Jeannie Bianchi, LAc

From Our Acupuncturist:

6 Ways to Reduce Period Pain

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Do you dread your monthly cycle due to painful cramps? Many women suffer from painful periods, unaware of the effective natural remedies that can make their periods more comfortable. In my practice as an acupuncturist, I have seen many patients go from taking maximum doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen during their periods to using little or none at all, just by implementing a few simple strategies.

You may wonder why you have to suffer through cramps in the first place. The explanation lies in the fact that your uterus must shed its natural lining each month–a job that requires your uterine muscle to contract. As it contracts, blood vessels that supply the uterus become constricted, which reduces blood flow and results in pain. For some women, the hormonal changes that trigger menstruation may be more pronounced, causing the uterus to contract overzealously–and more painfully.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, excessive menstrual pain is considered a condition of “stagnation.” Stagnation refers to a lack of energy (in this case, blood) flowing through an organ. With menstrual cramps, stagnation is thought to lodge in the lower abdomen and become irritated or activated when the body tries to start shedding tissue.

To address the excess contraction and constriction that cause painful periods, try the following tips. The idea is to help regulate blood flow in the lower abdomen, normalize smooth muscle contraction, and reduce cramps.  You can try them one at a time and see which approach works best for you, or you can try them all together to achieve maximum effect.

1. Supplement Yourself

Take calcium and magnesium supplements throughout the month, as these nutrients work in concert to aid muscle relaxation. You should aim for a total of about 1000mg of calcium daily, and up to 500mg of magnesium daily.  If you experience loose stools, reduce the dose. (Note: we recommend you use calcium citrate, because it tends to be more easily absorbed into the system than calcium carbonate.)

2. Try a Tea

Raspberry leaf is considered to be a mild uterine tonic. Try a cup of raspberry leaf tea each day throughout the month. It is available at Whole Foods by the company Traditional Medicinals. Keep in mind you are looking for the herbal tea, not raspberry-flavored black tea!

3. Eat More Greens

Dark leafy greens are a dietary source of magnesium, calcium, and countless other micronutrients.  These nutrients are essential for mediating muscle contractions. In Chinese dietary therapy, dark green vegetables are also considered to be mildly cleansing, which is what the body needs in a “stagnation” condition. Some greens such as dandelion greens (very bitter, but very helpful) also have a mild diuretic effect, which reduces bloating.

4. Cut Down on Coffee

Caffeine, especially from coffee, is a well-known vasoconstrictor – it makes blood vessels constrict.  Indeed, it may cause the vessels that feed the uterus to tighten more than they do in non-coffee drinkers.  If you’re a diehard coffee drinker and can’t cut it out entirely, try avoiding it just in the week before your period and see if you notice a change.

5. Use a Heating Pad

A heating pad or hot water bottle is a simple, tried and true way to reduce muscle spasms.

6. Try Acupuncture

Certain acupuncture points are thought to regulate blood flow through the abdominal cavity and relax the nervous system, which can help calm muscular contractions. Studies show that acupuncture is just as effective as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines for reducing pain.

In addition to pain relief, don’t be surprised if these changes also lead to better digestion, better sleep, and a steadier mood.  However, if these measures are not enough to improve your quality of life, an acupuncturist or naturopath can offer you further refinement of natural strategies.

Also, keep in mind that excessively painful menstruation can be a sign of a more serious underlying medical issue, such as endometriosis, a uterine infection, or a problem with the uterine anatomy. Don’t forget to consult your primary care provider to make sure these possibilities are addressed, especially if you just can’t seem to get your pain under control.

May you enjoy smoother cycles!

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comments:

  1. KF says:

    This blog is rockin it! Great, diverse content. Keep it up!

  2. Josh says:

    My girlfriend does not have cramping issues during her menstrual cycle, but she does get migraines. Could these methods work to reduce migraines as well?

    • Evan says:

      Josh, you may want to send your girlfriend to an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. They get tremendous results as far as relieving people of their headaches, migraines, and many other issues that are common among us. No drugs, surgery or supplements. Simply restoring the bodies innate/ natural ability to heal itself.

  3. what is the cure for gout says:

    You’re doing a dazzling job.This helps a lot.

  4. sonali says:

    Should I take medicine for period pain???????????????????????

