Over the weekend, I was suffering from some pretty terrible menstruation pain. The kind of physical pain that manifests in cramps and headaches and leaves you lying on the couch in fetal position. Also the kind of emotional pain that left me in tears over every. last. thing. Seeking respite from the throes of all kinds of period-related pain, I turned to several of my favorite Blood and Milk articles for relief. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions for reducing menstruation pain and, generally, having a better period:

Stay Hydrated

“Blood only accounts for around one third of the fluids you lose during your period. You will also pass mucus, uterine lining, and tissue. This leads to low blood volume and dehydration. Decreased blood volume will increase blood thickness, which contributes to the heaviness and longevity of your flow. Upping your daily water intake throughout your cycle will help to counter this, as well as staving off cramps and the fatigue that comes from dehydration.”

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Allow Yourself to Chill Out

“While it won’t make you feel better to nap the week away and give in to all of your period cravings, allow yourself to rest and move slowly through yin yoga, take walks, and eat nourishing foods like soups. Since we may feel naturally tired or withdrawn, if you can, you may want to avoid large social gatherings or important meetings at work.”

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Eat Intentionally

Opt for cooking methods that feel nourishing and healing such as warm soups or bone broth (rich in collagen to help with rebuilding), stir fries and sea vegetables (consider sushi with nori, cucumber, or scallops with brown or cauliflower rice). Antioxidant rich smoothies with dark berries(blackberries and blueberries), kale and flaxseed (wonderful for hormone balancing and anti-inflammation) are also great options.

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Even if it’s Low Impact, Don’t Skip Exercise All Together

“A trip to the yoga studio or even just a brisk walk and talk session on the gym treadmills can make a big difference in your cramp symptoms. The increase in blood circulation will help make them go away, but that’s not the ringer. Menstrual cramps are usually made worse by stress and since exercise is a natural way to lower stress, you may not feel your symptoms much at all. Don’t skip the gym and stick to your normal routine.”

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Don’t Rule Out Period Sex

“Your body releases oxytocin when you have sex, and the natural hormone has been associated with decreased period pain. In addition, Dr. Hall told me: “orgasms can help relieve cramps because they release pelvic congestion and improve blood flow in the pelvis.” Here’s a reason to make period sex part of your monthly routine. Masturbation is also an option.”

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When Your Menstruation Pain Manifests in Cramps, Grab a Hot Water Bottle

“For some quick pain relief on those horrible days, I’ll fill up a water bottle with super hot water (from the tap is fine, no need to warm it up further) and sit it on my lap for 20 minutes or so. Quick relief without needing to take meds and easy enough to do almost anywhere.”

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Trust Yourself

Self-authority is essential in this time of information overload. It’s conflicting, confusing, and comparison-inducing out there! I believe in self-care that is sovereign: knowing what we need (on each day of the cycle!) and trusting ourselves to deliver that.”

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Have you tried these tips, and do they work for you? How else do you manage menstruation pain? We’d love to hear in the comments.

Featured image by Hayley Edgar

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