by Sarina Coventry, Nutritionist in Manly
For most women the monthly period can be a stressful time with bloating, moodiness, sore breasts and the dread of period pain.
But painful period cramps and PMS DO NOT have to be part of the “normal” period experience. Our resident Nutritionist, Sarina Coventry is working with women to make this time of month easy and even joyful.
Although it can take some time to regulate and transform your periods, here are 5 natural period pain remedies that will help to gradually ease your red lady’s visit.
1. AVOID INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Sorry to break it to you but that croissant, the cakes and the cookies may all be contributing to your experience of period pain. Inflammatory foods including refined sugar, excess alcohol, processed meats, simple carbs and artificial trans fats such as margarine can increase both inflammation and pain signalling to the uterus!
Try incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods including avocado, olive oil, wild caught salmon, nuts, seeds as well as brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
2. TAKE MAGNESIUM
Magnesium reduces menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles of the uterus and reducing the inflammatory action of certain prostaglandins that cause period pain. Magnesium also promotes healthy hormone production and eases stress!
Find magnesium in foods such as leafy greens, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds and avocado are rich in magnesium. A quality supplement may also be necessary. Look for magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate as it is the most absorbable in the body.
3. INCORPORATE GENTLE MOVEMENT
There is a huge difference between gentle movement such as walking versus a HIIT class. Hormonal fluctuations across the cycle may leave you feeling a little more tired and fragile before your period. This is completely normal. Attending a HIIT or other high intensity workout can leave you more drained and exhausted and increase inflammation.
Gentle movement including walking, stretching, restorative yoga and swimming get your blood flowing and may help to alleviate period cramps.
One thing to avoid?
Avoid inverted positions such as your legs on the wall, handstands or shoulder stands as they direct the blood in the opposite direction of where it is trying to go!
4. ADD HEAT
Think hot water bottles, warm baths, hot compresses. Heat relaxes the uterine muscles allowing for increased blood flow and reduced period pain. This has the added benefit of being able to lay in your bed with your hot water bottle, Netflix and NO hassle from your family or friends.
This one might not be for the squeamish but I highly recommend sex for easing period pain. Did we really need ANOTHER reason to enjoy sex?
Sex triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins such as oxytocin and dopamine that reduce pain sensitivity as well as stress. Additionally, orgasms cause the pelvic muscles to contract and release in order to ease the pain and discomfort you may experience during menstruation.
AND if you don’t have a partner? DIY!
Beware. For those suffering from endometriosis, sex may worsen the pain whereby you should seek advice from a health professional such as a nutritionist for a targeted plan that suits your individual needs!
So basically, take a hot bath whilst indulging in dark chocolate and later treat yourself to a smashed avo on sourdough. A light stroll to the café MUST be included. Not too hard right?
If your period pain is so severe that it interferes with your daily life, it may be a sign of more severe menstrual disorders such as endometriosis.
Working alongside a qualified practitioner can be highly beneficial in creating a specific plan and necessary testing to address the underlying cause of your period pain.