I have been struggling with severe menstrual cramps since grade 6, and I’m sure many can relate to the excruciating pain. Unfortunately, mine were accompanied by blacking out, and vomiting. I feel like each year my monthly care routine is adapting and getting better and better. These items and tips make an unpleasant experience just a little more pleasant.
Ever since I have made the switch to a menstrual cup switch to a menstrual cup my cramps have improved significantly. Unlike tampons and pads, menstrual cups collect rather than absorb menstrual flow. Prostaglandins are associated with muscle contraction of the uterus. The rate at which prostaglandins are reabsorbed into the body is decreased due to the menstrual cup, making my cramps significantly more bearable.
Feminine Wipes are a way to feel clean and refreshed. I always have individually packed wipes in all my bags, locker, purse, you name it.
So back to our prostaglandin talk… NSAIDs inhibit the production of prostaglandins. We know that prostaglandins are the group of lipids that are causing our uterus to contract, giving us those stabbing pains. If you ever notice Acetaminophen or Paracetamol will reduce the pain slightly, but NSAIDs will actually reduce your levels of prostaglandins making them the best defense against menstrual cramps. It’s okay, I’ve been trying Acetaminophen for the longest time thinking why isn’t this helping?
Advil liquid gels absorb and metabolize quicker than your coated tablets, making them my #1 choice.
Diclofenac is again an NSAID that inhibits the production of prostaglandins, relieving period pain. If I can get away with not taking Ibuprofen, I will apply some Diclofenac on top of my jabbing pains and it makes a huge difference.
Dragon Time from Young Living is another oil I love to utilize with a carrier oil. Clary Sage is used as an antispasmodic agent to reduce uterine cramps. The combination of lavender and fennel along with the clary sage is effective in decreasing the severity of menstrual cramps. Rub away on top of your uterus and not only does it help with the pain but leaves you smelling divine.
For years I was trying to find the perfect heating pad. They were all either not hot enough, would break, or too small. Finally, I came across the perfect one, thanks to my wonderful mom who’s always on the lookout for me. I’ve had this heating pad for over 7 years now and it works as well as when I first got it. It’s huge so I can literally wrap my torso around getting that action on both my abdomen and lower back. It most defiantly gets hot enough and has multiple settings, turns off every 30 mins, and has a washable cover. Not only has it been my go-to, but it's that one product my entire family uses when we have muscle strains or just want to warm up in the wintertime.
When I travel overseas I will always bring a hot water bottle with me. I tend not to bring my heating pad due to the voltage conversion. The hot water bottle is simple and always gets the job done, just make sure to screw that cap on real tight.
Heat honestly works wonders and even if it means I am at work struggling with cramps there is always a way. Whether that's grabbing a blanket from the warmer and placing it on my abdomen while I chart. It makes a difference.
Years ago, I was blessed to have one of my favourite doctors educate me about the effects of prostaglandins on menstrual cramps. Along with that conversation we were talking about the role cold foods and drinks can have. Have you ever noticed that cold food and drinks make your cramps significantly worse just like caffeine? I stick to only warm and hot foods for the days I have cramps and it helps significantly. Talking about caffeine I stay away from it when I have cramps and I will opt for a golden latte or some caffeine-free teas, pukka are also one of my favourite brands.
When I feel stabbing pains and just want to be in the fetal position in my bed the last thing I want to do is work with my coaches. I believe it’s important to listen to yourself. Recognize what is best for you. If that means working out, going for a walk, doing some yoga or maybe just laying in your bed all day, that's okay. Just do you.
I track my periods on Clue. I have been using it for years, I love the layout and monthly updates on my cycle. When I work with my naturopath, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and facialist one of their first questions are always in regards to my cycle. The truth is I do not know unless I look back at my app as a reference. It is also a great piece of objective data that you can look back on to notice the changes and fluctuations within yourself.
Our menstrual cycles are an opportunity to focus on ourselves and self-care. It’s a reminder to take time out and wind down every month. To do something for you. Set the mood. Dim the lights, diffuse some oils, grab a cozy blanket. My favourite things to do is catch up on some meditation, watch a Disney movie and or snack on some goods. I’ve been obsessed with Whittaker’s Peanut Butter thanks to my coach!
Periods are a pain. But, menstruation is also natural and beautiful. It isn't until I speak to those individuals who experience amenorrhea, where I am then thankful for my body and its capabilities.
Count your blessings