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Period Pain Relief: 10 Ways to Effectively Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Woman in black pressing her stomach with both hands

Period pain is a common occurrence for many women during their monthly cycle. The discomfort can range from mild to severe, making it difficult to carry out daily activities. Fortunately, there are several ways to get period pain relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers have always been the first-line treatment for many. However, using an electric stimulator device is an increasingly common solution nowadays. Heat therapy, diet improvement, massages, and other alternative therapies are also beneficial.

Primary dysmenorrhoea or menstrual pain occurs when the muscles of the uterus contract to shed its lining. The contraction causes painful cramps in the lower abdomen and pelvis. They can start a week before or at the onset of menstruation and can last for several days. Thus, finding effective pain relief is essential. In this article, we will explore ten ways to relieve period pain to determine the most suitable treatment for individual needs.

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How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with TENS

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a technique that uses low-voltage electrical currents to reduce pain sensations. This method involves using a compact stimulator or TENS machine on the body. It has one or more sets of electrodes that are placed on the skin near the pain area. This allows the device to send the electrical pulses directly to the affected nerves and relieve pain.

TENS therapy works by stimulating the nerve fibres to close the gating mechanism to block pain signals going to the brain. Additionally, it stimulates the body to produce more endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals that act as painkillers. They bind to opioid receptors in the nervous system and inhibit them from sending pain messages. As a result, the body processes fewer signals and perceives less pain.

To achieve period pain relief with TENS, place the electrodes on either side of the lower abdomen or lower back. Turn on the machine and adjust the settings to the desired therapy. Start at the lowest intensity level and gradually increase until the tingling sensations are strong but comfortable.

Benefits of TENS for Menstrual Cramps

  • Drug-free pain relief: TENS helps reduce pain signals without the aid of medications.
  • Targeted pain management: TENS helps reduce severe cramps by putting the electrodes near the painful area.
  • Boost blood circulation: TENS can improve blood flow to the affected area to help reduce inflammation. It can help alleviate menstrual cramp pain and ease muscle contractions.
  • On-demand pain relief: Individuals can use the TENS device anytime they need it, especially at the onset of menstrual pain.
  • Non-invasive and easy to use: TENS is a safe and user-friendly method that can be used at home without any side effects.

Several packs of medicines stacked on top of each other

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with OTC Medicines

Taking over-the-counter or OTC medicines is a common way to relieve painful periods. There are various types of medication that can provide period pain relief, each with a specific mechanism of action. Hence, it is essential to identify the specific type of pain before using any medicines. One type of drug is acetaminophen or paracetamol. It is an effective treatment for period pain and fever. At the recommended dose, it is generally safe for healthy people.

Another type is Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. These medications can help reduce swelling and alleviate period cramps. They work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. NSAIDs can be taken before or during menstruation to help manage period pain.

Moreover, antispasmodic drugs like Buscopan can help relieve cramps in the muscular wall of the uterus. It also helps to relax the digestive system and bladder, reducing pain and discomfort. Nevertheless, it is best to consult a healthcare provider before taking any medication to ensure they are safe and appropriate.

Safety Considerations

When taking OTC pain relievers, it is essential to follow the dosage instructions on the package. Do not exceed the recommended daily limit to avoid any potential side effects. For example, NSAIDs may cause bleeding. Furthermore, consult a health professional for guidance, especially if with medical conditions or concerns.

Another important consideration is to be aware of potential interactions with other medications. Also, some people may develop a high tolerance to OTC medicines, especially for prolonged use. Therefore, individuals with underlying conditions should consult a doctor before taking pain medicines or analgesics. In some cases, prescription medications may be more suitable for managing severe pain.

A woman experiencing period pain

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Heat

Applying heat is another effective way to achieve period pain relief. One popular method is to apply a heating pad or heat patch. Heat helps to relax the muscles and increase blood flow. Consequently, it reduces the intensity of cramps and provides relief from pain. If heat packs are not available, individuals can use a hot water bottle to help soothe the discomfort.

