Female doing yoga - Bodyform

Working out how to stop period cramps will make all the difference to how a woman feels about her periods. Most find they can’t be ignored, but a few simple steps will help to relieve them. Even if you are unable to leave your house for whatever reason, there are still things you can do to help ease your period pain with items you can find in your home.

Period pain relief tips and home remedies

• Painkillers – Over-the-counter painkillers will nip cramps in the bud, but should always be taken after food, or with a glass of milk, to protect the stomach lining.

• Exercise outside – whether it’s a walk around the block or something requiring a little more energy – helps increase blood flow, oxygen levels and endorphin levels (nature’s painkilling and feel-good hormones). It might seem unappealing but these will all help your body to relax during this tricky time.

• Exercise inside – get the endorphins and pain-killing benefits of exercise without going outside by practising yoga! If you don’t have a yoga mat to hand, you can always use a towel or exercise on carpet or a rug. There are also a variety of workouts you can do on the spot, like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which you can easily do inside or outside in the garden.

• Heat – A massage or heat will loosen up your muscles, so a hot bath, or hugging a hot water bottle are both recommended.

• Diet – We know that comfort food may be an appealing option, but lowering your fat intake and upping your vegetable count can ease the pain. Increasing your fluid intake by drinking more water can also help, as dehydration can cause muscle cramps. Herbal teas especially that contain peppermint and chamomile are warm and soothing, and can help you to feel calm and get through the pain.

• Chocolate – There’s a cocoa coloured lining to this cloud of period pain – chocolate contains magnesium and endorphins which will boost your energy so feel free to have a nibble!

When to go to your doctor about menstrual cramps

In a few cases, painful menstruation – or dysmenorrhoea – can get in the way of you living your life. In one study, up to 14% of women reported frequently being unable to go to work because of period pain [1]. But there’s no need to suffer. If your period cramps are this severe, talk to a doctor. In some cases, hormonal contraception can reduce period pain. Occasionally, period pain can be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. But where there isn’t an underlying condition, severe period pain tends to improve as women get older, and also after they have children.

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