Period cramps are common among menstruating women and totally normal. Period cramps are usually felt within the mid-to-lower abdomen but can also affect other areas of the body. The pain typically lasts for one to three days, either gradually subsiding or coming and going, with severity varying from woman to woman.1 in 10 women experience severe period cramps that affect their daily goings-on, while most of us experience moderate to intense pain until around age 20, or after pregnancy, where pain usually becomes milder.
What causes period cramps?
You may not realize it, but your womb is actually contracting, which causes the pain. Most of the time, these contractions are so mild that you don’t feel them. During your period, this occurs more strongly to cause the womb lining to shed.
How much pain is normal during a period?
If your period cramps are not alleviated by any of the methods we will discuss below, and the pain affects your ability to live your life normally, speak to a healthcare professional for alternative methods of pain relief and possible treatment options.
8 Ways to Stop Period Cramps as Soon as Possible
No matter the severity of your period pain, we all look for ways in which we can stop period cramps, or at the very least, reduce them. Unless your period cramps are particularly severe, there are several ways you can easily reduce your period pain at home. Here are 8 methods that are proven to be the most effective ways to stop period cramps:
One of the first things we can use to eliminate pain is medication. However, not all painkillers are effective against menstrual cramps.
The best medication to alleviate period cramps is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly known as NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen. Besides reducing inflammation, the anti-inflammatory properties of these painkillers help to reduce the production of prostaglandins and reduce heavy bleeding. Although other types of painkillers, such as paracetamol, can reduce pain, they are typically less effective than NSAIDs.
Take a Bath
Heat is another great method for relieving period cramps with no side effects (as long as the temperature isn’t too high!) and can be used in conjunction with medication for more potent relief.
A fast way to get some relief is to run a hot bath and lie back and relax. Not only will this help you mentally relax, but the heat will help soothe your muscles and reduce cramping. If you’re easily grossed out, you may not love this idea, but it’s often much better than suffering through the pain!
Use Heating Pads & Patches
The heat from a hot water bottle or heating pad also encourages your muscles to relax. Heat not only alleviates abdominal cramps, but it can be used on any other muscles that get tight and sore during your time of the month.
While heating pads and water bottles are great when you’re curled up in bed at home, you can’t use them on the move. That’s why we’ve created our heating patches for menstrual cramps.
With our discreet Heating Patches, you can have relief from period cramps no matter where you are, so you can take on the day pain-free. These air-activated heating patches get to work as soon as they are unwrapped, reaching the optimum therapeutic temperature in just 30 minutes. This heat lasts for up to 12 hours to increase blood flow, relax the muscles, and soothe your period cramps all day.
Simply adhere a heating patch to the outside of your underwear for period cramp relief, or adhere to your lower back to reduce any painful aches. They’re the perfect thing to carry in your bag and use whenever your cramps strike.
Skip the Sweet Treats
If your time of the month gets you craving every sweet treat in the store, try to hold back. While that chocolate may soothe your soul, any food high in sugar, salt, or trans fats can increase inflammation and bloating, making your cramps worse.
Avoid Excess Caffeine
Most of us rely on a cup of coffee to wake us up in the morning, and many people feel more lethargic during their time of the month. However, try to avoid drinking more caffeine when your cramps are bad. Caffeine can cause your blood vessels to narrow, which makes cramps more painful. The only caveat here is that caffeine can help NSAIDs get to work faster, so if your NSAIDs have caffeine in them, go ahead and take them as normal.
It’s understandable if you don’t feel up to exercising during your period. Just thinking about exercising when you are in pain and fatigue can make you want to curl up in a ball, watch Netflix all day and eat copious amounts of junk food! But exercise really can help reduce your pain!
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go for a 5-mile run or do an hour-long dance workout video. Just a short amount of gentle exercise, such as walking, yoga, or Pilates, is enough to release those endorphins, increase blood flow, and make you feel more relaxed. Not only that, that useful hormone will help to lift your mood for the rest of the day.
Yoga is a particularly beneficial form of exercise when you’re on your period as certain poses, such as the cobra and fish, can help stretch the abdomen muscles and stimulate blood flow.
Massaging your lower abdomen in light, circular motions with essential oils can be another effective way to reduce period cramps.
According to a study published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Genecology Research, certain high-quality aromatic essential oils, such as marjoram, lavender, and clary sage, massaged into the skin are effective at relieving period cramps and reducing the length of time they are present.
If you are worried about potential irritation to your skin, try mixing a little essential oil with an unscented lotion or body cream before massaging it into your skin. Lavender can be particularly helpful when you’re getting ready to go to sleep or if you wake up in pain during the night.
Have an Orgasm
Have you ever had an orgasm when you’ve had a headache and noticed that your pain was reduced or went away? If so, it may not surprise you to find out that there’s actually evidence that having an orgasm is a natural pain reliever.
Orgasms release endorphins and oxytocin, which help reduce the amount of pain you’ve felt. A 1985 study found that vaginal self-stimulation actually doubled women’s tolerance for pain, so give it a try before bed to help you get off to sleep.
Each of these methods can work to reduce inflammation, stop the pain, and increase blood flow to the uterus, so it is really up to you to find out which method works best for you and your cycle.
One huge benefit to our period heat patches is that they can be used alongside other period cramp reduction methods so you can get the ultimate pain relief, working directly where you most need it, whenever you need it.