Menstrual Cramp Relief: The Remedies That Actually Work

Since starting my journey off of birth control, I’ve taken a lot interest in understanding how I can better adapt my lifestyle to fit with each phase of my menstrual cycle. I’ve noticed making small changes in my routine through exercise, sleep, and diet, has really helped manage some of my worst symptoms. Though I’ve been learning a lot and implementing great habits, last month I struggled with painful cramping. If you’ve experienced cramping/backache, you know the misery it brings.

I turned to Instagram to ask and gather recommendations to help move towards a pain-free period. I have included all responses below by category and links to products that were highly recommended. I hope these remedies help make that time of the month just a little bit easier for all of us. I’m excited to try them myself and will update on my Instagram! As always, please consult your healthcare provider to find what’s best suited for you.

If you struggle with hormonal acne, read the full blog post for treatment tips here. 

Food + Drinks
  • Water & electrolytes 
  • Beans – help absorb excess estrogen in the gut 
  • Raw carrots – helps move excess estrogen out of body during luteal phase
  • Tea: Raspberry leaf tea, spearmint tea, throat-coat tea, ginger tea, chamomile tea, 
  • Healthy Fats: salmon & avocado 
  • Bananas – potassium-rich! 
  • Incorporate leafy and fibrous veggies into diet 
  • Incorporate iron-rich foods 
  • Turmeric shots – great anti-inflammatory 
  • Ginger
  • Seaweed
  • Cow’s milk 
  • Pumpkin seeds + flaxseeds
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Cranberry juice, Dark Cherry juice, Celery juice – make at home or look for no sugar added 
  • Shilajit honey sticks 
  • Dates 
holistic approaches
  • Electric heating pad
  • Turmeric vitamins 
  • Hot water bottle 
  • Working out + staying active: Pilates, light cardio, yin yoga 
  • Being sexually active 
  • Taking a bath 
  • Switching to organic cotton tampons & pads 
  • Avoid processed foods, caffeine & alcohol! 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Castor oil – rub on stomach, aids in bloating + IBS 
  • Cleary sage oil 
  • Agnus castus herb 
  • Muscle stim pads 
  • B-Complex vitamin 
  • Evening Primrose Oil capsules 
  • Ashwagandha 
  • Red light therapy 
  • Peppermint + lavender essential oils mixed with coconut oil or lotion – rub on stomach
  • Epsom bath salts
  • Supplementing with Vitamins E and A 
  • Magnesium glycinate supplements the week leading up to your menstrual phase 
  • Zinc 
  • Iron supplements 
  • Chaste Tree Berry supplements 
  • Beef liver capsules 
  • CBD 
  • R-lipoic acid
  • Vitamin-C powder 
  • Berberine supplements 
Menstruation Products + Brands
  • Alani Nu Hormonal Balance pills 
  • Hum Nutrition Hormone Balance 
  • Lemme PMS drops 
  • Ova Moon daily multivitamin + tea
  • Flo Vitamin Capsules
  • Tiger Balm as a topical treatment on lower belly
  • Elix Organic Herbs 
  • Organic Olivia Liver Juice
  • Young Living Progessence Plus Essential Oil 
  • Her Time Extra Strength supplements 
  • BetterDays Hormones drink sticks 
  • Myoovi device 
  • Jovi Patch 
  • Flora Health Liquid Iron 
  • Schuessler Tissue Salts COMB (N) Menstrual Pain Tablets
  • Marea Mulitvitamin 
medications
**consult doctor first**
  • Tylenol 
  • Motrin 
  • Ibuprofen 
  • Midol
TESTIMONIALS FROM INSTAGRAM
  • “Raspberry leaf tea leading up to starting your cycle! lots of salmon and avocado and healthy fats. I can tell a major difference when I don’t do these things, the cramps are debilitating and have legit made me pass out. I’m always so confused then I’m like welp that’s real messed up that a majority of that was due to my cycle. Women’s bodies are wild.”
  • “Beans! I read that properly cooked beans (soaked over night and slow cooked) help absorb excess estrogen in the gut. Balancing hormones in general helps ease PMS symptoms! I like to add onion, jalapeño and chopped bacon to my beans.”
  • “YES! Staying active leading up to my period is helped me so much! I’ve been running 6 miles a week and walking and have noticed such a big difference- I also use tiger balm as a topical treatment on my lower belly for cramps, as well as take a magnesium supplement the week before my period! Some months are better than others but doing this consistently has truly helped me! And then the usual Tylenol, Motrin and heating pad” 
