Are you feeling the dread that comes with the arrival of your period? You're not alone. Cramps, bloating and other pain associated with menstrual cycles affect millions of women every month.
The good news? It doesn't have to be a painful experience!
By making a few small changes in your daily routine, it is possible to make lasting changes which will help reduce period pain naturally and for good.
In this blog post we'll go over the top 5 ways you can take action right now to help alleviate period cramps. Then if you want to take action to prevent period pain from returning next month, read until the end as I’ll be sharing how I have helped not only myself but thousands of people within my Moonbox community experience easy, comfortable periods, every period!
Before I share these 5 tips, I want you to know that period pain may be common, but despite what you've been told, it's not normal and it's not an inevitable part of "having a period".
Too often doctors dismiss menstrual pain & too quickly prescribe hormonal birth control as a fix, which side note it is not, too often are females are said to be overreacting and to just "put up with it" - but i am here to tell you it’s not in your head, you're not overreacting & there are ways in which you can support your body through simple changes in your diet & lifestyle to relieve the pain naturally and for good.
This is super exciting because you have so much more control over how you experience your period than you've ever been taught.
So without further adieu let's jump into the top 5 tips on how to naturally reduce menstrual pain (plus, these strategies will also help with period back pain too):
TIP 1: CONSUME GINGER
The first tip on how to relieve period pain instantly is to consume ginger!
Now this isn't just any period hack, it’s backed by science!
Studies have shown that consuming 1/8 of a teaspoon of ginger powder 3 times per day during the first 3–4 days of your period helps to reduce period pain AND is shown as effective as ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medication.
Studies also show that ginger benefits PMS moods, nausea, bloating + headaches; plus when consumed regularly for 3 months can result in reduced heavy bleeding.
Top ways to consume ginger to help relieve period pain naturally are:
1. Drink ginger tea
You can add ginger powder to hot water, or you can buy a fresh piece of ginger root, cut it up into thin slices, steep it in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drink this tea 3 times a day during the first 3-4 days of your period. If you find it too bitter: add some honey or lemon.
2. Add Ginger to a smoothie.
Ginger, banana, mango, spinach, avocado, hemp seeds blend it up and you have yourself a delicious cramp-fighting smoothie.
3. Consume ginger with our delicious Superfood Turmeric Latte blend
This blend been specifically developed for period pain & PMS. It includes certified organic ginger and other pain fighting herbs such as turmeric, maca, shatavari - powerful ingredients that make this blend an easy & delicious way to help with cramps & other symptoms of PMS.
TIP 2: INCREASE YOUR MAGNESIUM INTAKE
If there was ever just ONE mineral, I’d recommend for healthier menstrual cycles & fighting period pain, it’d be magnesium.
I get asked all the time, does magnesium REALLY work for period pain?
The answer is YES my friend.
Taken daily, magnesium may prevent dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) in some people as it works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and by reducing the inflammatory prostaglandins that cause period pain.
Magnesium is not only beneficial for period pain but for PMS, stress, sleep, Endometriosis, PCOS, migraines, period irregularities and perimenopause.
In some studies magnesium has been found effective in lessening menstrual pain better than a placebo, and may be helpful in limiting the need for pain medication.
Being deficient in magnesium is a recipe for killer menstrual cramps, PMS’y mood swings, anxiety and poor sleep.
And guess what? Over 80% of us are deficient in magnesium which is why it's important to actively replenish this mineral on a daily basis throughout the entire month - not just when you have period pain.
Why is magnesium deficiency so common?
There are a few factors at play which are due to..
- Not consuming enough magnesium rich foods in our diets and over consuming processed foods
- The soil our food grows in is depleted due to modern day agricultural farming practices and in turn our food is depleted of minerals too
- Stress - when the body is stressed it dumps magnesium. So if you experience stress in your life which lets be honest most of us do - you need more magnesium. Period.
- Overconsumption of alcohol, sugar & caffeine can impair magnesium absorption and utilization
All in all if you're a human living in today's modern world magnesium is going to benefit you and when you’re actively replenishing your magnesium levels you will notice a HUGE difference particularly in your sleep, moods, energy and a more comfortable menstrual experience.
Unfortunately we are not getting enough magnesium through the food we eat - so whilst it’s important to eat more magnesium rich foods daily such as leafy greens, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocado & dark chocolate for example.. It's also a great idea to increase your magnesium levels in other ways too.
If you’re a human living in today’s modern world you need more magnesium
- Nikki Gonda
Another safe and effective way to boost magnesium levels is to use a magnesium oil like our Moon Boost 100% Magnesium Chloride Oil - this is particularly effective if you have cramps right now - spray magnesium oil onto your belly and massage it in.
Magnesium oil is my personal favourite way to easily boost my magnesium levels & help prevent cramps - plus if you're like me and don't like swallowing tablets - this is a great option.
Take a supplement - Magnesium glycinate or citrate are the easiest forms of magnesium to absorb. A therapeutic dose of magnesium is at least 300 mg daily but always talk to your practitioner about the right supplement & dose for you.
Another way to increase magnesium to help beat period pain is by enjoying a warm magnesium salt bath!
You've got two options here: epsom salts which you've probably heard of, or magnesium chloride flakes.
Magnesium chloride flakes are my personal go-to as they absorb more easily into the body & are more highly concentrated bioavailable magnesium compared to epsom salts.
This in turn creates more intense and long-lasting effects - which if you have cramps right now you're going to want the stronger salt in your bath am I'right!?
