Periods — they happen. Sometimes they’re unpleasant, other times they’re unexpected — at times relieving — but nonetheless, they happen. Everyone deals with menstrual woes differently. Some have a shorter amount of days with heavier flows, others have sporadic periods with many light days, but there's one thing that people who have periods have dealt with at some point or another: cramps.
Period pain, heavy flows and cramps are never a fun feeling, so we did some searching to find remedies, soothers and methods that gynecologists themselves use to deal with their period pain.
Here are some ways gynos ease their period woes and for you to try during your next cycle:
According to Women’s Health, Julie Levitt, M.D., an OB-GYN with the Women’s Group of Northwestern, opts for some heat.
"When I'm on the go, I stick an adhesive heating pad or rub some tiger balm onto my lower abdomen so that I can keep on seeing patients, or rocking skinny jeans while I'm bleeding."
The application of heat relaxes your uterine muscles, which results in less cramping, meaning less pain. As the winter approaches, this can also be an excuse to stay snuggled in bed, with your heating pad and your favorite binge-worthy shows. For those who aren’t fans of heating pads, neither electric nor adhesive, another option is drinking a cup of hot tea — this works the same way, it just relaxes you from the inside.
Birth control has so many advantages, and easing period pain, heavy flows and balancing hormones can be some of them. When Dr. Ross spoke with Self she shared that “hormonal birth control shortens the length, amount, and flow of period bleeding. The end result is less cramps each month.”
Certain methods of hormonal birth control, such as the pill, can work by preventing ovulation — this ensures that the uterus doesn’t build up a thick lining which results in little lining shedding (and little period pain)!
Sex and masturbation:
While this hasn’t exactly been scientifically proven, Elite GYN Care of the Palm Beaches’ Maureen Whelihan, M.D. shared that “sex helps with everything!” when she spoke to Women’s Health on her tips to soothe period pain.
If you plan on achieving an orgasm through vaginal sex, be sure to have your partner wear a condom — this is to prevent an increase in inflammatory compounds that tend to happen when ejaculate hits the cervix, Dr. Whelihan explained. Lastly, why not? After an orgasm, your muscles relax and this can temporarily fix your pain or at least distract your mind from the pain for the time being.
While exercise may not be the first thing on your to-do list as your period is happening, it has extremely positive benefits. Exercising doesn’t always have to look like intense cross-fit training sessions — yoga, stretching, walking and stationary bikes can also help ease your pain.
Low impact exercise is just as good as high impact exercise, and at times it’s better to move around than to slump. You will also feel like such a boss after working through your period, and you’ve definitely earned those bragging rights, sis!
Cravings are tough when it comes to our periods, but fighting through those can help soothe cramps. Staying away from salty foods and alcoholic drinks ensures that you remain hydrated which prevents muscle contractions. Excess salt and alcohol tend to dehydrate the body and that’s exactly what we don’t want happening. Sticking to healthier food options, low to no salt options and leaving alcohol alone can have a major impact on your abdominal pain.
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