Heat wraps are another way to relieve menstrual pain. It uses low-level heat to provide continuous relief. It is also beneficial for those with injury to help accelerate the healing process. To manage painful periods, place the heat wrap below the belly button with the adhesive side against the underwear.

Moreover, hot showers or warm baths can help ease period pain. Some people may add Epsom salts or essential oils like lavender for additional benefits. Additionally, hot beverages like tea can also help relax the body and reduce period pain. Herbal teas like chamomile or ginger tea are known for their calming and anti-inflammatory properties.

Curling Up with a Heating Pad

Curling up with a heating pad is a cozy and comfortable way to manage menstrual symptoms. First, plug in the heating pad and adjust the temperature. Then, place the pad on the lower abdomen or lower back for 15-20 minutes at a time. Repeat as often as necessary.

Use a flat surface when using a heating pad. Individuals may find a comfortable location, such as a bed or couch. Make sure to cover the heating pad with a cloth to prevent burns. The cloth serves as a barrier between the heat and the skin. Do not use the pads on infected skin.

A woman getting up from bed due to lower back pain for her period

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Diet Improvement

One way to achieve period pain relief is through diet improvement. Diet plays a crucial role in health and well-being. Making certain dietary changes can help alleviate pain and discomfort during menstruation. One recommendation is the increased intake of anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also help regulate hormones.

Moreover, incorporate omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts into the diet. It can help lower inflammation and the intensity of period cramps. However, it may increase the risk of bleeding, especially for people who take blood thinners.

Taking supplements can also help relieve menstrual pain. Calcium and vitamins D and E can help reduce the severity of abdominal cramps and back pain. Additionally, magnesium supplements can be beneficial for managing period pain. However, it is important to avoid exceeding the recommended daily allowance. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting a diet or supplement regimen, especially for those with health conditions.

Foods to Avoid

  • Food that causes inflammation or bloating, such as high-processed food and sweets. High sugar intake can also lead to mood swings.
  • Refined flour, like white bread and pasta.
  • Food that causes gas, like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
  • Salty or high in sodium foods that can cause water retention.
  • Oily and junk food.
  • Caffeine. Tea or coffee may lead to water retention and progressive headaches. However, it does not necessitate stopping drinking caffeinated beverages but consuming them in moderation.
  • Alcohol which can lead to dehydration, headache, and bloating.
  • Red meat. They are high in prostaglandins, which can worsen uterine contractions.

A woman lying on the couch and hugging her abdomen

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Massages

Massages can be a soothing and effective method to relieve menstrual discomfort. It involves applying gentle pressure on the abdominal or lumbar area to relax tense muscles and improve blood flow. Massages are also one way to stimulate endorphin production. Women may administer self-massage with simple techniques. They may also seek a massage therapist for severe period pain.

Common massages that help provide period pain relief include kneading, circular motions, and compression massage. For example, use the fingertips to rub against the lower abdomen or sides in a clockwise, circular motion. Gradually increase the pressure, but avoid using too much force. On the other hand, individuals can lie face down to massage deep tissues on the back.

Other benefits that massages can provide are relaxing the uterus and reducing muscular tension in the pelvic area. Additionally, it can help manage stress. A good massage can reduce stress levels, which can indirectly relieve menstrual cramps. Lastly, it relaxes the nervous system, which alleviates muscle pain, aching joints, and hormonal headaches.

Massaging with Essential Oils

Massage with essential oils, also known as aromatherapy, can enhance the benefits of pain relief. Essential oils have therapeutic properties that can help alleviate menstrual pain and promote relaxation. This can be done by adding a few drops of lavender, peppermint, or chamomile to a carrier oil and using it during massage.

In particular, lavender has calming and relaxing properties that can help reduce stress. On the other hand, peppermint has a cooling effect that can alleviate cramps and provide a refreshing sensation. Lastly, chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to perform a patch test first to avoid sensitivity or allergic reactions.

