9 Natural Ways To Fight Period Cramps When Ibuprofen Isn't An Option

I personally get kind of excited about getting my period because it means my body is reproductively healthy and happy, but dang, period cramps are the freaking worst. I always reach for pain killers when I sense them coming on, but decided I wanted to uncover all the best natural ways to fight period cramps and expand my options between Ibuprofen if I could. I’m happy to report the strategies below have been incredibly helpful for me, and I hope they work for you, too!

If your cramps are painful to the point that it becomes hard to even get out of bed, you might want to reach out to your gyno. Ever since I started my period at summer camp in middle school (literally the worse timing ever), I always get slammed with cramps that time of the month. They used to literally make me double over in pain, so I ended up going to my doctor as a fifteen-year-old to learn if there was anything I could do about the pain. Turns out, I had a few (thankfully totally non-cancerous) ovarian cysts that required treatment. Eek. Since then, my cramps still suck but fortunately aren’t completely agonizing anymore.

If you’re certain all your dealing with is annoying period cramps and nothing more serious, consider testing out these natural ways to fight period cramps to find the best one for you.

1. Diva Cup

Diva Cup, $32.53, Diva International

Wellness Mama shared, "Switching to natural feminine hygiene options like cloth pads or the Diva Cup may really help reduce cramping in some women. Some women do not react well to the chemicals in tampons and pads and these natural options provide a chemical free solution."

2. Yoga

As shared in EveryDay health, certain yoga poses can really help relieve back pain caused by menstrual cramps. My favorite when I can't imagine doing anything super strenuous? Child's pose!

3. Heating Pad

Heating Pad Plus Massage, $29, Sunbeam

Placing a heating pad directly over your lower stomach can help quell even the fiercest cramps and help your muscles relax.

4. Hot Bath

Similar to the heating pad strategy, sometimes a hot bath is all you need to lessen the cramp struggle.

5. Acupuncture

As reported by Women's Health, acupuncture "increases blood flow to the uterus, which can relax the muscles similarly to a hot pad and reduce uterine contractions." And for those of you nervous about acupuncture, the needles are seriously so small you hardly even notice them.

6. Red Clover

Red Clover, $5.98, Nature's Way

Known for supporting menstrual health, Wellness Mama explained how red clover "has been know to ease endometriosis and PCOS and is helpful for cramps." However, she advised, "It should also be discontinued when a woman becomes pregnant. When not pregnant, it can be taken daily."

7. Decaf Beverages

Bart D. Putterman, MD told EveryDay Health, "[I] advise patients who have a lot of menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms to limit caffeine ... [because] caffeine can constrict blood vessels."

8. Ginger

Slicing about two tablespoons of fresh ginger into a cup of boiling water to make a quick herbal tea can provide cramp relief fast, and also soothes an upset stomach if you're feeling nauseous.

9. Cinnamon

Food Matters advised sprinkling cinnamon into a cup of warm milk or topping yogurt with it. Thanks to cinnamon's anti-inflammatory properties, the spice will help your blood vessels calm down and lessen your pain.

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Images: Courtesy of Brands; midwestnerd, Joanna Alderson, Victoria Garcia, Alison and Fil, Delphine Ménard, TALMADGEBOYD/Flickr