7 Ways to Help Decrease your Period Pain

I personally have debilitating pain for about 2-3 days in my menstrual cycle and have tried various things to help decrease the pain. I realized that speaking to other people about how they deal with their pain has helped me decrease mine. Therefore, I’ve listed some of the things I do to help myself as well as asked Her Campus Western members to share their pain-relieving tips and tricks:

  1. HEAT

Keeping your abdominal area warm can decrease the muscle contractions which cause period cramps. I've used heating water pads and noticed a relief and reduction in the amount of pain. I fill it up with hot water, contrary to the instructions saying warm water, and lay down, place it on my abdomen and cover myself with a blanket.

Her Campus Members are all about the heat!:

“Hot water bottles have been my absolute saviour! That and hot baths.” - Gina

“I'm a heat person!! Hot baths, hot packs and my heated blanket.” - Melanie

“I shake my leg, like a dog. It’s weird, I know. But when I do so the pain fades away a little. I also take hot showers when the pain is really bad.” - Rania

“I use a microwavable heating pack when I have cramps which works well for me.” - Alex

“I’m with anything hot. Baths, heating pads, all those amazing things.” - Evelyna

2) Pain Killers

Unfortunately, I would not be able to handle period pains without conventional painkillers such as ibuprofen, Midol, or Naproxen. When I was younger I’d try to handle the pain because I didn’t like using pain killers, however, I would end up throwing up from the pain. I realized taking a painkiller at the sign of just minor cramps can save me from getting to the level of pain that makes you vomit.

HCW member Zahra specifically recommends midol as she states, “Midol - I hate to say it but I really need the drugs. I also went to my doctor because I faint because the pain is so excruciating. She gave me prescription to help cope.”

“Advil is my saviour generally.”- Angelika

3) Essential Oils

I’ve used a few essential oils on my abdominal area to relieve pain and it works! Panaway is an essential oil sold by Young Living which consists of a mixture of four oils (wintergreen, helichrysum, clove and  peppermint). I rub a few drops on my abdomen and I notice my pain dissipate. I have found that this mixture works the best and other mixtures like peppermint and lavender have sedation-like effects as well.

4) Birth Control

I personally have not used birth control for the management of my period pains. However, I have heard from many women that it has relieved or removed their pain entirely. I recommend doing your own research on birth control as there are many possible side effects and people who have responded to it both positively and negatively.

“Going on birth control really helped me with my cramps! I used to get horrible cramps on the first few days of my period and would take Advil the day before in anticipation. If I waited too long, then they were unbearable. Now, I only take 1-2 doses of Advil my entire period and my cramps are nothing like they were before.” -  Alex

“I used to have debilitating cramps and throw up/pass out from the pain. I went on the birth control shot and now I don’t have a period or those terrible cramps!” - Cassia

“I’ve been on birth control since I was 14 for horrible period pains.” - Evelyna

“Another option is the IUD. LONG TERM! Short term, my IUD made my cramps seriously bad because basically your body is adjusting to something new being up in there there doesn’t come out. But, uh, yeah I don’t really get periods anymore? I get a touch of spotting for a day or two every month or so, but it’s so light there’s no cramping anymore! You basically get your 5 years of cramps out of the way in under 6 months.” - Becca

5) Yoga and Exercise

Yoga and exercising helps the increase of blood flow in the body which inevitably helps with period contractions since the contractions inhibit blood flow to the uterus. According to Laura Wait, a yoga teacher and massage therapist, yoga aids in the relaxation of the nervous system, calms emotions, and relieves aches such as cramps and back pain that are present during a menstruation cycle.

Jill, another HCW member, shares her favourite yoga pose in relieving period pain: “I'm lucky in that I don't get particularly bad cramps, and not for too long, but between the point where I start to feel them and when the ibuprofen kicks in I'll often just go for child's pose. It's a relaxing position with a little bit of stretch in just the right place.”

Another form of exercise which can help in pain reduction is masturbation or sex. As Margaret suggests, “I'm fortunate that I don't get cramps very often, but masturbation/an orgasm offers a lot of relief!”

“I’ve heard that exercise helps (same reason as masturbation—increases endorphins” - Angelika

6) CHOCOLATE

I find that chocolate helps satisfy the sweet tooth cravings I get when I’m on my period. In addition, chocolate contains endorphins which can aid in mood improvement. Let’s get ‘em happy hormones.

7) CBD

I find that consuming cannabis can help in the reduction of pain in general. Becca shares her views on CBD products and their relation to pain-relieving:

“Many people find CBD products to be helpful (natural and healthy, not smoked and doesn’t get you high) for a whole myriad of issues. There are specific rubs and balm specifically to help with cramping, and others which help reduce headaches and migraines. It can help digestive issues, anxiety, etc. and could be worth a shot if you’re willing to dish out the cash.”

Whether you choose to stay warm, binge on chocolate or dabble with essential oils, I hope you find a silver lining in one of these 7 ways to help decrease your own period pain.

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