8 Ways to Relieve Period Cramps | Girl Talk Tuesday

8 Ways to Relieve Period Cramps | Girl Talk Tuesday

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8 Ways to Relieve Period Gramps - Girl talk

How to treat menstrual cramps Girl Talk Tuesday Angela Lanter Hello Gorgeous

I’ve been MIA, I know.  But hopefully you’ve noticed my new website?!  Hello Gorgeous got a beautiful new facelift thanks to my web design extraordinaire, Chase Jennings.  The new design coupled with my travel back home to LA (Yes, I’m currently writing this post from the comfort of my own home in LA!) has set me back a bit.  But, guess what?  It’s my favorite day of the week…  It’s Girl Talk Tuesday!

How to treat menstrual cramps Girl Talk Tuesday Angela Lanter Hello Gorgeous

If you missed last week’s post, we chatted about “11 Things Succesful Women Do Everday” and before that, we talked about “Insecurity.”  Both of these topics received fantastic response from you, my readers, which I really appreciate.  I love getting feedback and knowing what you are enjoying as well as what not’s really working.  Your responses teach me so much, so please keep them coming!

Today, I’m throwing y’all a curveball.  We’re still very much doing Girl Talk, but we’re talking about the real girl stuff.  We’re tackling cramps.

As many of you know, I suffer from Endometriosis.  One of the main symptoms for an Endo patient is menstrual cramps.  Not the “Oh, I feel yucky because I have cramps” kind.  But the “My innards feel as though they are being violently ripped out of my body and I have no choice but to lie here in severe agony” kind.  I’m not exaggerating.  I have felt level 10 pain during a cycle that makes you think, “This is it.  This is how it all ends for me.  I’m going to die from cramps.”

Being that I have years of experience under my belt, I wanted to share some of my cramp hacks with you.  I have tried anything and everything to get the pain to a manageable level, so I’m going to tell you which things have actually worked for me.

Before we get started, I wanted to say that I did a small Google search on this topic before writing this post and I was really surprised to see that there were no bloggers talking about this health concern.  I gotta say, I’m kinda disappointed because I know so many women deal with this nightmare monthly.  I only found health websites (Hello WebMD, my worst nightmare because it always leads me to believe I have a terminal illness) or websites such as Always or Tampax.  Maybe I’m the only honest blogger out there?  Or maybe I’m just way too open…  Either way, I know that when I have a health issue, one of the first things I do is hop on the internet looking for answers or tips.  I’m hoping this helps some of my readers the next time that they have to endure the worst time of the month.

My Cramps Treatments + Hacks:

  1. Pain killers.  Such a duh, right?  Wrong.  I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to pain.  I feel like if I can just “wait it out” then the pain will pass, so I don’t really need that Advil.  So dumb.  I’m not sure why I make myself suffer.  The older I get, the less patience I have for pain, so I’ve learned to pop an Advil at the first sign of cramps to keep them from progressing to the point of losing my legs (not being able to walk due to the pain).
  2. Heating Pad.  AKA: My best friend 2-3 days every month.  Heat helps to relieve the pain for me.  Some months I’ll have back cramps, others I can tell you exactly where my ovaries are located.  This heating pad is my favorite one ever.  It’s extra large so it’ll wrap around your back or belly easily.  I talk about it more in this video.
  3. Warm drinks.  Pick your poison: tea, coffee, cocoa…  Anything hot seems to help, as long as you’re not nauseous.  There are special tea blends that are supposed to help at this time of the month, but I’m a coffee drinker so I haven’t tried any of those.
  4. ThermaCare Wraps.  You know those days that you have cramps but you can’t do what you really need/want to and stay in bed?  I know those days.  I hate those days.  I had days when I had excruciating pain but couldn’t miss a class/shift/appointment.  These handy little heated wraps are really something.  When you need relief without a cord (heating pad) then these really are worth every penny.  They don’t get as hot as I’d like them to for as long as I’d like them to, but they do the job.
  5. Hot Foot Bath.  This one is an old wive’s tale that my mom taught me, and her mom taught her.  And it really does stinkin’ work.  When I would be on the floor in a crumpled ball crying from the pain, my mom would fill the bath tub with 1-2″ of the hottest water she could get.  She would then dip my feet in the water for about 10 seconds, then take them out and repeat this several times.  The hot water on your feet does this magical pain relief that I can’t explain.  Obviously, don’t use water hot enough to actually burn your skin, but the hottest that you can safely stand.  After the foot bath, next my mom would…
  6. Take a hot bath.  My mom would then fill the tub up with hot water and make me sit in it to relax.  Hot baths really do help to melt away the pain, stiffness in your body and also worries from the day.  This is my absolute favorite bubble bath.  The lavender scent helps to add to the relaxing experience.
  7. Get comfy.  Get in your softest, comfiest clothes.  Be sure to keep your feet warm, even if the means using the heating pad on them.  There really is something about cold feet and cramps, I haven’t done any research on this, but for me it’s a real thing.  I’ll link my favorite comfy clothes and socks below.
  8. Clear your mind.  The last thing you need is stress on top of the pain.  You need happy thoughts, so turn on your favorite chick flick because, girlfriend, it’s time to relax.

