Revealed: 7 expert tips to help you endure period pain

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·Lifestyle Reporter
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Periods - they come around each month and see many of us arming ourselves with heat packs and pain killers to ride out the days of crippling period pain.

In fact, more than half of people who bleed experience painful periods, with a combination of cramps (contractions needed to shed the uterine lining) and changing hormone levels creating the perfect storm for feeling tired, sore and moody.

Woman holding her stomach with a pained expression. Source: Getty Images
More than half of those of us who have periods experience pain. Source: Getty Images

To help you through, Innerbloom Tea founder Samatha Shepherd and Naturopath Sarah Mann have shared some expert tips with Yahoo Lifestyle on easing painful periods and supporting your body all cycle long.

Melt away the pain with magnesium

Naturopath Sarah suggests taking a high-quality magnesium supplement. 

"Magnesium is essential for healthy muscle contraction and relaxation, and studies have shown people who regularly take magnesium use less pain killers for period pain," Sarah tells us.

There are also a range of magnesium products, such as creams, that can be directly applied to your stomach and back.

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Eat to reduce inflammation

What you eat can affect your level of period pain. 

In the lead-up to the start of a period, it can help to eat high-fibre foods and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, steering clear of salty foods and coffee. Salt and caffeine can cause water retention, bloating and discomfort.

meal prep
High-fibre foods and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables can help. Photo: Getty

Here’s Samatha's hack that will have period-week you thanking past you.

"I suggest preparing some meals during your ovulation/pre-menstrual phases, so that you have nourishing meals ready to go when your period arrives," she says.

"I cook a nourishing big batch of dhal full of anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric just before my period arrives each month. This way I can just heat it up and stay horizontal."

Move through the pain - gently

Exercise has been proven to ease period pain, but your body is doing a lot right now, so stick to gentle activities like yoga, stretching or a walk.

Movement eases period pain by improving blood flow to your uterus and helping your body to make happy hormones (endorphins), which can relieve pain and improve your mood.

Woman seated on the flow in a yoga stretch wearing a white tee shirt and red leggings. Source: Getty Images
Gentle exercise improves blood flow and relieves cramps. Source: Getty Images

Rest is best

Everything is harder when you’re tired. And that includes period pain.

A tip for gentler periods is to rest and allow yourself to slow down over your period week.

"Staying busy and bulldozing through had a cost on how I experienced my periods," Samatha says.

"The more I allowed myself a restful period, the less pain I experienced."

Herbal pain relief

Fuelled by her own experience with excruciating period pain, Samantha worked with Sarah to create four unique tea blends, one for each phase of your cycle.

Hands hold a glass cup of herbal tea. Source: Getty Images
Herbal tea can soothe period pain. Source: Getty Images

"Through a simple daily ritual of drinking naturopathically formulated herbal tea blends, women can become more connected to their bodies and cycles, and experience less pain and discomfort," Samantha tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

They suggest picking a herbal tea, like The Period Blend which includes anti-inflammatory ingredients like Ginger and Mugwort, to help relieve period pain and nausea.

Hug a heat pack

Period pain is caused by cramps (muscle contractions) in your uterus.

Applying heat to your lower abdomen and back helps to increase blood flow, relax your muscles and ease your pain.

A warm shower or bath can also work wonders to soothe your period pain.

Keep your water bottle close

Make sure you drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. 

Staying hydrated also supports your digestion, and reduces bloating and inflammation (common culprits of painful periods).

And, most importantly of all, be gentle with yourself. Samantha encourages people to see this as a time to give yourself a little extra TLC.

"Even doing 10 per cent less helps. Ask yourself: 'Is there anything that can be put off even for a few days to give my body some down time?'"

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