I hear far too often from women that there are several days out of the month when cramps really sideline them from their lives. They are popping the Advil, Midol, or Aleve and they are on the couch until it passes.
I myself struggled with cramps and of course I needed to know WHY this was happening. Not just little polite cramps. No, I had cramps that were actual labor-like contractions - that turned me green and sheet white, came in waves and knocked me out. You know me, I have to fix my hormonal imbalances, it’s my way of life I just can’t help myself - I have to understand what is going on EXACTLY with my body, so I can choose the best possible course of action to take care of myself. I, of course, want you to know the science too so you can be properly informed.
So I learned about the 2 causes of cramps and of course then proceeded to figure out what to do to make the pain stop. I want to share this with you so you can have pain free cycles and so you can pass the goods on to your girlfriends who are likely cramped out in cramptown with you.
You don’t have to put up with period pain. Not today and not next month. You can alleviate those cramps right now while at the same time laying the foundation for a future that is free from menstrual discomfort of any kind.
As women, we’ve all developed our own quick fixes for those days when you just can’t get off the couch.
For many of us, we were prescribed the Pill or another kind of hormonal birth control way back when we were teens. For some this medication has put a stop to the pain, for others it has not. But again, for many of us, the side effects mean we’d rather not have to rely on this common daily medication to manage our monthly woes.
The good news is that there are natural alternatives and they work!
Here’s what you can do to alleviate your current cramps and what will, over the course of three months, change your period for the better.
Why do you have cramps?
There are 2 causes for cramps - one is chemical and one is functional.
A chemical series called Prostaglandins stimulate the uterine muscles to contract. There are 3 types - PgE1,2, and 3. PgE2 is the one that causes uterine contractions and pain. Leave it to the genius design of your body to have only one that does that and two that counteract it - yup - PgE1 and 3 are antispasmodic - natural pain killers!
The more PgE2 you make, the more crampy you feel. To boot, they also play a part in the vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches that come with your cycle.
On the functional side - pain can be caused by any of the following conditions: endometriosis, fibroids, infections, IUD, ovarian cysts, narrow cervix, or a retroverted (tipped) uterus. That tipped uterus, turned out to be what I had along with elevated PgE2 levels!
Below are my best strategies for you to leave cramptown for good and become a permanent resident of FLO 😉
- If you’re reaching for the painkillers, know that long term these can worsen the problem by putting strain on your liver and exacerbating hormonal imbalances. If you must, take ibuprofen at the lowest dose and try to take it ahead of when you normally get cramps. So if you normally get pain the first day of your period try to plan to take the dose first thing in the morning. Preventative use of ibuprofen will also stop you needing more and higher doses later on.
- Consider switching from tampons to pads. The insertion of the tampon can make
pain worse for those who are sensitive to cramping. You can always swap back when the pain has subsided for that month. And absolutely make sure they are organic - just say no to pesticides and bleach in your vag!
- Clary sage essential oil rubbed into the skin above the pubic bone and below the belly button, where your uterus is situated, has been shown in several studies to relieve cramps and even childbirth contractions. You can also diffuse this oil to aid with anxiety and stress or add a few drops to an Epsom salt bath.
- An old-fashioned hot water bottle on your abdomen will work wonders. You can even wrap it with an oversized scarf around your waist if you can’t sit still or lay down for long.
- Apply counter-pressure to the sciatic nerves in your lower back with your thumbs pushing inward toward the spine and down toward your feet will help take the intensity of cramps down. You can also apply the hot water bottle to your lower back as well. Trust me this works - I used this technique to get me through 20 hours of natural labor - it’ll totally help your cramps.
- Instead of Advil - pop some almonds! A few days before your period take a high dose of vitamin E and magnesium and continue this protocol two days into your menstruation. Almonds and hazelnuts are good sources of vitamin E, along with leafy greens like collard greens for the magnesium.
- Click here to try some yoga poses that alleviate pressure and calm the nervous system.
Long term solutions
- Boost Omega 3 Fatty Acids -To really clear up cramps for good, you’ve got to lower your PgE2 levels and boost your PgE1 and 3 levels. This of course is connected to what you eat and drink throughout your cycle as well as your general, overall health. The facts show that dairy and saturated animal fats up that gnarly PgE2 series. So start by cutting those out. To increase the PgE1 and 3 series, you have to get your linoleic acid up, so load up on salmon, sardines, flax, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
- Do less running around the day before your period starts - Stress hormones can make menstrual cramps worse. If you can start loosely planning your schedule to accommodate your period, you’ll alleviate some of the stress about what you can’t do when it come around. This doesn’t mean you must be confined to bed for three days every month, only that you may benefit from easing off on unnecessary activities and appointments. Try being super selective with your period day plans for three months and see if you feel better for taking some time out.
- Massage your uterus! - To address the tipped uterus – Learn the practice of Mayan Abdominal Massage! I loved doing this form of self massage to restore the uterus to it’s right position and even if your uterus is not retroverted, this massage can be helpful for many health issues associated with the reproductive organs since we all tend to lead very sedentary lives which cause general stagnation in this area – just like knots in your back hurt because they lack proper blood flow, your pelvic region suffers with poor circulation as well. You can look for a class in your local area or teach yourself self-massage via the Arvigo book series.
Now, we want to hear from you!
Share with us on Facebook and Twitter (or Pinterest and Instagram!) the ways in which you deal with menstrual cramps at home (#curecramps) – we’d love to hear about them.
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