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10 Natural Ways To Soothe Your Painful Monthly Cramps

10 Natural Ways To Soothe Your Painful Monthly Cramps

Around 40 percent of women go through crippling cramps that put a break on normal functionality during their menstrual cycle.The culprit is usually increased production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that can cause intense uterine contractions. For many women, cramps and bloating are the most uncomfortable parts of a menstrual period.

Make these 10 simple lifestyle changes around that time of the month to relieve menstrual pain and have a smooth, cramp-free period.

1. Pop a calcium, vitamin D and magnesium supplement

This helps curb PMS. Calcium along with vitamin D also relaxes your muscles. During the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle, magnesium levels drop, which can contribute to water retention, cramping, headaches, and an oversensitive nervous system. Getting 320 milligrams (mg) of the mineral a day could help counter these problems.

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2. Yoga

Try this yoga pose. A couple days before the onset of your period, do the bow pose once in a day. The body’s pressure on the abdomen positively stimulates the organs of digestion and reproduction, which helps to relieve constipation and menstrual discomfort. Bow Pose also helps to relieve fatigue, stress, and anxiety. However, avoid this one if you have a hernia, high blood pressure or have had surgery.

3. Walking

Light aerobic exercise also helps to decrease the severity of cramps and increases your endorphin levels. Endorphins help the body cope with depression and physical pain.

4. Sleep it off

Sleeping will numb your pain and relax your body.

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5. Use a heating pad

Applying heat to your abdomen reduces muscular spasms and provides relief.

6. Take a hot shower

Taking a hot shower soothes away the pain. Also wash the genital area well with mild soap a day before your period starts even if you normally don’t douche.

7. Eat these foods

Eating calcium-rich foods, such as milk and yogurt, along with potassium-rich banana just before and at the onset of your cycle will reduce the severity of cramps and food cravings. Banana also contains serotonin, which reduces moodiness and overeating. Salmon or a handful of almonds that contain omega-3 fatty acids also provide much needed relief from cramps and food cravings.Opt for easily digestible greens that are a rich source of calcium and iron. Chicken also provides the iron that gets depleted during this period. Avoid salty foods as they cause bloating that can lead to cramps. Eliminate foods that are baked or fried.

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8. Herbs

During menstruation, the body releases the inflammatory kind of prostaglandins. Evening primrose oil contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). By interfering with the production of these prostaglandins, the GLA in evening primrose oil may help alleviate menstrual cramps. Low levels of GLA in some women during menstruation cause PMS and breast pains. Avoid if you are taking other medication, however. Other herbs like black cohosh, ginger, and sesame seeds have also proved helpful.

9. Avoid caffeine and stay hydrated

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. These stimulants will encourage your muscles to contract and cause pain. Drink warm water, coconut water or pineapple juice. Warm water is usually better for cramps, as hot liquids increase blood flow to the skin and may relax cramped muscles. Calcium-rich coconut water relieves spasms, brings relief to stomach disorders like flatulence, diarrhea and vomiting, and prevents water retention. Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory enzyme that also beats bloat.

10. Get Intimate

Sex relieves menstrual cramps. Orgasm causes a surge in the calming hormone oxytocin (a natural chemical in the body that surges before and during climax) and feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, that may ease PMS.

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Of all the above, yoga is by far the most effective, followed by consuming yogurt with banana, and staying hydrated. You will be amazed at how normal your body feels. For mild cramps a heating pad is just as effective. Try what works for you and stay comfortable.

Featured photo credit: Natural ways to soothe your monthly painful cramps via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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