These are things that I’ve personally tried and have found work for me.  What is your remedy for cramps?  Do you get them regularly?  If so, do you have to miss any work or school for them?  I missed at least one day every single month of school then work before I had my first Endometriosis surgery.  I still get cramps monthly, but they’re no where near as bad as they once were.  Mine are now manageable.  I just overall feel like I have the flu the first day or two with cramps, headache and lethargy.

If you have any topic suggestions that you would like to see my take on for future Girl Talk Tuesdays, please leave them in the comments section.

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66 comments
  • Katelyn October 25, 2016 at 11:49 PM

    Again with the amazing GTT!! I love how honest you are with us it always makes me feel like I’m out for coffee with a friend! I have awful period cramps and get extremely nauseous from them as well (gotta love prescription pain meds though), but the one thing i always find helps a bit is cuddling up in a blaket/in bed on my side and holding my stomach! Idk if this is just me but i find just having my hand where the pain is helps ease it ever so slightly!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 2:02 AM

      Thanks so much, Katelyn! I’m so glad you like it!
      Try a heating pad next time. I think you’ll find it really helps! xoxo

  • Lisa October 26, 2016 at 4:32 AM

    Hi Angela,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with your readers and keeping it real. It makes me feel better knowing that I am not the only one suffering from bad cramps. The first day is the worst and I have to cancel all my commitments and stay home. Heating pads are definitely a life saver for me. Even my toddler understands that mommy doesn’t feel well and places the heating pad on my stomach whenever I lay down ☺️

    Give herbal teas a try. I prefer drinking coffee but during my period I always switch to chamomile tea and it really helps with the cramping.

    Xoxo!!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 10:33 AM

      Hi Lisa! I know I really need to give tea a try. There are certain teas I drink, but that’s just because I know I should lol!

  • Rachel M October 26, 2016 at 6:32 AM

    I feel you on the cramps! I was put on birth control in my teens due to severe cramping and missing school, so it was fine for several years. Once I went off of it about 4 years ago they came back with a vengeance! I actually bought that heating pad last year after you shared it on YT, I love it but still wish it was bigger. I could use one the size of an actual blanket haha. Thanks for sharing!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 10:48 AM

      Oh man, I feel for you, sweet girl! Cramps really are the absolute worst. I’m glad you like the heating pad! Matt bought me an awesome heated blanket last year from Amazon that I love!

  • Kate October 26, 2016 at 8:10 AM

    I too suffer from bad cramps. Ive never taken pain meds until the past month because I thought I could live through the pain. This time I was tired od being miserable, so I took chewable ibuprofen….I know I’m a baby. It made the world of a difference. Didn’t feel uncomfortable at all….it was great not feeling like you’re going to die
    -Kate
    Katekoutures.blogspot.com

  • Brooke Brady October 26, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    I used to get pretty bad cramps as well and this may sound odd but after I had my children, I never get cramps anymore, only once in a while I will get some discomfort. It was a trade off though bc I don’t get cramps however my periods are much much heavier which is also is crappy lol. I always heard they could stop once you have a child but never really believed it until now. When I would get cramps before kids I always used a heating pad as well, and took Advil, which was the only thing that seemed to help for me! Great post and I love the realness!

