As I was laying in bed crying and on the verge of selling my soul to escape the pain….I realized I’m probably not the only one who experiences this. One- because it would be really ridiculous to assume I’m the only person in the world who feel this & Two- because I also know from my education that this type of cruel agony is actually a medical condition. I realized pretty quickly this should be my next blog post.
Now, even if you don’t have these symptoms to this extreme or even often, we can all benefit from a little girl knowledge about our bodies and how to feel better…because…who doesn’t like to feel better?
–Heat! Menstrual cramps are usually caused when the uterus contracts (to help shed the lining) and the blood vessels in the uterus become constricted. Heat is believed to open up blood vessels & relax the muscles to help relieve pain in general and this time is no exception. Heat has also been shown in studies to block the effect of the chemical messengers that alert the body to pain. Using a heating pad on your lower abdomen, right below your belly button is a great way to relieve the pain especially at night while trying to fall asleep and it’s my go to. Taking a hot bath or shower is also a great option.
–Over the counter meds! For the best chance of relieving your pain choose medicines that contain Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc). Ibuprofen is an example of an NSAID medication (NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that works by blocking the inflammatory reactions that cause cramps. It works best if you begin taking it as soon as you start to feel symptoms coming on, rather than waiting for it to get worse.
–Cut back on caffeine! Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor- it constricts blood vessels and raises tension levels. Instead of drinking coffee try herbal teas with low caffeine levels. Herbal teas can also help relieve pain and relax the body. One of my personal favorites is the Blueberry SlimLife green tea by Yogi Teas….plus they have cute little quotes on every tea bag— which of course you know I love. Make sure to also get plenty of water, because it will help prevent acne, bloating, and help your body run more efficiently.
–EAT…well! Try your best not to give in to bad food cravings…I know, it’s hard. If you’re like me and love chocolate, try eating dark chocolate instead. It will help relax your body, satisfy the craving and keep you happy. Grab a banana as a snack to help reduce bloating and assist with reducing painful symptoms. Spinach and other dark green veggies are also superfoods to help relieve cramps and make sure you’re getting all the vitamins you need.
–Endorphins! These little babies are our bodies own way of fighting stress, relieving pain, and enhancing pleasure. Endorphins work by interacting with receptors in our brain to reduce our body’s perception of pain and cause feelings of happiness. They work similarly to drugs as strong as morphine, but are all natural and don’t lead to negative dependance the way drugs can. So how can you get Endorphins? Eating dark chocolate, eating spicy foods with cayenne or jalapeño peppers, ginseng consumption, and laughing (yes laughing, so Netflix those comedy specials girl) can all release endorphins. You can also get a nice boost of endorphins by exercising (even basic movements like walking, swimming, or yoga). One common recommended way to relax and get a boost is to have an orgasm. Yep, I said it. Whether with your partner or by yourself, having an orgasm can give you that rush of endorphins needed to help manage your pain symptoms (practice safety ladies!).