Getting your period is an exciting milestone. It means you’re growing into a healthy woman, or that you’re already one. The aches and pains experienced as part of PMS, however, are a little less exciting. But this doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Let’s break down what PMS is and how to reduce period pain. What is PMS?
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome and refers to the physical and emotional symptoms you feel just before your period is about to come. Period pains are part of PMS and are normal. All women get them sometimes. Learning how to reduce period pain will allow you to stay your usual confident, active self. There are lots of ways to reduce period pains. But first, it’s important to understand what causes them.What causes period pain?
Period pain - i.e. the cramping feeling you feel - is caused by chemicals in your body called prostaglandins that make your uterus contract, helping it push out your uterine lining – i.e. period blood – when you’re menstruating. These uterine contractions are why you may feel prolonged, dull aches and pains in your lower abdomen, leading up to and during your period. Period cramps tend to start a day or two before your period actually comes, and last one or two days after your period has begun.
The good news is there are a bunch of things you can do for period pain relief – without even leaving the house!Home remedies for period pain
Anything that relaxes your muscles will help provide period pain relief. Take, for example, these simple ways to ease period pain:
Don’t forget to get prepared for your period!
- Get warm
Applying heat is a great way of letting your muscles stretch out and relax, which is one of the ways to ease period pain. This can mean taking a warm bath, hugging a hot water bottle against your belly, or even just curling up under your favourite blankets. Sometimes, drinking herbal tea can help, too.
Exercise – surprise, surprise! – is a great way to help period pain. Even though moving around a lot can be the last thing you feel like doing when you’ve got premenstrual cramps, it’s worth giving a try. That’s because exercise increases blood flow, which helps your muscles relax. It also releases chemicals called endorphins. They’re your body’s natural feel-good chemicals that actually change the way it perceives pain while boosting your mood.
- Stay hydrated
Another way how to reduce period pain is to stay hydrated. This means drinking lots of water and staying away from things that can dehydrate you – like caffeine and salty foods. Drinking plenty of water will also help reduce bloating. Bloating can be uncomfortable in and of itself, and it can also make period pains feel more intense.
- Take a pain killer to reduce inflammation
If all else fails, talk to your mum or a trusted adult about taking an over-the-counter pain medication to help ease your period pain.
- Massage therapy
Massage therapy increases circulation, which can help counteract period pains. Massage also helps relax and lengthen your muscles, which is key for combatting cramps. Plus, it just feels really good. Go ahead and indulge!
- Avoid certain foods
Foods that make your body retain water will make your cramps feel more intense. They also increase bloating. Ugh. No fun. Caffeine and salty foods are big culprits here. Saying no to crisps and lattes leading up to your period may help your period pains.
While period pains are no cup of tea, they can be helpful in alerting you that your period is about to come. This will give you time to make sure you have some TAMPAX in your bag, locker, or bathroom cabinet.