A woman woken up due to period pain

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Orgasms

Period pain relief through orgasms is a natural and effective way to manage discomfort during the menstrual period. During orgasm, the uterus contracts and then releases. It can help lessen the impact of menstrual cramps. The muscle contractions can also release tension in the pelvic area, providing additional relief.

Moreover, the body releases endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, which can help reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps. To enhance the pain relief benefits, listening to the needs of the body can help determine what brings pleasure. In this way, individuals can effectively use orgasms as a form of pain management. Experimenting with different techniques and positions can also help find what works best in alleviating menstrual pain.

It is important to communicate with your partner to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Open communication can help both parties understand each other’s needs and preferences, leading to a more satisfying and pain-relieving experience. Furthermore, incorporating massages and exercise can provide a holistic approach to pain relief, especially for those who experience painful periods regularly.

Case Studies

There have been anecdotal reports of individuals experiencing relief from period pain through orgasms. However, there is limited scientific research on this specific topic to support this claim. Many agree that sexual intercourse is one of the methods to release endorphins, which can help relieve pain and reduce stress.

One case study also explored the use of vaginal self-stimulation as a method of managing menstrual pain. During the stimulation, the pain tolerance threshold of women increased. While more research is needed to establish a definitive link, many believe that orgasms have merits in reducing period pain.

A woman stretching at the gym

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Exercise or Yoga

There are several ways that exercise and yoga can provide period pain relief. Firstly, engaging in physical activity can increase blood flow, release endorphins, and reduce muscle tension. These factors can contribute to relieving menstrual cramps. Secondly, stretching and strengthening exercises can help ease the muscles in the pelvic area, reducing tightness and pain.

One of the helpful exercises is light cardiovascular activities, such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling. Incorporating 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week can significantly reduce the intensity of period cramps. Furthermore, Pilates can help strengthen the core muscles, which can improve posture and alleviate back pain.

Yoga is another beneficial practice for relieving painful menstruation. Certain yoga poses can help stretch and relax the pelvic muscles and improve circulation. Likewise, focusing on deep breathing techniques during yoga practices can help calm the mind and body. It helps reduce stress and tension that may exacerbate menstrual cramps. Overall, exercise and yoga can positively impact physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Yoga Poses to Try Out

  • Adapted Child’s Pose: This pose stretches the lower back and hips. It is also good for beginners and women during their period. It involves kneeling on the floor and bending forward with arms stretched out in front.
  • Cat-cow Pose: It stretches the abdominal and back muscles. Start with your hands and knees on the floor and alternate between arching and rounding your back while inhaling and exhaling.
  • Happy Baby Pose: It can help relax the pelvic floor and lower back muscles. To perform this pose, lie on your back and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle toward your chest.

A woman massaging her neck while experiencing menstrual pain

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another alternative method that can help achieve period pain relief. This technique involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and relieve pain symptoms. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in reducing period cramps and other chronic pains like arthritis, sciatica, and fibromyalgia.

During an acupuncture session, the practitioner will target specific points related to the reproductive system. Aside from pain relief, it can help to balance hormones and regulate the menstrual cycle. Experts recommend acupuncture to be most effective within 48 hours of a menstrual period. On the other hand, early acupuncture can help treat the cause of the pain.

Ultimately, regular sessions can lead to a more consistent cycle, less pain, and improved reproductive health. Nevertheless, there are some safety precautions to consider. For example, pregnant women should consult with a healthcare provider before trying acupuncture. Additionally, it is crucial to seek treatment from a licensed and experienced acupuncturist to ensure safe and effective results. Lastly, use sterile needles or equipment to prevent the risk of infection.


Acupressure is another option to relieve menstrual pain. It is similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles. It involves targeting specific pressure points to alleviate pain and restore balance. The technique applies firm pressure to these points to release tension and improve circulation. It can also reduce nausea and vomiting that may come with some menstruation.

