Period Pain Natural Relief: What Works?
Does your period ruin every month for you? Do you maybe have one or two good weeks out of the month before those familiar symptoms start reappearing? Many women and girls struggle with period pain that disrupts their lives monthly.
And in fact, 84% of women report that they have some sort of period pain. So if you are part of that percentage, it's gonna be important for you to listen today as I go through ways that you can naturally improve those symptoms.
Hi, my name is Marcie Vaske and I'm a functional medicine nutritionist. I specialize in gut health, so I work with a lot of people who struggle with gas, bloat, constipation, diarrhea, and that's just to name a few. But I also work with a lot of women who also have a lot of hormonal issues.
If you resonate with this or you know someone who struggles with this stuff, you can easily make a first initial appointment with us and see how we can help support you on your journey to better health. But if you wanna get started alone, download our free guide to five ways to improve gut health.
So today we're gonna dig into period problems. They can come in all forms, things like painful cramps, swelling, bloating, water retention, or maybe it feels like hot flashes, anxiety, or depression. And it can also look like acne, heavy bleeding or even clots in your menstrual blood. It's time to get rid of it, right?
Period Pain Natural Relief: What Works?
We're done with these symptoms. So what are some things that we can do to help improve those symptoms? And we're gonna just sort of run through a few of 'em that, that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.
So first I'm gonna talk about food and your nutrition. I can't go through a whole video without talking about nutrition on some level and gut health, but what we wanna focus on here is getting rid of those inflammatory foods.
Things like processed packaged foods, damaged fats, or those high sugary foods. They all inflame your body. And of course, then we'll give you a flaming period.
So what are some of the foods that you can easily incorporate into your weekly or daily diet?
First of all, we wanna take a look at fatty fish. So fish like salmon, makarel, sardines, they're filled with those wonderful omega-3 fatty acids. And these fatty acids are notorious for decreasing inflammation in the body. And when we decrease inflammation in the body, that also decreases a hormone like substance called prostaglandins.
And I actually spoke about this on a previous video and I'll link that below as well if you wanna get more information. But you know, I get it, we're not all fans of fatty fish, especially maybe sardines, right? And so if you're not, you can always look into supplementation and taking possibly some omega-3 fatty acids, which would be about 3000 milligrams a day would help to make that inflammation decrease in your body.
Now another food that you wanna add to your daily diet is gonna be dark green leafy vegetables. Then I'm sure you've never heard that before, right? But if you wanna reduce inflammation in your body and reduce those inflammatory symptoms of your period, you're gonna wanna very much make a point to add in the dark leafy green vegetables.
They're filled with so many nutrients and essential minerals. And one essential mineral that I wanna point out is gonna be magnesium. And magnesium is wonderful for calming muscles and actually easing cramping. They also contain anti-inflammatory compounds.
So again, bringing down that inflammation in the body is going to be key to keeping period pain away. Greens also contain a bit of fiber, yes they do, but they also contain iron. And many times women will have heavier bleeding and become anemic. And so we wanna make sure that we're keeping up our iron stores throughout the month.
And what you wanna do is eat dark leafy green vegetables to get that iron, but then maybe pair it with some vitamin C because when paired with vitamin C, it's more bioavailable for your body and you can easily make the iron that way.
Now if you're thinking that you're not getting enough of those dark green leafy vegetables, another wonderful source of iron is gonna be farm raised red meat, and that's gonna be have a high amount of iron in it.
And coupled with some nice B vitamins, which animal protein does give us as well, you will have, you'll be making really good red blood cells and keep up that energy because when we become anemic, we can oftentimes feel more fatigued.
And again, adding in that vitamin C component, which could be just some citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits. And that way you're gonna keep up your energy, you're gonna have good iron stores and you'll have a better period.
Now if you're one of those women that have really heavy periods, or maybe you're having clotting also in your menstrual blood, that is an indication that you may be high in estrogen or those Xeno estrogens. We also call it estrogen dominance.
So one great food that you'll wanna add in is gonna be broccoli or any cruciferous vegetable. Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables contain an indole 3 carbinol, which we say I3C. It's actually a compound that helps the body eliminate excess estrogens.
So if you're struggling with that, I would definitely add in more of those cruciferous vegetables, steam up some good broccoli, throw 'em on your salad on all those other dark leafy green vegetables that you consume, and that's gonna help to decrease that heavy cycle.
Also, broccoli and cruciferous vegetables are gonna support your liver and your digestive system because it helps to eliminate estrogens. And you know, in addition to all that, broccoli is gonna be high in vitamin A, vitamin C, E, B6, magnesium, potassium, and tons of other free radical scavenging nutrients, which we're gonna need and throughout, not just for our period, but for good antioxidant health as well.
So now we know a few foods that we wanna start including, right? We wanna have fatty fish for those omega threes. We wanna make sure we're getting those dark green leafy vegetables for magnesiums and all the antioxidants that they provide, as well as maybe increased cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts.
But maybe you've started on eating, kind of implementing them into your diet, but they haven't really taken hold yet and so you're still kind of struggling with those period symptoms. So what else can we do? What else can we do besides, you know, that treatment of just snuggling up next to that hot water bottle to ease cramping every month?
What we might wanna try here, which you might think I am not doing it, but think about breaking a sweat. So yes, I am talking about exercise and I know when you're feeling less than amazing, it's not the first thing you think of is, Oh, I should go out on a run.
But in truth, movement can really help. And I would just suggest picking a movement that you like the most. It doesn't have to be an intense workout. It could be fast walking, it could be yoga, it could be some elliptical at the gym. And that's gonna help you increase your sweating and make you kind of release these endorphins.
I know you've heard of before in the past that if you work out you release all these endorphins and those endorphins can help to boost your mood and also decrease your perception of pain. So just incorporating them, doing whatever you can throughout that period is going to help in in all these little ways and it will also help that muscle tension that even contributes to our cramps. So I challenge you to give it a try and see what you experience.
Another method that you might wanna try is massaging essential oils into your abdomen. There was actually a study in the Journal of Obsterics and Gynecology where they found that women who massaged their lower abdomen with essential oils like lavender, Clary sage, and marjoram found from one period to the next period.
So yep, a whole month, every evening, just massaging it into your abdomen. They did report less cramping and less pain and you can easily pick up an essential oil and even just make your own as far as adding it to a carrier oil like jojoba and maybe adding a few lavender drops and just massaging into your abdomen. Just another kind of therapeutic way of reducing the period pain.
Another method that you might wanna try is sipping some tea and many teas are gonna be useful to combat that menstrual pain. So whatever one you like, you know, there's gonna be things like cramp bark tea or tea with peppermint oil can also be really helpful, chamomile tea and you can just sip them, maybe a week before your period begins.
And research has shown that that has helped period pain. I think it's really important that whatever method you choose, that you're consistent with it, the things that I mentioned take time to take effect. You know, if you decide to change your diet, you're gonna look for changes within the next period, maybe a month later, maybe it's even two months later.
But you can always, you know, add one thing. If that's not doing much, you can go ahead and add another thing, but as I said, be consistent in whatever you do. And that's like with most things, right? So good luck to you and I'm hoping that your next month's period's gonna be much better than last month!
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
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