About once a month, we as women are graced with the joys of menstruation. And by “joys” I of course mean the slew of uncomfortable side effects that can accompany periods like cramping, bloating, acne, anxiety, and digestive issues. Like I said…pure joy!
As a way to cope with the laundry list of side effects, we often take over the counter medications or turn to prescription help like birth control or even anti-depressants and more. But what happens when we don’t want to put those sorts of substances in our bodies? Afterall, menstruation is a natural function of the female body, so why don’t we treat it naturally?
If you’re looking for some holistic ways to combat your different period side effects, here are just a few you can try before turning to traditional medicine…
- Dysmenorrhea, commonly known as cramps, at their foundation, are caused by inflammation. Maintaining a healthy diet that excludes foods that are known to cause inflammation is a good start.
- You can also try incorporating certain vitamins and supplements like magnesium and vitamin A.
- For those especially painful cramps, try the good old hot water bottle trick. Fill a bottle or plastic bag with hot water, seal it tightly, wrap a towel around it and rest it on your abdomen where you feel the pain. The heat will help to relax your muscles and keep them from tensing.
- There are a number of holistic and organic beauty products that have excellent reviews for treating Acne. The only drawback here is that there can be some fairly hefty price tags on some of these products.
- Avoid sugar and dairy. That’s it. Cutting out sugar and dairy alone and drinking more water instead will help to improve your skin in general, not only when your period comes around.
- Many women have seen great results by using creams that contain tea tree oil. Talk to a professional about making your own cream at home so that you use a safe ratio of ingredients.
- Breathing exercises and meditation are a great place to start because neither of these options involves taking or applying anything. All you need is a few minutes a day to commit to meditation and your overall anxiety will diminish. Meditate more frequently during menstruation if needed.
- Relax with a hot cup of tea. Chamomile and green tea specifically have both been proven to have calming qualities, but really any herbal tea that smells and tastes good to you will help to ease your stress.
- Exercise! While this may not be the favorite or most popular remedy, it’s been proven to be the most effective. Studies show that those who maintain a healthy level of physical activity report reductions in stress and anxiety.
Bloating and digestive issues
- Maintain a healthy diet. This is easier said than done. Periods often make us want to reach for the bad stuff, and while scarfing down an entire Oreo pizza may feel good in the moment, eating junk will only exacerbate an already sensitive system. Eating healthy, low acid foods is a great way to beat the bloat.
- Herbal supplements are a great way to combat bloating. There are a laundry list of herbs that have been shown to reduce bloating and combat gas, but here are just a few:
- Take a regular probiotic. There are countless over the counter, organic probiotics on the market. However, if popping a pill every day isn’t your thing, try eating a daily yogurt. Kimchi and sauerkraut are also great for digestive health if something savory or tart is more your speed.
Most of these remedies can be incorporated into your daily life with little to no extra effort and don’t involve taking something over the counter or getting a prescription from your doctor. Before doing any of these however, it’s important to speak with your healthcare professional to ensure you’re using remedies that are right and safe for you and your unique system.