We’re still in the beginning stages of the new year and as always, it’s around this time of year that we try and reinvent ourselves, our relationships and our lives. As I reflected on the past year, I came to realize that I had accomplished my goal of living a happier life! I surrounded myself with positive and loving people and worked hard to eliminate negativity. Of course, there are still issues that I struggle with and things that I’m working on overcoming. Upon reflection, it became apparent that these are issues that most girls struggle with every day; and that’s where my new mini series “Girl Chat” comes in. Once a month, I’ll tackle issues that girls like you and I are constantly facing and help you take that step forward towards living a more positive lifestyle! Next month, we’ll be covering insecurities & body positivity! But for today, we’re going to focus on a real girl issue that we have to deal with monthly. That’s right – today we’re tackling cramps!
It’s no secret that the stigma around periods still exists. It’s crazy that a natural bodily function (that’s experienced by half the population) triggers such embarrassment, awkwardness and shame. We have enough to deal with during our periods without having to deal with the prevailing attitude that periods are icky! I try not to let these absurd menstrual taboos affect me. Unfortunately, that’s not so easy for others. Almost all girls deal with mild to intense cramps during their periods but most feel the need to hide or ignore their pain in fear of being shamed by their classmates or coworkers. Trust me, if you’ve ever experienced cramps as bad as I have, hiding them is no easy feat. For years, I experienced extremely intense cramping that has either sent me to the hospital or had me doubled over, dizzy, lightheaded and feeling like I could no longer go on.
Over time, I’ve tried out any and every method I could find in an attempt to get the pain to a non existent, or at the very least, a manageable level. And while I do believe the intensity of the cramps has lessened with age, there are definitely some proven methods that seem to work for me every time. So today, I’m sharing with you my top 5 tips, tricks and hacks to help deal with those ruthless cramps that seem to plague us each month!
My Top 5 Tips & Hacks For Dealing With Cramps:
1. Pain Killers. Okay, yes this one seems completely and totally obvious but I’m going to talk about it anyway, and I’ll tell you why. Many people refuse to actually take pain killers, even when they’re desperately in need of them. They have this mentality that they can just wait it out and eventually the pain will subside so they don’t want to take it for “no reason”. But why go through all that torture and make yourself suffer if you don’t have to? I have about zero patience left to deal with cramps at this point in my life. Do yourself a favour, and at the first or even slightest sign of cramps, take a dose and you won’t regret it. If you find that the well known brands of pain killers don’t seem to work for you, I’d like to make a suggestion. Tylenol, Advil, Midol … none of those do it for me. The only brand that I use is called Pamprin. I take the MAX formula and it is the only one that has ever worked for me! It seriously is a game changer! I happened to stumble upon it when I was travelling years ago and it has been my go to ever since! Regardless, once you find a brand that works, stick to it!
2. Heating Pad / Hot Water Bottle. These are super helpful on those first few days when cramps are at their worst. The heat seriously helps ease the pain and relaxes you by getting your blood flowing. There are a ton of different kinds on the market so you have a lot to choose from. If you tend to get backaches during this time as well, try using a heating pad that you can wrap around your abdomen to combat the pain from all angles. ThermaCare wraps are great for when you’re on the go and are unable to plug in a heating pad!
3. Warm Drinks. Pick your favourite and drink up! Drinking hot liquids promotes blood flow to the pelvic area which tends to get congested during menstruation. I personally love a cup of hot cocoa during this time but herbal teas are highly recommended. Although they’re more commonly known for easing sinus congestion, peppermint teas can be beneficial and effective for those suffering from menstrual cramps. Cramps are caused by contractions and spasms of our uterus muscles. Peppermint contains anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties which can help ease those muscles.
4. Take A Hot Bath. Baths are comforting and can help relieve stress and anxiety. The hot water will also help relieve any muscle tension that is causing cramps. An alternative to this, is to just soak your feet in hot water. I can’t really explain why this works because I don’t quite understand it myself! This tip was given to me by a friend, who recommending dipping my feet in and out of hot water every 10-20 seconds or so, and to my disbelief, it really did do the trick!
5. Acupressure. This method is for those looking for a natural way to alleviate pain. Although this was another method that had me a little skeptical at first, I did find that it helped. The technique is similar to acupuncture but thankfully does not involve needles! By stimulating specific points on your body, you can reduce stress, increase your energy level and relieve pain! Here is a Pressure Point Routine that you can try out and follow when experiencing cramps!
These are all methods that I have personally tried and have found that they work for me quite well! Do you experience cramps regularly? What is your go to method for relieving them?
If you have any topic suggestions for future Girl Chat posts, please let me know in the comments!