  • “Ever since switching to organic cotton pads and tampons, cramps and flow DRASTICALLY”
  • “I used to have the worst cramps EVER. i found switching to low toxic menstrual products has seriously changed everything! (If you don’t already do that) i use cora and love it.” 
  • “Magnesium supplements and ZERO alcohol leading up to my period have made a night and day difference! I don’t get any cramps or bloating any more.”
  • “I was always told to eat/drink warm foods and liquids while on your period! Anything overly cold could potentially just add to cramps.”
  • “Exercise!!! i get way worse PMS when i don’t work out- also came off the pill a few years ago after being on it for 6 years and it was a rough adjustment.”
  • “I have endo so consistently bad cramps, raspberry leaf tea helps when drank regularly (ngl tastes like dirt tho) and castor oil regularly put on stomach and a bit in belly button, I do this over night, also aids in bloating and IBS.” 
  • “Following your cycle needs for food and such, not a one time fix. I follow @cyclewithkylah.”
  • “In Jan, I started taking magnesium glycinate daily to help with my period symptoms and it helped a ton.   In Feb I’ve added chaste tree berry supplement to help and wow – I have virtually NO symptoms coming on my period any day now!!”
  • “Yes! Walking, hydration/electrolytes, good sleep and magnesium!!!! I tend to get migraines too w my cycle and this consistency is the only thing that helps.”
  • “I noticed the biggest improvement in my cramps after taking beef liver capsules. Three months of it and my cramps were gone! Until then I would make sure I’m getting enough protein and stay hydrated and lots of gentle movements. Heat feels the best! Tampons can make the cramping worse those first few days.”
  • “Try evening prim rose oil capsules! They can help with cramps, bloating & other period symptoms. Organic peppermint or ginger tea with raw honey for nausea helps too 🫶🏻” 
  • “This is exactly how it is for me!!! If I’m staying active and avoiding too much sugar my periods are so seamless and easy and then if I’m not they’re debilitating it’s crazy how much habits actually affect it!”
  • “I started using Elix Organic Herbs the week before my period and it has changed my cramps drastically!  I couldn’t believe it. Also I put my Myoovi device on during the cramps and that helps a lot too! Hope this helps.”
  • “Eating every 3-4 hours (protein, fiber/carb, and fat) to regulate blood sugar. I HIGHLY recommend the book ‘Fix Your Period’ by Nicole Jardim. Changed by whole period! Also taking magnesium and minerals every single day.”
  • “High levels of prostaglandins are usually the culprit to intense period cramps. Having injury or infection during the month (ex. Caused by a cold or getting a vaccine) can cause prostaglandins to be higher causing more pain. Low impact exercise also increases blood flow, lessening overall inflammation and therefore causing less cramps. So what you’re experiencing is true 🙂 exercise helps.”
  • “Anti-inflammatory diet helps a lot during period, and also the best is to have no sugar at all during this moment of the month. Sugar is what make the cramps worse :(“
  • “Bananas, raspberry tea, cramp bark, heating pad, wearing socks walking around my house! I used to have debilitating cramps and since getting off the pill it’s worked in regulating my hormones but that’s all I used to do before.”
  • “I am trying homeopathics and they are helping! I used to not be able to get through day 1/2 of my period without taking Advil or Tylenol. I started internally taking Schuessler Tissue Salts (the menstrual pain ones) and I use the Young Living Essential Oil “Pan Away” externally and put on my stomach/back. I find using my ice face roller on my cramps is helpful too!”
  • “First two days of period I avoid caffeine (so tough), alcohol, and spicy . I usually have no appetite so I drink tea/water and crave fresh fruits. I’ve never been on the pill and have terrible periods. Epsom salt baths and my heating pad. I also don’t take pain killers so just listening to my body and doing what feels intuitive. Avoiding cruciferous veggies too, anything hard on the digestive system. After the second day I’m a different person. Hope this helps. 

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