If you clicked on this headline, chances are you’re one of the millions of women around the world who deals with intense period pain once a month. Menstruation has been given all sorts of cutesy nicknames over the years — Aunt Flo, Moon Time, Girl Flu — but there’s nothing sweet about dysmenorrhea, the technical term used to describe painful menstrual cramps.
Research published this year in the Journal of Women’s Health found that nearly three quarters of young women (25 and under) have painful periods. That’s a lot of ladies who curl up in the fetal position once a month trying not to scream/pass out from the pain of their shedding uterine lining. In another study, this one published by YouGov in 2017, 42 per cent of women in the workforce say their periods can be so intense that it negatively impacts their job performance.
Period pain shouldn’t be downplayed, but there are ways to help your period feel less intense. From magnesium to cannabis and, yup, even orgasms — here are five ways to feel better during your period.
Disclaimer: This information shouldn’t be used in place of medical advice; always consult your doctor before starting any new health regime.
Use a cannabis-based topical cream
Cannabis-infused creams as well as lotions or sprays are transdermal methods of consumption. Because they’re being absorbed by the skin and work with the CB2 receptors in the body, they won’t get you high, as they don’t usually reach the bloodstream. They are said to, however, relieve pain and discomfort, be it from intense period pain or something like fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions.
Whoopi Goldberg has an entire line of cannabis-infused products, including a topical, specifically geared towards mitigating menstrual pain. Topicals can be tricky to find in Canada and will be part of the second phase of legalization that rolls out in October.
RELATED: I tried it: 15 cannabis-infused beauty and hair products.
Have an orgasm
We’re not talking some intense intercourse with a partner. Instead, try self pleasure, so you’re in control.
“One study found that vaginal self-stimulation increased women’s pain threshold by 47 per cent,” notes Schlaff.
SEE ALSO: 11 sex myths everyone thinks are true.
Focus on deep breathing
Diaphragm breathing (also known as deep breathing) is when you breathe purposefully from the base of your belly rather than in your chest. To ensure you’re engaging your diaphragm when you breathe, Schlaff recommends putting both hands over your lower rib cage and ensuring that you feel them rise and fall.
“Breathing in this way will shift your body out of the fight/flight/freeze nervous system that responds to pain (sympathetic nervous system) and move you into the relaxation rest and digest (parasympathetic nervous system),” explains Schlaff. “Your diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles are also connected, as you breathe in using your diaphragm, your pelvic floor muscles will relax and lengthen and receive blood flow.”
Insert a CBD suppository
Suppositories are sometimes made with cocoa butter and infused with 100 mg of hemp-derived CBD oil — so you won’t get high. It’s said that they take about 20 minutes after insertion for the calming effects to kick in and for your pain to decrease. Don’t take one for the first time and expect to be a fully functional human. There can be some drippage from the melting pill and it’s possible that you’ll feel relaxed and possibly sleepy.
If this is something you’d like to explore, consider talking to your doctor.
SEE ALSO: 12 natural remedies to help relieve anxiety.
Increase your magnesium
“Trials of magnesium supplements showed to be more effective than the placebo for pain relief,” says Jeanette Kimszal, a registered dietitian and nutritionist.
It’s important to note that this particular study didn’t determine exactly how much magnesium was needed to reduce period pain, so consult your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: A cannabis connoisseur's guide to Toronto.