For years I had suffered with severe menstrual cramps and now I finally think I’ve conquered them, naturally! For me there is never a pain consistency from month to month, sometimes my period would be a breeze with no pain whatsoever. Other times the pain would be so crippling, I would literally faint from it! Talk about one extreme to the other.
Being someone who has always preferred a natural solution, popping a pain killer was always the very last resort. Simply because there had to be a reason why this kept on happening. Some months I’d suffer with very painful periods and other months I was absolutely fine. After various blood tests and examinations over the years, my results (luckily) would always come back fine, which was great news! But it was like I had totally made the whole thing up. As I still had the pain and I was still experiencing the problem.
What are menstrual cramps?
The medical name for period cramps is Dysmenorrhea. They happen due to a hormone-like substance, prostaglandins, which causes the uterus walls to contract and then shed its lining, resulting in your period. If prostaglandin levels are higher, more pain is often associated with the cramps. This varies from woman to woman, but cramps are likely to become less painful as you get older, or after childbirth.(https://www.naturalcycles.com/cyclematters/what-causes-period-cramps)
So taking things into my own hands here are some of my Holistic tips which I have found to work a treat and make a huge difference!
1. No Alcohol
To some people this might sound like the most boring thing on the planet, but don’t forget I have written this blog article. Anyone who knows me would know that I used to love a drink more that anyone! But I guess it’s how you weigh up your priorities and what you want your outcome to be. Since I stopped drinking alcohol I noticed a huge amount of benefits to my lifestyle, but especially in the pain reduction during my monthly cycle.
Alcohol can dehydrate you like no other. This, in turn, can worsen those already-excruciating period cramps by thickening the menstrual fluids and blood, making it more difficult for them to pass and their flow more painful.(Expert reveals how drinking alcohol during your period can wreck your monthly cycle,https://www.healthshots.com/intimate-health/menstruation/expert-reveals-how-drinking-alcohol-during-your-period-can-wreak-up-your-monthly-cycle/)
Tried and tested by myself, alcohol definitely makes a difference to my monthly cycle and the pain levels from month to month. So perhaps you could also try reducing the amount of alcohol you drink around your monthly cycle and increase your intake of water.
If it’s worked for me, it could work for you too!
This is my latest discovery, which quite frankly I’m wondering why I didn’t know about sooner. This suggestion provided me with an instant pain relief similar to how ibuprofen works. As you may already know Fennel has quite a strong and distinct aniseed taste which I personally dislike, so I would never usually use this as a vegetable to cook with. Although, I have used Fennel seeds in my cooking before so luckily I had a pot of these on the kitchen shelf when I wanted to test out my theory. The seeds themselves contain concentrated volatile oils that help soothe stomach cramps and relieve, water retention and bloating.
Fennel, since roman times has been valued for It’s ability to soothe digestive troubles, regulate hormones and maintain water balance. It’s a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants and is also anti inflammatory.
Fennel is also an emmenagogue, meaning that it is thought to ease and regulate menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of consumer products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women.(https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-fennel.html)
So after doing my research and refusing to take Ibuprofen unless I desperately needed it, I created my own Fennel capsules at home using my Fennel seeds and my vegetarian empty capsules that I brought online.
A day before my period, I started to notice that dreaded dull ache which could potentially worsen. So I took two of these homemade capsules with a glass of water. Around 20 minutes later I noticed the pain started to ease up and I felt fine, like I could carry on with my day. I genuinely couldn’t believe the relief.
You can continue taking these through each day of your cycle if you need to, just make sure you are also drinking plenty of water. Capsules aren’t the only option of course, you can also use the fennel seeds to make a tea or soup too.
These are my new go to! I was so excited that they actually worked and that Fennel could provide so many great healing benefits. Especially as it’s something so simple that I could make at home.
3. Magnesium Bath
We all know that heat can be a great relief for menstrual cramps and a bath can definitely help ease the pain. But, by adding a cup full of Magnesium Flakes, to the bath water has definitely helped make more of an impactful difference.
This is now a daily practice leading up to my cycle and during the first few days. This is a great preventative and relief during too.
As a clinician with more than twenty years experience, I regularly prescribe magnesium for PMS, PCOS, and perimenopause. I see excellent results with my patients and I’ve come to rely on magnesium as one of my favorite natural treatments for period problems.The effectiveness of magnesium has been demonstrated in a few studies and clinical trials, which are compiled into a 2017 literature review called “Magnesium in the gynecological practice”(1). In that review, the authors conclude that there is “an important role for magnesium for the prevention and the treatment of a number of conditions relevant for women’s health” (1)(https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/magnesium-and-the-menstrual-cycle)
Doing these 3 practices in unison has definitely made a difference and for anyone who suffers badly I recommend you giving them a try. Of course there are other methods too, like acupuncture, reiki, meditation and of course yoga. All of these practices help in reducing stress and keep your hormones in balance.