  • Elizabete October 26, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Thanks for the awesome post, Angela!
    I myself have had a good deal of terrible cramps (I have PCOS), and to be honest, I try to avoid any NSAIDs including Advil, unless I absolutely need to take it , for example, if I have to be out and about all day and don’t have time to medicate otherwise. Over time, your body gets used to NSAIDs, just like anything else, and you may need a bigger dose and won’t be able to get through the period without the Advil. I know we’re all guilty of this, it is a quick fix, but has negative long term effects on your health. What I’ve been doing is acupuncture, as well as teas; I like Pukka’s Womankind. There are also several herbal blends, both in the form of capsules and tincture, this is one that you can buy in LA: https://www.herbdoc.com/female-plus-2oz.html

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 11:21 AM

      I’ve been wanting to try acupuncture for so long! What all do you get acupuncture for? Just menstrual cramps or other health concerns as well?

      • Elizabete October 27, 2016 at 6:53 PM

        I started acupuncture after I was diagnosed with PCOS, but the acupuncturist helps me with whatever issues I might have – whether it’s cramps, poor sleep, stress, digestion problems – whatever has been going on between now and the previous appointment. Our main goal is to have somewhat regular periods, which is hard to achieve with PCOS, but generally speaking most acupuncturists should be able to address more than just one health concern. I was very scared to try it at first, I thought that having a body covered in needles would be painful, but it is honestly the most relaxing thing ever! I always fall asleep when she is done putting the needles in, I highly recommend you at least try and see if it’s something you like 🙂

        • Angela Lanter October 28, 2016 at 10:51 AM

          I’m definitely going to look into it! Have you researched different herbs for regulating your period? I was on one in particular that really helped my cycle but it gave me migraines. I’m testing another one out now!

          • Elizabete October 29, 2016 at 11:33 AM

            Currently I am on Vitex, but have tried many, including ayurvedic herbs. Nothing has worked in the long run though. Do you have anything specific to suggest? I’d love to see a blog post on this topic! Also, I’m more than happy to recommend my acupuncturist, she’s in Santa Monica

          • Angela Lanter November 1, 2016 at 3:05 PM

            I’m taking Vitex right now too. I loved the results I saw from Estero-Block until I started getting migraines from it. So far, no side effects for me from Vitex. I did read you have to be on Vitex consistently for +3 months in order for it to really start taking effect…

  • Sarah Peden October 26, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    I suffered from horrible cramps and long periods all my life so I have used a lot of these methods to get relief. One thing I would recommend is taking Aleve. My doctor told me the best medication to take was Aleve. I have tried midol, Advil, and many others but nothing has been as good as Aleve. Also my mom always told me that I would feel better if I just got up and moved around. At first I didn’t believe her because all I wanted to do was curl up with a heated blanket. Eventually I figured out she was right. After doing light exercise or going on a brisk walk with my dog I felt a lot better.

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 11:22 AM

      I’m an Aleve fan. We always had Aleve at our house while I was growing up.
      Sometimes activity would help me, other times it would make my cramps worse. It’s funny how your body responds to different things at different times!

    • Laura October 29, 2016 at 4:31 PM

      I agree about moving around, even though it’s really hard to make myself. When I was in college I had to walk everywhere and I would only feel bad maybe 3 hours out of the whole period. Now it’s more like a whole day or two where I don’t want to do anything.

  • Emily October 26, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    I love the new look of the site! Heating pads are my best friend for cramps and you’re so right about the Advil. I have to get ahead of it rather than waiting until I’m just so miserable!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 1:08 PM

      Thanks so much, Emily! I wanted to give it a facelift that made the site more user-friendly, especially for my mobile readers!
      Heating pads are our saving grace during that time of the month. Amiright?!

