I’d like to think I’ve had some of the worst period pains going, surely it can’t get much worse?? I once turned green at work and had to sit down behind the shop counter. It’s not a good look. But that’s what period pain can do to us sometimes. All the blood rushes away from your periphery, towards your pelvis, and you go a refreshing greeney-white colour. I’ve also had the type of period pain where you feel like somebody stabbed you in the gut all of a sudden and you double over totally at random. Oh and the pain where you feel like you’re warming up for birthing a baby. Last year when I was planning for my wedding I thought, hang on a minute, what if this happens on the day of my wedding? I’ll have to cancel it! I won’t be able to walk down the aisle! So I decided about 6 months in advance that I needed to stop this from happening at all costs. I have never been persistent enough with self-treatment to get the results I wanted so I actually saw a herbalist. Within 3 months I was having totally painless periods for the first time in years. Incredible. Here are my top tips that I used alongside my prescription that will help you with yours. I won’t go into the herbs too much because each woman needs slightly different things. But this advice will help anyone/everyone who ever had period pain. 

  1. heat pads, keeping the muscles hot helps to lessen pain, you can now get pads which stick onto the area under your clothes and stay warm for like 8 hours, they’re brilliant. A discrete version of a hot water bottle. I love that I can wear them at work without anyone knowing. 
  2. fish oils, essential fatty acids help reduce pain because they help to combat the inflammation caused by the prostaglandins women with period pain have. It’s thought that some women just produce more prostaglandins, or possibly we are more sensitive to them. Either way, getting a fish oil or vegan essential fatty acid oil is great. I use Wiley’s fish oil.
  3. avoiding sugar, on the matter of inflammation, sugar is inflammatory and I’ve noticed that if I manage to avoid it almost completely I can really reduce the pain I experience. The only downside for me is I find I have to cut it out completely to make a real difference. Reducing it helps but only a little. Consider just how much sugar you’re having and give it a go. I’d recommend the 8 weeks Sugar Detox by Sarah Wilson.
  4. muscle relaxants, period pain is caused by the cramping of uterine muscles. If we can reduce the amount of base line tension we are holding onto the easier our cramps become. Herbs such as chamomile, skullcap and cramp bark are great. 
  5. take time to yourself, giving yourself a day to be quiet when you’re due on or in the first day of your period can make a massive difference to your experience of it. A lot of the tension I had during my period could be relieved, and the pain with it, if I was able to sit indoors with a movie, hot water bottle, cup of tea, and absolutely no interaction with real life people. I realise this is a luxury for most, but if you can take the time out, your body will love you for it!

If you have tried some of this advice before or try them after reading this article I’d love to hear you get on. If you have any questions you can post them below.

By Natasha Richardson

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