Best Foods for Pain Relief From Menstrual Cramps

Deseré Davis - Writer for AskIris
By Deseré Davis
Edited by Taj Schlebusch

Published October 22, 2021.

Foods you should avoid on your period

Any woman who has experienced menstrual migraines, cramps, and bloating knows how painful and inconvenient they can be. It’s no wonder so many of us look up ways on how to reduce menstrual pain instantly.

There are different types of period pain, such as:

  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue

These symptoms, such as pelvic pain during period cycles, can be debilitating and completely ruin a day, so getting rid of them is often the only way to return to a normal and productive schedule.

Fortunately, mother nature provides us with many natural ways to deal with painful cramps, upper abdominal pain during menstrual cycles, and the other discomforts we have to deal with once a month.

What Causes Menstrual Pain?

There is more than one reason for stomach pain during periods when (and sometimes before) our menstrual cycle begins.

Uterine Contractions Caused by Prostaglandins

The main reason for cramps is the uterus that contracts to help expel its lining. There are hormone-like substances that are called prostaglandins that cause uterine muscle contractions. If you have high levels of prostaglandins, you’ll experience more painful cramps.

Some Have Cervical Stenosis

Some women are unfortunate enough that they have cervical stenosis, in which case their cervix opening is so small it impedes menstrual flow. This results in pain due to the pressure within the uterus.

The Growth of Adenomyosis

Another reason for intense menstrual pain can be adenomyosis. When that is the case, the tissue lining the uterus grows into its muscular walls.

Is Period Pain Good or Bad?

Medically speaking, period pain is neither good nor bad. It is something natural that happens to healthy women during their menstrual cycle.

However, if you are experiencing severe period symptoms, you should visit your doctor for a check-up to make sure nothing is wrong with your body.

Does Drinking Water Help Relieve Period Pain?

Water is a great way to relieve cramps and reduce bloating. Drinking hot water can also help increase your blood flow, which helps to relax your muscles and reduce cramps. Herbal teas are a great source of water that have additional benefits, such as dealing with insomnia and relieving stress.

What Foods Are High in Water Content?

If you want to know how to reduce menstrual pain instantly, there isn't a quick cure, but natural treatments work almost as fast as painkillers. Water is one such cure. Several fruits and veggies are high in water content and can help you reduce your cramps.

Here are a few examples of good fruits and vegetables to consider to reduce period pain at home:

  • Peaches
  • Lettuce
  • Oranges
  • Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon)
  • Cucumbers
  • Pineapple

What Foods Should You Eat to Reduce Period Pain?

Foods that help with cramps are a great way to reduce period pain at home without visiting a pharmacy or doctor.

In addition to the fruits and vegetables mentioned above, there are other foods you can work into your diet to deal with menstrual pain.

Eat High Fiber Foods

Foods that are high in fiber do offer pain relief for women dealing with menstrual cramps, headaches, and related symptoms. Fiber is fantastic, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Here are some examples of high-fiber foods:

  • Chia seeds
  • Raspberries (also antispasmodic)
  • Black Beans
  • Avocado
  • Apples
  • Oats

Consume Calcium-Rich Food

Calcium can alleviate several PMS symptoms such as fatigue, moodiness, and cramps.

Calcium-rich foods include:

  • Kale
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Dill

Munch Boron-Containing Food

Boron is another natural source for combating menstrual pain and is a mineral that aids the body in absorbing calcium. It also helps to reduce the length and intensity of period pain.

Foods that are a source of boron are:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Prunes
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Chickpeas

Add Herbs and Spices

There are many spices and herbs that can help you reduce the pain associated with menstruation.

Utilize the following:

  • Ginger
  • Fennel
  • Safflower
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon

What Foods Should You Avoid on Your Period?

Just as there are foods great for dealing with unbearable period pain, there are foods that can make the pain worse.

You're better off consuming these foods in moderation or not at all.

Avoid the following, if possible:

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Overly Spicy Foods
  • Red Meat

If you add the ‘good foods’ mentioned here and do your best to cut out the ‘bad foods,’ you may experience a much more tolerable menstrual cycle.