The 6 Best Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramping

Virtually every woman has experienced menstrual cramping at some point in their lives. Finding a suitable home remedy for cramping is a must to prevent discomfort and ensure you're not held back when that time of the month rolls around. Here are a few effective treatments you can use to quell cramps and feel your best:

1. Get Up & Move

While it might seem like the last thing you want to do when plagued with period cramps, movement is a great way to reduce discomfort. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals your body produces. If you're not up for an intense workout or a 5-mile run, don't fret. Yoga is a great alternative, as it involves gentle, concentrated movements to balance your mind and body. Even doing yoga as little as 5 minutes a day when you have your period can make a huge improvement.

2. Apply Heat

It's a remedy that's passed down from generation to generation for very good reason; applying heat directly to your abdomen is a great way to reduce cramping and discomfort. Heat improves the blood flow to the area, while also relaxing contracting muscles responsible for cramping. There are a few ways you can use heat during your period. A hot shower works well, but many women use a heating pad or pack to apply heat therapy directly where it hurts.

3. Drink Herbal Tea

Herbal remedies have also been in use for generations thanks to their natural healing properties. A variety of herbs are associated with pain relief, including ginger. Ginger is also good for quelling nausea, which can sometimes occur during your period. Other herbal treatments good for menstrual cramping include chamomile, fennel, and green tea, which also provides a burst of energy when you're feeling sluggish.

4. Massage Yourself With Essential Oils

Similar to applying heat, gently massaging your abdomen can also boost blood flow for all-natural pain relief. By incorporating essential oils into your self-massage session, you'll also be privy to other amazing benefits. In addition to being absorbed into the skin, inhaling essential oils lowers stress and helps you feel relaxed. Lavender, rose, and cinnamon oils are just a few that provide relief from cramping, as well as decreasing feelings of anxiety and tension.

5. Steer Clear of Certain Foods

Some women go crazy for cakes and cookies during their periods, while others can't get enough of salty snacks. Both are problematic, but for vastly different reasons. Chocolate and other sweet treats can affect your blood sugar level, which in turn impacts your mood (which is already being impacted by your wildly fluctuating hormones). When it comes to salty snacks, potato chips and pretzels cause you to retain water, which increases bloating. Instead, look for foods rich in vitamins and other nutrients when experiencing period cravings.

6. Stop Smoking

Smoking is bad for you in so many ways, from increasing your risk of developing certain types of cancers to negatively affecting your chance of conceiving. There is also evidence that smoking cigarettes actually makes menstrual cramping worse for many women, especially for women who are habitual smokers. One study found that smokers experienced periods cramps more consistently when compared to women who've never smoked, with some smokers reporting period cramping approximately 80% of the time. The reason is likely nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant that causes blood vessels to restrict, which increases abdominal cramping and discomfort.

While it's true that periods are a fact of life, that doesn't mean you must resign yourself to feeling miserable once a month. By using the above remedies, you can reduce the painful effects of menstruation thanks to proven, all-natural methods.