  • sarah October 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM

    i love this. so much useful information! i can’t wait to put some of these tips to use. well, i mean i guess i’d prefer to not have to, but that’s pretty inevitable.

    a couple things that have worked for me, is my gyno put me on a naproxen (aleve) regimen for my period week. i have prescription strength pills and take one every 12 hours starting an entire 24 hours before i would normally start getting cramps (i typically start getting them two days before my period starts, so i start the regimen 3 days prior.) it helps SO MUCH starting before there’s any cramp symptoms.
    also chicken broth helps me. i know there’s something about it that’s supposed to relieve the muscle pain or something but i feel like it’s more of a comfort food than anything else. my personal comfort fave is ramen noodles (the kind in the packet, not the bowl) and i add in some frozen peas and corn, and poach an egg right in the pot with the broth and noodles.

    thank you so much for these super personal posts. they’re so relatable and give me tips i can use in my everyday life.

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 7:19 PM

      I hear ya, Sarah! I would be happy to never experience cramps again in my lifetime!

      That’s so great that you have a plan in place to prevent unnecessary pain. SO smart!

      🙂

  • Alexandra K. October 26, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    Hi Angela!
    I absolutely love your girl talk Tuesdays because I feel like sometimes blogs are just all happy and we all know that’s not all of us all the time. Something that has helped me a great deal is Evening Primrose Oil. I take the BlueBonnet brand and get it from Amazon to store in my fridge. They are supplements that have omega 6 oils and it is a plant infused oil which helps with bloating. This is not something a doctor recommended for me. This is something I tried after being tired of the girl who couldn’t get out of bed because she has such bad cramps. You have to be consistent with it though. Take it like you would a vitamin. (I have my own vitamin organizer because I’m that OCD ?) Sometimes they’re still bad but it like before. Hope this helps!
    Alexandra

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 7:20 PM

      I’ve read a lot about Evening Primrose Oil and was actually taking it for a while. I feel like there are so many supplements out there that are great for females to take. I’m currently testing out Vitex.
      I have a vitamin organizer too! It just makes life easier!!

  • Ellie October 26, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    Love this!! I defiantly recommend indulging in some dark chocolate if you haven’t already tried that. Chocolate bars with at least 65% cacao in them contain magnesium, which fights cramps…yummy & helpful!!
    xoxo Ellie

  • Olivia October 26, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    Hi Angela!

    Thank you for raising this conversation! It’s a very real part of life that shouldn’t be embarrassing to discuss!

    I once read on the back of an Always packet that it helps to put a pillow or something of substantial width between your thighs and press them into it! I tried it once and it’s not a miracle cure but it definitely takes the focus away from the pain!

    Really hope you find some relief!

    Love your blog & videos, keep at it girl! Xxx

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 7:22 PM

      That’s an interesting suggestion! You’re so right. I’m not sure why PMS talk is so taboo when it’s our health and every woman deals with it!!

  • Shelly Bricker October 26, 2016 at 2:41 PM

    Oh Angela!! What a wonderful post! As a former Endo sufferer, this is great! Former sufferer? Yep, my stage 4 endo resulted in a total hysterectomy & the inability to have kids- so please, if any of you are suffering severe cramps & think that’s just the way it is, talk to your doctor!!! I always figured my cramps were ‘normal’ because all girls get cramps, right? Wrong!! It was too late for me, don’t let it happen to you! Oh, and the reason heat on your back helps is because all of your uterus’ nerve endings start from the L2-L4 vertebrae in your back & they end in your feet! Makes sense as to why your warm foot bath helps! For nausea, I love the peanut butter ginger chews from Chimes! It’s kinda like candy (but it’s natural ingredients) & makes me feel better!! You’re posts are awesome! God bless!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 7:23 PM

      Thanks Shelly! You’re so right. I just had this convo with a girl in NYC last week that horrific cramps are not normal. So many moms and doctors brush teenage girls off, but it shouldn’t be ignored!

