Natural Remedies for Periods

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By SheCares Editorial Team | Updated: Jul 17, 2020

While women with healthy periods usually experience only mild discomforts for a day or two, those suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are plagued with intense symptoms a week or two before a period, requiring more concrete tools to tackle them.

To avoid harmful side effects of pharmacological treatments, many women opt for natural remedies for menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms. Luckily, there are plenty from which to choose!

Keep on reading to discover natural remedies for periods, ranging from home remedies to nutritional and herbal supplements for optimal menstrual health.

Natural remedies for periods

Home Period Remedies

Home remedies for menstrual cramps

Throughout women's reproductive years, having an arsenal of home remedies for menstrual cramps, bloating, and mood swings can come in handy and significantly improve their ability to function during their periods. They are as follows:

Heat Applications

When stricken with menstrual cramps, women often intuitively reach for a hot water bottle or a heating pad for comfort and relief. Indeed, heat applied to the abdomen is one of the most popular natural remedies for period pain. Studies have shown that it can relax abdominal muscles, thus relieving pain as effectively as pain relievers, like ibuprofen.1

Proper Hydration

A simple, yet perhaps not so obvious, natural remedy for period bloating is proper hydration. One of the most common symptoms of PMS, water retention - and the resulting bloating - occur because of hormonal fluctuations during menses. Staying well hydrated will help restore proper water balance in the body and effectively get rid of bloating.

Aromatherapy

Whether diffused in the air or massaged into the abdomen, essential oils have been shown to offer women natural PMS relief.2 By acting on the nervous and limbic systems, aromatherapy can be particularly beneficial for calming one's mind, alleviating irritability and anxiety, and reducing pain perception. Good choices include lavender, clary sage, and marjoram.

Herbal Infusions

Making an herbal infusion is perhaps one of the easiest home remedies for PMS, whether it be for relieving cramps, reducing heavy periods, alleviating nausea, or controlling mood swings. Some of the best, scientifically researched herbs to brew - both fresh and dried - are fennel, chamomile, cinnamon, ginger, and dill, among others.3,4,5,6,7

Massage Therapy

Massage has also shown to be a natural remedy for menstrual cramps, bloating, muscle tension, mood swings, and other PMS symptoms.8,9 Women can benefit from it at home by gently massaging their own pelvic region to relax the muscles and promote circulation; whereas, more complex massage sessions can be done through a licensed massage therapist.

Nutritional Period Supplements

Nutritional period supplements

While nutritional supplements on their own cannot ensure optimal menstrual health, it has been shown that supplementation with certain vitamins or minerals can benefit women with PMS symptoms. They include the following:

Calcium Supplements

Calcium is perhaps one of the most widely studied mineral in terms of natural PMS relief. One of the studies has found that a daily supplementation of 500mg of calcium per day for two months has resulted in a reduction of PMS symptoms, especially the psychological ones.10

Magnesium with Vitamin B6 Supplements

Another study has found that combining 250 mg of magnesium with 40 mg of vitamin B6 on a daily basis can serve as another natural remedy for PMS. While magnesium alone has been shown to have beneficial effects on reducing period discomforts, supplementing with vitamin B6 offered the highest effectiveness in relieving PMS symptoms.11

Fatty Acid Supplements

PMS relief is also among the numerous health benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids, like gamma linolecic or oleic acid. A study has found significant improvements in PMS symptom scores after three months of fatty acid supplementation (1 or 2 g daily), which improved even further by the sixth month of the study.12

Herbal Period Supplements

Herbal period supplements

While the aforementioned remedies for periods can bring quick relief and ease PMS symptoms, only herbal supplements tackle the root cause of the disorder, which - in most cases - is hormonal imbalance. The two types of supplementary herbs for PMS are as follows:

Phytoestrogenic Supplements

Phytoestrogenic supplements are made from herbs, like chasteberry, ginkgo, or St. John's wort, which are naturally rich in estrogenic compounds, called phytoestrogens. By mimicking the body's own estrogens, they fill in the hormonal gap, thus promoting balance and relieving PMS symptoms. To avoid dependency, they are best used short-term.

Hormone-Balancing Supplements

Hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem Healthy Periods, promote hormonal balance without adding outside hormones. Instead, these natural supplements for periods act directly on the body's own endocrine glands to improve their hormone production and ease symptoms of an imbalance, like period cramps or mood swings. As such, they can be safely used long-term.

Key Takeaways

As can be seen, women seeking to find natural remedies for period symptoms have many options at their disposal, most of which are scientifically backed for safety and optimal effectiveness. If they need immediate relief from cramps or bloating, they can take advantage of popular home remedies, such as heat applications, aromatherapy, or herbal infusions. To ease their symptoms a few months down the road, they can consider nutritional supplements for PMS symptoms, like calcium or fatty acids. However, long-lasting natural remedies for period pain, heavy bleeding, and other pesky symptoms include herbal period supplements, which treat their underlying cause, hormonal imbalance. Women may choose from phytoestrogenic supplements, like chasteberry, which can be used short-term, or hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem Healthy Periods, which promote optimal endocrine function and period health long-term.