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11 ways to manage menstrual pain

That time of month comes like clockwork—and the cramps can be a distress. But you don’t have to go down in pain. There are a few steps you can take to banish menstrual pain.

You can never go wrong with water. While it won’t curb you cramps, it helps with bloating which makes cramps feel worse. Keep a bottle handy when it is that time of month; throw in mint to encourage you to drink. Reduce intake of salt and avoid alcohol. They both can dehydrate you.

Soul foods.
Dump the doughnuts, potato chips, and other fatty fried foods; they  are not your friends. Stick to a low-fat, high-fibre diet: whole grains, lentils and beans, vegetables (especially leafy dark-green ones), fruits, and nuts.

Nutrients such as vitamins E, B1, and B6, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids help dial down on the hormone-like substances responsible for those painful cramps or help relieve muscle tension and inflammation.

Cuff the coffee
Caffeine can make cramps worse. It is in coffee, so avoid it before and during your period. It can also sneak into you through soda,  energy drinks, chocolate, or tea. If you need a  pick-me-up, a veggies-packed smoothie is better instead.

Pill it away
Aspirin and ibuprofen lessen pain and make you cramp less overall. Keep a small stash in your makeup bag or car so you’re not searching when you need it most. Plus: ibuprofen can also help make your flow a little lighter.

Get on the move
Your period probably makes you want to curl up and die. It isn’t certain how working out targets period pain, but many women swear a sweat session helps loosening up. Exercise releases endorphins, a feel-good brain chemical. So get a sweat session.

As little as 5 minutes a day on your belly can boost the blood flow and ease tension to help you feel better. Start a few days before you expect your period.

Herb help
You might chug down on some herbal tea, but scientific evidence isn’t strong to show how they work on cramps. Check with your doctor before you brew a herbal tea or supplement. Some herbs interact with drugs you are already on, including your family planning options.

Touch your body
Acupressure is about pain relief. Key places on your belly, back, and feet can increase blood flow and release endorphins to soothe both your body and mind for a little while. There’s also a spot in the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger that relieves aches and pain.

Smart sleep
Sleep not come easily when you have strong cramps. To make the most of your night’s rest, ditch your smartphone in bed. Wind down with a calming bedtime routine in the days leading up to your period. You may also have to try different sleep positions, especially if you’re usually on your stomach. Catch a short power nap, if you can, during the day.

Warm shower
Warm water will help calm your muscles and your mind. And it is free.

Talk to your doctor
Can’t get enough relief? Some forms of birth control keep your hormone levels in check so there’s less pain. For most women, cramps are normal, but sometimes they’re a sign of a more serious condition. 

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