      I gotta look into those chews!! 🙂

  • Aisha Muhammed Ali October 26, 2016 at 5:05 PM

    When I get my cramps I wear warm clothes and I have a blanket over my stomach. I also take meds if the cramps hurts alot. My advice is to keep your stomach warm With clothes and a blanket. Those days I go to work I can not take with me my blanket so the cramping does hurt When I don’t have the blanket to warm up my stomach. Also a warm bath helps, the seacret is to keep the stomach warm 🙂

  • Katie October 26, 2016 at 5:38 PM

    I love your girl talk Tuesdays! This one came at the perfect time…I never thought to lay in the bath. I’ve been having the worst cramps tonight and because I read your post this morning I told myself get in the bath! The first day always just makes me feel disgusting anyways so I’m loving this bath remedy!

    When I was in high school, I never had cramps and then bam one day they just came and now I dread which day they’ll come each month!!

    Love all these ideas and I’ll have to try some other ones, too! I usually just take some pamprin in the morning and then again at night 🙂

    Can’t wait to read your next one!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 7:25 PM

      Thanks Katie!! So glad you like this new series. 🙂

      Hot baths are my cure for so many things… Especially a bad or stressful day!

  • Lindsay Kooger October 26, 2016 at 9:25 PM

    I’m gonna share this with two people I know who struggle with E. (Long word to try and guess how to spell)

    Also for my less insane cramps I use essential oils! Young Living is an amazing company and I order every single month. I use lavender, peppermint or purification directly on my stomach where the cramps are and I don’t usually need Advil anymore. I NEVER take Advil anymore for my headaches because i use lavender and peppermint together in a roll on.. magic! Let me know if you want a hook up!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 11:51 PM

      Haha I always just shorten it to Endo and make my life way easier, lol! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

      I love essential oils. I have a certain oil blend I use for headaches that is out of this world!

  • Aubrey October 26, 2016 at 10:37 PM

    Hi Angela!!

    First off, love the honesty with this post– so relatable! I hope it’s something you continue!

    As for periods, mine are rather irregular, but when they do come they are absolutely horribly heavy! I remember being in junior high having to change a super plus every half hour! So inconvenient. I found that Advil helped lighten the flow, so I took it often more for that than cramps. Hot baths are also my absolute saviour too!! I must have at least twice a day when it’s that time.

    Again, thanks for such a wonderfully honest post!

    • Angela Lanter October 26, 2016 at 11:52 PM

      Thanks Aubrey!! Ugh, girl I feel your pain. I was like that before I went on birth control. I’m so glad you like this new series. 🙂

  • Aubrey October 26, 2016 at 10:38 PM

    Oops, also forgot to say hope you enjoyed (or are still enjoying?) Vancouver! I grew up there, so I hope us rain-goers left a good impression!

  • Mary October 27, 2016 at 12:41 AM

    Hey Angela! I’ve had cramps so bad to the point where they go down to my leg. I feel like these tips will really help me. I never thought about the warm drink thing. That’ll be good, especially during the winter months!

  • Cassidy October 27, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    To releve cramps I do some light stretches of my abdominal area. You start by putting hands out and up against the wall and leaning forward leaving space for your belly to stretch towards the wall. This is such a great trick for cramps! one of my friend’s mom taught me this in high school. Been doing it ever since! xx

  • Jennifer October 27, 2016 at 12:17 PM

    I hate cramps with a major passion. I never really got them in high school but now that I am 23, I get them during every cycle. I feel like someone is stabbing me with a knife. It is terrible. Usually I just take Advil to relieve the pain but I only take it once the pain is excruciating. You would think I would learn by lesson by now and take it before the pain starts.

