Aunt Flo: 12 Surprising Ways To Get Rid Of Painful Cramps

Every month, women have to spend a week suffering though their periods. While menstruation is different for everyone, many women experience the same symptoms.

Regardless of whether their flow is light or heavy, it’s not fun to spend a week worrying about underwear, pants, and sheets.

On top of that, most women experience menstrual cramps. Cramps can be one of the most unenjoyable parts of having a period: they’re painful, uncomfortable, and hard to manage.

Even though you deal with them all the time, you might be wondering, “What causes cramps?” According to WebMD, “Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus, which is a muscle.”

Since your uterus sheds its inner lining during menstruation, it goes through contractions to complete the process.

“If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain results when part of a muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen,” explains WebMD.

If you spend that week every month taking painkillers and hoping for the best, I have good news for you! There are a ton of at-home remedies for period cramps, so you can put the pills away.

Check out the 12 home remedies below for some great relief on your next period!

How To Get Rid Of Cramps Naturally
Cramps Remedy #1: Yoga

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Light exercise is very helpful when it comes to easing menstrual cramps.

Lori Kenyon Farley, a Certified Nutrition Consultant, says, “The increased blood flow and the endorphins help counteract the prostaglandins and reduce cramping.”

Certain yoga positions are great for menstrual cramps: they’re low intensity and focus on stretching and balance instead of cardio (but try to avoid any inversions).

Cramps Remedy #2: Heat

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Many women rely on heat to ease the cramps and back pain that menstruation brings, and for good reason.

Heat can ease muscle tension, so it’s a good natural option for period cramp relief.

WebMD recommends: “Place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower back or abdomen. Taking a warm bath may also provide some relief.”

Cramps Remedy #3: Chamomile Tea

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According toMedical Daily, “A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Chemistry found that there might be pain-relieving properties in this fragrant tea.”

Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory benefits, so it can help with cramping pain.

Additionally, the tea can warm up your body, which may help relieve muscle tension.

Cramps Remedy #4: Vitamins

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Making sure you’re getting enough vitamins during your period is an easy way to find pain relief.

According toMedical Daily, “Prevention is always better than the cure, which is why making sure your body has enough vitamin D is important in preventing menstrual cramps.”

Other great supplements for period relief? Fish oil, maca, gelatin, red raspberry leaf, and vitex/chaste tree berry.

Cramps Remedy #5: Hydration

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As with any natural health remedy, water is always key.

Increasing your water intake prevent your body from retaining water, which can help prevent bloating, according to Ramona Fasula, a Certified Holistic Health Coach.

Fasula also explains that drinking warm or hot water can help increase blood flow, which helps relax muscles.

If you can’t find a way to drink more water, you can eat foods with high water content, like berries, celery, and cucumbers.

Cramps Remedy #6: Acupuncture

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Although it’s not for everyone, acupuncture can help relieve the pain from cramps.

Jeannie Bianchi, a licensed acupuncturist, explains that acupuncture relaxes the nervous system. This increases blood flow and has an anti-inflammatory effect.

If needles aren’t your thing, acupressure has similar effects, but is more of a massage-like experience.

Cramps Remedy #7: Orgasm

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Aldo Palmieri, an OB-GYN, explains that the endorphins released by having an orgasm can help remedy the pain.

According toMedical Daily, “Before an orgasm, the uterus is more relaxed, and at the moment of climax, blood flow increases, helping to relieve the cramps… They also help to relax your whole body and induce sleep so you won’t feel any cramping at all.”

Cramps Remedy #8: Vegetables

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Christina Major, a holistic nutritionist, recommends upping your vegetableintake during your period.

Foods like green, leafy vegetables are high in magnesium, and foods like carrots and peppers are high in vitamin A. Both are very good at helping with menstrual cramps.

Try to cut down on fats and sugars during your period. Aldo Palmieriexplains that “a low-fat diet actually decreases overall levels of inflammation in the body.”

Cramps Remedy #9: Sleep

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According to WebMD, it is essential to “rest when needed”to relieve menstrual cramps.

Sleep is generally wonderful for your health, but it’s even more important during your period.

If you don’t have a regular sleep pattern, you can become more fatigued and irritable, leading to more cramping.

Just as important as sleeping is keeping yourself well-rested and relaxed.

Cramps Remedy #10: Essential-Oils Massage

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Massaging your lower abdomen with essential oils can help ease cramping and relieve pain.

There are even many essential oils out there that are specially designed to relieve muscle spasms and cramping.

Cramps Remedy #11: Magnesium

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Carina Parikh, a holistic nutritionist, explains that “magnesium is a key nutrient for preventing water retention, which is known to contribute to menstrual pain, so eating foods such as bananas, pumpkin seeds, and dark leafy greens can also help with this.”

Another food high in magnesium? Dark chocolate.

So if you’re craving something sweet during your period, reach for the dark chocolate it might even help with your cramps.

Cramps Remedy #12: Avoid Caffeine, Salt, Cigarettes, Alcohol

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Lori Kenyon Farley and Carina Parkih explain that “caffeine can promote water retention and disrupt your digestive system even more. The same goes for alcohol.”

Similarly, salt increases water retention and can contribute to increased cramping pain.

WebMD explains, “To relieve menstrual cramps, you should also avoid smoking.”

Are there any home remedies for menstrual cramps that we left out? Let us know in the comments!

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