You can buy a bucket of magnesium flakes or epsom salts in bulk so you've always got some on hand for when you're on your period. If you don't have a bath tub, you can put your feet into a bucket of warm water with a cup of the salts and it will provide benefits in relieving your cramps by boosting your magnesium levels too!
The thing with magnesium is that if you have period pain RIGHT now - yes it can provide relief for you - however magnesium works best when it builds up in your body over time so consistently replenishing magnesium every day of the month is where the real pain-prevention and improvements with moods, sleep, migraines & stress are are going to take place.
It really is a life changing mineral.
If you want to learn more about how to relieve period cramps, along with other symptoms of PMS such as mood swings, bloating & low energy make sure to check out my mini-course The Better Period Method on how you can fix your periods naturally & for good. I walk you through how to balance your hormones naturally so you can say goodbye to those dreaded period symptoms that hold you back from living your best life!
TIP 3: LIMIT COFFEE CONSUMPTION
I know it's painful to even hear but coffee can make period pain worse.
Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor meaning it narrows blood vessels—including the ones that reach your uterus—so less blood and oxygen can flow through them which can cause the worsening of period pain.
Now I don’t believe in demonizing any one food or drink, nor do I believe in a one size fits all approach for every person. So please note I said LIMIT coffee - not quit coffee forever because the truth is, everyone responds differently to caffeine so it’s about discovering if caffeine is a friend or foe to YOU.
If you’re a daily consumer who experiences period pain I invite you to start just by experimenting with avoiding coffee in the week before and during your period. It's during the luteal and menstrual phases of your cycle that coffee has the potential to worsen cramps, breast soreness, headaches, anxiety, mood swings, interfere with sleep & overstimulate the digestive tract, worsening bloating and making period poops even more problematic.
Trial this over a few menstrual cycles and see if you notice a difference.
For me personally this was a game-changer in preventing period pain & PMS, so much so I personally don’t drink coffee at all anymore because of how good I feel without it. It's just one of the reasons I developed the My Moonbox Superfood Latte range - which are delicious coffee alternatives but developed specifically for healthier menstrual cycles. So they’re an option if you need an energizing alternative.
TIP 4: EXERCISE
The next tip shown to help effectively reduce cramps without medication is to exercise.
Now hear me out on this one - I personally do not exercise intensely whilst on my period. A gentle yoga class or walk to a hot bath is good enough for me! Menstruation for me is a time for resting and I will always listen to my body first, and I invite you to do the same.
However! I make sure to exercise regularly on the days outside of my period to help PREVENT period pain from coming in the first place. Exercising 4 x times per week for 60 minutes has shown to reduce the use of painkillers for period pain.
But if you're on your period right now in pain - low-intensity, low-impact exercise such as walking, yoga and stretching may help relieve the intensity of your pain as it increases blood flow to the abdomen.
TIP 5: HYDRATE
Moving onto the next tip to help relieve period pain right now is to HYDRATE. Yes it seems so simple - but it can really make such a difference. Whilst hydration is essential for optimal health and hormone balance every day of the month, it's especially critical during your period to help with bloating and cramping. If you're dehydrated it's going to make these symptoms worse.
So - if you're watching this right now trying to think when you had your last glass of water today, I'm talking to you! Aim for 2 liters of water minimum. One of my favorite ways to help stay hydrated is to carry around a water bottle and fill in the gap with drinking tea - but specifically the type of herbal teas that help to reduce period pain too.
These are raspberry leaf, nettle leaf and cramp bark! I personally consume these herbal teas specifically in the week before, and throughout my period and they have helped myself and thousands of women in my community drastically reduce their dependence on painkillers!
TIP 6: HEAT
The next tip to help ease period cramps at home is to use HEAT.
Using a heating pad, heat patch or hot water bottle can significantly reduce pain by increasing blood flow and relaxing uterine muscle tension & spasms.
Continuous low-level topical heat therapy using a heat pad has shown in studies to be as effective as ibuprofen for the treatment of period pain.
So the good old hot water bottle is a tried and true method for relieving pain from menstrual cramps - it’s cheap, effective and has no side effects. I don't experience cramps anymore but I still hold a hot water bottle on my womb during my period as it's so warming and supportive.
What's causing your period pain?
Now when it comes to period pain - there’s a reason for it!
And that reason is NOT...."that's what just comes with having a uterus".
A healthy period arrives with minimal to no pain.
Symptoms of PMS like cramps - are your body's way of communicating to you that something isn't right and needs to be addressed.
Your body is like: "hello pay attention to me". This is your invitation to listen .
Inflammation is at the core of period pain BUT it's important to understand that there are different types of period pain that can also be due to conditions such as adenomyosis, endometriosis, fibroids, cysts and more - so while people may be telling you to "suck it up", it could be something more serious that warrants investigation. Do not dismiss your own pain and certainly do not let doctors dismiss you either.
A healthy period arrives with minimal to no pain
- Nikki Gonda
Now there is only so much you can do to relieve period pain RIGHT NOW - but there is SO much you can do to take action to PREVENT period pain from returning next month.
Don't make the mistake I did and stay stuck in a monthly cycle of period pain and suffering month after month. I wasted way too many years of my life in pain thinking I couldn't do anything about it. But you can - we've just never been taught how..
The most powerful place to start when it comes to preventing period pain is to understand how to EAT for healthier periods.
Cause the truth is your daily food & lifestyle habits & choices you make on the days outside of your period - as in every other day of the month - are what make the biggest difference to how you experience your period and the severity of symptoms.
So if you want to take charge of your hormonal health & learn how to use food & lifestyle strategies to heal, check out my mini-course The Better Period Method to experience the pain-free periods you deserve.