When my period first started, my cramps would be so bad that I would throw up, curl into a ball and cry. I would visit the A&E and actually feel joy when they give me a jab so that I wouldn’t feel my cramps anymore. Most girls start their period between the ages of 10 to 15, with the average being 12. Now that I’m 23, I have found different methods to help me deal with my cramps every month.
Every month, the lining in the uterus builds up to prepare for a fertilised egg. When the egg does not get fertilised, the uterine lining or endometrial tissue sheds itself, along with blood. Chemicals such as prostaglandins are released and this triggers an inflammatory response. This response leads to muscle contractions such as cramps in the uterus. I was prescribed Ponstan, and not Ibuprofen as it is unable to target specific areas, to help with the pain. Ponstan is a type of mefenamic acid that targets inflammatory pain in the uterus. I’m always open to trying out different methods that can help me relieve or even cure my cramps every month, and one method that works is by using essential oils. So here are some essential oils that you can apply during your period!
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is on the top of my list as not only is it beneficial for your cramps, it can also be applied on your face as a moisturiser! Lavender oil helps to improve blood circulation which helps to reduce cramps. It also helps you to de-stress and calm your mind.
2. Rose Essential Oil
Even before I get my period, my PMS symptoms can range from being moody and cranky, to getting diarrhoea a week before my period starts. Rose essential oil helps to regulate your hormone levels and for those who have irregular menstrual cycles, this oil contains emmenagogues, a substance that triggers menstruation.
Ylang-ylang oil is known as an antidepressant oil, and can help ease PMS-related mood swings. On top of that, this oil has sedative properties that can help calm the mind and fight anxiety.
4. Primrose Oil
Often known as Evening Primrose Oil, this oil is something that I swear by. EPO can relieve menstrual cramps, acne, anxiety, mood swings, headaches, irregular menstruation and heavy bleeding. It contains essential fatty acids that the body needs. Essential fatty acids cannot be produced internally, therefore must be ingested or topically. I normally ingest EPO in the form of a capsule, but I would break the capsule and rub the oil on my abdomen for pain relief.
5. Frankincense Oil
The Frankincense oil is also believed to be a natural sedative, and using it induces the feeling of relaxation. When your muscles are tense and you’re stressed out, your cramps can worsen. Frankincense helps you to relax and reduce symptoms of anxiety. It can help relieve pain, cramps, constipation, headaches, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and mood swings.
6. Clove Oil
Clove oil is effective in alleviating menstrual cramps, shortening duration of your period, and stopping excessive bleeding. When mixed with salt, it can give a cooling effect and relieve headaches. Clove oil also acts as a pain reliever as it contains anti-inflammatory properties that will easy inflammation or tension.
7. Ginger Oil
Ginger oil boosts blood circulation, works as an analgesic, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is also as effective as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen in menstrual pain relief. Apart from using ginger oil, you can boil ginger, red dates, and brown sugar as a hot drink to prevent nausea while keeping your body warm. In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger balances the yin and yang in the body, which in turn balances the hormones.
How to use
There are multiple ways of using essential oils to relieve menstrual cramps. The two main methods are massage and aromatherapy. For the massage method, add a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil, such as avocado, coconut, or olive oil, and massage it onto affected area. For aromatherapy, add essential oil into diffuser. As you inhale the fumes, the oil will start to relieve your cramps. Alternatively, you can pour a few drops into your hands and inhale directly.
Min Yen Yap
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