Natural Period Cramp Relief + Why You Should Never Buy Traditional Pain Killers Again
*Some links to these natural period cramp relief products are affiliate links. If you click on them & purchase a product, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
You know that feeling:
Day 1 of your cycle. You wake up with some serious abdominal cramping.
The sign that Aunt Flo is in town.
You reach for an Advil or a Motrin to ease your period cramps. A couple of hours later, you pop another one.
The issue with this picture?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not a benign pain killer.
In fact, they can have some serious consequences. They’re not something you want to be putting into your body everyday of your period for the rest of your pre-menopausal life.
I’ll explain why in a bit.
So, what can you use instead?
After reading this article, you’ll walk away learning:
why you should never use NSAIDs for period pain relief ever again (seriously, go throw it away);
the real cause of your period pain;
and the natural period cramp relief products you can use instead.
Let’s get into it.
NSAIDs: Is Advil Bad for You?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are OTC medicines that are used frequently, not only to relive period pain, but for all sorts of other pains, too.
They work by inhibiting a class of enzymes called cyclooxygenases (COX). These enzymes interact with arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) to produce pro-inflammatory molecules. These are called prostaglandins.
There are two types of COX enzymes: COX1 and COX2. By inhibiting their activity, NSAIDs reduce the production of prostaglandins. This reduces inflammation, leading to relief of pain caused by inflammation.
Sounds great, right?
Well, this reduction of inflammation isn’t so benign.
In fact, the inhibition of COX enzymes can increase the risk of stomach ulcers and GI bleeding (1).
COX-2 enzymes also specifically create beneficial prostaglandins that are important for dilating blood vessels, protecting the heart (2). This is why the drug Vioxx was pulled off of shelves: it was a powerful COX2 inhibitor which caused serious heart issues (3).
Although NSAIDs currently on the market aren’t anywhere near as powerful at inhibiting COX2 enzymes, it doesn’t mean they don’t come with their risks. In fact, certain genetic polymorphisms may predispose you to NSAID adverse effects (4).
Bottom line is:
If you can avoid them, you probably should. Why wait for long-term studies suggesting a danger with their use if there are natural products that are just as effective?
And I promise you, there really are.
And knowing the real cause of your period pain will help you better understand how.
The Real Cause of Your Period Cramp Pain
Here’s how it all works:
Period cramps help to promote the shedding of the uterine lining. This is caused by the production of prostaglandins.
In fact, researchers believe that an excess of inflammatory molecules may actually be the cause of painful periods (5).
Sure, you could use NSAIDs to prevent their production.
But, what if you could lower the production of inflammatory molecules naturally?
You lower the levels of the fatty acid needed to produce inflammatory molecules: arachidonic acid.
And you reduce the expression of COX enzymes by down-regulating the transcription factor that creates them: NF-κB (6).
This is the premise of the natural methods I’m about to show you.
Natural Period Cramp Relief: Reduce Period Pain Naturally
You already know:
Arachidonic acid is needed for prostaglandin production; and
The expression of enzymes that create prostaglandins need NF-κB.
So, how can we lower the production of arachidonic acid? And how can we down-regulate NF-κB?
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
They’re miracle anti-inflammatory fatty acids.
Specifically, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Although the plant-based omega-3 ALA is beneficial, too, it simply doesn’t have the same anti-inflammatory power as DHA and EPA. It also converts to DHA & EPA at an extremely inefficient rate.
This means you have to get your omega-3s from seafood or fish/krill oil supplements. (These are my favorites: sustainably sourced and tested for contaminants; CURVE10 for 10% off!)
Here’s how DHA and EPA work:
They incorporate into cell membranes that are involved in inflammatory processes (7). When the cells become saturated with DHA and EPA instead of arachidonic acid, they secrete more anti-inflammatory and less pro-inflammatory signaling molecules.
They also prevent the overreactive conversion of linoleic acid (the omega-6 fatty acid found in nuts, seeds, and animal products) to arachidonic acid (8). This means less arachidonic acid in the body to convert to inflammatory prostaglandins that cause period pain.
USDA MyPlate currently recommends the consumption of seafood twice per week (9).
You can also supplement with omega-3s, however, you should consult your doctor before including them in your wellness regimen.
CBD Oil for Period Pain
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in hemp.
It is well-known that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Researchers believe it accomplishes this in two ways: up-regulating STAT3 and down-regulating NF-κB (10).
STAT3 is a transcription factor that is involved in the production of an inflammation-blocking molecule: IL-10 (11). CBD may mediate inflammation through the up-regulation of STAT3 activity.
By down-regulating the production of NF-κB, CBD may reduce the production of COX2 enzymes (hello, who needs NSAIDs?) and other inflammatory proteins that cause period pain (6).
My favorite CBD oil (you can read this article for why it’s my favorite) is the Phytologica Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract.
I take the 1000mg tincture every time I get period pain and it works like a charm!
Turmeric for Period Cramps
Turmeric is another powerful anti-inflammatory.
Its active constituents, curcuminoids, target many inflammatory processes in the body to reduce inflammatory signaling that causes period pain (12).
The most clinically researched form of turmeric is the C3 complex which includes curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin in a patented ratio for optimal benefits. By pairing turmeric with piperine, the active constituent of black pepper, the bioavailability of turmeric is increased dramatically.
In other words, it works significantly more effectively.
Nutrigold’s Turmeric Gold is created using the C3 complex and Bioperine, a clinically researched extract of black pepper. It’s only $18.38 for a 60-day supply — and you can save more with my code: CURVE10.
Anti-spasmodic herbs reduce the spasms of smooth muscles (aka: cramps).
You can consume ginger as a tea or using the whole root itself in smoothies and soups.
Peppermint contains menthol, a powerful antispasmodic terpene that gives peppermint its cooling properties (15).
Peppermint tea is a great way to take advantage of the cramp relieving properties of peppermint.
Go Natural: Reduce Period Cramp Pain Using Natural Pain Relievers
Why use potentially toxic NSAIDs when you can opt for natural period cramp relief?
All of these natural products can safely be used synergistically to have an enhanced overall benefit.
Best of all, they’ll also contribute to overall health.
Take control of your period pain, naturally.
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As always, thank you so much for reading and supporting me. You mean the world to me!
xx Sophia Ruiz