As soon as you get that first twinge in your lower belly, that ache in your back, that pimple on your chin, or that incessant craving for something you usually never eat - you know what time it is. Your period is on it's way and if you're not ready, you better get ready. For many of us, cramps are just a normal (yet hated) part of the process. What if someone told you that you didn't have to hate that time of the month? What if someone told you that you could even enjoy your period? Sounds far fetched for a lot of women, but not complete fantasy.
Assuming that there is no underlying medical condition causing pain such as fibroids, endometriosis, cysts, or other irregularities, there are a few ways to ease your cramps and feel much better about your menstrual experience. This is not the advice of a medical professional so please go to a doctor if you've got these things going on. These five ways are listed in order from most challenging to least challenging - because for many of us, it's easiest to roll around in bed and do nothing (LOL).
Starting with the the one tip that might be the most difficult, especially when those cravings are driving you up a wall, it's important to consider what you put into your body and how those things make you feel. Certain foods trigger certain reactions in our bodies, so you might notice that your cramps increase after consuming dairy or when you don't drink enough water. It's a trial and error process, but when you notice your cramps are really bad, think about what you've had to eat or drink that day (or what you haven't) and consider decreasing your consumption of these things. Keep track of what you're consuming and you'll be on your way to cramp-free living.
In addition to tracking your food and drink intake, water is super important as your body is doing a lot of work that requires proper hydration.
Be mindful of your vitamins and minerals as well. Calcium and magnesium deficiencies have been related to menstrual cramps, so try to incorporate more foods with these minerals or take a supplement to help relax your uterus and relieve muscle soreness.
A yoni steam (also known as a vaginal steam or womb sauna) is a process that involves mixing herbs and oils in hot water and sitting over the steam to allow the healing properties of the ingredients to rise up into the vagina. The steam applies a gentle heat to the vaginal area, encouraging the sensitive membranes of the vagina to soften and open, increase circulation, and eventually allow the uterus to shed any buildup that may be there. This helps to completely clear out and tone the uterus, thus decreasing cramps because your uterus doesn't have to work as hard to expel the uterine lining and other things it needs to get rid of. You can do this at home or go to a professional, but definitely do your research before getting started.
You might find yourself incredibly turned-on when you're on your period, and you're not alone! Many women crave sex and orgasms during this time of the month, and this could be for good reason. Orgasms have been reported to ease menstrual cramps because right at the peak of the orgasm, blood circulation increases and the body releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals) into the brain that act as a natural pain reliever. Sex or masturbation can also help with PMS symptoms like irritability or moodiness.
The last thing you probably want to do on your period is move unnecessarily, but exercise can aid your menstrual cramps by increasing circulation (that seems to be a common theme here). Engage in some low-impact movement like walking or yoga to get your blood moving and relax your uterine muscles. If you can handle more intense movement, go for a run or perform some aerobic exercises. Exercise also releases endorphins in your brain that help you feel better, so get moving.
Heat and Water
At the very least, you have to wash your ass at some point. The heat and water from a shower or bath can help to relax your uterus quell your cramps. A heating pad, hot water bag, warm towel, or any other ways of applying heat to your body, specifically your abdomen, will help to increase the circulation and soothe discomfort. Heat and water can also combine in the form of hot tea. There are many herbs that will aid in womb health and menstrual symptoms. Red raspberry leaf, dandelion, damiana, maca root, and others can provide relief and help prevent symptoms in the future.