The saying goes: period pain is common, but it is not normal. While it can be normal to experience light to moderate cramping in the beginning days of your period, it should never be debilitating or interfere with your everyday life. If you suffer from intense period pains every month, it’s time to uncover a cure for painful periods by implementing these nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Common Root Causes of Period Pain
Before jumping into a cure for painful periods, it’s important to address the root causes of period pain. Until you can identify and address these root causes, you’re simply “masking the symptoms”. These are the most common causes of period pain to consider:
- Hormonal Imbalances– One of the most typical hormonal imbalances I see is high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone. Excess estrogen increases pain.
- Inflammation– While inflammation is a general term, it can be the result of high stress levels, underlying imbalances or infections (such as endometriosis or adenomyosis), or a highly processed diet.
- Prostaglandins– Prostaglandins are compounds that constrict and dilate blood vessels in the uterus and often increase during that “time of the month.” When a higher amount of prostaglandins are released, it’s common to experience more period pain.
If you’re unsure about the causes of your period pain, I highly recommend working with a functional practitioner, who can help you understand the reason for your painful periods, while creating a roadmap to healing.
Cure for Painful Periods: Nutrition Changes
One of the most effective ways to cure painful periods is to adopt an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, whole food diet. There are specific foods and nutrients that have been proven to reduce period pain by addressing common root causes, including:
- Magnesium– Magnesium deficiency is closely connected to period pain. Increasing your consumption of magnesium helps to reduce prostaglandins and relax the uterus.
- Cruciferous Veggies- Including more cruciferous veggies in your diet, like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, helps detox excess estrogen from the body. This can help restore imbalanced hormones.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids- There are many food sources of omega-3’s, like fatty fish, that have been shown to reduce overall inflammation in the body.
- Turmeric and Ginger- These roots are effective in reducing prostaglandins and decreasing high levels of inflammation. Turmeric and ginger have been used as an anti-inflammatory remedy for thousands of years.
In addition to including more of the nutrients and foods above, it’s important to adopt a whole food diet. This naturally reduces the risk of nutrient deficiencies and lowers inflammation in the body. It’s also wise to avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, which can be taxing on the liver. When the liver is congested, it cannot detox estrogen in a timely manner, leading to further hormonal imbalances.
Cure for Painful Periods: Lifestyle Habits
While nutritional changes are beneficial in addressing painful periods, lifestyle habits are equally as important. Implement these lifestyle habits as a cure for painful periods:
- Stress Management- Stress, in it’s many forms, is the root of all illnesses, including painful periods. Reduce stress by implementing effective stress management techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation.
- Sleep Hygiene– Proper sleep hygiene goes hand-in-hand with stress management, as adequate sleep is also necessary reduce stress and inflammation. Proper sleep hygiene includes adopting consistent sleep-wake times, sleeping in a dark, cool room, and using an eye mask or ear plugs, when necessary.
- Toxic Load– Reducing your toxic load can be a game-changer for those dealing with hormonal imbalances. Start by eliminating common endocrine-disrupting chemicals from your environment, such as unfiltered water, pesticides, plastics, fragrance, and non-stick pans.
Painful periods should not rule your life. Nor should you be relying on Advil and heating pads to survive your monthly periods. These nutrition and lifestyle changes serve as a cure for painful periods by addressing the root causes of period pain and PMS.
For customized and professional help addressing your painful periods, learn more about my services, here!