During menstruation or pre-menstruation, many people experience pain that negatively impacts their ability to carry out their usual activities.
Painful cramps occur during or before menstruation because of hormonal changes in the body, which cause contractions in the uterus. 1 These contractions are what allow the uterus to shed its lining, but they can also be very painful. Thankfully, there are a number of safe home remedies that can help to relieve the pain and help you get back to your regular routine.
Applying heat to your body is often an effective way to relieve pain caused by menstrual cramps. 2 Use a hot water bottle, heating pad, or soak in a warm bath. Using heat to relieve menstrual pain is a very safe treatment and many people prefer it to taking medication for mild pain because it does not have side effects.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and, while more research is needed, one study concluded that taking ginger during menstruation was just as effective as ibuprofen at easing cramp pain. 3 Try sipping ginger tea to get the pain-relieving benefits of both the ginger itself and the soothing heat of the tea.
Moving your body regularly can help to prevent and reduce menstrual pain. Getting in the habit of doing low-to-medium intensity aerobic exercise on a consistent, regular schedule can significantly reduce the intensity of period cramps that you experience. 4 One study found that participants who did 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week for eight weeks experienced a considerable improvement in menstrual pain. 5 In another study, women who took a 60-minute yoga class once a week for 12 weeks experienced fewer cramps and less pain during their period. 6
Many women find that gentle aromatherapy massage on the abdomen, sides, and lower back helps to relieve menstrual cramp pain. 7 Always use high quality, pure essential oils diluted with a carrier oil (such as jojoba oil or apricot kernel oil) for massage. Popular essential oils for cramp relief are lavender, rose, peppermint, and fennel.
Keep in mind that if you are experiencing severe menstrual pain, this may be a sign of an underlying health issue. Speak to a healthcare professional to help determine the source of your painful cramps.