Do you feel like you have ninjas kickboxing the inside of your uterus? It’s called menstrual cramps – and everyone with a uterus has or will experience them in their lifetime. Though some people only get mild cramps, also known as primary dysmenorrhea, others get secondary dysmenorrhea – a more painful version of cramps and other period pains related to a disorder in the reproductive organs. Cramps occur when your uterus contracts and presses against the surrounding blood vessels, and the restriction of blood flow causes painful cramps. According to a study, over 84% of menstruating humans report having some kind of period related pain. Don’t you wish they would just go away? Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to ease, if not eliminate, your cramps!
1. Hit your mat
Yoga is easily one of the best holistic ways to flow your cramps away (no pun intended). With forward folds working to ease the muscles in your abdomen and gentle child’s pose to calm your nerves, practically any amount of practice will do your body good. Practice poses at home or grab your mat and hit up a local studio. We also have an amazing blog post with an instructional video on yoga poses for cramps!
That’s right, we said it! Orgasms are fun and helpful in banishing period cramps. Right before the big moment, your muscles contract which soothes the ache of your cramps. As soon as you reach climax, a flood of endorphins are released in your brain, helping to boost your mood and lessen your pain. If you want to take it a step further, we have an amazing blog about period sex and vibrators!
3. Avoid your coffee fix
We know some people can’t function without their cup of coffee first thing in the morning. So if you absolutely can’t avoid your caffeine, we’ll let ONE cup slide. Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor, constricting blood flow and causing painful cramps, and it’s essentially adding to what your uterus is doing when it contracts. Avoid the caffeine if you can, if not, just know that cutting back could make it a lot easier to get through the menstrual madness!
4. Use a heating pad
This tried and truth method of cramp relief is effective, but temporary. What happens is that the heat receptors in your body turn on and block the effect of pain-detecting chemical receptors. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or treat yourself to a warm bubble bath. Your body will be letting out a sigh of relief in no time!
5. Eat your greens
The main reason that your uterine muscle contracts during menstruation is due to the release of prostaglandins. When prostaglandins enter your bloodstream, they can cause other unpleasant side effects like headaches, nausea, and vomiting. To counteract this, eat plenty of greens like broccoli, spinach, and brussels sprouts. The nutrients found in them provide your body with more fiber and help lower estrogen levels, a key hormone that contributes to period pain. Get creative and cook up a dish that’ll have you drooling AND forgetting about your cramps!
6. Get your sweat on
Exercise is a known aid in getting rid of cramps and boosting your mood. Why? Because the endorphins released when you get sweaty help to regulate your hormones. You’ll feel more confident, have more energy (a real bonus when you’re menstruating), and lower the amount of pain you feel. Want a quick workout designed to cure cramps? Try this 5 minute workout routine!