Sip on red raspberry leaf tea
Red raspberry leaf extract has been relieving reproductive-region pain for centuries. Raspberry leaves have both a high mineral content, which helps the uterus muscles relax, as well as high levels of fragrene, which helps strengthen the entire pelvic floor and uterus, according to a study in International Journal of Herbal Medicine. The extract is best known for helping make childbirth easier and faster, but by the same mechanism, can also help ease cramps. Plus, the herbal supplement can help decrease menstrual bleeding, which may help reduce the amount of period cramping women experience, says Jaimie Maines, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Tape up your tummy
iStock/Patricia Chumillas Rodri
A favorite among fitness junkies, kinesiology tape is an elastic cotton strip that you apply over injured or sore muscles to increase circulation and improve range of motion. It’s traditionally used to ease muscle and joint aches enough to power through a race or workout, but some studies suggest it can help at your time of the month as well. Research in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that taping near your pelvic region before you start your period and during menstruation can help significantly relieve menstrual pain. The tape helps stimulate the sensory receptors in your skin, thereby helping muscles relax to quiet your cramps.
Try it: Grab a roll at any sports store (and even some mass retailers like Walmart). Cut two strips roughly eight to 10 centimeters long (about the size of a menstrual pad) and apply one horizontal between your pelvic bones and the other vertical, starting right below your belly button, ultimately forming a cross. (Or just watch this super helpful video on proper application.)
While it’s tempting to curl up in bed when you have menstrual cramp pain, doing the opposite and getting your body moving may help to improve cramping, Dr. Maines says. And that includes getting your heart rate up between the sheets. “Orgasms release endorphins, which will help make menstrual cramps less bothersome, as well as increase blood flow to the genital area, which can help relieve pain,” Dr. Maines explains.