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all your period questions answered (including the embarrassing ones).

5 ways to soothe your cramps naturally

These genius ideas will have you bidding goodbye to period pain for good.

More than half of all women suffer from cramps every month - but just because you do, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t worry, we’re here to help, and we come armed with a treasure trove of tips and tricks that will get you through that pesky period pain, time and time again:

Apply a heat pack: Applying heat to the lower belly can help your uterine muscles relax which (you guessed it) equals less cramping. Find yourself a microwavable heat pack or hot compress that you can apply for five to ten minutes to aid pain. Alternatively, use a warming balm like Tiger Balm, or even indulge in a toasty bath for the same result.

Up your magnesium intake: A deficiency in magnesium tends to increase inflammation, which directly drives period pain. Your best method of defence is to up your magnesium intake, which will help to lessen the symptoms of PMS and period pain by relaxing the muscles and calming the nervous system. A daily supplement in pill or powder form is the convenient option, or you can instead tweak your diet to include more magnesium-rich foods like kale, spinach, cashews, almonds, and walnuts.

Avoid sugar: While reaching for the nearest block of Dairy Milk may now be a part of your coping mechanism when it comes to period pain, it’s something that doctors encourage you not to do. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but sugar has the ability to worsen cramps which means you are best off putting down that tub of ice cream and replacing it with a nice pot of herbal tea like chamomile. Chocoholics need not fear though - dark chocolate is fine as it is both low in sugar and rich in magnesium.

Rub in some castor oil: Anti-inflammatory castor oil has long been considered a healing hero, particularly when it comes to soothing sore muscles (cramps included). Thanks to its ability to improve circulation around the body and stimulating the lymphatic system, castor oil is a great ally in the war against period pain and is always handy to keep in the cupboard for when cramps strike. Simply put 1-2 teaspoons of the oil on a bare stomach and use your fingers to massage it into the skin for 5-10 minutes. You can also soak a flannel in the oil, placing it on the skin directly and layering with a hot water bottle for extra effect.

Try acupuncture: Chinese medicine introduced the western world to acupuncture, the therapy which clears energy blockages in the body by placing tiny needles into certain points. According to Chinese philosophy, pain (including cramping) is caused by stagnant energy, a dilemma which can be solved via the energy moving abilities of the holistic therapy. It’s not a concept to be laughed at, with Australian researchers recently unveiling that 50% of women find long-term relief from using acupuncture for period pain.

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