Do you dread that time of the month? Does it interrupt your life, making you want to call in sick and stay on the couch all day? If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place!
From my first period to my current one I have suffered a great deal of pain every month. That’s over 16 years of dreading one week out of the month. SIXTEEN YEARS! And however many more to go...?
As I’m writing this, I am sitting on the couch with my rice heat pack on my stomach trying to ease the pain. This period has been really bad and when the pain is bad, I get desperate. What can I do to get rid of this pain? I will do anything to help! ANYTHING!
On the first day, in my moment of desperation I thought maybe I’d meditate. I meditate to relieve stress, to focus on my life and my goals and I meditate to help get a deeper sleep. So why not try to meditate to get rid of period pain? So I got on YouTube and searched for “meditation” “period pain”...
..scrolled through a couple and picked the one that had the most likes/views. I put my AirPods in and started listening to the meditation which ended up being a binaural beat. A binaural beat is two different frequencies that are played, one in each ear, and it causes a perceptual illusion, the equivalent of an optical illusion. Again, I was desperate and willing to try anything that could help.
While I listened to these two frequencies I scrolled through the comments to see what others thought. I was surprised and a little comforted to see that other women felt the exact same way I did. They too were experiencing extreme pain during their periods. The comments were full of women uplifting each other and supporting each other. It was so great to see these women trying to help each other out. I wanted to help, I wanted to know that my comment could help other women who were curled up in a ball with a heating pad praying for the pain to be gone.
So I thought for a moment and then wrote all the things I do that help ease the pain when it’s really bad. I thought maybe someone else who was desperately seeking help would read through the comments like I did and find some comfort in my suggestions. This inspired me to research all the things that are supposed to help relieve/prevent period pain and I want to share with you what I found. All the information in one place! From over the counter products to holistic healing to the desperate “I will try anything, just please take this pain away” stretches and meditations. It’s all here for you!
First off, periods aren't supposed to be that painful. Let me repeat that so your uterus and ovaries can here me, PERIODS AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THAT PAINFUL! When I read that I was shocked. What do you mean they're not meant to hurt this much? I've suffered like this from the very beginning. Turns out that having a lot of pain during your period is caused by other medical conditions and even your lifestyle habits. According to Madeline MacKinnon at yogiapproved.com if you follow these four steps you can get real period pain relief.
- You have to understand that period pain is NOT normal.
- Identify the cause of your pain. These can be fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis, inflammation and toxicity. I have recently found out that I have a fibroid on the outside of my uterus, but I've had bad pain right from the beginning. Have I had the fibroid this whole time? If not, what made my periods so bad before? Pay attention to your body and get to your doctor to figure out what is causing your period pain.
- After you find out what the cause is, treat that cause.
- Get your hormones balanced.
Going through these four steps may not be a quick process and during it you may be looking for other ways to relieve your pain. Below is a complete list of ways to help relieve period pain.
For pain relievers you can take anti-inflammatory medications such as, ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), ketoprofen (Orudis) or naproxen (Aleve/ Naprosyn). These can be found at any supermarket or drug store. I usually choose Advil, but I gotta say that the first few days of my period I can take 3 Advil every 4-6 hours and find very little relief. Plus I try my best to be as natural as possible so taking that much medicine is not something I like to do.
There are several different products/supplements out there to help with your period. Delune makes a product called Cramp Aid that is vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO. It has natural ingredients such as B vitamins, zinc, ginger, calendula, dong quai and fenugreek to help target period pain. Another product comes from HUM called Moody Bird. This vegan capsule contains chaste berry, dong quai, hypromellose, rice bran extract and rice hulls. It supports cravings, cramps and irritability, promotes clear skin and maintains a healthy hormonal balance.
I use Cramp Ease from Woodland Essence to help ease my cramps. Those first couple days when the pain is so bad, this helps take the edge off. Unfortunately they don't sell it anymore, but they do sell some of the individual ingredients on their website that you could take separately to get the same benefits, two of these ingredients I found on another website. This includes motherwort, crampbark, catnip, corydalis and cyperus. I also like to drink Raspberry Leaf tea from Traditional Medicinals, they even have a Healthy Cycle blend that is great too. I am not a huge tea drinker and usually only drink this a week before my period and the first couple days of my period when the pain is bad. It does help even more if I drink this tea throughout the month, I'm just not as motivated to drink tea when I don't feel like I'm dying (haha..).
Try to use organic pads and tampons. I love The Honey Pot and since I've switched to their pads and tampons I have noticed less cramps. They also offer menstrual cups if that is something you're interested in. The thing I love about their pads/liners are that they have essential oils in them. The lavender and mint creates a "cooling" effect and that helps with the discomfort of cramps. The rose and aloe vera keep you refreshed and are very soothing. You can purchase these pads on their website or even at Target.
If you want something you can apply topically to ease cramps, check out my Lady Cramp Salve. Made with all natural and organic ingredients, the essential oils in this salve are anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and also helps balance your hormones. I like to apply this salve to my stomach, back and thighs and then apply my Rice Heat pack, which you can also purchase from my website. I also like to use Biofreeze, I use the roll on and it gives my skin a "cooling" effect that when I use my heat pack, it helps the cramps ease up a bit. While researching I did stumble upon Cold As Ice, which is the same idea as the BioFreeze but it has Cannabis Seed Extract. I would definitely like to try this and see which works better. I have never tried a magnesium spray to ease cramps but while researching it was suggested by several people to help and the reviews on this particular brand are pretty convincing!
If you are a DIY'er there are recipes all over the internet for different blends of essential oils to help ease cramps. You can do 18 drops lavender, 4 drops clary sage, 4 drops marjoram and 1oz carrier oil OR 8 drops copaiba, 8 drops lavender, 7 drops frankincense, 4 drops clove and 1oz carrier oil (live well zone).
Another product you can use is called Ovira. Ovira uses pulse therapy to help stop period pain (they say instantly!). I have not used this product but they have a 5 star review based on 184 reviews. A lot of the women reviewing this product have pain from endometriosis and say that this product has changed their lives. If you are someone who deals with extreme pain and OTC products don't cut it, this is definitely worth checking out.
Your diet is important for easing period pain as well. I love smoothies and they are simple and can be packed with all kinds of nutrients and ingredients to keep you healthy. During your period there is a lot of inflammation going on in your body so I always try to pick anti-inflammatory foods such as spinach, pineapple and cherries. I usually drink at least one smoothie a day but around my period it is usually 1-3 a day. There are so many options that I never get sick of them. Other foods that are good to have during your period are broccoli, kale, salmon, eggs, mushrooms, blueberries, blackberries and brown rice. To help you all month long, here are food suggestions for each phase of your cycle. Shannon from The Glowing Fridge has a good article on this, with a great picture you can get emailed to you! I'll share it below and if you click the picture it will take you right to her page to get a copy of the list in your email, making grocery shopping for these foods a little easier!
If nothing else, here is a list of foods you should avoid during your period; salty food, fried food, fatty food, caffeine, alcohol, dairy and refined sugar.
My final suggestions to ease your period pain are yoga/stretches. There are a lot of different options when it comes to yoga/stretches, I will try to give you a lot to choose from but I am sure if you research it you will find even more. Both these pictures were found on Pinterest, there are many more out there.