Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) are caused by chemical changes during menstruation that help the uterine muscles to contract in order to expel fluids and tissue.

Image of cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder

If you are one of the unlucky ones who experience pain with menstruation, there are some self-help remedies that may help ease your discomfort.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Possible symptoms include:

  • Cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Leg pain
  • Nausea

PREVALENCE

The NCBI estimates that about 25% of women experience pain that results in absenteeism or requires medication.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Medical treatment may be with pain relievers, hormones, or surgery.

SELF TREATMENT

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and inflammation. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Bone broth
  • Gelatin
  • Healthy fats
  • Parsley
  • Sesame seeds
  • Unripe papaya

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID OR REDUCE

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Diuretics
  • Processed foods of any kind
  • Processed sugars
  • Salty foods

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Ginger tea
  • Blackberry
  • Blackstrap molasses in warm milk
  • Cramp bark tea
  • Ginger
  • Red raspberry leaf

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Black cohosh
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cramp bark
  • Curcumin
  • Dill
  • Dong Quai
  • Fennel extract during the flow
  • German chamomile
  • Indian spikenard
  • Jamaican dogwood
  • Motherwort
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Vitex/Chaste tree berry
  • Wild yam

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically on your skin in a carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc.) or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress. Find recipes for blends on the web or create your own.

  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Clary sage
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Lavender oil
  • Marjoram
  • Nutmeg
  • Peppermint
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow
  • Ylang Ylang

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Calcium with magnesium if needed
  • Cinnamon capsules
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Edible clay
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil
  • Multivitamins
  • Natural Progesterone cream
  • Omega 3’s
  • Pcycenogenol
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin D

HYDRATION

Dehydration can aggravate bloating. You may need more water and less salt during your period. Be sure it is pure and chemical free. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½-1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

A moderate workout can make you feel better. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

SLEEP

Studies show that lack of quality sleep affects the production of disease-fighting antibodies. You will need extra diligence in making your sleep hours peaceful and comfortable if you don’t want to compromise your immune system with sleep deprivation.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend, meditate. Do what works for you to keep mellow. Some of the following relaxation methods may be helpful for you:

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Control arachidonic acid production by cutting back on red meat and egg yolk (this may work for those sensitive to AA).
  • Have intercourse.
  • Medical marijuana
  • Mineral baths (add sea salt and baking soda)
  • Stay warm to increase blood flow and relax your muscles.
  • Try cold packs.
  • Use a heating pad.
  • Yoga stretches

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

 

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