of dried red raspberry leaves.you can also use fresh leaves but cut them into small pieces.About 2- 3 leaves would be enough.
- Cover the pot and let it steep for 15-30 minutes
- For stronger tea you can steep for 3-4 hours.
Red Raspberry leaf is also sold as a tincture (liquid drops) and Pills. Please follow the manufacturer’s instruction for recommended dosage.
Keep yourself Warm
Heat of any type will help to relieve menstrual cramps or periods pain. A hot water bottle or a hot bath may be easier to arrange. Have a hot bath to warm up the body or keep a hot water bottle close to the painful area. Australian Naturopath Ruth Trickery recommends,
‘’ Buy small hot packs that can be worn close to the skin―some manufacturers even sell them with specially made underwear which has a little pouch to hold the pack in place.(warmease is the name of the product).A warm ginger pack on the lower abdomen, while messy, can be useful. Place grated root ginger on several layers of cloth and place a hot water bottle over the top. A little oil on the skin first will prevent burns from the ginger juice. Remove the pack if the skin starts to burn or sting.’’
While warmth is good and can relieve pain, cold can aggravate the pain. So avoid, iced drinks, ice-cream swimming in cold water or anything else that make you feel cold. During your periods, try food that is at room temperature or hotter. Add warming spices to food like ginger, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and cinnamon.
Tincture for painful menstruation
2 parts of Cramp bark+1 part of liquorice root+3 parts of Black snakeroot+2 parts of Yam tuber,+1 part of water.
Take 1 tsp. every other hour.
Breathing exercise for pain relief
- Start by breathing naturally but with awareness for a few cycles.
- Then continue to inhale normally, but exhale deeply until your lungs feel empty. Do this for 15 cycles.
- Next, inhale deeply and exhale normally for 15 more cycles.
- Finally, inhale and exhale deeply for 20 cycles.
- Rest by returning to normal breathing for several cycles.
Home Remedies For menstrual cramps
a study carried out by researchers at Tehran University of Medical Sciences showed that women suffering from painful menstruation, or periods pain, could find significant relief when using lavender oil for aromatherapy.
‘’Clary sage, lavender and chamomile oil are all useful for period pain. Because of their antispasmodic and relaxing properties. They can be used regularly in the bath, as a component of message oil or as a warm compress, but should not be taken internally. These oils are not used ‘neat’ and are always diluted with other oils or water. Valerian oil can be very useful if the period pain prevents sleep, or when it is useful to ‘sleep the pain off’’, recommends Ruth Trickery.
To make a message Oil
Add 50-60 drops of essential Oil to 100 ml of carrier oil (any massage oil, olive oil,almond or apricot kernel oil are good choices) .Massage into the lower abdomen and back. To increase the effect of this you can have a hot bath and then use the massage oil.
To make a hot compress
- Add 5 drops of essential Oil to a bowl of very hot water.
- Soak a cloth in it, wring out the excess water and apply the cloth to the painful area.
- Dip the cloth in water each time it cools and then reapply to skin.
Another very useful way to use these oils is in the bath water. Usually only about 5–10 drops are needed in a full bathtub.
Massage just before your period or during the period can help relieve pain. Massage techniques like Shaitsu, acupressure and foot reflexology can especially help.
Take a walk
Walking is very good for health.It releases feel good chemicals in body.Take long slow walks a few days before periods or during period.It will relax you and keep your mind off the depressing thoughts that often accompany periods pain.
Preventive Measures for Menstrual cramps or Periods pain
By taking these preventive steps,you will be greatly reducing your chances of experiencing menstrual pain.It becomes easier to control pain if you prevent it from happening in the first place.
This is the best preventive measure for your periods pain. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink at least 2.5 liters of water, as your period is drawing close. Start to eat really well at least 10 days before your period starts. This really has helped me. I used to experience disabling, dull pain in the lower abdomen, but when I changed my eating habits, ate more fruits and vegetables and drank more water, my pain began to disappear. In most cases periods pain is caused by nutritional deficiencies.
Foods that you should take.
Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet because saturated fats increase prostaglandin that cause muscle spasm. However, you shouldn’t stop eating meat. Eat chicken without skin or eat fish.
- Fruits(especially Apples)
- Chicken without skin
- whole grains,
- low-fat dairy products
Foods that you should Avoid(you should avoid the following food items throughout the month, if you can’t do that at least avoid them 6 or 7 days before periods. Reducing the amount of saturated fats is important, as saturated fats increase the production of prostaglandin that cause muscle spasm.
- fatty beef
- poultry with skin
- beef fat (tallow)
- lard and cream
- Sugary drinks or foods containing refined sugar.
If you eat well, there’s very less chance that you will feel periods pain.
Take an essential fatty acid supplement
Evening primrose oil or fish oil can relieve menstrual cramps or periods pain. Take a dose of 3 grams (in capsule form) of fish oil or evening primrose oil daily for the first few months. You can lessen the dose if you feel to experience less pain during your period.
Calcium and Magnesium supplements.
Sometimes period pain is caused due to deficiency of calcium and magnesium. So taking a dietary supplement that contains calcium or magnesium might help. You should aim for 1000 mg of calcium and 500 mg of magnesium daily.Calcium can be taken in the form of citrate, chelate, orotatate or phosphate form. It’s best to use a supplement that contains both.
Reduce the amount of alcohol and caffeine in take
A week before your periods ,reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol as much as you can.It’s not easy but it will help reduce pain when your period comes.Instead of coffee or alcohol,drink herbal teas and lots of water.
May You have Pain free Cycles!