The weeks have been ticking by and it’s only a matter of days before your monthly visit from you-know-who.
If that statement made you cringe, we’re here to tell you - that’s just simply not ‘normal’.
Believe it or not, period pain should not be a life-stopping experience. You shouldn’t need to cancel plans, stay home from work, or put up with any kind of sharp, stabbing, or ongoing pains.
So why is it that women all over the world are putting up with period pain like it’s just a part of their monthly routine? Whatever the reason, we’re here to put an end to the painful period stigma and finally get you the relief you deserve, naturally!
What is Period Pain?
The official term for period pain isdysmenorrhoea. Cute, right? We didn’t think so either, but when unsurprisingly, this pain is actually considered a medical condition and can be a sign of something bigger.
Now let’s be clear, the odd cramp or spasm before or during the first few days of bleeding isn’t generally anything to worry about.
However, if you start experiencing acute, sharp, stabbing or cramping pains that disrupt your daily life, this is where concern rises. If your monthly routine consists of popping pain medication to stay upright or pain severe enough to keep you homebound, it’s time to pay your doctor a visit.
In these cases, there could be a problem such as a hormonal imbalance, nutritional issue or underlying health condition that is making your ‘cramping’ far worse than necessary.
What Causes Period Pain
If you missed out on this little magic nugget of info during health class, here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:
Your uterine lining works hard each month to prepare itself to host the miracle of life (our bodies really are amazing ladies). However, if a fertilised egg does not implant that month, the lining then ‘sheds’ and starts the process over again.
This shedding is what causes the 3-7 days of bleeding.
Now naturally, you can imagine that shedding your uterine lining could come with some cramping and discomfort, but this should never really be ‘severe pain’. It’s also important to note that different women experience periods differently so one women’s period pain may be another’s sunny stroll in the park.
There are, of course, some factors that can trigger more painful periods.
A magnesium deficiency can cause cramping of the uterine muscle.
Oestrogen excess could result in heavy menstrual bleeding leaving the uterine with more work to expel the blood.
Inflammatory diets can increase the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. This is a hormone-like compound that causes contractions and pain in the uterus.
A zinc deficiency is associated with heightened sensitivity to pain along with increased production of inflammatory prostaglandins mentioned above.
And of course, more severe conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, cervical stenosis or pelvic inflammatory disease could also be underlying issues.
Essentially this means reducing your period pain could be as simple as increasing your intake of key nutrients and eating non-inflammatory foods or it may require a little extra investigation.
Natural Period Pain Remedies
Fortunately, no matter what your ‘normal’ levels of pain are, there are a few things you can do at home for period symptom relief that are completely natural and safe!
This period pain relief technique can be a miracle worker for some women and a disaster for others.
As you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones that in some women, can relieve the painful cramping down there. Of course, as we are all different, exercise could also have the opposite effect and stimulate heavier flow.
Whichever side of the coin you are on, be sure to honour your body during your bleeding days! Perhaps this means reducing your exercise to a gentle yoga flow to keep your body moving without overdoing it.
As we mentioned above, a magnesium deficiency is one of the most common reasons for heightened period pain.
Unfortunately, due to our body’s adaptive hormones, magnesium is even lower than normal during the time of your period and can even result in things like menstrual migraines.
To combat this, consider picking up a high-quality magnesium supplement for daily consumption and topping up your system with nourishingmagnesium baths andsprays in and around the time of your cycle.
Anything we apply to our skin absorbs into the body in mere seconds. Soaking in a rich magnesium bath is the perfect method to ease those symptoms before or during bleeding.
Essential oils are another quick-absorbing and natural period remedy that could save you some serious discomfort.
Oils such aslavender,peppermint, andylang ylang have all been shown to produce great results when it comes to easing period pain without medications.
For best results, dilute your oils with a carrier oil and massage into the lower abdomen. Just be sure to never apply oils to the inside of your body. That means no drops on your reusable pad or underwear for relief.
This tried and true trick is an old favourite, and for good reason.
Several studies have taken place surrounding the application of heat during menstruation and the results always seem to point towards relief.
Using a hot water bottle, wheat bag, or even a heated towel between 40-45 degrees celsius on your lower abdomen could provide you just as much relief as an over the counter pain treatment.
This technique is thought to ease the muscles and stimulate normal blood flow to reduce that tight, cramping sensation your period brings.
If you’re not a fan of applying peppermint to your belly, perhaps you’d enjoy the relief in a cup of tea! Hot tip: Opt for a plastic-free tea!
This tea is great for relaxing a tense body and easing tummy troubles that can come along with menstruation.
Last but certainly not least, a good dose of relaxation could be just what the doctor ordered.
When it comes to listening to your body, our ancestors may have been onto something that we’ve long since forgotten. Believe it or not, back in nomadic times, all women would enter something called ‘the red tent’ during menstruation for the primary purpose of just relaxing.
Others in the tribe would pick up the slack for women who were bleeding so that they could rest, chat, and do whatever felt right in the tent.
While taking a week off work every month for your period may not be realistic these days, there are some valuable things we can learn from this intuitive resting.
As our hormones change, our body goes through very distinct phases. Great symbolism for this is theseasons of your cycle.
Think of the time you bleed as ‘winter’, the season where you just want to cozy up with tea, have a bath, and stay protected from the elements. This is when your energy is the lowest.
The seasons change with the weeks, leaving you with summer as your ‘peak’ season around the time of ovulation. This is why you often feel so full of energy and might even have a ‘glow’ around 2 weeks before your period.
Now, since our body is naturally ebbing and flowing with hormones, the best thing we can do for ourselves is actually to just listen. In fact, overdoing it at the time of your period can actually lead to worsened symptoms the next time around.
So give yourself a break, listen to your body, and do what feels good when you’re in your season of bleeding.
Your Natural Period
Now that you know what causes period pain and some simple natural period remedies, we hope your next cycle comes along with a little less dread. From sipping away on a period relief tea to soaking in a magnesium bath, it’s time to honour your amazing body with the love and comfort it deserves!
Want to learn more about managing your period in a natural and waste-free way?Check out our guide for a zero-waste period today and do right by your body and your planet this cycle!