How to get rid of period cramps

Fit & Training door thijs

It's that time of the month again! Aunt Flo is back wielding gifts like cramps, bloating, nausea, backaches, headaches and some mood swings: the usual. All women experience their periods differently, some get all these symptoms while others get a few or none. It seems like the most common one though is cramps.

While they are quite uncomfortable and even sometimes agonizing, there are some ways to ease their effect. So, don't let painful  period cramps hold you back from living your life, try these remedies the next time they decide to show their face!

Remedies for your period cramps

  • Painkiller → The most obvious remedy is a painkiller or anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. Ibuprofen decreases the pain you feel from the cramps and also the contractions in the uterus which is actually causing the cramps. You should take the painkiller as soon as your flow begins or even a day before if that is possible for you. If you're not into taking painkillers for relief, there are other options to get rid of period cramps.
  • Water → You should always drink as much water as you can, but especially so when you are menstruating. Also, if you're hydrated really well, this will help your liver in functioning better, and will keep your hormones (estrogen) balanced. Water helps to prevent you from getting painfully bloated. Opt for warm or hot water when you have cramps. This will increase the blood that's flowing to your skin and can relax your cramped muscles.
  • Improve your diet → Poor nutrition actually can contribute to your period cramps. So make sure that you are eating foods that contain the essential nutrients and vitamins you need. On top of that, eating a low-fat diet lowers overall inflammation in the body, so reducing the amount of fats you consume and eating more veggies can have an (indirect) role in helping your menstrual symptoms.
  • Heating pad & exercise → Laying down with a heating pad on your stomach can feel like the best thing when you're suffering from cramps. It helps soothe your cramps just like hot water does. Now, exercising while on your period is another good remedy for your pain, the endorphins that are released effectively improve your mood and are your natural pain relievers!

Things to avoid

  • Caffeine→ Caffeine is a diuretic which is known to aggravate cramps and make them worse. It does this because it constricts blood vessels and also increases the tension in your body. Caffeine can be found in colas, coffees, energy drinks and even some teas. So read the labels of what you consume carefully to ensure there's no caffeine in there. Switch to decaf coffee, and more herbal teas to bypass the negative effects of caffeine.
  • Sugar→ As a general rule, you should avoid anything that is an inflammatory during your period since these tend to worsen cramps, and you guessed it, sugar happens to be one of them. Besides that, your hormones are all over the place during your period, and this contributes to making your blood sugar level unstable as well; dropping and rising randomly throughout the day. Adding sugar on top of that, just makes it worse. This can make the drops in your blood sugar level even more dramatic, which is one of the causes of mood swings, fatigue and an inability to focus.
  • Fatty meats→ Heavy meats are packed with saturated fats and arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is used by our bodies to produce two types of prostaglandins which can cause uterine cramping and contractions. On top of that, a lot of the meats we consumed contain hormones in them, which just adds to the ongoing hormone fluctuation that occurs naturally during your menstruation.

So, while experiencing these cramps seriously sucks, there are remedies out there to make it just a bit better or at least make sure you don't feel even worse. While you may have sugar cravings and want to indulge in junk food during your period, this may make you feel worse in the long term, so try to be conscious of what you put into your body.

Do you have any other tips on what to eat and what to avoid for period cramps? Share them below!

Sources: Health LineEveryday HealthSummit Medical Group & Dr. Tori Hudson