So, it’s time for the monthly treat that is period pain.
The hot water bottle and the Advil are ready to go, but you might be wondering if there’s anything else that can ease the ache.
Are there drinks that help with period cramps?
We give you the lowdown.
In this article: 📝
- What causes period cramps?
- What drinks should you drink on your period?
- Is cranberry juice good for cramps?
- Is coffee bad for period cramps?
- What else helps with period cramps?
What causes period cramps?
Around the time your period begins, the lining of your uterus (aka the endometrium) releases some hormone-like substances compounds called prostaglandins.
This helps your uterus relax and contract, so it can shed its lining—which then exits your vagina as your period blood.
All good. All necessary.
The problem (according to current scientific understanding) comes when your body produces too many of these prostaglandins.
This can cause your uterus to contract too strongly, reduce blood flow to the area, and reduce the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue there.
All this can cause cramping and pain.
Recent research suggests that inflammation may also play a role in period pain.
Note: Period cramps that are especially severe could be caused by an underlying health condition, such as endometriosis. So if that sounds like your experience, we encourage you to get in touch with your doctor.
What drinks should you drink on your period?
So, what drinks help with period cramps?
Let’s take a look at five different beverages that could play a role in pain relief:
Yes, it’s simple, but water really is one of the best drinks for period cramps.
Drinking plenty of water each day keeps you hydrated, helps ease uncomfortable bloating, and may even make period pain less intense.
Try warming it up before you drink it to help increase blood flow and relax your muscles.
This could ease period pain caused by uterine contractions.
2. Peppermint tea
One 2016 study showed that peppermint extract can reduce the intensity of period cramps.
Peppermint oil taken from the herb’s leaves contains the compound menthol, which has a relaxing effect on your muscles.
Peppermint tea is also great for settling your stomach if you experience any digestive issues around your period.
3. Chamomile tea
Chamomile flowers have been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years.
But more recent research has shown that the herb can effectively treat PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps.
Chamomile tea also has a calming effect if PMS gives you a few too many feels to cope with.
4. Ginger tea
Ginger root is not only tasty but also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease your period pain.
You can make your own ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger in hot water.
Add some honey if you need a little sweetness with the spice!
A 2009 study demonstrated that ginger can relieve period cramps as effectively as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid.
(Though it’s important to note that the study used ginger capsules, which will have a higher concentration of ginger than ginger tea.)
5. Fresh fruit smoothie (with added veggies!)
A fruit smoothie is a great way to top up your nutrients and give you an energy boost during your period. But can it help with cramps?
Well, growing evidence suggests that low magnesium levels play a role in period pain—and raising your magnesium levels may help prevent cramps.
So, try adding some magnesium-rich ingredients to your smoothie.
Spinach, kale, ground linseed, cashew milk, and almond milk are all excellent choices.
This isn’t a quick-fix cure for cramps, though.
Your magnesium levels will need to build up over time for it to make a difference.
Is cranberry juice good for cramps?
Cranberry juice is a source of magnesium—and getting enough magnesium in your diet, as we saw above, may improve your cramps (just not instantly).
So it can’t hurt to pour yourself a glass if you like it.
Is coffee bad for period cramps?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends avoiding caffeine to help relieve PMS symptoms, but not specifically period cramps.
If you feel that drinking caffeinated drinks (like coffee, black tea, or cola) is making your cramps worse, then you can always cut back for a day or two.
And, if you want the comfort of a hot drink but without the caffeine, why not try one of the herbal infusions above instead?
Hopefully, they’ll bring some relief from your cramps, too.
What else helps with period cramps?
It depends on you and your body.
Some of our Peanut community find taking a couple of paracetamol helps ease the pain.
Others turn to yoga or exercise as a distraction.
And some have found pain relief in products specifically made for period pain, like the OOVI pulse therapy kit, which they say can make period pain disappear instantly.
Ultimately, there are multiple things that can help with period cramps, but finding what works for you will take trial and error.
If you’ve exhausted all your known avenues, why not ask the Peanut community?
And remember, if the pain is too much to handle and affects your day-to-day life, seek medical attention to find out if anything more serious might be going on underneath the surface.
Some period pain is to be expected (within reason), but normalizing severe pain shouldn’t be.
We hope you find what works for you.