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4 Effective Ways To Stop Period Cramps

June 16, 2024

Woman using a heating pad on her abdomen while sitting on a couch, with tea and a book nearby.

Period cramps can be a monthly ordeal for many individuals, causing discomfort and disrupting daily activities. Fortunately, there are several effective methods to alleviate this pain and regain control over your life. This article explores four proven ways to stop period cramps and improve your well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Applying a heating pad can help relax muscles and reduce cramping.
  • Essential oil massage can provide relief by improving blood circulation.
  • Over-the-counter medications are effective for quick pain relief.
  • Regular exercise can help reduce the intensity and frequency of period cramps.
  • Combining multiple methods may offer the best relief for period pain.

1. Heating Pad

Woman using a heating pad on her abdomen while lying on a couch to relieve period cramps.

Heating pads are a widely recognized method for alleviating period cramps. Effective strategies for managing period cramps include heat therapy. The application of heat can help relax the muscles of the uterus, thereby reducing the pain associated with menstrual cramps. Various tools can be used for heat therapy, including heat wraps, heating pads, heat patches, and hot water bags. Experts generally regard heat therapy as safe, but it is essential to take certain precautions to avoid burns or skin irritation. Setting a timer or using a heating pad that automatically turns off can be beneficial.

If you don’t have a hot water bottle or heating pad, taking a warm bath or using a hot towel can also be effective. Alternatively, you can make your own heating pad by sewing two pieces of fabric together, filling it with uncooked rice, and microwaving it to the desired temperature. This homemade solution can be reused as necessary.

For those looking for additional comfort during their menstrual cycle, period underwear for women can be a valuable addition to their routine. 

2. Essential Oil Massage

Adding essential oils for an aromatherapy style of massage may have additional benefits. A 2018 review of studies found that massage therapy and aromatherapy can reduce menstrual pain. Some essential oils that may help include:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rose
  • Fennel

You should always dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil. Examples include vegetable or nut oils, such as grapeseed or sweet almond oil. A safe concentration is one drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil.

Women in both groups reported reduced pain, but the essential oils group did better. On the basis of the women's reports, researchers found that the duration of pain was reduced by almost half a day after a self-massage with the essential oils.

Some essential oils thought to be helpful include lavender, clary sage, and marjoram.

3. OTC Meds

Hand holding OTC pain relief meds blister pack in front of pharmacy shelf.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help with period cramps and other period-related pain, like headaches. While pretty much any type is bound to offer some relief, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are best, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This is because NSAIDs don’t just relieve pain and inflammation, but they also reduce the number of prostaglandins made by your body and lessen their effects.

Types of OTC NSAIDs

OTC NSAIDs include:

  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • naproxen (Aleve)
  • aspirin (Bufferin)

To get the most bang for your buck, ibuprofen is the best of these OTC NSAID options, according to a 2020 meta-analysis. The study compared the effectiveness and safety of OTC pain relievers for period pain. The most effective was actually diclofenac, but it was worst for safety, making ibuprofen the best option for dysmenorrhea.

Other OTC Medications

Other OTC medications that can be used for period pain include acetaminophen-based products like Midol Complete and Midol Long Lasting Relief. These medications often combine acetaminophen with other ingredients like caffeine and pyrilamine maleate to provide comprehensive relief from menstrual symptoms.

Considerations and Safety

When using OTC medications, it is important to follow the recommended dosages and guidelines. Overuse or misuse can lead to adverse effects. For those who prefer non-medication options, New York Times's Top pick Period underwear for women can be a comfortable and effective alternative. For more information, visit etrendix.com.

4. Exercise

Woman in workout clothes doing yoga on a mat in a park, representing exercise as a way to relieve period cramps.

Benefits of Exercise

Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which are chemicals produced by the body that help block the perception of pain. Additionally, exercise is a great way to reduce stress, which also affects how one feels pain. According to a 2018 study, low-to-medium intensity aerobic exercise may help reduce pain caused by period cramps. In this study, scientists found that women who did 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 days a week for 8 weeks showed significant reductions in period cramps.

Types of Exercises

To fit an aerobic workout into one's schedule, consider biking to work, going for a brisk walk at lunchtime, dancing to favorite tunes, or playing a sport. Even gentle exercises like yoga, light stretching, or walking can release endorphins that make one feel happy, reduce pain, and relax muscles. Fifteen minutes of such activities might be all that is needed to feel better.

Exercise Tips

  1. Start with light exercises and gradually increase intensity.
  2. Track your period to optimize your exercise routine and improve athletic performance.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing and period underwear for added comfort and protection.
  4. Stay hydrated and listen to your body to avoid overexertion.

Exercise is a natural and effective way to alleviate period cramps while also promoting overall well-being.


In conclusion, while period cramps can be a challenging aspect of menstruation, there are several effective strategies to alleviate the discomfort. By incorporating methods such as maintaining a balanced diet, utilizing heat therapy, engaging in regular exercise, and considering over-the-counter medications, individuals can significantly reduce the severity of their cramps. It is essential to remember that each person's body responds differently, and it may be necessary to try various approaches to find the most effective relief. Consulting with a healthcare provider can also provide personalized recommendations and ensure that any underlying conditions are addressed. Through a combination of these methods, it is possible to manage period cramps effectively and improve overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes period cramps?

Period cramps are caused by the contraction of the uterus to help shed its lining. This is triggered by the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins.

How can a heating pad help with period cramps?

Applying heat to the abdomen or lower back can help relax the muscles contributing to cramping, thereby providing relief from pain.

Can essential oils really help with period cramps?

Yes, certain essential oils like lavender, clary sage, and peppermint have been found to help reduce menstrual pain when used in massages.

Are over-the-counter medications safe for period cramps?

Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can be effective in reducing period cramps. However, it's important to follow the dosage instructions and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any underlying health conditions.

What types of exercise are best for relieving period cramps?

Low-to-medium intensity aerobic exercises such as walking, biking, and swimming can help reduce period pain. These activities increase blood flow and release endorphins, which act as natural painkillers.

How quickly can I expect relief from these methods?

The time it takes to experience relief can vary. Some people may feel better within 20-30 minutes of applying a heating pad or taking medication, while others might need a few days of consistent exercise or essential oil massage to notice significant improvement.

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