    I’ve never used a heating pad but I think I may start next month! Thank you so much for girl talk Tuesday. It’s so great to hear my favorite blogger pour out her hearts to her readers. I can’t wait to read your next post! 🙂

    • Angela Lanter October 27, 2016 at 3:48 PM

      Ugh, girl, ME TOO!! That was always my problem, waiting till the pain got too bad then being MISERABLE!
      Girlfriend, heating pads changed my periods. Like, for real! Get one and let me know if it helps you like it does me!
      Thanks so much!! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying GTT! xoxo

  • Nachele October 27, 2016 at 1:34 PM

    Hello!

    I ended up here from your Snapchat cause you said you were receiving problems with and I never thought I would find a post talking about what I deal with monthly. I’ve read into this Endometriosis and plan to get checked for as soon as I can, because the pain is quite unbearable. My grandma even bought me a heating pad and it just irritates me so bad. Medicine works sometimes but my body builds up a quick tolerance to medicine, so either I have to take more than required which leaves me sleep for 8 hours and extra medication in my body or my parents have to find something new which is costly?. Hopefully the doctors will be able to help as with my other health issues. But I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to educate and help other women about cramps??

    • Angela Lanter October 27, 2016 at 3:53 PM

      Oh girl! I’m so glad you came over from Snapchat, but I hate that you have bad cramps. They are the one thing that can consistently wreck at least one day every single month. Try the hot foot bath next time and see if that helps at all. I have a very close girlfriend who has the same problem with pain meds and she’s still looking for something that will provide a bit of relief. Hoping you find something that makes your periods less painful!!

      PS- I hope you venture over here to my blog more often because I write girl talk posts every week. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter so you can get the posts sent straight to your email inbox. 🙂

  • Merriann October 27, 2016 at 8:05 PM

    I have extremely light periods (can we say pantiliner only.) All I have is a little cramping but 800 mg of ibuprofen solves that.

    The best advice is azurette..birth control pills. They are absolutely the best. It is what my doctor put me on after I had my son. Is is by far the best thing I ever did. I love the fact that I now have extremely light periods.

    • Angela Lanter October 28, 2016 at 10:52 AM

      I was on birth control for the past 7 years. I had to come off because they were causing migraines for me unfortunately. 🙁

  • Noel October 27, 2016 at 8:27 PM

    Thanks for the tips! Cramps are the worst!

  • Angelica October 28, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Cramps are the worst !!!! I don’t get them as bad as you do (praying for ya lol) but I find as I’m going into my later twenties my cramps are getting worse ! Advil always helps but I have to use the heating pad more often I always forget How well that bad boy works lol … PS… I always love the topics you choose ! I know you like suggestions… I don’t know you personally but I feel like you’re a friend in my head ! I see the things you post about your about your hubby and it looks like you guys have a great relationship! It would be cool if you did a post about a what a heathy relationship is all about! I struggle with finding a nice guy ! Xo

    • Angela Lanter November 1, 2016 at 3:03 PM

      They really are the worst! I may be diving into the relationship world for GTT, I’m just not sure what exactly and how I want to tackle it yet. 🙂

  • Sofia October 28, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    Loving this series! My mom suffers from endo, and I know that it is extremely painful, I’m so sorry you have to go through that. I have interstitial cystitis, which is excruciating pain of my bladder. I know it isn’t the same, but do you think any of these would help? If not I will absolutely be using them for my what feels like never-ending periods. I appreciate your suggestions and thank you for sharing.

    • Angela Lanter November 1, 2016 at 3:04 PM

      Thanks Sofia! Ugh, I feel her pain! My best friend and cousin both have IC, which is also horrible! I think heating pads are great for any type of discomfort honestly…

  • Laura October 29, 2016 at 4:21 PM

    My cousin made me a foot warmer (flannel and deer feed corn kernels) but I use it as a cordless option to help my cramps while I fall asleep!! It’s about 1’6″ by 5″ and depending how full you fill it, microwave it about 1 min 45 seconds 🙂

  • Anonymous November 14, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Thanks for always approaching negative situations with a positive, “we can manage this”, outlook.My daughter and I appreciate your transparency. Looking forward to Tuesdays.

  • Lisa November 21, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    Icy hot the gel kind works wonders for cramps.

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