Pain is not a ‘normal’ part of having a period
Taking pain medication every month for your period – or any issue to be fair – isn’t normal. Pain is an indicator that something in your body isn’t happy and just popping a band aid on it every month by the way of paracetamol and ibuprofen isn’t the ‘best’ approach. It has become so normalised in our global society, the idea that periods are painful, that we don’t even question it anymore. But I am here to say that it is not normal.
This is not to say that periods aren’t without sensations, of course we might feel the odd twinge or heaviness. The point is that we should not need to be reaching for medications to ‘get through’ our periods, and an added problem with this is that popping pills to get through our periods each month and/or points in-between, can really hamper the proper diagnosis of issues like endometriosis and adenomyosis.
Need help dealing with chronic pain?
If you are experiencing pain at this level, then please, please get in touch to arrange a road map consultation with me, or order my book and use it as a guide to start exploring your own cycle and symptoms.
Natural pain relief to help ease mild to moderate discomfort.
There are a number of gentle, natural remedies that might offer you relief from pain.
1. Easing Muscle Tension with Heat Therapy
Heat is a great healer, I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t use a hot water bottle to help ease period cramps. It helps to relax and ease off tension, the heat helps to dilate the blood vessels and this then allows more oxygen blood and nutrients to the area. If muscle tension is causing you discomfort, consider heat therapy. A warm bath, a heating pad, or even a warm compress can work wonders in relaxing tense muscles.
2. Harnessing the Power of Herbs
You can used dried herbs to make a compress for your belly (I detail how to make a herb compress at the bottom of this article, so keep scrolling)
Some of the best herbs to use in a compress are:
Chamomile: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing properties, which can help ease menstrual cramps.
Lavender: Lavender is known for its calming and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. It can help alleviate discomfort during your period.
Rosemary: Rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with muscle relaxation and pain relief.
Ginger: Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that can help relieve menstrual pain and reduce muscle spasms.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon has been used traditionally to ease menstrual discomfort due to its warming and anti-inflammatory properties.
Yarrow: Yarrow is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce menstrual cramps.
3. Gentle Movement and Stretching
Incorporating gentle movement and stretching into your routine can help alleviate pain. Think of it as giving your body a gentle massage from the inside out. No inversions while bleeding, though, which means no legs above the head. You don’t need to go to a class necessarily, just follow the lead of your body and move it as you feel it needs. Sometimes that is contracting and sometimes it is stretching.
Gentle forms of exercise are always helpful – think walking or a very light yoga sesh. Some yoga nidra is the bees knees where you can let your body unwind in supported and held way. There is no denying you need to treat your body well during a bleed.
4. Finding Comfort in Herbal Teas
Herbal teas are like a warm hug for your insides. Ginger, chamomile, and turmeric teas are known for their potential anti-inflammatory and soothing effects. Pain is usually caused by inflammation so anything that helps to bring that down is going to be good for your period and managing pain.
5. Mind-Body Techniques for Pain Management
Mind-body techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness, can help shift your focus away from pain and promote relaxation. This is not about gaslighting yourself into thinking you don’t have pain or breathing through it. However, deep breathing helps to get more oxygen on board which in turn helps with a good blood supply around our organs. Deep breathing into the pelvis is also beneficial by creating more room for your uterus to do its thing. Deep breathing also stimulates the vagal nerve which helps our body to swerve out of flight mode. This is important as too much adrenaline can make pain worse.
Remember, It’s Your Journey
These remedies are gentle alternatives to consider, but remember that everyone’s body responds differently. Listen to your body and choose what feels right for you.
If you’re dealing with chronic or severe pain, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for guidance. If they don’t listen seek out one that does. If you are looking to do things in a more natural way you know where I am.
P.S. Curious to explore more about your body’s responses and gentle remedies? My book, “Periods Aren’t Meant to Bloody Hurt,” is your go-to resource for empowering yourself with knowledge.
Here is the extra about the compress…
Herbal Compress for Period Pain Relief
1. Herbs: Choose a combination of soothing and anti-inflammatory herbs such as chamomile, lavender, rosemary, yarrow and ginger. I prefer to use dried herbs.
2. Fabric: A piece of soft, natural fabric like cotton or muslin, large enough to wrap around your lower abdomen.
3. String or Elastic Band: To secure the compress.
4. Hot Water: For steeping the herbs.
5. Bowl or Basin: To steep the herbs and collect the herbal infusion.
6. Towel or Cloth: To protect your skin from the heat.
1. Prepare Your Herbs: Start by selecting your herbs. You can use a single herb or a combination. For dried herbs, measure about 2-3 tablespoons of herbs in total.
2. Boil Water: Heat water until it’s steaming but not boiling. You don’t want it to be too hot as it can scald your skin. I boil the kettle and pour it over the herbs letting them steep and faffing about getting them in the cloth will cool them. Use your noodle though don’t burn yourself.
3. Steep the Herbs: Place the herbs in a bowl or basin and pour the hot water over them. Allow the herbs to steep for about 5-10 minutes, creating a strong herbal infusion.
4. Strain the Herbal Infusion: After steeping, strain the herbal infusion to remove any loose herbs. You should be left with a warm herbal liquid.
5. Test Temperature: Check the temperature of the herbal infusion to ensure it’s comfortable to the touch. It should be warm, not scalding.
6. Prepare Your Compress: Lay your fabric flat and fold it into a size that covers your lower abdomen.
7. Soak the Fabric: Dip the fabric into the herbal infusion, allowing it to absorb the liquid. Wring out any excess liquid to avoid dripping. You can also put some of the herbs on the cloth too.
8. Apply the Compress: Lie down comfortably and place the herbal-soaked fabric on your lower abdomen. Make sure it’s not too hot to avoid burns. You can also cover the compress with a towel or cloth if it’s too hot or if you prefer extra warmth. You can put a hotwater bottle over it too.
9. Relax: Keep the herbal compress in place for about 20-30 minutes. Use this time to relax, meditate, or practice deep breathing to enhance the pain relief.
10. Repeat as Needed: You can use this herbal compress as often as necessary to relieve period pain. Some find it beneficial to use it multiple times throughout the day.
11. Storage: If you have leftover herbal infusion, you can store it in the refrigerator for a day or two. Reheat it gently before using it again.