5 Natural Solutions for Period Pain

Top 5 natural treatments to reduce period pain.

Curled up in bed with 3 hot water bottles stuffed down your track pants riding through the waves of your cramping uterus. Can you relate?

Every month, so many women suffer horrific period-related symptoms. 

If your mum/aunt/sister also grew up with painful periods, you were likely told this was “normal”. 

The truth is, while period pain is common, it isn’t normal and is a sign of something that needs to be addressed.

Your body uses symptoms to communicate with you when something is out of balance or needs attention. 

Period pain is one of the loudest signals our body has to let you know it needs support.

Let’s clear up some misconceptions about what is “normal” period pain, why you get it and when you should seek extra support. 

At the end I share my top 5 natural treatments to reduce period pain.

Types Of Period Pain: Primary and Secondary Dysmenorrhea

Period pain (medically known as dysmenorrhea) can be classed in to two categories. 

Primary and secondary. 

These categories are based on the underlying cause of your cramps and determine the way that they are best treated.

Primary Dysmenorrhea (period Pain)

Primary period pain is related purely to menstruation - i.e. you do not have an underlying condition triggering the pain.

This type of pain is usually felt as a mild to moderate cramping, heavy or dragging sensation in your pelvis or lower back. 

It usually begins just before your bleed or as your bleed starts, and lasts 1-5 days. 

The pain often responds well to anti-inflammatory pain killers like Ibuprofen.

When you aren’t taking care of yourself and addressing the root cause of primary dysmenorrhea (which we’ll cover in a minute), this type of period pain may interfere with your daily activities and require painkillers.

Once you implement the strategies below however, your period pain should greatly decrease or disappear within a few cycles. If this happens, hooray! 

This means that your cramps were driven by an increased production of prostaglandins which we can easily address through diet, lifestyle and supplement changes.

What Are The Signs You Have Primary Dysmenorrhea?

  • Pain is worst for the first 1-2 days of your period
  • Pain feels like a heavy, dragging or cramping sensation in your pelvic area and/or lower back
  • Your pain responds well to anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen

Secondary Dysmenorrhea (Period Pain)

Pain that is stabbing, burning or throbbing, lasts for several days (often longer than your period), doesn’t respond to pain killers and is so severe it causes vomiting or fainting is not normal. 

This type of pain suggests you may be suffering from an underlying condition.

Period cramps caused by an underlying condition are categorised as ‘secondary dysmenorrhea’ because something other than your menstruation is triggering the pain.

Underlying conditions that may trigger secondary dysmenorrhea include:

Endometriosis: A condition involving growth of endometrial cells in other areas of the body → this is the number one cause of secondary dysmenorrhea. Endometriosis is estimated to affect at least 1 in 10 women of reproductive age and 70% of women with chronic pelvic pain. Shockingly, the average delay to diagnosis from onset of symptoms is 6.7 years. If you suspect you may be suffering from endometriosis, I urge you to keep visiting medical professionals until you are properly screened for this condition.

Adenomyosis: Cells that normally form in the lining inside the uterus grow in the muscle wall of the uterus. The cause of adenomyosis is unknown, but it is suspected it may be linked with previous uterine surgery. Please see your primary health care provider for more information.

Uterine Fibroids: Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that form inside the uterus which can vary in size. Fibroids occur in around 70% of women by the time they turn 50, however many women will not experience symptoms. When fibroids do cause symptoms, they may include heavier or longer periods, pressure in the bladder, bowel or lower back and pain with sex. If you are experiencing these symptoms please visit your primary health care provider.

Ovarian Cysts: Cysts that form in the ovaries, usually during ovulation. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that occur frequently in many woman without any pain. If ovarian cysts do cause pain, it may be experienced as pressure, swelling, bloating or pain on one side of your lower pelvic area. If you suspect you have an ovarian cyst please see your primary health care provider as soon as possible.

Pelvic Infection: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the cervix, endometrium and/or fallopian tubes. PIDs are most commonly caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) like chlamydia but may also occur following medical procedures. If you have developed pain during sex, abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding after sex or a sudden increase in period pain, please visit your primary health care provider as when left untreated, PID can cause scarring to the fallopian tubes which may increase chances of infertility.

Intrauterine Devices (IUD): Some women experience period-like cramps in the first few weeks after having an IUD inserted. Copper IUD’s (like the Paragard) have been known to increase period pain, particularly if you already suffered from primary dysmenorrhea (painful periods) before you had it inserted. If your pain is severe or doesn’t go away after having an IUD inserted please visit your health care provider who will be able to check it is still in the right place and assess whether it is still a good option for you.

Signs You Have Secondary Dysmenorrhea:

Severe pain that often lasts longer than your period bleed

Little or no response to anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen

Pain so severe it causes nausea, vomiting or fainting

Pain at other times of the cycle (not just during your period)

Pain that is stabbing, burning or throbbing, lasts for several days (often longer than your period), doesn’t respond to pain killers and is so severe it causes vomiting or fainting is not normal. 

This type of pain suggests you may be suffering from an underlying condition.

Period cramps caused by an underlying condition are categorised as ‘secondary dysmenorrhea’ because something other than your menstruation is triggering the pain.

This type of pain is a sign of an underlying condition. 

If you suffer from this level of pain, I urge you to seek medical advice from a reproductive or women’s health specialist to investigate potential causes further. 

One likely cause of significant period pain is endometriosis and this needs to be confirmed by your doctor. 

Once a diagnosis has been identified, there are many natural strategies to reduce and manage symptoms.

This blog post focuses on strategies to reduce normal period pain. 

If you suffer from severe pain, you can still implement this advice, but please seek further help.