  5. ash says:

    I have extrememly painful cramps. Midol doesn’t exactly work for me. I use a heating pad and it reduces the pain by like 10% what can I do that will help more?

  6. dev says:

    is eating painkillers during periods bad for health????

    • Hi Dev

      Thanks for your comment. If you’re taking standard, recommended over-the-counter doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen for 2-3 days and you have no contraindications (e.g. kidney or liver disease) to taking these medications, then there should be no problem at all. As always, we suggest you discuss this with first your primary care provider before taking medication.

      Malcolm Thaler, M.D.
      Clinical Editor
      One Medical Group

  7. ajay says:

    thnks 4 the info given out here…mah gf suffers frm a lot of pain at evry mc…I wl ask her 2 follow the same…wl see if ths wl wrk out I wl glad 2 u guys…..

  8. I seriously love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my own website and want to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Many thanks!

  9. muzi says:

    My gf has alot of pain before a day when period starts. Her lower belly has a hard pain at the time of period as well as in period she takes 2 to 4 of zeespas tablets to control the pain also she suffers from vomting in this period. Now tell me what are the casues and treatment for that pain…

    • Hi Muzi,

      Thanks for your comment. We currently cannot provide specific medical advice online. We’d suggest having your girlfriend visit her primary care provider to look further into the period pain and her treatment options.

  10. Beenish says:

    I take black tea…. That really works….

  11. deepti says:

    i m getting severe pain during periods time.
    i heard if v do sex then periods pain ll reduce
    is it true?

    • Hi Deepti,

      Thanks for your question. There are some anecdotal reports that claim sex can relieve period pain, but there haven’t been enough studies performed to confirm this. Sex has been proven to reduce stress–which could be correlated to reducing pain during menstruation–but there may be more biological reasons behind this.

      Having sex during menstruation is considered “safe,” but note that it can increase your risk to sexually transmitted infections due to the increased contact with vaginal secretions and blood.

      Malcolm Thaler, M.D.
      Clinical Editor
      One Medical Group

    • sahil says:

      Hi deepti……
      somebudy has given u wrong information because it can hurt u to do intercoarse during periods and also may cause of infection…. so please avoid intercoarse during periods……may god bless you..

  12. Sara says:

    hi
    Why I am getting very” bad headache” ,and some times I am getting eye pain as well.Those pain accrue some times several days before my period and some times during my period .
    What should I do reduce my pain (headache )?
    I am getting ibuprofen and Advil but some times it did not work!!!

    Thanks for your help

    • Hi Sara,

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Your headaches could be caused by a variety of issues, so we suggest seeing your primary care provider so he/she can look into this further into this issue.

  13. Vick says:

    Thanks, Very useful information. If accupuncture helps in assuaging the periods pain, it should be good for women with uterine fibroids too..Is it advisable?

    • Hey Vick,

      Acupuncture won’t shrink large uterine fibroids, but may help with some of the symptoms. Some studies have shown that acupuncture can shrink very small fibroids but more research needs to be conducted. We’d suggest discussing this in further detail with your gynecologist or primary doctor before exploring acupuncture for uterine fibroids.

      Malcolm Thaler, M.D.
      Clinical Editor
      One Medical Group

  14. suzee says:

    Acupuncture is really the effective one, superb…

  15. cristy says:

    can i ask?my sister is have menstration but its only a drop how could it be happen,and why its happen to her?thnx plsssss……i need to know
    many thnx…
    godbless

  16. farheen says:

    during periods there is lots pain in stomach&abdomen
    it causes irritation

  17. mariah says:

    Wash your privates with hot water (as hot as is comfortable). It will relax muscles all the way to your abdomen. This is good advice for when you change your pad/tampon.

    A tampon , especially one for heavy flow, may amplify cramps. I usually wait out my cramps before using one.

    Where i come from we drink

    a quarter cup mildly hot milk mixed with a quarter cup rosewater. It eases constricted blood flow and gets rid of cramps. It could be taken every 3 to 4 hours.

    An alternative remedy is mixing a level tea-spoon of turmeric powder (that yellow powder used in curries) with half a cup of mildly hot milk and drinking that.

    Mildly hot means as hot as could be easily gulped down.

  18. rk says:

    My gal friend get tremendous pain
    .. she cant bare it sometimes ..she screams and she has her cycle for likr 7 days

    Is this normal

    And she refuses to go to a gyno … plz help me out here .. wat should I do
    .. o wat should she do ???

