Period pain – menstrual cramps, bloating, stomachaches – isn’t just physically agonizing, it’s emotionally draining. These solutions will help soothe your whole body, mind and soul. Remember that every woman is different, and some solutions are more helpful for different women at different times of the month than others. Get to know your body. Explore different solutions for painful periods, and stick with what works for you.
A typical period cycle is 28 days, but there is lots of variation from woman to woman. Plus, your periods change as you age and your hormones change. This makes it difficult to figure out what’s a normal cycle and how painful your periods are in comparison to another woman’s, but you can (and should!) learn what’s normal for your body.
If you don’t have a predictable monthly period, read What to Eat for a Normal Menstrual Cycle. Regulating your periods can help decrease the pain – but it really does depend on why your periods are painful. For example, if your periods are irregular and painful because of endometriosis or fibroids, then it won’t help to take vitamin B12 or Omega-3 fish oils.
The best way to find solutions to menstrual problems – especially if you have painful periods – is to make an appointment with a gynecologist in person. Get your pap smear, physical checkup, and ultrasound if necessary. The internet, including my solutions for painful periods :-), is good for information. But, this isn’t a health diagnosis or medical intervention. It’s important to see a doctor in person and get help that is specific to your own body and menstrual cycle.
Since painful cramps are a normal part of a young woman’s cycle (“young” means in her teens and 20s), learning natural remedies for premenstrual (PMS) symptoms is helpful. Menstrual cramps are related to higher pressure inside the uterus, because the muscle of the uterine wall contracts with flow. Younger women who haven’t been pregnant or worn an IUD (intrauterine device) have a tighter cervix; this generates more cramps and greater pressure.
Period cramps may lighten up for women in their 30s, even if they haven’t had babies or worn IUDs. Their hormone levels decrease as they age – younger women have lower estrogen and higher progesterone. That hormonal environment encourages prostaglandins, which are fatty acids that promote uterine contractions and cramping.
10 Tips for Getting Rid of Period Pain
In Endometriosis as a Cause of Painful Periods, I described a research study that explains why we suffer through period pain for years – even decades! – of our lives. When we talk about about the painful menstrual cramps, abdominal aching, headaches, and sensitivity, our symptoms tend to be normalized. “Period pain is what all women experience,” is a common belief.
Remember that what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. You need to try different methods and treatments for reducing painful periods. Our bodies are different, and you may be experiencing period pain for different reasons than I am.
So, you need to try to find out if there are any underlying reasons for your menstrual cramps, bloating, abdominal pain, etc that is caused by your period.
1. Try to learn what is happening in your body
It’s may not be easy to discern why your periods are so painful, but it’s important! Menstrual cramps and other symptoms of painful periods are caused by a variety of factors. Genetic makeup, lifestyle, stress level, and changing hormone levels can all play a part. Physical health issues such as endometriosis, fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome can increase period pain, as can emotional health issues such as depression or schizophrenia.
In general, what causes painful periods? Prostaglandins. They are chemicals that your body produces, and they are associated with menstrual discomfort. Your uterus is lined with tissue that makes these chemicals. Prostaglandins stimulate your uterine muscles to contract. If you have high levels of prostaglandins, you’ll get experience period pain in dizzying detail. These chemicals may also be responsible for vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches that accompany painful periods. To learn more, read WebMd’s article What Causes Menstrual Pain.
The best tip on how to get rid of period pain is to find out what’s happening in your body. For me, it’s fibroids. I have two benign cysts in my uterus; alone, they don’t cause me any pain. But during my period I feel those fibroids acting up. I don’t know what’s happening in there – my gynaecologist did describe it, but it went over my head. All I needed to know was that my period pain is caused by fibroids.
2. Find a doctor you are comfortable talking with
You don’t have a good chance of learning what causes period pain for you…unless you talk to a gynecologist or healthcare practitioner. I know this isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do! My most popular article right now is 5 Foods That Make Your Menstrual Cycle Regular, and hundreds of women have asked for help regulating their periods and dealing with menstrual cramps, bloating, etc. I can’t diagnose the reason for irregular menstrual cycles or offer tips on reducing period pain – NOBODY can give that type of medical advice over the internet! Be very careful about getting personal medical advice from general health articles or blog posts.
The only way to get rid of period pain is to make an appointment in person with your gynecologist or a healthcare provider you trust. It probably won’t take one session. Admittedly, this isn’t the quickest or easiest tip for reducing painful menstrual cramps, bloating, abdominal pain, etc…but it really is the most effective and healthy.
3. Soothe your body, mind, and spirit with a cup of tea
Yogi Teas Woman’s Tea contains the herbs dong quai, chaste tree berry and organic raspberry leaf to help soothe the minor tensions and discomfort of a woman’s monthly cycle. These herbs address common menstrual discomforts, aches, and pains. The tea also contains chamomile, which has been used for centuries to help relax and soothe the mind and body.
I love that this tea won’t disrupt prescription medications or interfere with your body. It may not work for your specific period pain or menstrual cramps, but it won’t hurt you. (But still – check with your doctor if you have concerns!). This tea was the only “treatment” for period pain and menstrual cramps that received almost 4,000 positive reviews on Amazon. I recommended it in one of my female fertility articles, and have received positive feedback.
4. Prepare to undergo different types of gynecological tests
The quick and easy tips on how to get rid of period pain are coming! But not yet. First I need to finish talking about the most effective long-term and healthy tips for reducing painful menstrual cramps, bloating, etc.
If I had just taken Midol or Advil (two popular ways to get rid of period pain), I never would have discovered that I have fibroids. I would’ve just popped those pills every month and ignored what my body was trying to tell me. That would’ve been a mistake! Not life-threatening because my fibroids are harmless – but what if I had endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome? It would’ve gotten worse as I aged, and perhaps even harmed my health.
Finding out I have fibroids took months. I had to undergo two pelvic ultrasounds in three months, my family doctor’s pap smear, and two appointments with a gynecologist. And another pap smear. It was not pretty or fun…but it was worth it. Now that I know the cause of my period pain, I know how to get rid of it.
If you’ve been suffering with period pain for months or years, prepare to undergo different gynecological tests. It’s a pain in the patootie! It’s physically uncomfortable (sometimes painful), emotionally humbling, and time-consuming. But hopefully it’ll be worth it for you, because it’ll take you one step closer to
5. Explore different ways to get rid of period pain
If you patiently take the time to research and experiment with different treatments and methods of reducing painful symptoms, you will eventually find what works for you. When I say “experiment” with different tips on how to reduce period pain, I mean do your research! Don’t just take black cohosh, for example.
Ask other women for their tips on reducing period pain. If you feel embarrassed about talking about it, you can lead with that! “I feel weird bringing this up, but I’m really curious about something. Do you get painful periods, and how do you deal with them?” And, keep searching for information on the internet. Don’t forget to read the comments sections of blog posts; other readers can be the source of valuable tips on how to get rid of period pain.
For instance, on 5 Ways to Overcome PMS Symptoms, Sarah says: “I am over 30 years old and have been getting painful periods since I was 13. I experience severe pain in my lower abdomen and lower back, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and have almost fainted a few times. Last year, I had to visit the emergency room 3 times. I’ve tried Premenstrual Tension from BrainSync Technology and I saw that if I listen to this for about 3-4 days before my period starts, I am more present more able to handle myself… and this helped immensely. Give it a try!”
6. Be careful before taking any over-the-counter painkiller or herbal supplement
Advil Tablets (Ibuprofen) are often prescribed for period pain. Even the MayoClinic lists Advil as the number one way to treat menstrual cramps – and they say to start taking Advil the day before your period begins.
Because I have ulcerative colitis, I can’t take ibuprofen (which is what Advil consists of), or even aspirin. My colitis is more likely to flare if I take those painkillers, so I stick to Tylenol – which the MayoClinic says may lessen period pain.
It’s important for you to know that just because you read something on a health website – even one as trustworthy as the MayoClinic – doesn’t mean the treatment will work for you. That’s why my first tip on how to get rid of period pain was to find out what’s happening in your body. You can’t just accept the information you get online. You need to go further and learn how specific treatments and methods for reducing painful periods might affect your body.
7. Heat up your abdominal to reduce period pain
I love that research proves that heat can help get rid of menstrual cramps and abdominal pain! A scientist from University College in London spoke at an annual conference of the Physiological Society.
“The pain of colic, cystitis and period pain is caused by a temporary reduction in blood flow to or over-distension of hollow organs such as the bowel or uterus, causing local tissue damage and activating pain receptors,” says Dr Brian King in Heat Halts Pain Inside the Body. “The heat doesn’t just provide comfort and have a placebo effect – it actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work. We have discovered how this molecular process works.”
A long time ago I interviewed a holistic health practitioner for an article I was writing for alive magazine. She said the exact same thing: applying heat to your abdomen when you’re getting your period will reduce the pain.
HealthSmart’s TheraBeads Microwavable Heating Pad provides moist heat therapy for natural pain relief. It’s super easy to use – just stick it in the microwave, heat it up, and apply to your belly! Feels great. Unless you’re vacationing in Hawaii or you live somewhere hot, like Haiti.
ThermaCare Menstrual Cramp Relief Heat Wraps relax muscles, and may be a quick and easy tip on how to get rid of period pain for you. You can wear these heat wraps under your clothes, which means you don’t have to take time off work to lie in bed with a heating pad.
8. Consider taking dietary supplements for menstrual cramps
According to the MayoClinic, a number of studies have indicated that certain supplements can help women get rid of period pain.
Here’s their list of supplements that reduce symptoms of painful periods:
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B-6
- Magnesium supplements
Adenomyosis occurs when the uterine lining grows into the muscular wall of the uterus; it causes very painful, prolonged, heavy periods. Adenomyosis is not the same as endometriosis, and is especially common in women who’ve had C-sections. Uterine fibroids can cause flooding, which is a heavy, gushing flow that is sometimes accompanied by blots.
9. Aromatherapy for period pain
Soften Women’s Blend for Natural PMS Relief by Ovvio Oils is my favorite tip on how to get rid of period pain! It won’t disrupt your body. It’s a special essential oil formula created especially for women, to maintain hormonal balance, ease premenstrual syndrome and related issues, and helps menopausal women cope with hormonal changes.
The idea is to put a few drops on your scarf or handkerchief, and allow the scent to relax your mind and body. This blend of essential oils contains 100% pure therapeutic grade Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Ravensara, and Bergamont.
10. Ask women what helps them cope with pain
While you’re working with your gynecologist or healthcare provider to find out what’s causing period pain in your body, I suggest two things:
- Talk to other women about how to get rid of menstrual cramps. Do you feel shy about talking about your period? I know I do! But I also know that every time I ask a woman what helps her reduce painful symptoms of her period, I never regret it. I always learn something new.
- Pamper yourself. Relax into warm soothing baths. Eat healthy foods that nurture and sustain your energy. Breathe in aromatherapy oils, and put warm heating pads on your abdomen.
My first suggestion for reducing menstrual cramps and other symptoms of painful periods was to learn what’s causing period pain in your body, and to work with a doctor to find ways to treat it. But that takes time – and who wants to continue to suffer while waiting for test results and doctors’ appointments? Not me.
What do you think? While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of learning how to get rid of period pain quickly and easily.