Skip directly to content

9 Tips To Reduce Period Pain

Tips To Reduce Period Pain

We’ve all been there and know they can be a pain. Menstrual cramps. They can cause you to double over, ruin your day and leave you asking “when will this pain end?”. There are, however, a number of things that you can do to help relieve this pain.

Read on and see what works best for you!

1. Anti-Inflammatory food

Imagine grilled salmon accompanied either with salted vegetables in olive oil, or a delicious, fresh avocado salad over mixed green leaves. Sounds nice, right?  These meals can be very beneficial in reducing your monthly discomfort.

If you suffer from period cramps regularly, one approach for you is to look at your diet in order to reduce unnecessary inflammation in the body. Consumption of foods high in omega 3, magnesium and calcium may help to reduce the pain from menstrual cramps.1

Here are some examples of anti-inflammatory foods which can help:

  • Calcium and magnesium: Foods like avocados, olive oil and dark chocolate are rich in calcium and magnesium
  • Omega 3: Fish like salmon, sardines and tuna are high in omega 3, a fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties shown to help reduce period pain2

Extra tip: Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that may reduce inflammation and pain3.

2. Avoid junk food!

We know the first thing you want to do when you get your period is dig into some ice cream, pizza, a big package of chips or a soft drink. Well, we have some bad news…

Processed foods are high in trans-fats, a type of fat that causes inflammation in your body and may upset your stomach, worsening the pain you already experience.

We are not here to give you a lecture on healthy eating, but being mindful of what you eat when you have your period can make a big difference on how you feel during those few days.

3. Stay away from caffeine

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but even though coffee is the most common stimulant to get you through the day, it may be causing you more pain than it’s worth during your period. Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor4 and is linked to elevating the levels of oestrogen in the body, which as mentioned previously, only serves to increase the pain you’ll experience. Try to avoid caffeine if you suffer from painful cramps and bloating during your period.5

4. Heat things up

Using a hot water bottle or an electrical hot pad on your abdomen or lower back for up to an hour can significantly reduce period pain. In fact, a study led by Dr Brian King, of the UCL Department of Physiology found that placing a hot water bottle to the skin actually works to attack the pain. He stated that “The heat doesn’t just provide comfort and have a placebo effect – it actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work.6

Similar to using a hot water bottle, a hot bath is an effective way to increase blood flow to your pelvic area, helping to relax the muscles causing the cramps. Not to mention that period pain is definitely a valid reason to treat yourself with a bubble bath or a long, steamy shower without feeling guilty.

Extra tip: Add Epsom salt or a few drops of lavender oil to your bathtub.

5. Painkillers

When taking a painkiller for period pain it’s important to identify the one that may work best for you.

Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Mefenamic Acid are NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that act by blocking the body's production of prostaglandins to provide pain relief. NSAIDs seem to work better than paracetamol against period pain.7 The active ingredient in Ponstan is mefenamic acid, which is classified as an NSAIDs

Paracetamol is a suitable alternative to an NSAID.

Extra tip: You can also take Ponstan to to help relieve headaches and backaches, associated with your period, but don’t take it in conjunction with any other pain medications, unless advised by your doctor.

6. Essential oils

Natural alternatives such as the use of essential oils can help you deal with your monthly discomfort. They can be inhaled, massaged or put into a hot bath. Here are some recommended options:

  • Eucalyptus oil: This plant not only has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce menstrual cramps, but has stimulating properties that may help reduce irritability and moodiness.8
  • Lavender Oil: Due to its proven anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, lavender oil is one of the most effective essential oils for reducing period pain, as it addresses the symptoms of menstrual pain.9
  • Ylang-Ylang oil: This essential oil can help you to deal with mood swings and reduce cramps thanks to its anti-spasmodic qualities.10

7. Exercise & Yoga!

The next recommendation may seem a little out of place, especially if you are affected by severe period cramps. However, exercise can help your body pump more blood and release endorphins that can actually attack your pain.

Yoga is a good option when you’re not feeling up for something too strenuous. There are some poses such as “the fish”, “the bow”, “the camel” and “the nose” that have the potential to relieve specific pains by stretching out the hips and joints, reducing emotional stress which can make muscles tense and tighten, leading to pain during hormonal changes.

8. Herbal teas: 

Peppermint or chamomile are great for soothing an upset stomach, but when it comes to indulging yourself with a good cup of tea there are many effective options to help you with period pain. Here are our recommendations:

  • Ginger: Has been used for centuries for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.11
  • Fennel: This herb has a compound called anethole, which has been shown to have anti-spasmodic properties.12

9. Acupuncture

This holistic health technique, which has as its roots in ancient Chinese medicine, stimulates specific points to increase blood flow to the uterus. This helps relax the muscles, having a similar effect to a hot water bottle with the end goal of reducing cramps.

In this procedure, the acupuncturist inserts needles into the body to balance energy points aiming not only to ease the abdominal pain, but to treat other symptoms associated to the menstrual period such as bloating, mood swings and fatigue.13

Extra tip: Afraid of needles? You can opt for acupressure, which also stimulates energetic points by massaging them.

Still in pain?

If you usually suffer from period cramps and no amount of heating pads, herbal tea, healthy food or essential oils seem to help, and your cramps are interfering with your daily lifestyle, don’t wait! See your GP for professional advice.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional