Ten moderately sized ninjas kickboxing the inside of your uterus. That is what cramps feel like for many women and, if you’ve been unlucky enough to experience that, this post is for you. Though some people only get mild cramps, called primary dysmenorrhea, many get secondary dysmenorrhea - a more painful version of cramps and other period pains, related to a disorder in the reproductive organs. Cramps occur when your uterus contracts and presses against the surrounding blood vessels. The restriction of blood flow causes painful cramps. According to a study, over 84% of women report having some kind of period related pain. That’s a lot of people doubled over with cramps, wishing that it would just stop already. Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to ease, if not eliminate, your cramps.
1. Hit your mat
Yoga is easily one of the best holistic ways to flow your cramps away. With forward folds working to ease the muscles in your abdomen and gentle child’s pose to calm your nerves, practically any amount of practice will do your body good. Practice poses at home (you don’t even have to wear pants, if you don’t want to) or grab your mat and hit up a local studio. I recommend wearing pants for the latter.
2. Have an orgasm
No, I’m not just being sassy. Orgasms are fun and helpful in banishing period cramps. Right before the big moment, your muscles contract which soothes the ache. As soon as you reach climax, a flood of endorphins are released in your brain, helping to boost your mood and lessen your pain. It’s really a win-win, lady.
3. Ditch your latte
I know, I know. You need it. Fine, have one fully caffeinated beverage and then switch to decaf or, better yet, water. Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor, constricting blood flow and causing painful cramps. It’s essentially adding to what your uterus is doing when it contracts. Have your fix, if you want. Just know that cutting back could make it a lot easier to get through the menstrual madness.
4. Use a heating pad
This tried and truth method of cramp relief is effective, but temporary. What happens is that the heat receptors in your body turn on and block the effect of pain-detecting chemical receptors. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or treat yourself to a warm bubble bath. Your body will be letting out a sigh of reliefin no time!
5. Eat your greens
The main reason that your uterine muscle contracts during menstruation is due to the release of prostaglandins. When prostaglandins enter your bloodstream they can cause other unpleasant side effects like headaches, nausea, and vomiting. To counteract this, eat plenty of greens like broccoli, spinach, and brussel sprouts. The nutrients found in them provide your body with more fiber and help lower estrogen levels, a key hormone that contributes to period pain. Get creative and cook up a dish that’ll have you drooling - and forgetting about your cramps!
6. Get your sweat on
Exercise is a known aid in getting rid of cramps - and boosting your mood. Why? Because the endorphins released when you get sweaty help to regulate your hormones. You’ll feel more confident, have more energy (a real bonus when you’re menstruating), and lower the amount of pain you feel. Want a quick workout designed to cure cramps? Try this one.
Of course, if things get too crazy up in your uterus, you can always take a painkiller recommended by your doctor. But, honestly, don’t these other methods sound way more fun?