Warm Away the Pains of Menstrual Cramps This Winter
Posted byLibby Mullen
Any woman who has dealt with the annoyance of menstrual cramps knows she’d do virtually anything to avoid the twisting, painful, burning, bubbly frustration that occurs every 28 days or so. More than one-half of women feel period pain each month.1 For some ladies, the discomfort may be so extreme that it prevents them from going about their normal routines. Many women have a tried-and-true go-to solution that they use. Watching Grey’s Anatomy and resting the warm computer on your lower belly is one of the more genius tricks.
There is some science behind this unique strategy: heat has long been credited as one of the best cramp relievers. Here are a few other ideas for using warmth to relieve menstrual cramps, especially as the cold weather sets in.
1. Warm Up
Applying heat to a sore belly and back is a quick, easy way to help your pain. In fact, as the Mayo Clinic points out, “applying heat may be just as effective as over-the-counter pain medication for relieving menstrual cramps.”2 If you have the time, relax in a warm bath, curl up with a heated blanket or use a hot water bottle on your sore muscles. Ladies on the move may find comfort by applying adhesive heat patches, which are available at most pharmacies and supermarkets.
2. The Power of Smell
It may sound crazy, but the right scents can also help reduce the amount of pain you feel when Aunt Flo visits. One study shows that inhaling the smell of lavender reduced the severity of pain from cramps.3 A hot cup of lavender tea or burning a lavender candle could be all you need to feel a little relief. For a one-two punch, add a few drops of lavender oil to a warm bath.
3. Drink Your Comfort
No, not a bottle of rosé! Instead, try a caffeine-free tea with cinnamon, which has been found to reduce both the amount of pain from a menstrual cycle, as well as the amount of bleeding that occurs.4 (Always consult your doctor though before you begin any herbal remedies.)
You can also preemptively fight the pain by making sure you are including enough calcium in your diet. “Calcium helps maintain healthy muscle function and can improve the efficiency of your uterus in expelling menstrual products and thereby lessen the pain,” Empowher explains.5 Drinking milk and eating green, leafy vegetables are great ways to boost your calcium intake.
4. Sweat It Out
While curling up under a warm blanket with some Netflix might sound more tempting than hitting the gym, research has proven that exercise effectively reduces the severity of menstrual cramps. Luckily, you don’t have to run a marathon to feel the positive effects; aerobic and stretching exercises reduce the intensity of period pain. If the weather outside is frightful, you can stay inside and perform some basic yoga stretches from the comfort of your warm home.
Just like every woman feels different levels of period pain from menstrual cramps, everyone’s perfect solution for relieving that pain will vary. Stay positive and try a few combinations of the above tricks to find what works for you!
1The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Frequently Asked Questions on Gynecologic Problems, Dysmenorrhea: Painful Periods. http://www.acog.org/patients/FAQS/Dysmenorrhea-Painful-Periods.
2Mayo Clinic Staff, Menstrual*Cramps: Lifestyle and Home Remedies, Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20025447.
3Raisi Dehkordi Z, Hosseini Baharanchi FS, Bekhradi R, Effect of lavender inhalation on the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea and the amount of menstrual bleeding: A randomized clinical trial, Complementary Therapies in Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24731891.
4Molouk Jaafarpour, Masoud Hatefi, Fatemeh Najafi, Javaher Khajavikhan, and Ali Khani, The Effect of Cinnamon on Menstrual Bleeding and Systemic Symptoms With Primary Dysmenorrhea, Iran Red Crescent Medical Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443385/.
5Joanna Karpasea-Jones, Ten Ways to Ease a Painful Period, Empowher. http://www.empowher.com/dysmenorrhea/content/ten-ways-ease-painful-period.
- Posted by Libby Mullen
- On February 9, 2017