We have gone through it. Or maybe we have friends who have gone through it. Perhaps siblings or even our own mothers. Painful cramps appear almost every month or so.
These cramps are specifically experienced by women during their menstrual cycles. The intensity of pain varies from light to very severe depending on a variety of factors such as general health, stress, nutrition imbalance, regularity of periods, and even family history of menstrual cramps.
Using Essential Oils To Treat Menstrual Cramps -What Are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps are the throbbing/ aching cramps women feel in their lower bellies just before and during their periods. Menstrual cramps are not restricted to pain in your lower bellies – even the feeling of pressure in your belly, hip/ lower back/ inner thigh pain also forms a part of menstrual cramps. Severe cramps may lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, and/ or loose stools.
Why does it take place?
Contractions take place in your uterus or womb. Severe contractions during the menstrual cycle can press against nearby blood vessels. This can briefly cut off the supply of oxygen to the uterus which leads to pain. While cramps are considered to be a ‘normal part of the menstrual cycle, it can also be a symptom of:
- Fibroids in your uterus
- Pelvic Inflammatory disease
- Cervical stenosis
Hence, please consult a gynecologist especially if you face prolonged and severe menstrual cramps.
How to treat menstrual cramps?
There are multiple ways to treat menstrual cramps. For mild cases, OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin works. There is also medication such as Tame D, Tavera M, and Drotamef which is used specifically for the treatment of abdominal pain.
A heating pad or a hot water bottle also helps. Place it on the surface of your belly where you feel pain for relief. Even a warm bath can help.
Certain lifestyle changes will also help with menstrual cramps:
- Avoiding tobacco and alcohol
- Manage stress
- Reduce weight if needed
- Take dietary supplements
- Rest when needed
An interesting home remedy that is gaining cognizance in the treatment of menstrual cramps is essential oil. Despite not much research being conducted, mild support can be found on the effectiveness of essential oils on cramp treatment.
Essential oils are common ingredients in many skin-care and hair-care products. You need to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before using it over your skin. Please note that essential oils need to be applied over the skin or while bathing and are not for human consumption. Some of the essential oils are toxic for humans.
Here’s a list of essential oils that could help you manage menstrual cramps:
- Lavender: It has anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes the prostaglandins that are responsible for mediating pain and uterine contractions. Lavender essential oil helps with muscle relaxation as well.
- Cinnamon: We love it in our deserts, but did you know cinnamon essential oil is effective in reducing contractions in the uterus? Rub your lower abdomen gently to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Clary sage: It is considered to be an antispasmodic agent that helps in pain relief. It is also considered to help hormone balance and reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating and mood swings.
- Roman Chamomile: Used in ancient times for pain management, it remains effective even today for menstrual cramps.
- Clove: Who could have thought that one of the most important ingredients in our Pulav could also help us relieve pain from menstrual cramps? It is supposed to give fast pain relief. Clove is an anti-inflammatory spice containing eugenol, something which is beneficial at easing pain. It also limits excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Peppermint: We love the scent of peppermint and it is effective in fighting headaches, colds and muscle cramps. It can be quite useful in easing period cramps.
As discussed before, these essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil before massaging onto your abdomen for best results. Carrier oils are neutral oils that dilute potent essential oils and help in easy application. Common carrier oils are coconut oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Massage a small amount over your abdomen at least once per day for a week before the start of your period to observe its effectiveness.