It’s about that time again. You know, that time of the month when your sense of self plummets, fatigue hits, cramps take over, nausea arrives, emotions run haywire, and the only thing you can do is curl up in a ball, demand chocolate, and binge watch Netflix.
Because what else should you do when your uterus betrays and punishes you for not populating an already overpopulated world?
On a more serious note, what should we be doing when experiencing menstrual pains, or as I like to call it, “death?” Okay, maybe that’s a little too dramatic, but then again, maybe not.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I totally appreciate the biology behind menstruation and I know its existence is a sign of good health. All of that is good and dandy, but I think we can all agree that it gets rough and most times it doesn’t feel like the biological miracle that it is.
I mean, who else is losing blood for 3-7 days straight and surviving? That’s kind of hardcore — painful, but hardcore.
Getting back to the point, how to combat menstrual pains, cramps, cravings, fatigue, sadness, nausea etc.? Yes, I said “combat,” because it’s a bloody war zone.
So here are 5 tips to combat menstrual pain.
1. You are what you eat.
Basically, crappy food makes you feel crappy and good (healthy) food makes you feel good. We’ve all seen “Super Size Me,” right? If not, go watch it. Now.
Next, according to research done by The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, diets rich in complex carbohydrates can reduce cramps and mood changes such as feelings of sadness or depression during menstruation.
So stick to your vegetables, whole grains and fruits.
But what about chocolate? I know you were thinking it. First, cravings are not exclusive to women or even to women who are menstruating.
It’s normal to be in a mood for a particular food. So when those cramps do hit and those chocolate cravings come a knockin’ — go for it. Nothing wrong with slipping a little chocolate in with those fruits, veggies and whole grains.
I think we all saw this one coming. Exercise! It’s not just a daily healthy activity but it’s an endorphin boosting, cramps reducing, pain relieving activity. Go figure, right?
For some of us, we just want to be comatose, so suggesting exercise while on your period just seems preposterous. But it really does help with both physical and mental pain.
A March 2015 report published in The Journal of Family Reproductive Health suggests that stretching and aerobic exercise helps reduce period cramps. According to LiveStrong.com, exercising three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes can reduce irritability, depression and feelings of tension.
So get those running shoes and yoga pants out ladies and let’s move. Michelle Obama would be so proud.
3. Tea, anyone?
Let’s bring back tea parties, 1) because they are crazy fun and sophisticated, and 2) because certain herbal teas can help with menstrual cramps.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center, cramp bark tea aides in menstrual cramp relief. Tea with peppermint oil in it may also do the trick.
Teas have traditionally been used for menstrual cramps relief. Side note, hot water with cayenne pepper is what we use in my house. That’s still considered tea, right?
Disclaimer: According to everyday Health, some herbs may act as estrogen so ask your doctor before using them. Checking with your physician before taking any new herb or supplement is pretty much always a good idea.
4. Essential Oil Massage
Yes, not getting a message can be hazardous to your health. What better excuse is there to pamper yourself? I don’t even think I have to say anymore, I mean who cares why you have to get a massage, just do it.
But just in case you are wondering, according to a study in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecologists Research massages using aromatic essential oils, such as diluted lavender oil, can reduce menstrual cramp pains.
It doesn’t have to be as fancy as going out and paying for a massage, even though you can still Treat Yo’ Self, massaging the oils on your lower abdomen yourself (or by a loved one) will do the trick.
5. Netflix and Heating Pad
This one is for my ladies who are having a hard time grasping the idea of doing anything other than lying in bed and watching Netflix with Aunt Flo visits. The use of heating pads to reduce pain works and why not throw on some Netflix while you’re at it?
A combo attack of all tips is probably the best method. Just ask Monica Geller, You know, you could start out with a little 1, a 2, a 1-2-3, a 3, a 5, a 4, a 3-2, 2, a 2-4-6, 2-4-6, 4, 2, 2, 4-7, 5-7, 6-7, 7… 7… 7… 7 7…seven.
Written by Staff Writer Maryam Abdul-Kareem