Periods. The big P-word. Experienced by women across the world for the vast majority of their lives, it’s easy to assume that menstruation and all that comes with it is just an inevitability of the female experience.
Yet, as we’re coming to realise, an astounding one in five Australian women experience heavy menstrual bleeding and significant amounts of pain. While this might have been a taboo we would have steered clear of as little as ten years ago, it’s now an issue that the vast majority of us are past ready to face head-on.
It’s about time given the silent impact this monthly struggle can have on the women who experience it. If you’re one of them, you’ll know all too well how difficult it can be to continue daily life when the monthly monster hits. But, as studies and awareness expand, you needn’t suffer in silence anymore.
Now, more than ever, is a time to take control and find a positive path through period pain that could see you living your life for the better in no time. Simply keep reading for some tips that could make it possible.
Seek medical help
This might seem like a bit of a cop-out, but trust us when we say that medical help in this instance is worth considering. Too often, women feel that they would be wasting a doctor’s time with this issue. Others believe that there’s nothing a doctor could do to help, and so continue to cope at home. In reality, though, neither of these beliefs even come close to the truth.
The simple fact is that, while periods are unavoidable, excessive pain most definitely isn’t. If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, then you can bet your doctor could offer at least some relief. It may be, for instance, that pain is caused by an underlying condition you won’t unravel until you let the experts take a look.
Or, it could be that something as simple as a prescription for the contraceptive pill would result in better pain management, or even easier/reduced periods altogether. At the very least, the ability to manage when and where your period strikes could work wonders for making your daily life easier to manage. And, all because you finally accepted that period pains are as severe a medical complaint as any other.
Find your own coping mechanisms
As you likely already know, home coping mechanisms can also prove to be lifesavers where period pains are concerned. Luckily, there are now plenty of options to choose from in this category. Most often, heat packs, baths, and the like can all help to bring at least temporary relief when you start to suffer.
Other, lesser-known options include chamomile tea, and even, interestingly, orgasm. Each technique will, of course, offer differing benefits for your unique needs, so don’t be afraid to try a few things out. Ultimately, you want to find yourself in a position where you have a go-to coping kit should the pain get bad. This, alone, can help you to regain control of your symptoms and should make for a more positive period path moving forward.
Live a generally healthier life
While the inevitability of periods often leads us to treat them as separate from our everyday lives, it’s also well worth noting that a generally healthier outlook can go a long way towards healing period pains. Even better, this is the case both before and after pain strikes.
By focusing on healthy eating and hydration in general, for instance, you may find that you can much better handle the big P when it comes. Starting from now, aim to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day, especially during your period itself. This can ease the bloating, which often leads to a worsening of symptoms/pain.
Think, too, about what you’re putting into your body. Diet is vital in near enough every health aspect, and period pain is no exception. In a general sense, eating the right anti-inflammatory foods can help to ease pain. Taking this even further, focusing on beneficial herbs and spices, including turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger could have a beneficial impact on symptoms.
Note, too, that staying away from those sugar-filled fatty foods you crave during your pregnancy can help to keep your body in the best possible shape throughout. By increasing inflammation in the body, any of these could well lead to worsening pain and take you further than ever from a positive period experience.
Get on top with vitamins
Natural as it is, your period takes a fair amount of energy and bodily resources every single month. Pain will, therefore, be inevitably stronger if you aren’t stocking your body with everything it needs. This is where a healthy vitamin intake can come in.
Obviously, vitamins are no replacement for a healthy diet, but tracking your intake of everything can get tricky if you’re relying on the foods you eat alone. As such, many women find that it’s also worth taking specific vitamins to keep period pains at bay. Some specifically beneficial options to keep an eye out for include –
- Fish oil
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin D
Studies have persistently shown that adequate intake levels for each of these can work wonders for countering the negative physical impact of periods and, you guessed it, reducing the severity of period cramps.
Use this excuse to pamper
While many of us spend our periods feeling sorry for ourselves, ‘that time of the month’ is also the ideal time to get some pamper sessions in. As well as helping your mentality, doing so could well see your severe pains coming to an end at last.
Something as simple as massaging your abdomen for at least five minutes a day could drastically reduce the severity of cramps. Professional massages with the use of essential oils like clary sage and lavender can also help to put you in a better, more positive mental space that again reduces pain.
Even acupuncture and acupressure have been proven to help period pains a great deal by focusing on pleasurable and relaxing trigger points in the body. Acupuncturists, in particular, can use needles to relieve menstrual cramps. Even better, a reliable practitioner will be able to show you prime pressure points that you can turn to yourself whenever the pain gets bad. As simple as that, you can add acupuncture to your home coping kit.
Strong or heavy period pains are never a pleasant experience, and approaching this affliction with a positive outlook can seem like a stretch at the best of times. Yet, when you take a look at this list, it’s plain to see that we are not as much at the mercy of menstruation as we’ve perhaps previously believed. What’s more, a growing awareness and conversation surrounding the problem should see more and more pain-relieving solutions coming to the fore.
So, if you currently spend days in bed when the red monster strikes, it’s time to take heart that you can face periods with a positive outlook from now on. Simply put these pointers through trial and error, and make sure to implement the ones that work on at least a monthly basis.
Note, too, that this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you still don’t settle on a pain solution that suits, do a little of your own research, and we can guarantee you’ll find that all-important positivity at some stage.