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Cramps, Bloating and PMS: 10 Ways to Make Your Period Suck a Whole Lot Less

10 years ago 9 minute read

Let’s admit it— all good things don’t come easy for women. The almighty has given women the blessing to bear children, but accompanying any birth are severe pains. More than this, how can one forget “that time of the month” that comes along with irritability, pain, mood swings, mild depression, fluid retention, bloating and more? Sometimes, it seems there is no end to these menstrual symptoms. 

These symptoms of menstrual cycle, also termed as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), affect most women at some point in their lives during their fertile years. Most people suggest going with the flow, but for many women, this is not easy as it sounds. Statistics indicate that approximately 80 percent of women deal with at least some mild form of premenstrual symptoms in their lives.

Whether premenstrual symptoms are less of a bother or a repeated monthly episode of nuisances, here are ways to beat your period and make “that time of the month” less irritating, less painful, and instead comforting and pleasant:

1. Shake Your Body

Moving seems too much of a daunting task when you are in severe pain and discomfort during periods. Most women confess they don’t feel like exercising during periods, but experts believe that it is one of the effective ways to minimize the effects of PMS.

ExercisingExercise not only reduces the symptoms of your menstrual cycle, but it also effectively beats stress and drops down your risk of getting afflicted with serious diseases, such as heart ailments.

Regular workouts release endorphins that contribute to euphoric feelings. Endorphins are actually neurotransmitters or chemical messengers for nerves that affect pain, mood, learning and memory retention.

If you don’t feel like indulging in vigorous aerobics, a gentle yoga session at home is just the right type of exercise for you. The steady and simple yoga poses may work wonders during your aunt flo’s monthly visit. Yoga exercises concentrate on pulling your energy inward – so, no matter how tired you feel, you can always gather enough zest to do some postures.

2. Refuel Your Energy

healthier changes to your eating habitsIt has been found that women who suffer from monthly premenstrual symptoms, cramps and bloating are usually those who lack sufficient amounts of needed nutrients, such as magnesium, calcium, essential vitamins and other micronutrients. The deficiency of these nutrients makes their bodies prone to intensified PMS symptoms.

Experts recommend cleaning up your diet by making healthier changes to your eating habits. If you have a diet rich in vitamins, zinc or calcium, you will be helping yourself ease the pain of cramps during your menstrual cycle.

Start consuming a low-fat vegetarian diet. Cut back on your intake of red meat, salt, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

CerealsInstead, increase your consumption of complex carbohydrates, including cereals, leafy green vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Take more omega-3 fatty acids by including oily fish, such as wild salmon, herring and sardines.

Eat smaller, more frequent meals that are rich in both protein and fiber to balance your blood sugar, slow down your rate of digestion and reduce your cravings to overeat. Also, try eating evenly throughout the day without skipping meals.

3. Take A Chill Pill

It’s great to make healthier lifestyle changes to combat the effects of PMS. But, sometimes we all look for those instantaneous tips that can magically take away all our discomforts. If you also want on the spot results, consider popping pills to relieve a few of the distresses that accompany your periods.

pillsAntidepressant medications such as Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil help to increase your serotonin levels and treat severe mood swings. Your health physician will determine the dosage depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like naproxen and ibuprofen are specifically taken to get rid of pain and mild-discomforts. Aspirin is not a recommended choice for women during their menstrual cycle since it may increase the severity and length of menstrual bleeding.

4. Consider Oral Contraceptives

You may ask your health physician regarding your birth control regimen.

Oral ContraceptivesIn a recent research study, they found that oral contraceptives were effective in minimizing the symptoms of menstrual cycles by almost 50 percent in nearly half of the members.

Although an effective way to take care of PMS, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of using oral contraceptives, since sometimes the accompanying side effects are more annoying than the original symptoms.

5. Take a Relaxing Bath

If you are feeling very uneasy during your monthly cycle, taking a relaxing warm bath may help to comfort your cramping muscles and painful body. A warm shower will soothe your body and reduce your aches.

You may also consider lying down in a warm bubble bath. However, ensure to secure the bathroom for at least twenty minutes. You would not like to get interrupted by somebody banging on the door every five minutes.

warm bathTo prepare a warm bath, fill your bathtub with warm water and add at least two cups of Epsom salt along with a few drops of your preferred essential oils, such as lavender oil. Epsom salt is a purifying agent that draws the toxins out of your body and pacifies your tensed muscles and aching body. On the other hand, lavender oil stimulates tranquility and balances your mind. Once ready, soak yourself in and enjoy yourself.

If you are really in a good mood to pamper yourself, you can further enhance the ambience by lighting a few beautiful, scented candles around the bathtub. What about playing your favorite number? You can carry your stereo and play some soothing music to help calm your nerves.

Having a bath during your menstrual cycle not only mollifies your pain, but also prevents infections and maintains hygiene. Are you concerned you might bleed into the tub? If you are preparing on soaking in the bathtub, ensure that you have cleaned yourself properly before you step in. This will prevent the blood from flowing into the bathtub.

