9 best drinks to deal with period cramps

Period cramps in the lower abdomen every month is common. The good news is that there are some healthy drinks for period cramp relief.

It may have crossed your mind at least once to wish menstrual cycles came without the period cramps! Isn’t it? Well, menstrual cramps are commonly experienced by women in their reproductive years. The abdominal pain can be mild or severe, depending on factors such as hormonal fluctuations, genetics, and underlying medical conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids. There are lifestyle factors such as stress, diet, and exercise that can impact the severity of the pain and discomfort. Women often try hot compress to reduce the pain or pop pills to deal with it. But you could also go for healthy drinks for period cramp relief.

Why do women have period cramps?

Women experience period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, due to the natural process of menstruation, says gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Vinatha Puli. During menstruation, the uterus contracts to help expel its lining, which is shed along with blood through the vagina. The contractions get triggered when certain chemicals called prostaglandins get released. They are hormone-like substances that play a role in inflammation and pain. During periods, the levels of prostaglandins rise up, causing the muscles of the uterus to contract strongly. This increased uterine muscle activity can result in cramping sensations in the lower abdomen or pelvis.

Woman experiencing period cramps
Period cramps are common. Image courtesy: Freepik

Dysmenorrhoea occurs in 50 to 90 percent of women in the reproductive phase, according to a research published in the Menopause Review in 2021. While period cramps are a normal part of menstruation for many women, severe or debilitating cramps may indicate an underlying medical condition that needs your attention.

What are the best drinks to manage period cramps?

There are many healthy drinks that may help alleviate period cramps due to their potential anti-inflammatory, soothing, or hydrating properties, says the expert. Here are some that can help –

1. Water

It may sound basic, but staying hydrated can help reduce bloating and water retention, which can exacerbate period cramps. Also, proper hydration can help maintain overall bodily functions and may ease muscle tension.

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2. Herbal teas

Herbal teas are known for their soothing properties. Chamomile tea may help relax muscles and reduce inflammation, while peppermint tea may have pain-relieving and muscle-relaxant effects.

3. Ginger tea

Ginger tea can provide relief among women with dysmenorrhea, as per a 2019 study published in the Journal of Health and Allied Sciences NU. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate menstrual pain by reducing prostaglandin levels, which contribute to uterine contractions.

4. Warm lemon water

Lemon water may help balance pH (power of hydrogen) levels in the body and promote hydration. Also, lemon contains vitamin C, which has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce bloating.

5. Turmeric milk

Turmeric has curcumin, which is a compound with potent anti-inflammatory effects. Drinking turmeric milk may help reduce inflammation and ease period cramps, says Dr Puli.

6. Warm milk

We know that milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. Drinking warm milk can also have a soothing effect and may help relax muscles.

Woman experiencing period cramps
Different types of tea and juices can reduce period pain. Image courtesy: Freepik

7. Cherry juice

Cherries contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as anthocyanins. They may help reduce inflammation and alleviate period pain.

8. Green tea

People on a weight-loss journey swear by green tea. Drinking green tea may also help reduce inflammation and ease menstrual discomfort. It has catechins, known for anti-inflammatory properties.

9. Cinnamon tea

Cinnamon tea may help alleviate menstrual cramps, as it has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. It may provide relief by reducing inflammation and muscle contractions.

You can consume these drinks throughout the day as desired, especially during menstruation. Just listen to your body and drink them as needed to alleviate discomfort.

While these drinks may provide some temporary relief for period cramps, individual responses can vary. It is always a good idea to consult with a gynaecologist to ensure that these drinks are safe for you, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. For example, peppermint tea may worsen symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux in some women. Ginger tea may cause heartburn, upset stomach, or diarrhea, especially when consumed in excessive amounts.