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Period pain: Five relief hacks for ‘that time of the month’

Health-e News explores five useful hacks to relieve period pain.
Applying heat to your lower abdomen always helps. (Photo: Freepik_
Written by Nompilo Gwala

The cramps that come with a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle are uncomfortable and can be a serious joy killer especially when painful and persistent. Around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime which can last from when you are a teen right through to menopause.

Everyone has heard or read of home remedies to ease menstrual pain when staying in bed isn’t an option. Here are some period pain tips to help you survive ‘that time of the month’ and feel your best.

#1 Homemade heating pad

A heating pad is one of the easiest and most relaxing remedies that you can put to use. If you’re a DIY lover, here is a quick way to make a heating pad: You will need rice, a sock, and a microwave. You put half a cup of rice in a sock and tie up the sock. Heat the sock for two minutes in the microwave and your heat pad is complete.

When placing the heating pad on your lower abdomen, make sure it is not too hot. The warmth from the heating pad can help relax your uterine muscles to ease pain and help you sleep better. Plus, the homemade heating pad is cheap and there are rarely any side effects from this technique.

This is my favourite hack. It’s the one hack I can guarantee will work. As soon as I placed the heating pad on my lower abdomen and back, I could feel the pain easing. It helps especially at night when you need to sleep and your pain medication is taking too long to kick in, it helps you relax. You can also add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil to make your heat pad smell nice. 

#2 Yoga position

Doctors recommend physical activity to relieve period pain but this might be the last thing you feel like doing. Although exercise is a great way to ease the pain caused by your period, some yoga positions have been found to be effective.

The first three days during my menstrual cycle are excruciating and to be honest, I never want to get out of bed and be active. Yoga is a very light exercise and I tried three poses during my cycle. I didn’t do any of these poses on a yoga mat because like I said, I never want to get out of bed so everything was done on my double bed. I did a 30 minutes session via YouTube and found it relaxing. This activity helped with stretching my muscles and I was comfortable at all times on my bed. The child’s pose was my favourite as it helps, especially with my back pains.

Position 1: Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is one of the most popular yoga poses. This pose targets menstrual pain that is experienced primarily in the back. Start by kneeling on your yoga mat with your knees far apart, lean forward, extend your arms, bend down as far as you can comfortably go, and relax your forehead to the ground.

Breath using your belly rather than your chest and you will feel the pressure decrease. This one feels super nice for that lower back pain, feel free to add additional support like a cushion or a rolled-up towel between your heels and your bum to make it super comfy.

Position 2: Cobbler’s Pose

The cobbler's pose can help alleviate period pain.

The cobbler’s pose opens up the pelvic region and helps you relax. (Photo: Freepik)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During your menstruation cycle, the lower half of your body may feel heavy or bloated. This seated pose can come in handy. You can stay in this pose for several minutes. Known as the Cobbler’s Pose, it opens up the pelvic region and helps you relax even more.

Use pillows if needed

To start this pose, you must sit on the floor, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together as you let your knees fall out to either side. Make sure your spine is straight. You can make this pose more comfortable by placing pillows under your hips. Move your fingers forward slowly on the floor in front of you until you can’t reach any further. 

 Position 3: Reclined Goddess Pose

The Reclined Goddess Pose is all about helping you with the opening of your groin and hips while relaxing. This is a great way to end your yoga session and you should feel less pressure on your back and abdomen. 

To do the pose, you need to stay in a reclined position with your knees bent. Release your knees out to the sides and down to your mat. Bring the bottoms of your feet together and place a pillow or cushion under the length of your spine to ensure comfortability. 

#3Eat bananas

Foods like broccoli, dark chocolate, and salmon can help relieve period pain. A banana is another magical fruit that is rich in potassium and vitamin B6 and it will stop you from feeling bloated and reduce muscle cramping. 

Vitamin B6 helps in producing red blood cells which are good for the body during menstruation and maintain a healthy nervous system. Bananas are also rich in magnesium, fibre and are fat, cholesterol, and sodium-free. The fibre, potassium, and magnesium in bananas help improve bowel movements and help relax muscles which aids a good night’s sleep.

I love bananas and honestly, I didn’t feel any different but it could be because I ate them all the time so I’m not saying this hack doesn’t work. Bananas are good for you and have a lot of nutrition, but I needed to pop some painkillers to ensure I didn’t feel any more cramps.

#4 Resist Caffeine and salty foods

It’s common to have cravings before, during, or after your period due to the hormone known as progesterone which peaks just before. It is associated with a bigger appetite, according to a 2016 study.  

Try to resist salty temptations as the salt makes your body retain water which increases that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Caffeine is another no-go area during your menstrual cycle. Caffeine is known to make your premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms worse and has been linked to elevating the levels of estrogen in the body. 

If you’re an addict like me and you get a splitting headache from skipping your morning brew, try chamomile tea during your menstrual cycle. The tea possesses anti-spasmodic properties, which can relieve painful cramps. 

#5 Try acupressure

Acupressure is an old and useful technique that is acquired from traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed that putting pressure on certain soft points on the body helps in relieving pain. Use your thumbs/fingers to massage each pressure point and hold firm. You might feel tenderness beginning to subside. 

I think acupressure is for professionals. It requires you to concentrate and it is quite difficult especially if you’re in pain. The Large Intestine 4 was quite easy to do and as soon as you find the correct pressure point and massage, you can actually feel the pain dissolve. I needed a lot of practice before getting it right but this hack is worth a try. – Health-e News 

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Nompilo Gwala

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