It’s hard enough to experience harmless bleeding every month. But to also experience pain with it is an inconvenience too. Around 16 to 91% of people suffer from period pain or dysmenorrhea, while 2 to 29% suffer from severe pain. Some instances of severe pain can even be near-fatal for others.

Dysmenorrhea can be disruptive when you’re working or just doing daily tasks. You may have tried sleeping it off while dealing with it. But there are many effective methods to alleviate mild or severe menstrual cramps.

Read on to learn about the different types of period pain and what remedies you can take.

Types Of Period Pain And Their Symptoms

There are two kinds of period pain. The remedies to relieve period cramps may depend on which type you have. 

Primary dysmenorrhea

A hormone-like substance called prostaglandin is what researchers believe causes this type of pain. When your period begins, your body releases prostaglandins that will trigger the contractions in your uterus. Your womb will then start shedding its lining.

If your body releases too many prostaglandins, the contractions increase, which also makes the pain more unbearable. Usually, you’ll have longer and heavier periods when you have primary dysmenorrhea.

Other factors can contribute to primary dysmenorrhea:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Genetic history of painful period cramps
  • Excess weight or the desire to lose weight
  • Start of period at a very young age
  • Stress
  • Smoking

Secondary dysmenorrhea

This type of pain is a result of other pre-existing medical conditions. Check if you have any of these listed below:

  • Adenomyosis: The womb lining breaks through the uterine muscle wall and causes bloating, cramps, and pressure.
  • Endometriosis: Uterine tissue grows outside the womb, causing increased period pain.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD): Using IUDs may elevate the risk of period and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: Usually caused by sexually transmitted infection, PID is the severe inflammation of the uterus and pelvic organs.
  • Structural difference: Differences in the womb structure can inadvertently cause painful periods.
  • Uterine growths: Cysts, fibroids, and polyps in the uterus can result in heightened pain during periods. Other symptoms include constipation, lower back pain, and bloating.

On some occasions, primary dysmenorrhea can develop into secondary dysmenorrhea. Pain could worsen when this happens.

Remedes for Period Pain

1.Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medication

For severe period pain, most doctors would recommend that you take medicine to target the source of the pain specifically. Medications can come in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that relieve pain from menstruation

Some types of these drugs you might have already heard are naproxen and ibuprofen, which help lower the production levels of prostaglandin. They’re not as effective as other medications like oral contraception, but they help reduce the cramps.

2. Heat Application

Another common method to relieve period pain is by applying heat directly to the area of your cramps. You can do this by placing a hot water bottle, heating pad, or heat wrap on your abdomen. If you don’t have any of these available, you can make your own heating pad  at home.

The heat relaxes the muscles, lessening the cramps and spasms you feel. Make sure the pad is at a bearable temperature, ideally around 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Several people with primary dysmenorrhea have tried heat with this temperature level and claim that the relief is akin to taking ibuprofen.

3. Hydration

Water: something so simple yet so effective. Drinking water helps your body retain normal fluid levels, decreasing the risk of painful bloating during your period. Make it a habit to drink around six to eight glasses of water daily.

You can add a dash of lemon or mint in your water for some flavor. If drinking water isn’t your cup of tea, you can still get your daily fluid intake through water-rich foods like:

  • Berries
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Watermelon

While having your period, avoid coffee and alcohol, as these two drinks will only make you feel more dehydrated. You can also opt for tea like chamomile and ginger. If you’re the type to experience nausea and vomiting while menstruating, you’ll need to replace the lost fluids with more water.

4. Food For Relief

Aside from drinking water, many kinds of food help relieve period pain. You might crave sugary and fatty food during your period, but you’ll need to steer clear of these. Also, avoid salty food as much as possible. Salt and sugar promote bloating and water retention, which you won’t want.

Skip the chips and sweet tarts for now. Add more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet instead:

  • Tomatoes
  • Coldwater fish
  • Beans
  • Almonds
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Squash
  • Dairy products

These kinds of foods contain high amounts of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids that can combat inflammation. They’re also nutritious, and they help improve your overall health.

Because menstruation causes iron deficiency and mineral loss, you’ll need to have more essential nutrients  in your diet to replace those you’ve lost during your period.

5. Exercise

You may not have the strength or energy to move while experiencing cramps. But when the pain subsides for a moment, try walking around your home or neighborhood.

Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve and avoid severe dysmenorrhea altogether. Before your next period, take up physical activities, like running, swimming, and other sports. If you’re prone to fatigue during your period, you can try gentler activities, like tai chi and yoga, instead.

6. Massages With Essential Oils 

Massaging mitigates most kinds of muscle pain and helps alleviate abdominal cramps. It also encourages blood flow in the muscles. When paired with essential oils, it offers other benefits, such as reducing stress and improving mood.

Choose oils, like marjoram, sage, or lavender. Rose, peppermint, and fennel oil are great options too. Dilute the oil in carrier oils like nut or vegetable oil. Massage your abdomen for about 5 to 20 minutes a day to relieve menstrual cramps.

Relax And Take A Deep Breath

Period pain can be a nuisance for most people. It hinders daily work and other activities and may make you want to stay in bed all day. Fortunately, advanced technology and research introduced easy-to-do remedies you can do at home, and they even cost less. 

Study and observe your symptoms before applying a specific treatment. Take note too that most period pain treatments won’t work 100% percent for everyone. And as always, visit your doctor or gynecologist for further medical assistance if you experience unbearable pain from your period.