Picture this: an entire month without suffering through debilitating cramps, popping over-the-counter and prescription pain pills, and stumbling through those first few days of your period. Sound too good to be true? If you’re one of half the menstruating population who experiences painful cramps each month, it may seem like it.
The best solution for any uncomfortable condition is to discover why it occurs. Instead of treating symptoms, a functional medicine practitioner can help you solve the issues that causes discomfort, boosting your health overall.
There are many natural ways to minimize the symptoms associated with menstruation, however. Below, you’ll find a few of my favorite tips for eliminating cramps naturally so that you can enjoy your life to the fullest, no matter the day of the month!
Lower Your Stress Level
Stress has numerous ill effects on the human body. As we juggle more and more to meet deadlines, keep up with our children, and stay on top of it all, our systems are flooded with adrenalin and cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Without a way to relieve this stress, inflammation occurs. This can lower immunity, throw hormones out of balance, and contribute to more painful periods. Try these methods for erasing stress:
Adopt the Right Diet
Diets high in unhealthy fats, grains, and dairy can increase inflammation and period pain. Though you may experience cravings, it’s best to also avoid caffeine, sugar, and salt. Not only will your menstrual cramps be less severe (or disappear entirely), but your hormones will be more balanced and your energy more stable. Wondering what is safe to eat? Try the following foods instead:
Try throwing together a mix of your favorite nuts and seeds, a handful of dried raisins or cranberries, and a dash of cinnamon for a highly satisfying snack to supply energy on days when you’re more likely to feel run-down.
Develop a Self-Care Ritual
For those days when you feel at your worst, have a self-care ritual at the ready! Try these methods to help you relax, ease tension, and improve circulation to minimize cramping:
· Take a long, hot bath. Toss in a handful of Epsom salt and a dash of lavender essential oil to promote deep relaxation.
· Massage your abdomen with peppermint essential oil. It helps relieve cramps, and the scent is invigorating!
· Try gentle yoga poses and stretches that increase circulation, including One-legged Pigeon Pose and One-Legged Forward Bend.
· Use moist heat. Rice packs work especially well, and can be made with lavender to enhance their relaxing properties.
Herbal tea is one of the best ways to quickly ease cramps. The following are a few herbs that are both delicious and incredibly beneficial:
· Cramp Bark: With a slight earthy flavor reminiscent of cinnamon, this herb is effective in eliminating cramps.
· Red Raspberry Leaf: This herb, also known as the women’s herb, helps tone the uterus to make menstruation less painful. It tastes like a light, black tea and is especially tasty (and effective) when paired with Cramp Bark.
· Stinging Nettle: Rich in both blood-building iron and calcium, this herb has a fresh, green taste.
· Chamomile: While it has been celebrated for its mild taste and relaxing properties for ages, chamomile is also an anti-inflammatory herb.
It can be difficult to choose which supplements are right for you. Misleading information, various costs and strengths, and unhelpful storefronts add to the confusion. While testing to find out if you’re deficient in essential vitamins and minerals is the best way to determine what your body needs, the following list is a glimpse at several supplements that are beneficial for easing cramps and supporting your overall health:
· Vitamin B6
· Vitamin D
· Blackstrap Molasses: High in iron, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, and manganese.
· Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Identify the Root Cause
If you’re experiencing menstrual cramps, despite what society will tell you, it does not have to be normal for you! Hormonal imbalances, food sensitivities, chronic inflammation, toxicity, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies can all lead to more painful periods.
Finding a practitioner who can test for these common imbalances, allergies, and deficiencies is essential in discovering the underlying cause of your painful menstruation. Once you have a complete picture of your health, you’ll be able to balance your system entirely and eliminate uncomfortable symptoms like cramping, PMS, and bloating.
If you’re ready to put painful cramping and other period symptoms behind you, contact me for a free consultation. Your body is unique, and not all remedies will work for you, natural or otherwise. The best way to find healing is to identify your specific needs. When we’re able to view the complete picture, we can eliminate harmful substances, boost your immunity, and balance your system. Together, we can achieve your health goals!
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.