This article is medically reviewed by Dr Saayanka Lakhote (MBBS)
Are you tired of fighting with these monthly monsters?
and want to relieve period cramps fast?
Well, then you are at the right place.
Some period cramps, the medical term: dysmenorrhea can be as painful as early labour and we women can 100 % relate.
Here are the top 7 home remedies for fast relief from period cramps.
I will give you a bonus tip in the end.
Cause of cramps | Period cramps meaning
Without knowing the cause you may never really be able to find the solution but first what you need to understand is identifying whether these cramps are normal or not.
So if you have light cramps on the first day which does not restrict your movement and it gets away after you take a painkiller or a heating pad then it is considered normal.
But a painful period before it, through it, or after it is not considered normal. It should not be like you are popping pills after pills and you are just lying crying in pain.
Normal menstrual cramps happen because during periods our uterus contracts or squeeze to let the inner lining of blood move out of our body. This contraction of the uterus causes throbbing pain in the abdomen.
They are prominent during the first two days of the cycle.
Some of the major reasons for bad period cramps can be hormonal imbalances. Lack of a balanced diet. Excessive intake of vegetables oils and sugars and many other health conditions that are discussed in the later section.
Let’s check out
Tips to relieve period cramps fast
1.Hot water bottles
Guys this is the most effective method when it comes to period cramps.
One study from 2012 proves that applying a heat patch at 1040 F on the affected area is as effective as ibuprofen.
Another study of 2018 proves that applying heat can reduce
- Muscle tension
- Relax abdominal muscles to reduce pain caused by muscle spasm
- Increase pelvic blood circulation
- Diminish congestion and swelling caused by nerve compression
Applying heat on your abdomen or a hot water bath can help you to feel good.
Hot water bottles are easily available in chemist shops or you can also buy them online. If at present you don’t have it you can also make your heating pad using the following steps
- Take a big size sock
- Fill it with uncooked rice
- Microwave it or heat it in a pan (make sure you don’t overheat it)
- And apply it to your abdomen
- Reuse if required
Also, you can fill hot water in a plastic bottle and use it as a hot water bottle or soak a towel in warm water and put it on your abdomen.
2. Over-the-counter medicines
This is a must-have for working ladies or school/college going girls, because
- First, it is not that possible to take and use hot water bags to offices and colleges
- Second, it is fast and long-lasting
Make sure the first aid box of your house contains some safe painkillers like mefenamic acid.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which include ibuprofen(Advil), naproxen(Aleve) can be used as painkillers for relieving period cramps fast.
3. Yoga and exercises
Some sort of stretching can help in relaxing your pelvic muscles to a great extent but I can understand the idea of exercising during periods may not appeal to you,
But exercise releases endorphins which are a ‘feel-good hormone’
If not, exercising a mild walk can work. Go out for a nice 15 min walk and see the magic.
A study in the JOURNAL OF EDUCATION AND HEALTH PROMOTION proves that women who exercise 3 days a week throughout the month experience less painful menstruation.
Yoga on the other hand is also an effective way to relieve period cramps.
Yoga poses like adapted child pose,cat-cow, reclining twist, pigeon pose, etc can ease out the pain.
However, this works best if you include yoga and exercises in your daily routine. This will help in balancing your hormones hence reducing period cramps.
Exercises also help in relieving PMS symptoms.
4. Massaging with essential oils
The aroma of essential oils can uplift your irritated period mood.
So what you can do is to take a drop of essential oil and rub it on your pillow cover.
It will give you a nice fresh feeling whenever you’ll lie down on your bed.
A study of 2010 found out that massages significantly reduced pain caused due to endometriosis.
How to use essential oil for massage?
You are not supposed to massage just with essential oil.
You need a carrier oil like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil.
The reason behind using a carrier oil is that just two drops of essential oil will not be able to cover a large area but two drops of essential oil mixed with a carrier oil can help the oil to spread to a large area.
Massaging in a circular motion for about 15 minutes on your abdomen increases blood circulation. The most effective essential oils are
You can find these oils easily online or at a supermarket kind of a store.
5. Drinks that help in reducing cramps
Herbal drinks are of great help, herbs contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic compounds which can reduce period cramps fast.
You can try out some of them
- Peppermint tea
- Ginger tea without milk with some honey.
- Warm milk with turmeric.
- Chamomile tea
- Green smoothies
- Warm water with turmeric added. Turmeric is considered to be the most effective natural pain killer.
[Also Read- Tea vs Coffee: Which is better]
6. Dietary changes:
Dietary changes can do wonders in the long run.
Nowadays we tend to eat all kinds of junk and dead food and wish to live a healthy life which is not possible.
This results in hormonal imbalance which further results in many health-related issues including irregular periods and cramps.
A study done in 2016 on 250 women found out that women who maintained a healthy lifestyle experienced less painful periods than those who didn’t.
Foods that helps in reducing period cramps
- Foods that are rich in vitamins such as papaya, olive oil, broccoli, and the list goes on…
- Foods that are rich in manganese such as walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Foods that are rich in iron such as chicken, fish, for vegetarians, leafy green vegetables, etc.
- Flax seed rich in Omega-3 reduces inflammation.
7. Foods to avoid
No remedy and medication will help you if you continue to eat foods that cause bloating and water retention.
These food items can trigger period cramps even more.
