The menstrual cycle is an incredible feat of nature; innate wisdom that propels hormonal flux and enables the perpetuation of life.
For many women, the monthly period brings excruciating pain. One study found an astounding 84.1% of women in their early 20s reported pain, just over half experience discomfort with every single period. This pain can be so severe that it can disturb daily life for 20% of women, as reported in the American Family Physician.
With so many women experiencing pain on a monthly basis, we thought we’d give some natural remedies for cramps to help women out there ease their pain. First, we’ll give natural pain relief treatments that women have found effective followed by a few things to avoid that can make menstrual pain worse. And for those who really want to understand their period pain in full, we offered an appendix just for that.
- 1 Menstrual Pain: How To Find Natural Period Pain Relief
- 2 Other Considerations to Stop Menstrual Pain in Its Tracks
- 3 Appendix: What is Menstrual Pain?
Menstrual Pain: How To Find Natural Period Pain Relief
Period pain can vary from mild to severe to incapacitating. One study pointed out that the problem is so important that “there is an urgent need for more focus on the impact of these symptoms [and] for discussions of treatment options with women of all ages.”
The good news is there are effective ways to reduce the pain.
1. Natural anti-inflammatory remedies for menstrual cramps
While NSAIDs have been shown to provide relief, some people may be worried about their short-term and long-term side-effects like stomach pain, heartburn, liver and kidney problems, bleeding problems due to blood thinning, and the list goes on.
But don’t worry. Nature provides ample sources of pain relief compounds, too. These include:
- Curcumin (an active ingredient in turmeric) has been suggested to be an excellent anti-inflammatory agent.
- Resveratrol (the compound found in grapes) has been said to have similar effects to morphine and reduce pain and inflammation in placebo-controlled studies, although those with liver disease should not use it long-term.
- Willow bark, which produces the primary active ingredient in Aspirin (salicin), can relieve menstrual cramps—alongside other types of pain.
- Valerian root, a stinky natural anti-anxiety agent and sleep aid can not only help combat your monthly moodiness, but it has also been shown to alleviate menstrual cramps.
2. Heat for relief
Many women find warmth in the form of heat pads, hot water bottles, or a toasty bath can help to ease menstrual pain.
3. The many benefits of exercise
Aerobic exercise can provide relief. By increasing blood flow through the pelvic organs, inflammation can be removed before it causes pain. Exercise also calms stress and releases the wonderful endorphins that provide relief. Think tennis, swimming, dance, jogging and cycling.
4. Yoga practice
This ancient practice is adored for many reasons: here’s another. “Yoga… may reduce menstrual cramps and menstrual distress.” Child’s pose, anyone?
5. The calming effects of meditation
Relaxation is key for easing pain. Meditation is a powerful way to calm your mind and body.
6. Topical agents: A secret approach for easing cramps and pain
Mint is a well-loved traditional medicine. Research has shown that, when combined with calendula oil, mint essential oil could stop the nerves from telling the brain that the womb hurts. Applied as a topical application, it reduced the severity of painful periods. While you may not see mint listed on the ingredients panel of effective pain rubs, you likely have heard of its major component: menthol.
Menthol is a natural pain reliever that works well in creams, oils, and ointments. It offers a cooling and heating sensation while depressing the skin’s pain sensors. As a result, the brain more or less begins to ignore the pain. When partnered with camphor, which is a similar counterirritant (blocker of painful irritation), they make a superpower that can stop pain in its tracks. That’s why we have partnered them together in our pain relief creams, ointments, sticks, and massage oils.
While our products are not designed specifically for menstrual pain, the Back and Neck Pain Relief Ointment can soothe an achy back associated with that time of the month. Likewise, this is a great time to benefit from a massage with a soothing oil blended with menthol, camphor, and essential oils (frankincense and myrrh), which are bound to boost your spirits and calm your mind.
After all, a woman’s period was once thought to be the time to rest and rejuvenate. So go ahead and grab your copy of The Red Tent and turn the pages — or stream the miniseries. Just remember to relax.
Other Considerations to Stop Menstrual Pain in Its Tracks
Avoid alcohol and tobacco
Excessive exposure to cold
Women with period pain already know that warmth can be a blessing. Strangely, though, cold exposure can be a curse. One study found that as the mercury plummeted, the prevalence of dysmenorrhea rose.
When to seek medical advice
Although period pain is so prevalent that it is almost considered ‘the norm’ there are times when medical advice ought to be sought.
- When self-care methods don’t deliver relief
- If cramping suddenly worsens
- If period pain is accompanied by fever
- If you experience the same type of pain without a menstrual bleed
- If you are over 25 years of age and cramping for the first time
- It’s time to have a conversation with your medical doctor
Appendix: What is Menstrual Pain?
Menstrual pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, is caused by painful contractions of the uterus, or womb. Often, it is felt as a cramping, dull or throbbing pain in the pelvic area just prior to, or during, menstruation. However, the pain may also reach around to the lower back and down to the inner thighs.
1 in 3 women with menstrual pain seek professional advice, making this a very common reason females seek medical attention for pain.
The two types of period pain
There are two types of period pain: primary and secondary. Let’s explore the differences…
Primary dysmenorrhea is
- the most common type of period pain
- not caused by another condition (it happens on its own)
- due to excess prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins cause chemicals that cause inflammation. It’s a little like having the swelling, redness and pain you get from a sprained ankle, except its inside your womb. As this level of inflammation increases,it causes the uterus to painfully spasm
- tends to occur later in life
- is caused by another condition like endometriosis or uterine fibroids
- worsens over time
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It has not been approved by the FDA to diagnose, treat, prevent, cure, or mitigate any diseases or conditions. We use CBD in our products for cosmetic purposes only.