Nearly 80% of all women experience painful periods at some point in their life, and a large percentage of that group experiences them regularly. Most of us can’t just bench ourselves from life for the three to five days of our periods each month, so we grit our teeth and keep going, hoping to find something that relieves our pain along the way.
If you have a painful period, marked by abdominal, lower back, and even painful tension in the vagina, no doubt you’ve been instructed to just take over-the-counter pain relievers to dull the pain. However, studies are showing that long-term use of pain relievers like acetaminophen and NSAIDs can lead to serious issues like increased risk of heart disease, ulcers, and liver damage.
Some women are looking at natural ways to treat period pain with herbal remedies and are finding success. Here are a few of our favorites.
Get Handsy with Essential Oils
Giving yourself a massage with essential oils for about 20 minutes can help reduce menstrual pain. A study of women with period pain caused by endometriosis found the massage significantly reduced pain during and after the massage. The massage should focus on the places you feel the greatest tension, usually the abdomen, side, and back.
There are a number of essential oils that are beneficial for easing cramping and other PMS symptoms. Use lavender oil for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities. Before and during your massage, take a few moments to inhale the scent as it promotes relaxation. Peppermint oil can be used in the same way and provides the same massage benefits. Inhaling peppermint oil is also good for nausea and headaches that sometimes accompany menstruation.
A 2012 study found that a blend of lavender, sage, and marjoram oils was especially successful. Women in the study were instructed to massage the blend into their lower abdomen from the end of their last period to the beginning of their next one. They reported less pain and discomfort than women in the control group. Another study in 2013 found that not only did women who rubbed a blend of cinnamon, close, rose, and lavender oil onto their abdomens report less pain but they also reported less bleeding than women using the placebo treatment.
Enjoy a Cuppa
Tea is also a popular herbal method of relief though it will require you to drink multiple cups per day. Chamomile is one of the most popular kinds of teas for relaxation, but it also is great for relieving period cramping. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antispasmodic which can help in relaxing the uterine muscles. For best results, drink chamomile tea twice per day during your period and a week before it arrives. You can also add peppermint oil for an extra boost of pain relief.
Green tea is also a wonderful option as it is antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory which can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Drink a cup of green tea as soon as you feel cramping begin and drink up to three to four cups daily for maximum benefit.
There is a tea you may not have heard of called cramp bark. Boil two teaspoons of the bark in water and let it simmer for 15 minutes. You should drink this three times per day for maximum benefit; however, those on lithium or diuretics should talk to their doctor first as there may be counterindications.
While it’s frequently thought of as a drug, it too is an herb. There are several different options for use. For direct effect, try one of Foria’s cannabis suppositories which you insert exactly where the pain is happening. Enjoy “the soak of a lifetime” with Whoopi & Maya’s Cannabis Bath Soak which features cannabis, Epsom salts, and essential oils. You can also vape it or have an edible, of course, only where it’s legal. For those places it isn’t, consider CBD oils and edibles for your pain relief needs.
Looking for more ideas? Check out this post for more interesting cramp remedies that don’t come in pill form.