How to Relieve Period Cramps: Exercise and Home Remedies

Between uncomfortable cramps, fatigue, and breast tenderness, your menstrual period doesn’t exactly leave you feeling like you can conquer the world. What helps cramps the natural way may seem like a mystery. However, there are ways to learn how to relieve period cramps using exercise and home remedies. Exercising while Aunt Flo is in town may help make you feel better in a more natural, healthy way. Exercise can lead to relief from uncomfortable period symptoms for many women. Whether you head out to your normal spin class or take a walk around the neighborhood, you might experience these perks of period exercise.

Relief from Menstrual Cramps

What helps cramps naturally is exercise. Exercise provides a double dose of benefits to relieve cramps. First, when you exercise, your brain releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins block pain receptors in your brain, helping to stop pain signals from your cramping, contracting uterus. Aerobic exercise, even a brisk walk, can release endorphins and provide some pain relief.

Exercise also improves circulation throughout your entire body, including your uterus. When you have cramps, your uterus is contracting so hard that it is cutting off some blood flow, which sends pain signals to the brain. By opening up these blood vessels with increased circulation, you may be able to relieve menstrual cramp pain.

A Better Mood During Menstruation

Endorphins offer other perks, too. They can boost your mood and anxiety associated with your period. Again, all exercise that gets your heart beating faster, even a quick walk or hike, can release the positive benefits of endorphins.

More Energy During Your Period

Exercise might help you improve problems with low energy, too. When you exercise, you strengthen your heart so it can provide more blood and oxygen throughout your body, including your brain. Exercise can also help relieve stress (another benefit of endorphins) that can drag your energy levels down during the day. Finally, exercise can improve sleep so you can make the most out of your eight hours (or so) of rest.

Less Painful Period Headaches

If you get headaches during your period, increased circulation and endorphin production can help make a headache less painful or even help it go away altogether. Exercising is thus a home remedy for menstrual cramps and painful headaches.

Tips for Exercising on Your Period

Exercising on your period doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Learn how to relieve period cramps and make it easier on yourself with these tips:

  • You may consider taking ibuprofen or naproxen sodium in the morning to help head off cramps and achiness.
  • Wear a supportive, well-fitted sports bra that keeps your breasts in place and helps with breast tenderness as you move.
  • Wear a tampon and an ultra-thin panty liner to help prevent leaks through your leggings.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and ease bloating.
  • Consider wearing looser, more comfortable clothing than your typical yoga pants.

Remember, if you have severe menstrual cramping and pain that disrupts your life, you should speak to your physician. Severe pain could be the result of a condition such as endometriosis.

At Women’s Care Florida, our OB/GYN experts can help diagnose the cause of menstrual pain. We provide treatment for all women’s health conditions and can help you find menstrual pain relief. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.

6 Common Habits that can Make PMS Suddenly Worse

Keeping track of your monthly periods can help you prepare for menstruation, as well as help you detect problems with your female health if you experience missed periods or irregularities. But if you suffer from premenstrual syndrome or PMS, you probably don’t need to keep close track of your monthly periods, since PMS symptoms can alert you to when your period is about to arrive. If you have severe PMS symptoms, it’s possible that one or more of your lifestyle habits could be making your PMS suddenly worse.

About severe PMS symptoms

PMS can either trigger minor symptoms that don’t interfere with your life or severe PMS symptoms that affect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. PMS can cause irritability, depression, mood swings, cramping, bloating, migraines, acne, and more. Know one or more of your lifestyle habits can make your PMS suddenly worse. Six common habits that can worsen PMS:

  1. You consume too much caffeine
  2. You’re not physically active
  3. You smoke
  4. You’re consuming excess sodium
  5. You’re not managing stress effectively
  6. You don’t get enough sleep

1. You consume too much caffeine

Caffeine may be effective at helping you stay alert and awake, but can increase anxiety and irritability. Plus, caffeine can interfere with your sleep patterns, and make you feel on edge. Limit your caffeine intake on a daily basis, and consider swapping out coffee, soda, and energy drinks for green tea, which has less caffeine.

2. You’re not physically active

Exercise offers countless health benefits that can help you combat and relieve bad PMS symptoms of a sudden. Exercise improves circulation and blood flow, naturally improves your mood, and helps regulate your hormones. Increase your physical activity level, and exercise regularly to lessen PMS symptoms.

3. You smoke

Smoking inhibits blood flow and circulation. Poor circulation leads to hormonal imbalance which can affect your estrogen and progesterone levels and thus worsen PMS. Stop smoking as soon as possible, or get help from a smoking cessation program if you experience problems with quitting.

4. You’re consuming excess sodium

Water binds to sodium, which means consuming too much sodium can make PMS suddenly worse with bloating and water retention. Avoid adding table salt to your meals, and avoid processed foods that contain high sodium levels. Instead, eat a higher amount of fruits and vegetables to help flush sodium and waste from your body and relieve bloating.

5. You’re not managing stress effectively

Stress is a normal part of life. However, suffering from long-term stress without relief increases your body’s cortisol levels while throwing other hormones off-balance. Find new ways to manage stress more effectively doing things that help you relax. Try yoga, meditation, deep breathing, relaxing in a warm bath, or separating yourself from people and other activities that tend to stress you out. This can help lessen those bad PMS symptoms all of a sudden.

6. You don’t get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation increases your stress level and interferes with healthy hormone balance. Lack of sleep can also interfere with your hunger, emotions, and mental clarity. Improve your sleeping environment as needed so you can get a great night’s sleep, and eliminate problems that contribute to a poor night’s sleep.

If you’re still experiencing PMS symptoms after making healthy lifestyle changes, make an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss other possible treatments. Together, you and your doctor can identify the source of PMS, and work on developing an effective treatment plan.

Do you suffer from PMS and want relief from monthly symptoms? The board-certified physicians at Women’s Care Florida offer comprehensive, board-certified gynecologic care, including annual preventative exams, and treatment for menopause and other gynecologic conditions.

If you suffer from severe PMS, schedule an appointment with Women’s Care Florida for help with managing and treating your PMS symptoms.