Your period pain isn’t “just period pain.”
And I’m sure you agree if you’ve had cramps so bad that you can’t even think straight, let alone be present at the office or keep up with your to-do list.
Cue the painkillers, hot water bottles, and lots of down time at home when you can get it. I had a client that swore by two extra strength Tylenol every three hours and coffee and comfy clothes to make it through a day at the office during her period.
If this is you, you may be stuck managing your monthly misery instead of working toward being totally pain-free. And yes, being pain-free is possible!
Curious about the connection between your period and yoga? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Practicing Yoga On Your Period
Follow These 4 Steps to Get Real Period Pain Relief:
Let’s discuss what you need to do if you want to get relief from your period pain for good.
1. Understand That Period Pain Isn’t “Normal”
The first step to eliminating period pain is understanding that periods aren’t painful in their own right.
If you’ve been struggling with menstrual pain for a long time or since your very first period, this concept may be difficult to believe. Over the years, various doctors (and likely your own mother) have told you “it’s normal” in order to pacify you before they launch into the benefits of the pill.
The belief that periods are inherently painful is actually keeping you from having a pain-free period!
Or maybe you’ve tried various supplements and natural remedies to reduce the cramping without much success. Either way, these experiences make you skeptical.
Deep down, you may think you’d have more luck getting period pain relief by undergoing a complete hysterectomy or that maybe you should just give up and wait for menopause.
The thing is, the belief that periods are inherently painful is actually keeping you from having a pain-free period! Why? Because it’s at odds with the truth, which is that period pain always has an underlying cause. And when you switch your focus from managing the pain to treating the underlying cause, you will get relief.
Need period pain relief fast? Practice These 4 Yoga Poses For Natural PMS Relief
2. Identify the Cause
Moving past the false beliefs, the second step to eliminating period pain is identifying the cause of menstrual pain.
Ultimately, pain is a method your body uses to communicate with you. It’s a signal from your body to your brain that tells you something isn’t right. And the type of pain that you get provides clues about what the cause might be. One common cause of period pain is uterine fibroids, so I’m going to use it as an example.
If you get bad cramps when your period comes, but your flow has also become heavier and you feel bloated all the time, you may have fibroids. The additional symptoms give us a clue to the underlying cause and from there the diagnosis can be confirmed through a pelvic ultrasound.
Taking time to be mindful of your body, record the symptoms and interpret patterns goes a long way to help you focus on the underlying cause of your monthly cramps.
3. Treat the Underlying Cause
Once you have a good idea of what’s going on, the third step is to treat the underlying cause of the pain so you can get true relief.
Let’s continue with the fibroids example. Fibroids are not a healthy part of a woman’s physiology and they grow in an estrogen-dominant environment. In fact, after the age of 35, women are more prone to fibroids because progesterone levels naturally begin to decline and estrogen is higher.
That being said, women of all ages can have low progesterone. In fact, ambitious women are prone to fibroids because stress disrupts your hormone balance and might suppress ovulation, which is essential for healthy hormones.
The good news is, fibroids and other causes of period pain such as chronic inflammation, PCOS, and even endometriosis can be reduced and prevented naturally by restoring and maintaining hormone balance.
4. Balance Your Hormones
I’ve found it to be very beneficial to take a holistic approach to balancing hormones. When you modify both your nutrition and your lifestyle, you provide your body and mind with the building blocks for hormone production while putting your body in a parasympathetic healing state.
Continuing with our example, in order to restore hormone balance and reduce fibroids, I recommend eating a diet low in anti-inflammatories (like dairy and gluten) and high in foods that promote progesterone (like sweet potato).
In addition, practicing stress management techniques will help to keep cortisol down and increase the effectiveness of proper nutrition.
The Takeaway on Period Pain, and More Importantly, Period Pain Relief
If you’re done with managing bad menstrual cramping, it is possible for you to get rid of your pain naturally.
The motivation to search for the underlying cause will grow once you disregard the myth that periods are inherently painful. From there, you can begin to treat the cause of the pain effectively with food and self-care practices.
Still need help managing everything that comes up during your period? Here’s How to Honor the Phases of Your Monthly Menstrual Cycle With Ease and Grace (A Week-By-Week Guide)