One common technique is to use gentle circular motions below the belly button. Another point is on the inner ankle to relieve pelvic pain. Acupressure can be an alternative pain relief method for those who may not be comfortable with needles.

A woman sitting and holding neck and lower back

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal birth control can be another option for achieving period pain relief. For some women, hormonal contraceptives can help reduce the intensity and duration of menstrual cramps. It works by regulating hormone levels to prevent ovulation, which can help lessen cramps. By controlling the levels of estrogen and progestin in the body, birth control pills can reduce bloating and other symptoms.

Another option is using hormonal patches or vaginal rings. They work in a similar way to birth control pills but are applied differently. These methods release hormones into the body slowly over time, providing continuous protection against unwanted pregnancies while also alleviating period pain. Like oral pills, hormonal patches and vaginal rings can help regulate menstrual cycles.

Furthermore, hormonal birth control can be prescribed in the form of an Intrauterine Device (IUD). It is a small, T-shaped device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It releases progestin and works by thickening the cervical mucus. They can provide pain relief for years, giving women a reliable option for period pain management.

Is It Safe?

Hormonal birth control is a safe way to manage period pain. However, they may come with potential risks and side effects. Some women may experience headaches, nausea, mood changes, or changes in sex drive. Additionally, there is an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and other health complications.

It is vital to consult with a health professional when considering hormonal birth control. They can determine the most suitable options and discuss individual health considerations and risks. It is also essential to weigh the benefits of pain relief against the side effects. Ultimately, consultation with a professional can provide personalised guidance and monitoring.

A woman frowning because of her period pain

How to Achieve Period Pain Relief with Herbal Teas

The last way to achieve period pain relief is with herbal teas. Certain herbs have natural anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and relax muscle spasms and cramps. To prepare herbal teas, simply steep the desired herbs in hot water for about five minutes. Drink the tea warm to experience soothing effects.

Each type of herb can have different effects. In general, teas can help relieve mild cramping. Adding honey or lemon can also enhance the flavour. It is recommended to drink tea in moderation. However, people with intense or frequent cramping should consult a doctor for assessment or diagnosis. Health experts may recommend drinking herbal tea two days before the period starts.

People may combine tea drinking with other relaxation techniques to enhance the pain relief benefits. Nevertheless, it is vital to note that herbal teas may not work for everyone. Each person can react differently to natural remedies. It may also take a few tries of different kinds of tea to find out what works best. Moreover, remember to stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.

Herbs with Anti-Inflammatory Properties

  • Ginger tea: Ginger contains phytochemicals that can eradicate free radicals. Its anti-inflammatory effects help reduce muscle pain and decrease nitric oxide.
  • Chamomile tea: Chamomile is known for its calming and soothing properties. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can worsen period pain.
  • Peppermint tea: Peppermint has a cooling effect that can help reduce bloating and the intensity of cramps.
  • Raspberry tea: Raspberry leaf has uterine toning properties, which can help reduce cramping during menstruation.
  • Cinnamon tea: Cinnamon is a warming spice that can help increase blood circulation.
  • Fennel tea: Fennel seeds contain vitamin C and antioxidants.


Period pain can be uncomfortable and challenging to deal with. It includes dull aches and cramping in the lower abdomen that may spread to the back and legs. Thus, finding effective pain relief is essential for individuals who experience severe symptoms regularly. One of the efficient methods is using a TENS machine. TENS therapy helps relieve pain by blocking pain signals through mild electrical pulses. Other natural approaches include heat therapy, dietary improvements, massages, and exercises.

Acupuncture, orgasms, and herbal teas can also provide additional pain relief. However, some women may take OTC medicines like NSAIDs or paracetamol for immediate effects. For more severe pain, healthcare providers may prescribe hormonal contraceptives for long-term pain relief. It is crucial to consult a doctor before trying any new method, especially if they have underlying health conditions. By exploring different options, individuals can determine the suitable method to manage period pain and improve the overall quality of life.

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