  19. nonjabz says:

    what should i take if it gets so bad that i cant even walk to school

  20. christine mwikali says:

    l experience severe period cramps n i take painkillers!i use a hot pad but its still severe..what should i do?

  21. may says:

    What shuld I do if its get so bad? I tink hot bottle water works tho..but dosent work for me!!

  22. navneet says:

    thnx 4 thz . . . My gf wz regularly getin pain due 2 perioads. . . I’ll tel hr abt it. . .nd i lv ur site. . .4 tht. . .thumbs up buddies. . :)

  23. Abrar says:

    I have tried everything nothing works
    I go thro a lot of pain for 3 days constant after that the pain stops and i feel nothing but the first 3 days are like hell
    Isn’t there anything else i can do ?
    I even went to the doctor and they said nothing can be done

  24. shruti says:

    i am suffering from tremendous pain in my lower back ,stomach,and back bone in periods which is unbearable 12-14 hours. There is also problem of vomiting,weakness,vertigo and faint.Is dis any serious problm or shud i consult to d doctor.

  25. kiran says:

    i has alot of pain before a day when period starts.my lower belly has a hard pain at the time of period as well as in period i take 2 to 4 of zeespas tablets to control the pain also she suffers from vomting in this period. Now tell me what are the casues and treatment for that pain…

  26. kiran says:

    i has alot of pain when period starts.my lower belly has a hard pain at the time of period as well as in period i take 2 to 4 of painkiller tablets to control the pain . Now tell me what are the casues and treatment for that pain…and i suffer these all about 3 4years.even today my condition is very bad

  27. Painful cramps says:

    I have the worst period cramps. I was on hydro-codeine/tylonal medicne but I am no longer insured so can’t see a dr I am in tears and screaming most of the time because of the pain. Nothing seams to help except sleep. But even then I wake up every 20min. Any thoughts to help?

    • Thanks for reaching out to us. We cannot provide individual medical advice online so we’d suggest taking a look at some of the home remedies above. If you’re still experiencing discomfort—we’d suggest checking out Mayo Clinic’s website for more suggestions.

  28. geet.singh says:

    whl period f sec day i hd a pain
    in very badly so wt prectn and med shal i tk to get sm relief

  29. NONHLANHLA says:

    EVERY TIME BEFORE I HAVE MY PERIODS I USE TO EXPERIENCE SHARP PAINS ON MY WEIST AND EVEN DURING MY PERIODS HONESTLY I CAN’T BARE THIS KINDA PAINS I AM FEELING IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN TAKE TO GET RID OF THE PAINS?

    • Hello—if you’re experience discomfort associated with your period, we’d suggest trying some of our suggestions in the article above. There are also a number of over-the-counter medications you can take such as Midol that may help resolve the issue. Please make sure to talk to your primary physician before taking any kind of medication.

  30. tulsi says:

    hi …
    I suffer from a severe pain… n I have tried all your methods ….but I don’t feel any changes
    pls do help me … it pains a lot …. :’(

    • nikitha says:

      1. Eating a pinch of Asafoetida(hing)kept inside a banana fruit pulp or with jaggery and drinking hot water helps to reduce the stomach ache during menstruation.
      2. Eating a spoon of Fenugreek seeds (Methi seeds or venthiyam ) with warm water or with a cup of buttermlik is very helpful to reduce the stomach ache during menstruation
      3.Aniseeds or Sombhu or Saunf boiled , filetered and drinking this with a spoon of honey helps to reduce the stomach ache

  31. Aelisa says:

    Thank You ! ;)

  32. Esty says:

    Thanks for this tips i hop it will be helpful for me cos my own pains use to be very serious i pray it work for me.
    Thank Esty

  33. Zhavi says:

    I dnt knw hw to sy, my period pain Is as if im gettin punishmnt fr commitn serious crime. I cry n cry coz f pain, nothn works… heatin pad, painkillers. My headache is lye as if 1 elephant sitin on my head and naseau felins is disgustn,stomach pain,lower abdomen pain aah! I cnt sy also.

  34. Melony says:

    Doc, I am suffering from terrible pain in my abdomen during third day of my menses. Is this normal, since I have tried everything – hot water bags, tablets, herbal tea, painkillers – nothing works for me. I am not sexually active.

  35. jaden says:

    Hεyy♥…!*.. So like °̩ need someones help I’ve gone through all the steps and nothing has helped me … Im not so advanced in having my period its only been 2 years since I’ve started and this is the first time I’ve ever had so much pain ! °̩ dont know what to do please can someone help me :( !
    Thanks xxx

  36. emma says:

    Me I take ANTADYS medicine and it gets rid of my pain :D but is it good that i take this medicine..????

  37. Poonam Sharma says:

    Hi my age is 26 year old unmarried my problem is i have suffer lot of pain during my periods and vomiting also my ultrasound shows that i have two cyst in my both ovary and ct scan impression show that i have endometrious problem i want to know laparascopy is good treatment for that or i can reduce this pain by natural ways please help me

  38. Tisna Tajudin says:

    I found a remedy for my severe period pain simply by using hotwater bottle wrap with towel. I place it on my lower tummy and my back where the pains throbbing. Instantly give comfort and eliminate the pain completely. No more pills for me.

  39. Govardhan L says:

    It helped my girl to reduce d pain..thnx

  40. Akash yadav says:

    Hi My wife is 29 , she has very severe pain while she is having mens..from last 6 years. we cunsult a doctor n she cunduct TVS doppler n says that my wife having 2Rasoli in her utress 9mm and 17mm nd this is the for painfuk menstrution. What should I do?

  41. Solvia says:

    Hi when am avin my periods ah do spit alot like a pregnant woman nd d pain is so much dat ah vomit nd ah dnt ave appetite for fud pls help me ah dnt knw wat to do

  42. mo says:

    hi, I would like to know any particular brand which you could suggest me for calcium and magnesium supplements.

    Thank You.

    • Hi Mo,

      Thanks for your question. We’d suggest chatting with your primary doctor about the right supplements that will work best for you. We unfortunately cannot provide individual health advice online.

  43. Sangita says:

    I am feeling pain during my periods. My periods was irregular. Now consulting with doctor i am taking hormone and other essential tablets. No after 27 day of eearlier periods i have in new fresh period going on but feeling severe pain in my belly…. plz reply

  44. sanju says:

    i am feeling severe pain and vomiting. on my 1st day periods i can’t do anything… pls help me tel sum more remedies for me

  45. Jonsie says:

    Hi, Even i do suffer from severe abdominal & back pain, during this time, i drink lots of water which reduces my pain almost 80%, this works on me… so u can also try out.

  46. tripti says:

    M 25 yr old woman and I suffer frmm very muchh painful crampss and pain in m lower abdomenn nd back during first two days so I take pain killer of meftal spas and m suffring frm dese painful cramps from 2 yrss shkd I consult to lady gynaec gjve me some tips to cure it

  47. thnx all of u says:

    thnx ds information

  48. Manish says:

    My gf feels sooo much pain during periods….. :(

  49. kriya says:

    Im an 18 yr old girl..i gt menstrual cramps..in starting 2 days it pains like hell.i cnt evn sleep whole night..cnt evn gt up frm ma bed..milk dsnt suit me.i gt acidity becoz of it..plz suggest some tips.im too tensed becoz of this period pain..:(

  50. kotesh says:

    Hello medam,

    I am kotesh .

    Plz give some tips reduce the pain of perieods

  51. deepika says:

    hey m 17 nd dis iz d frst time m gettin d cramps.. Mum says it cn happen due to eating pickle… Is it true?? Nd how cn bring dis pain to a beareble level??

  52. sonali says:

    Am suffering from badly from stomach pain, cuz of Mc, give me tip so dat I can get relief fast

  53. Amy Hunter says:

    Also try aspercream or be gay cream some sort of cream that that help take the pain away.Amy

  54. SHIPRA says:

    ya…….its 2 usefulll thx mam

  55. diya sharma says:

    I got severe pain in my stomach during periods ,I really cant bear it,any more….this happening with me past 6 yers….& now its going on,,what can I do, ur above ways cant help me to get rid of it. sometimes I take pain reliver medicines like paracitamol,,,,,&my pain stops

  56. Edwren says:

    My girlfriend does having menstrual problem every month, but im not agree her always to having pills or medicine. Perhaps the soft and healthy excersice can fixed it.

  57. gwen says:

    a few days b4 ma periods ma face starts having a lot of big pimples,tht bores me so much how can i stop them 4rm appearin

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