How to Reduce Period Pain
Period pain and PMS seems to be a part of womanhood that is expected. Dreading that time of the month and the painful menstruation that comes with it is a common occurrence.
I really believe that it shouldn’t be and in fact, there are a number of long term (addressing the root cause) and short term (addressing inflammatory pathways) strategies, foods and supplements that reduce period pain. Here are my top tips to reduce period pain and support your body during menstruation.
Note: If you experience crippling pain leading up to menstruation, during menstruation, just after menstruation or around ovulation, I highly recommend speaking to your GP about it. If your period pain is debilitating, can’t-get-out-of-bed type of pain and even causes you to throw up, it could be a sign of something much deeper. However, these tips on reducing period pain may still be helpful.
1. Support your liver through its natural detoxification process with key liver loving nutrients. This way, we can ensure the body is effectively dealing with any hormones or toxins and sending them out of the body. When this pathway (phase 1 and 2) isn’t working as well as we would like it too, we risk oestrogen metabolites recirculating back into the blood stream, causing those painful periods and awful PMS.
Consider a B Complex, high-quality protein for the amino acid profile, cruciferous vegetables daily, dark leafy greens and tea such as dandelion, artichoke and burdock. Keep your body nice and hydrated and support overall liver health with antioxidants, vitamin C and E, beetroot, berries and lemon. For some, supplementing NAC and correcting any nutritional deficiencies can be helpful in reducing period pain.
2. Support your gut and the excretion of oestrogen metabolites and toxins, a key aspect in reducing period pain. Ensuring that you’re eating plenty of fibre (30G a day!) by ensuring that every single meal contains lots of non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole-grains. Consider a probiotic and work with a professional if you believe that there may be other gut-related issues present.
3. Work to reduce overall stress and prioritise rest. We want progesterone to be lovely and high during the second half of our cycle and it is often the case that oestrogen dominants over it, resulting in these unfavourable PMS symptoms and heavy, painful periods. Stress has a huge impact of progesterone levels as well as suppressing the immune system (among other things).
Get outside in nature, take lots of baths and schedule in daily meditation. Ultimately, the body needs to feel as calm as possible, especially during the menstrual phase. I love adaptogenic herbs for that helping hand when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety. We can also support progesterone with vitamin C, zinc and B6.
4. Reduce inflammatory foods and those that exacerbate symptoms of hormonal imbalance such as sugar, alcohol and for some, caffeine.
When it comes to reducing period pain and reducing PMS symptoms that we balance our essential fatty acids in an optimal way, ultimately supporting an anti-inflammatory response rather than an inflammatory pathway. Prostaglandins are localised and similar to hormones. They are responsible for period pain and to decrease them and inhibit the inflammatory pathway, we need optimal omega 3 and reduce omega 6 (seed oils, processed foods and fried foods).
5. In the short term, upping your anti-inflammatory staples can be of huge help when it comes to reducing period pain and supporting the menstrual phase. Think ginger tea, turmeric supplementation or incorporating it into your meals. Magnesium can be a really wonderful mineral to support period cramps and it also soothes the nervous system, helping to reduce stress.
I love BeYou Monthly Patches and keep a pack on hand if period pain does decide to show up. They can also be applied to the lower back or as pain relief for hormonal headaches. Magnesium-rich Espom Salts baths can be really soothing too.
The That Time of the Month Edit was designed specifically to support you and the fluctuations of your hormones during your luteal and menstrual phase. It contains my go-to supplements and self-care staples that I can constantly recommending to clients, including magnesium, monthly patches and Pukka Premenstrual Complex.
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