But first, let’s chat about what period cramps are…
Normal period cramps (primary dysmenorrhea) are caused by prostaglandins and can feel like a throbbing or cramping sensation in the lower abdomen, back, and even down your thighs. Some describe it as a dull ache, while others describe it as something deeper and more painful.
Cramps generally start 1 to 3 days before your period and subside in 2 to 3 days after you start.
Symptoms that can (and typically do) go hand-in-hand with period cramps include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and loose stool.
Typically, cramps lessen as women age.
If you find that your cramps are debilitating and causing you to miss school or work, then that could be a sign that something is going on. Typical period pain is uncomfortable but does not interfere with your life.
Unbearable cramps are one of the symptoms of endometriosis, fibroids, adenomyosis, PID, and cervical stenosis and require a proper diagnosis. Please see your doctor or another qualified healthcare professional if you feel this applies to you.
1. Crampbark: This herbal supplement comes in a tea, tincture, or capsule and comes from dried bark (hence the name!). Crampbark has been shown to potentially be helpful with cramps and PMS symptoms by helping to relax the muscles and blood vessels and decrease muscle spasms. This is one thing that I swear by! Even though I don’t experience cramps anymore, I still drink Crampbark tea for a few days prior to my period and on the days of my period to support my flow.
2. Light movement: While i’m not a fan of big workouts on my period, some light movement can be helpful! this can look like low impact walks, stretching, yin yoga, and/ or foam rolling!
3. Magnesium: This is my FAVORITE period supplement! Magnesium is responsible for helping with so many of the body’s functions and has a huge impact on our health. It has been shown to help reduce inflammation, alleviate cramps and aches, and can prevent headaches. I like magnesium baths as well during menstruation! Magnesium can be something we incorporate all cycle long, not just during menstruation.
4. Sleep: Tried and true. Getting enough sleep can help the body rest and recover and may help us handle cramps better! again, something we should be doing allll cycle long.
5. Pain relief: A common misconception when it comes to holistic wellness is that we shouldn’t use OTC medications. That isn’t my personal belief! ESPECIALLY when you’re already doing things to support your cycle – things like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Midol may be a great resource in the meantime. issues can arise when we’re *relying* on these to get through our PMS and periods rather than dealing with the root cause of those symptoms and just using pain relief medications when necessary.
6. Castor oil pack: Castor oil packs can have some amazing benefits such as helping increase lymphatic flow, reducing inflammation, and relieving cramps when done prior to menstruation. Want to try one out for yourself? I have a step by step for how to do this on my blog. just head to google and type in ‘calee shea castor oil pack’ and it should pop up!
7. Break out the 🍃: *this* medicinal plants may be beneficial for pain and inflammation during menstruation but may not be a good fit for everyone, so do your research as well as use safely and legally! My take with this is similar to OTC meds – it can be a great short term solution but we also want to dig into why pain is happening at the root!
8. Organic period care: sooo many people report a decrease in menstrual pain and even heavy flow when switching to low-tox and organic period products. a few of my favorite brands are @itsaugust @our.cora @knix @saaltco @get_rael @sustain
9. Warm whiskey (21+): this one has been passed down in my family and while it isn’t something to rely on and we don’t want to consume lots of alcohol while menstruating, it can have a medicinal purpose! A single warm shot of whiskey or a hot toddy may help relax muscles and reduce cramps quickly during menstruation – a hot toddy calls for one ounce of whiskey, a teaspoon of honey, and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Add everything into an 8oz mug and add boiling water.
10. Red raspberry leaf tea: tasting similar to black tea, red raspberry leaf is a classic period tea. It contains vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E and has antioxidant properties. anecdotal evidence suggests that it may help to reduce menstrual cramps and support a healthy flow.
11. Address cramps at the root: get to the bottom of your cramps and other period symptoms! While all of these tips may help the symptoms of cramps in the short term, let’s also focus on WHY they’re happening so that we can work to eliminate the issue for good! This is what I teach my clients about this inside of Hormone Bootcamp!!
Hormone Bootcamp is the step-by-step program that helps my clients take their power back and feel in control of their cycles – so that they aren’t stuck dealing with cramps, PMS, hormonal acne, and period problems EVERY. DAMN. MONTH. ✨🩸
Instead… they feel like this:
Want to feel like this too? 🦋✨💛
Note: When it comes to any supplements and herbals make sure you do your research and chat with your healthcare provider to clarify if it is a good fit for you!
Podcast Episodes: Listen on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or Amazon
Calee Shea is a Holistic Health Practioner based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is your go-to gal for all things periods, vaginal health, and sex.