What helps period pain?
Period pain isn’t ideal but there’s also a lot you can do to make it better. Let’s take a further look.
Period pain really can’t be sugar coated; it’s uncomfortable, distracting and an issue that many of us will deal with starting from puberty up until menopause. You may also go for months having pain free periods, only to wake up one day feeling like there’s an angry monster jabbing around inside your womb; every month can feel like an unpredictable lottery.
But having said that, there are certain things you can do to help ease your period pain and generally help you to not let your cramps get in the way of your day-to-day life. Let’s take a look at some of best ways you can improve your period cramps…
Period pain relief tips and home remedies
Keep painkillers at hand
Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen will help nip cramps in the bud, but they should always be taken after food, or with a glass of milk in order to protect the stomach lining.
Get that body moving!
Whether it’s a walk around the block with a friend or something that requires a little more energy such as a run or bike ride – exercise helps increase blood flow, oxygen levels and endorphin levels (nature’s painkilling and feel-good hormones). It might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re cuddled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle but exercise will help your body to relax and ease some of the pain during this tricky time.
Weather not great? You can stay active indoors too
Get the same endorphins and pain-killing benefits of exercise without going outside by practising yoga! If you don’t have a yoga mat to hand, you can always use a towel or exercise on carpet or a rug. There are also a variety of workouts you can do on the spot, like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which you can easily do inside or outside in the garden without the need for any fancy equipment.
Heat will help you heal
Heat will loosen up your muscles, so a hot bath, or hugging a hot water bottle are both recommended – as if we even needed an excuse to indulge in a bit of self-love and pampering!
We know that comfort food may be an appealing option, but lowering your fat intake and upping your vegetable count can ease the pain by ensuring that your body receives extra nutrients and hydration. Increasing the amount of fluid you drink by drinking more water can also help, as dehydration can cause muscle cramps. Herbal teas – especially ones that contain peppermint and chamomile – are soothing and can make you feel calm and relaxed, helping you get through the pain.
Give in to your chocolate cravings
There’s a cocoa coloured lining to this cloud of period pain – chocolate contains cocoa which triggers the brain to release endorphins and boost your energy, so feel free to have a nibble (or a whole bar)! Remember, a chocolate with a higher concentration of cocoa will contain more of these mood-boosting nutrients – so if you have a choice, we recommend opting for a darker chocolate.
When to go to your doctor about menstrual cramps
In a few cases, painful menstruation – or dysmenorrhoea – can get in the way of you living your life. In one study, up to 14% of women reported frequently being unable to go to work because of period pain . But there’s no need to suffer alone or feel like you can’t ask for help; if your period cramps are this severe, talk to a doctor or a medical healthcare professional.
In some cases, they may prescribe you hormonal contraception to reduce period pain or help you to discover the underlying problem. Some of the conditions that could be causing you excessive amounts of period pain include endometriosis and PCOS – so if you do feel like your period cramps are constantly unbearable make sure you talk to a doctor so that they can provide you with the best solutions for relieving your pain.
Period pain can make us hate our wombs at times, but it doesn’t need to ruin your life or stop you from doing all the activities you want to do! This guidance for relief should help you curb most of the pain so you can carry on living your life. It’s also worth phoning friends and asking what they do to help soothe cramps, talking about this can help you cope with all those emotions, and you might get great additional tips too!
If you want to learn more about living with periods, check out our articles on preventing night-time leaking and brown discharge.
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.
 Schoep ME, Adang EMM, Maas JWM, et al Productivity loss due to menstruation-related symptoms: a nationwide cross-sectional survey among 32 748 women BMJ Open 2019