Five Ways to Stop Period Cramping in College

Period cramps are awful. Period cramps in college are even worse. Sometimes Advil or Midol just doesn’t cut it. These are the best college-style remedies for relieving the pain that comes with your period.

1. Turn up the Heat

One of the best ways to get rid of period cramps is with heat. It loosens up the muscles that cause the pain in our lower abdomen.

Unfortunately, applying heat while in college can be difficult. Warm baths are off the table when you live in a dorm. Heating pads are great but the microwaves aren’t typically clean enough to use them.  When these two solutions aren’t an option, there’s still something you can do.

Using a Keurig, brew two cups of hot water. That is, run the Keurig without one of the K-Cups inside. Put the hot water into a water bottle.  Camelbak bottles work really well if you take out the straw, because you can squeeze the part at the top to let out steam. If you don’t let the steam out of your bottle, the top may fly open and you could get scalded with hot water, so be careful.

Now you just have to wrap the bottle in a towel or blanket and you’ve got a makeshift heating pad- or heating bottle.

2. No Caffeine

While your Keurig may be your new best friend for the sake of making your heating pad, it could also be your enemy. Caffeine can lead to a period cramp nightmare.

The reason caffeine is so detrimental to cramps is primarily because it increases blood pressure and constricts blood vessels. Pressure is the last thing you want when you already have tight angry muscles. It can also make you more tense and anxious, causing the cramps to get worse.

Unfortunately for many women in college, no caffeine means no coffee. If you really need that boost to get you through your 8 a.m. lecture, or even your 11 a.m. lecture, try decaf instead. The taste of coffee will likely wake you up, without the caffeine making your cramps any worse. It works because you’ve conditioned your body to understand that coffee equates to energy, and your mind won’t necessarily register that it’s caffeine free.

3. Eat Healthy

Drinking lots of water wakes you up in the morning sans coffee. When you’re hydrated, you’re overall healthier, but your blood vessels also dilate. This helps alleviate cramping. Certain foods can help you cope with period cramps as well.  While chocolate and ice cream might come to mind first, these treats can actually do more harm than good.  The best foods are anything that contain manganese, including cinnamon, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Other vitamin rich foods may help as well, improving not just the pain from your cramps, but making you feel better and healthier in general.

4. Exercise

For some girls, even getting out of bed can seem impossible with cramps.  If you can manage though, try exercising.  Exercising could be going to the gym, doing yoga in your room, or even taking a walk.  The exercise releases endorphins, which make you happy and can help you forget about the pain of the cramps.  This means walking to class can actually improve your period cramps.  And maybe once you’re there, the lecture will take your mind off it even further.

You don’t have to walk to class however. Just walking outside helps.  Or maybe take a stroll down the hall to your lounge or a friend’s room. 

5. Aromatherapy

Since you’re already up and walking, head down to CVS for candles and lotions.  Calming scents tell your brain and your body to relax.  Since cramps are caused by muscles tensing up, the relaxation helps the pain go away. Try finding lavender scented lotions or candles – if you’re allowed to light candles in your room.  The aroma of lavender has been proven to be one of the best ways to relax.  It has also been shown especially effective when it comes to curing period cramps.  If you do have a bathtub available, trying taking a lavender scented bath. The combination of the heat and the scent might just feel like heaven.