1) Drink A LOT of water.
I was told this an eternity ago by my high school nurse, who was offering me some advice circa 2005 when I was in her office begging painkillers and bent over double and it’s stuck with me. Drinking a lot of water is supposed to help cut down the bloating, and if you can drink warm water even better, as this increases blood flow and can relax the cramps. The warm water thing has eased me in the past. Both drinking and laying in it, obvs.
2) Go for a walk
I have had occasions when standing isn’t really possible, but if you can get yourself together or waddle out of your office chair for ten minutes, walking helps alleviate pain. Moving is sometimes the last thing you want to do when you feel like someone is knitting a scarf using your womb lining, but exercise is always being thrown at us as a good way to help period pains, and the people don’t seem to be lying. I’m not sure I would take it as far as going to the gym though.
3) Peppermint Tea
My favourite, because it’s warm and delicious, and it’s tea and placing a hot mug on your stomach is a massive bonus. I mean, what an all round winner. It’s also a prophylactic substance (technical term), as drinking it before can help cut down on how bloated and gross you feel when the day rolls around. I LOVE peppermint tea, for literally any stomach ailment. Hunger, eaten 4000 calories for lunch, bloated beyond any hope, period bloat, life bloat, general tea need. All of the peppermint. All of the tea.
4) Eat better
I feel like trying to eat better is an eternal struggle. I want to eat well all the time but then when you least expect it there’s a brownie in front of you and then the day just completely derails. I’ve been told by various people and elders I have consulted (wept at) to eat better around my period. A better diet apparently means you have more of the vitamins and calcium you need, meaning your body deals with your period better. I mean, I’m not sure about this one because I’ve never put enough effort in, as I don’t eat that terribly anyway, but I’m sure there’ some science to it that is true. Papaya is supposed to be particularly good, so go stock up on tropical fruit and pretend you’re somewhere a million times nicer than bed/your desk/the bathroom floor.
5) Cut back on caffeine
Lame, but this is another one that I’ve been told about a lot over the years of struggle. Apparently knocking back too much caffeine can have all kinds of negative effects on your cycle. I’m not really in the market to give up coffee for anything, but if you struggle with periods of irregular length, or just irregular periods in particular, and you are a caffeine fiend, give it a go. who knows what marvellous changes you might see. (Or be like me and just carry on sniffling into your latte while you search for painkillers.)
6) Try Ibuprofen Lysine
I have tried all manner of period painkillers, including ones specifically marketed at tackling cramps, but often these are overpriced and you’re paying for a box that says it will help your period pains, but the pills are in fact the same as regular, cheaper painkillers. Ibuprofen lysine has become my go to pill. it seems to work the quickest, kill the most pain and last the longest. Boots own brand is fine, and much cheaper than branded options.
Good luck ladies. Good luck.