Around 80 per cent of women are thought to experience period pain at some stage, but there are some things you can do, in the comfort of your own home, to help.
There is nothing worse than being curled up at home with period pain. Alongside cramping, it can be normal to feel discomfort around your abdomen, lower back, and thighs.
While home remedies can sound a bit old fashioned, some of them really do work.
Here are five home remedies that can help you to combat the pain, with or without CBD.
1 – Exercise
Exercise, however gentle, may feel like the last thing you want to do when you have period pain.
Practising relaxing exercises such as pilates or yoga can really help with muscle pain. Yoga can include breath work, meditation and relaxation techniques which can boost mental and physical well-being.
CBD is a great addition to any yoga practice. It can be used in a topical or oil format and applied to the body or taken orally. It is thought to interact with the receptors in the brain potentially sending signals to the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Exercise is also thought to interact with serotonin to produce endorphins. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for your mental health and lower levels are sometimes associated with anxiety.
If not used during yoga, CBD can certainly help to reduce the pains associated with exercise afterwards. A study found that cannabinoids may potentially protect against inflammation. However, it’s worth noting that this study was on inflammatory pain from multiple sclerosis rather than DOMS.
2 – Applying heat
When it comes to period pain, there is nothing better than a fluffy hot water bottle in front of the TV.
A heated patch or wrap can also work when applied to your abdomen as the warmth relaxes the cramped muscles. CBD patches can also be applied to the area before adding a hot water bottle over the top.
The heat can also help to boost circulation while also relaxing the muscles. Some hot water bottles, wraps or patches can have added herbs or essential oils.
3 – Essential oils and terpenes
Terpenes are the active aromatic molecules found in plants that cause smell and taste. Most people associate them with cannabis plants as they are high in concentration but there are other plants or fruits such as pine needles, lavender and lemon.
Some terpenes or essential oils may help us to relax such as linalool found in lavender. Could they also help with period pain?
Pinene in particular can help by allowing more oxygen into the system which is why it is often associated with feelings of calm. It is a bronchodilator that opens up the lungs to allow more oxygen which in turn is transmitted to the bloodstream and tissues. Deep breathing may in turn increase the relaxation felt as more oxygen hits the brain.
A study from 2019 showed that inhalation of alpha-pinene potentially reduced anxiety in mice. The mice were observed for dizocilpine (MK-801-) induced schizophrenia-like behavioural abnormalities including hyperactivity and anxiety.
There are lots of CBD products that now have added terpenes or blends that cater for particular issues such as sleep or anxiety.
4 – Water
Staying hydrated during your period is a must but the type of water you drink, matters.
Drinking too much water can be a problem as it flushes nutrients from the body but too little water can mean dehydration. Switching to warmer water instead of ice cold, can ease cramps as it increases the blood flow to the skin. This helps the muscles to relax.
While plain hot water may not be to everyone’s taste, there are lots of different ways to increase your water intake. Increasing your consumption of watery foods such as cucumber or watermelon can help too. Teas or hot chocolates can be a good addition as they contain warm water.
CBD can often be found in not just water products but also tea or coffee too. It’s easy to add a drop of CBD to a hot drink but unless it’s water-soluble, you may find it sits on the top.
5 – Adaptogens and herbs
Adaptogens are able to adapt their function in the body depending on what you need at the time you consume them. This could be any physical or biological need. Some herbs, roots and mushrooms fall into this category and there has been a huge increase in the number of products including these.
Some of the best herbs include:
This is a root from Peru that was traditionally used in medicine to regulate hormones. It has a high percentage of protein, unsaturated fat and minerals which can provide a health boost. When it comes to period pains and PMS, it may help to decrease mood swings
Turmeric is thought to be great for inflammation in the same way CBD works. This is why the two are being added to products aimed at conditions such as arthritis. A review from this year on turmeric for anti-inflammatory has revealed it may help with osteoarthritis (OA). The researchers concluded that over the ten studies examined when compared with a placebo, there appears to be a benefit of turmeric on knee OA pain and function.
It can be easy to make your own home remedy of CBD and turmeric by adding both to coffee to make a spiced latte.
Siberian Ginseng can help with mental fatigue and brain fog as well as sleep. It can be a real struggle to get to sleep when you are experiencing pain. It can also help to release stress aiding a good night’s sleep.