6. Listen to Granny and Try a Hot Water Bottle

Hot Water Bottle
Photo by Peng / CC BY-SA

You must have heard your granny advising you to use a hot water bottle to relieve menstrual pain, bloating and cramps. Well, she was not wrong.

Heat therapy is an effective procedure that helps to increase blood flow and delivers oxygen to the cells. This in turn works to ease the stretching of the muscles, adhesions and connective tissues.

So, next month when you are plagued with cramps and pain, don’t forget to prepare yourself a hot water bottle and place it under your lower abdomen. You may also consider using a heating pad or a heated cloth to soothe those tormenting pains away in a jiffy. Heating pads can be plugged in and used instantaneously. They come attached with a small device that helps to control the levels of heat.

7. Nurture Serenity And Tranquility

Letting go of the feelings that disturbs your mental peace and aggravates your physical pain is another effective measure to feel tranquil. How can you do it? Consciously take deep, slow breaths, rather than focusing on your bodily pain. Although it’s no easy feat, breathing definitely makes you feel calmer and serene.

MeditationSome experts recommend counting to 10 and advise women to imagine themselves in a tranquil and relaxed setting. These techniques may not provide immediate results, but with practice, you will gradually notice that you get better at maintaining your mental and physical peace.

Many women use meditation practices and prayers to cultivate a sense of mindfulness and cognizance in their life. Regular practice of meditation connects you to your inner self and helps to organize your physical and mental troubles in their proper perspectives. Some other options that can help you remain in peace are taking adequate rest, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and smoking, which can increase your cramps and anxiety.

8. Look at Herbal Remedies

ParsleyPain relievers and chocolates are not the only answers to your debilitating pain, bad moods and headaches during your menstrual cycle. There are certain herbs and herbal teas that can help ease PMS symptoms, too.

Experts recommend herbs as a safe method for relieving menstrual pain. They work to ease abdominal muscles that are contracting in order to lessen the cramping to an extent that you can easily manage.

Diuretic herbs can help manage fluid retention and the feeling of bloating that often accompanies periods. Parsley, hydrangea, dandelion, horsetail and angelica have diuretic properties. Drink infusions or concoctions of these herbs regularly during your menstrual cycle.

Chamomile teaChamomile tea has been used for ages in treating various health ailments, including premenstrual and intestinal cramps. It contains antispasmodic ingredients that result in easing the cramps and decreasing the stress for some women with PMS. Ginseng is another effective Chinese herb that works as a psychostimulant and enhances wakefulness and alertness; thereby reducing the stress and bodily pain.

Other herbs that are specifically effective for easing menstrual cramps are feverfew, black cohosh, wild yam, valerian and yarrow. You may start drinking mixtures of these herbs a few days before you expect cramps to start. Consider taking these herbs every two hours during the most painful phase.

9. Get Yourself Pricked

Alternative treatments that can be helpful in getting rid of symptoms of menstrual cycles and restore hormonal balances include acupuncture treatments.

AcupunctureAcupuncture has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine, which suggests that life energy flows through the body’s channels, and is intrinsically connected to your overall health.

There are hundreds of acupoints located along these meridians that are stimulated by inserting fine needles to help life-energy flow correctly.

When the life-energy is stuck or stagnant, one may experience pain anywhere in the body. In the case of agonizing pain caused due to menstrual discomforts, puncturing acupoints increases blood flow to the uterus and relaxes the muscles and lessens uterine contractions. Acupuncture technique also release endorphins that improve symptoms such as mood swings and irritability.

Scared? Yes, it’s normal to feel so. If you are not so brave or enthusiastic enough to get yourself pricked with needles during your painful days, resort to a needle-free way to try acupoint therapy. We are referring to acupressure therapy, where the therapist presses varying points on your body to help get your life-energy moving.

10. Sex Helps During Periods

Sex during menstrual flowDo you often wonder if having sex during those painful months is okay? Sex during menstrual flow is actually safe. But, it is your personal preference if you want to get dirty when you are already feeling pretty dirty yourself.

Well, if you have heard that playing dirty is an effective remedy for menstrual cramps, you might want to take this suggestion seriously.

Most women believe that it’s a myth, but experts consider that sex can actually be a good way for women to ease some of their PMS symptoms. Orgasms cause the contraction of the smooth muscles located in the uterus and vagina, which can be comfortable for many.

Although you may not feel your best during menstruation, you can still consider the possibility of having sex to improve your cramps and mood swings. What if you are facing low libido and do not necessarily feel like indulging in sex with your partner – with or without periods?

Let us tell you the truth. If you are really dealing with lack of sex drive, no amount of foreplay, a seductive novel or a romantic ambience will work. In order to reignite the fire of passion, you need to take a sensible approach to achieve sexual balance of your life. And, this can be effectively done by choosing the right female enhancement pills such as those from