Natural Relief for Painful Periods
In last week’s blog post, I talked in length about why your period has gone haywire since having a baby and what steps you could take to get things back on track. This week I am going to be giving you my favorite ways to reduce pain and discomfort during your period. It is important to accept that making any major changes to your period can take between 3-6 months so it is good to have some quality natural pain relief options in your back pocket. I am hoping that some of you have already been implementing the changes I discussed last week and are well on your way to much happier periods!
Top 5 Natural Remedies for Period Pain
- Castor Oil- Applying castor oil to your lower abdomen (hip bone to hip bone) nightly when you DO NOT have your period can help reduce the pain you experience during your period. Castor oil can help to increase circulation and lymph flow in the lower abdomen and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Because castor oil helps to increase blood flow to the uterus, it is not advised to use during your period, as this could increase pain and cramping. Castor oil can stain clothing, as it is a fairly viscous oil. You should speak to your naturopathic doctor before using castor oil topically if you have any gynecological health concerns.
- Red Raspberry Tea- You may have been told to drink this tea as a way to prepare your uterus to give birth, which makes sense because it is what we call a “uterine tonic”. Your uterus is a muscle and when you are feeling cramping that is from the muscle contracting. Red raspberry tea can help the uterus to contract more efficiently which reduces pain. Having 1-2 cups/day of red raspberry tea in the 1-2 days before your period starts and the first 3 days of your period can greatly help to reduce pain.
- Magnesium- Magnesium is well known to be nature’s muscle relaxant. It can help to reduce the pain caused by the uterus contracting, by helping to relax the muscle. The best way to use magnesium during your period is topically. You can apply a magnesium spray directly to the lower abdomen to help with cramping. Another great way to get your magnesium during your period is through Epsom salt baths. Add 2 cups of Epsom salts to the bathtub and soak for 20-30 minutes.
- Ginger- Ginger is well known as an anti-nausea supplement, but is it often forgotten that it is also a great anti-inflammatory. Increasing ginger in your diet in the form of 1-2 cups of ginger tea/day during your period, having a glass of golden milk, and adding ½ inch to your stir fry can go a long way to reduce pain. Ginger can also be taken in capsule form.
- Acupuncture- If you know that you always have bad period pain on day 1 or 2 of your period, scheduling an acupuncture treatment on either of those days can be a great form of pain relief and can help to reduce the duration of time that you have cramping. I routinely see patients for acupuncture during day 1-2 of their period and they report that they get a lot of pain relief from the session. It has recently been purposed by the FDA that doctors learn about acupuncture because it is a great alternative for pain management.
I hope that you have gained from new tools to help you cope with your period pain. As always, my greatest focus is on preventative medicine, but we do need to have pain relief tools to help get by while the work is being done to treat the cause of the dysfunction.
Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is currently accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.