Primary = caused by increased prostaglandin production by endometrium in an ovulatory cycle which causes contraction of the uterus 

What Causes Primary Dysmenorrhea?

Now that we’ve covered the more serious, underlying causes of period pain, let’s break down primary dysmenorrhea (the kind of cramps that aren’t caused by an underlying condition) and what to do about it.

Right before your period begins, the lining of your uterus begins to break down – this causes the release of inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. 

Prostaglandins trigger the muscles of your uterus to shed its lining. In normal amounts, prostaglandins are a necessary part of bleeding. They may trigger a dull, dragging sensation in your pelvic area.

Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by an increased production of prostaglandins in your endometrium (womb).

 These extra prostaglandins cause your uterus to contract even harder than normal - leading to the pain we know as period cramps.

One of the most effective conventional treatments for primary dysmenorrhea is anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. 

This is because they work by blocking the production of prostaglandins.

The good news is, so long as you are not suffering from an underlying condition like those outlined above, by improving your diet and employing some natural treatments, you will be able to reduce your production of prostaglandins, and enjoy pain-free periods.

In my Hormone Harmony Academy course, we deep dive in to the major hormonal imbalances that cause primary period pain. 

I share with my students exactly how to naturally balance their hormone imbalance using diet, lifestyle and supplements so that they can finally enjoy pain-free periods. 

Find out more about Hormone Harmony Academy by coming along to my free Heal Your Cycle webinar.

 To get you started, here are my top 5 natural treatments to begin reducing period pain:

#1: Reduce inflammation through diet

Eating a diet that promotes inflammation in the body will increase your production of inflammatory prostaglandins, leading to more pain. 

The first step in reducing period pain is to improve your diet. 

This means reducing your consumption of sugar-sweetened foods (like cakes, pastries, soft drinks and confectionery) and overly processed foods(like fast foods and deep-fried foods). 

These foods are also low in nutrients so will not support your overall health.

Replace these foods anti-inflammatory foods like omega-3-rich oily fish (like salmon, sardines, mackerel), colourful fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, sweet potato and pumpkin).

#2: Consider cow’s dairy elimination for 3 months

Cow’s dairy contains a protein called A1 casein

This particular protein causes inflammation in some people because it stimulates your immune system to produce inflammatory compounds.

How do you know if you have casein sensitivity? 

A common sign is recurrent middle ear, chest or tonsillitis infections during childhood. This is a sign of immune system reactivity.

You likely grew out of these infections but as an adult suffer from hay fever, asthma, eczema or chest infections. 

If this is you, try removing cow’s dairy for 3 months and record changes in your level of pain.

The good news is sheep and goat milk products don’t contain high levels of A1 casein, so you can replace your cow’s dairy with almond, coconut, sheep or goat milk cheese, yoghurt and milk.

Don’t have any signs of casein sensitivity? You probably don’t have the enzyme that converts A1 casein into inflammatory compounds and should be able to happily consume dairy.

#3: Get your sweat on

Engaging in regular movement is hugely beneficial for your period as it reduces stress, improves blood flow to your reproductive organs, and reduces inflammation. 

The best kind of exercise is something that you enjoy and will keep doing.

Movement doesn’t have to be traditional exercises: it might be gardening, cleaning the house or playing with your kids – any movement is better than none.

#4 Improve your estrogen to progesterone ratio:

Having higher levels of oestrogen and lower progesterone can lead to increased production of prostaglandins during your period which increases pain.

To support your body to clear estrogen after it has exerted its effect in your body, you need an efficient detoxification system. 

Estrogen is detoxified in two ways: firstly, the liver breaks down oestrogen into small compounds, then the bowel excretes these compounds in the stool.

Eating foods that are high in sulphur helps to support the second phase of liver detoxification which is responsible for breaking down oestrogen.

The best sources of sulphur are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and cauliflower.

Aim to include at least one serve of these vegetables (around 1 cup) daily. 

Support your gut detoxification by eating plenty of fibre-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains and beans.

For an extra boost, consider supplementing Nourished Hormone Detox + Digestion. 

We developed this blend of nutritional and herbal ingredients to support your body’s natural detoxification processes and improve estrogen clearance.

#5: Consider supplementing

The above 4 tips will go a long way to improving your period pain, however adding one or two of the supplements below to support natural reduction of prostaglandins can be a dramatic step in achieving pain-free cycles. 

My top 3 supplements for period pain are:

  1. Turmeric (or curcumin): strongly reduces prostaglandins (the cause of period pain). Bonus: turmeric is also a treatment for heavy periods as it reduces heavy flow. (Note: it will not reduce regular flow). I suggest recommend Nourished Anti-Inflame + Mood.

  2. Detoxification vitamin and herbal supplement: excess estrogen which is not efficiently removed from your body via your liver and gut is the most common cause behind period pain. For extra detoxification support I recommend Nourished Hormone Detox + Digestion twice daily.

  3. Magnesium: reduces prostaglandins and is a natural muscle relaxant that helps to reduce the uterine spasm that occurs during your period. There are many forms of magnesium and some that are poorly absorbed, leading to diarrhoea or digestive discomfort. I recommend magnesium bisglycinate at a dose of 300mg per day throughout your whole cycle. This can be taken twice daily on the worst days of your pain.

Note: this information is provided for information purposes only and must be approved by your health care provider before adding in to your routine.

As women, we have the right to experience pain-free periods and embrace our monthly cycles.

I encourage you to take responsibility for your period health and remember that your body wants to be in balance.

When we experience symptoms like pain our body isn’t working against us, it is trying to let us know that something is out of balance.

Listen to your body and treat the cause
, rather than masking the symptom.

About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

Related Products