Reduce Period Pain: Period pain is the worst. Period. More than half of women in the U.S. report they suffer from dysmenorrhea, pain associated with menstrual cramps, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. While science works overtime to find a cure for making sure erections last longer, we asked Courtenay Poucher, M.D. FACOG and Board-Certified OB-GYN for a few remedies for alleviating menstrual pain, a very treatable condition that occurs every month for women.
It all starts with your diet.
As with, well, every aspect of our lives, diet and exercise play an essential role in our overall wellbeing. “The cleaner the diet and the more physically fit a woman is, the less cramps she may experience,” says Poucher. So, what should you eat? A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is best to combat the monthly pain. Incorporating turmeric into your meals can also help. The traditionally Indian root extract has been found to soothe muscle spasms and alleviate pain associated with cramping.
Plan ahead when it comes to painkillers.
You might think you should start taking Advil or Aleve on the first day of pain symptoms, but Poucher begs to differ. “Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication like Naproxen (Aleve) or Ibuprofen (Advil) taken one to two days before bleeding starts can not only keep the pain away but, can decrease the amount of flow by up to 70 percent,” she explains. If you know when your next period is coming, it’s best to start planning ahead of time.
Skip the tea, grab the vitamin B and fish oil.
While a cup of chamomile tea might be soothing, it’s not doing anything for your period pain says Poucher. However, she does recommend vitamin B and fish oil; some studies have shown that both can work to reduce inflammation and thereby reduce menstrual pain.
Heat it up!
Long live the heating pad! A favorite among athletes for sore muscles, the old-school tool also works for menstrual cramps. Applying heat relaxes the uterine muscle and by doing so relieves the restriction of blood flow that causes pain.
Acupuncture can be your best friend.
Placing tiny needles in your body isn’t for everyone but Poucher is a fan. “Acupuncture stimulates the production of serotonin and endorphins in the central nervous system which allows for a sense of wellbeing,” she says.