Over-the-counter pain medications are the go-to method for many people who deal with period pain. However, a 2016 study showed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) only relieved period pain for 31 out of 100 study participants, meaning, pain meds aren't going to be super effective for everyone. To boot, while medication may help with cramping, you won't necessarily get any relief from your other PMS symptoms — like bloating or diarrhea. If you're tired of taking over-the-counter pain medications or relying on a heating pad to deal with period pain, there are other natural ways to cope with period pain.
"I always recommend finding a natural method to problems, rather than just blanketing them with medication." Dr. Prudence Hall, MD, founder of The Hall Center and author of Radiant Again, tells Bustle.
While experiencing period pain is pretty standard, you should be able to manage the symptoms at home. If you can't, it may be a sign that something more serious is going on. "Pelvic pain that interferes with day-to-day activities, gets worse after sex or a pelvic exam, causes painful bowel movements or urination associated with periods, and significant lower back pain with menses are not considered normal pains and could be signs of endometriosis," Dr. Rebecca Brightman, a gynecologist working with SpeakENDO, a campaign to raise awareness about the reproductive health disease, tells Bustle. "If a [person] experiences these symptoms, [they] should speak with [their] healthcare provider as soon as possible."
However, if you and your physician determine you're just experiencing run of the mill period pain, there are many ways to manage it without having to rely on over-the-counter pain medications as your sole relief from PMS symptoms. Here are six natural ways to cope with menstrual pain and PMS symptoms, that you've probably never heard of before.