So say a BIG BIG NO TO…..
- Fatty foods
- Salty food
- Carbonated drinks
- Spicy foods
- Red meat
- Too much sugar
For sweet cravings, you can munch on seasonal fruits.
Not so common remedies
A recent study of 2019 proves that there is a relation between orgasm and menstruation.
Orgasms can be attained by a partner or through self-stimulation.
It can help to reduce cramps.
Sexual pleasures tend to improve blood circulation to the uterus and pelvic region.
Orgasms trigger the brain to release ‘endorphins’ and ‘oxytocin’ which are believed to be ‘natural painkillers’.
Now comes the question which must be in your mind
Yes, I got your point…
Sexual activities during periods don’t sound convincing at all and for that matter even self-stimulation doesn’t appeal to us at all.
That’s why I termed it ‘AWKWARD’.
It can get messy and I believe nobody would like to get in that situation with all the cramps and mood swings going on.
But if at all you want to try this out, you should go for menstrual cups or tampons. That would save you from a lot of hassle.
[Suggested reading- Best menstrual cups in India with buying guide]
Birth control pills
A study shows that women who take birth control pills are less likely to experience painful cramps.
Birth control pills tend to regulate hormones and once these hormones get balanced 50% of the problem is already solved.
After you start taking these pills, your body takes time to adjust to the changes.
But only those who don’t want a child can try their hands on it not everyone can use these birth control pills for relieving period cramps.
So I would highly suggest you go for an alternative.
Bonus tip: How to get rid of period pain at office/ school
Some of you might choose to stay at home and not go to school or work, but what if you have an important exam in school or a working professional who has an important presentation to give?
Do not let periods affect your important occasions of life.
If you ask me what my best choice is, I would say- a painkiller( prescribed by a doctor).
I find this the most effective and fast remedy out of all.
Also, make sure that you are not popping 2-3 painkillers in a single day. One painkiller should be enough for your one cycle, anything more than that needs medical assistance.
These were the top 7 home remedies for fast relief from period cramps, but what if after trying everything you still are in pain and wondering why it is not working?? Well in that case you need to see a doctor.
Excessive pain during your periods which restricts you from doing your chores is not considered normal and needs medical attention ASAP!!
[Suggested Reading- How to manage period at school]
When to see a doctor
- Excessive bleeding
- Unbearable pain
- Bleeding in between two cycles
- Noticing blood clots during periods
- Too short or too long periods
- And when no home remedy or even O-T-C medicines are not helping.
If you see any of these symptoms it could be due to the following conditions
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a condition where a woman experiences irregular or prolonged periods. There is a sudden surge in male hormones known as androgen which results in excess growth of facial hair.
[Suggested reading- Diet for PCOD]
It is a disorder in which some tissues similar to that of the uterus grow outside the uterine cavity.
Adenomyosis is somewhat similar to endometriosis.it is a condition where cells from the uterus lining grow into uterus muscles.
- Uterine fibroids
Fibroids are some abnormal growth of tissue in a woman’s uterus.
These are non-cancerous but the situation may worsen if left unattended.
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID)
It is a condition wherein there is an infection in female reproductive organs. It spreads via sexual contact.
Sexually transmitted bacteria spread through the vagina and affect the fallopian tube ovaries and uterus.
The above-listed health conditions are not considered normal and should not be overlooked.
Menstruation or in simple terms periods are just a natural phenomenon and no natural phenomenon should make us suffer.
and we women are not meant to suffer every month at all.
if there is suffering, definitely there is something wrong.
This time of the month is all about balance and self-love, you may feel irritated and emotional for no reason but you should not let that feeling get over you.
Instead, tie up your shoes and go for a walk, run with some good music on, and pamper yourself.
Eat good food and to your surprise, you can have some dark chocolates too
Yes, you heard that right!
I can imagine the twinkle in your eyes…
So the final conclusion is that cramps and periods are complementary to each other so you can never really get rid of them completely but you can make it go easy for you to try some of these home remedies. find out what’s working for you and you are sorted.
Do write and share what is your tried and tested best working method of relieving period cramps.
[Read this article in Hindi – Period cramps relief in hindi]
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is period cramps normal?
If you have light cramps on the first day which does not restrict your movement and it gets away after you take a painkiller or a heating pad then it is considered normal.
What can help in reducing menstrual cramps?
1. Applying heat
2. Over-the-counter medicines
3. Yoga and exercises
5. Drinks such as ginger tea, turmeric milk etc.
6. Changes in diet
7. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, excess salt and spice.
What drinks help with cramps?
1. Peppermint tea
2. Ginger tea without milk with some honey.
3. Warm milk with turmeric.
4. Chamomile tea
5. Green smoothies
6. Warm water with turmeric added. Turmeric is considered to be the most effective 7. natural pain killer.
What food helps Period cramps?
1. Foods that are rich in vitamins such as papaya, olive oil, broccoli, and the list goes on…
2. Foods that are rich in manganese such as walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
3. Foods that are rich in iron such as chicken, fish, for vegetarians, leafy green vegetables, etc.
4. Flaxseed rich in Omega-3s reduces inflammation
Does Orgasm help period cramps?
Yes, Orgasms trigger the brain to release ‘endorphins’ and ‘oxytocin’ which are believed to be ‘natural painkillers’.