Painful menstrual cramps interfere with the daily lives of at least one in five women. The absolute worst feeling is when Aunt Flow pays you a visit before a big vacation, and you’re forced to deal with PMS symptoms during your family vacation, that romantic getaway or the long-awaited girls trip.
My senior year of highschool I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Europe with my school. Unfortunately for me, this trip coincided with my monthly cycle, and I was pleased to find myself a victim of relentlessly painful cramps. Had I known what I know now, the vacation could have been a much more pleasant experience, and myself a much more pleasant person.
After spending the entire day in excruciating pain, it was time for my class to stop at the Palace of Versailles for a guided tour, to walk the same halls that once housed the likes of Kings, Queens, and Kimye. As we perused the elaborate embellished hallways, I experienced menstrual cramps that were unrivalled to anything I had ever felt before. I was doubled over with pain, feeling that I was forced to suffer in silence, and feeling guilty that the once in a lifetime opportunity should’ve detracted from the debilitating pain.
For some women, the pain from menstrual cramps can be as painful as having a heart attack.
As more research is being done into the causes and cures of painful cramps, women are turning to natural remedies, and some old fashioned TLC of body and mind. You can combat the PMS blues and make the best of a trip, even if you’re on your period.
Here as some of the ways to prevent and treat pain to ensure a more enjoyable vacation experience:
Ibuprofen and Naproxen can be used alone to reduce cramping in the uterus, lighten the flow of blood, and relieve discomfort. However, for many women, this alone just won’t cut it, pain from cramps can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and pain of this severity cannot be contained with such a simple solution.
Evening Primrose Oil is a natural remedy with remarkable healing properties. The primrose oil contains essential fatty acids including GLA, which “support regular hormone functioning and can help to lessen menstrual cramps”. This natural remedy can work to reduce the “breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, acne, depression, irritability, foggy thinking and headaches” that accompany your period, to help you get out of your PMS blues and into your bathing suit on vacation this summer.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, made from the leaves of raspberries, has been proven to “aid in fertility, regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce menstrual cramps”.You don’t need to be locked up in the hotel due to excruciating pain, just make yourself a cup, and “the tannins in raspberry leaf give it astringent properties which make it soothing both internally and externally”Further, Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy packed with nutrients you may be lacking during your time of the month, “including iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium, vitamins B1, B3, C, and E”.
Black Cohosh, a plant used in herbal medicines is used to balance hormones that are thrown out of order during your period. It can also be used as a pain treatment, as “the Native Americans used black cohosh for muscle pain because it is a natural painkiller”, and it can be used to treat ”cramping, excessive bleeding, unusual or abnormal bleeding, headaches, water retention and hormone imbalance” caused by your period.
Valerian Root is a herbal remedy and “nerve tonic to help with the pull you out of distress, restlessness, and downright hysteria” that come with mood swings during that time of the month. Valerian root is also an excellent pain reliever to help kick painful menstrual cramps to the curb and get back to feeling like your fabulous self.
With these tips in your repertoire, pack a few of these natural remedies in your suitcase for your next trip, and don’t let your period “cramp” your style this summer.
Rumneek is a Communications and Business student with a passion for journalism, sports, feminism, and empowering women in all stages and aspects of life. Her favourite stories to tell are those that shed light on the very real experiences women encounter on a regular basis, as well as opening up greater conversations on issues traditionally stigmatized in society such as sexism, racism, and mental health. Lover of bad puns, Shonda Rhimes TV Shows, and wine. Funny on occasion, mostly by accident.