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Relief Naturally: 8 Essential Oils for Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain, medically known as dysmenorrhea, is a throbbing, aching cramps some women get in their lower abdomen just before and during their menstrual period. The pain is characterised by a feeling of pressure in your belly, bloated stomach, and a mild or severe aching pain in your lower abdomen, lower back, hips, thighs and even your butt. The package for some people who get bad period pain may include nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset.

Similar to period pain is premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a set of physical and emotional symptoms that some women experience some days before their monthly flow starts. PMS symptoms include low mood, irritability, abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, muscle pain, tiredness, anxiety, etc. Symptoms typically start about three days before your period and may lift off a few days after your period has started.

However, not every female gets period cramps. For the lucky ones, menses may just be a walk in the park. For some others, it may come with just a mild discomfort, lasting just a couple of hours. However, there are women who experience serious pain and discomfort that may last for over 72 hours and interfere with their normal daily activities.

Finding relief for menstrual cramps, a relief that doesn't involve taking pain-relief medication is at the top of the list for most women suffering menstrual cramps. Rightly so, as popping pain relief pills several times during your period, month after month, is something to be approached with caution. Taking enough time to rest and placing a heating pad on your belly are some safe natural remedies for menstrual ache. These could help make your period pain bearable, or may not even scratch the surface at all.

One safe, natural remedy for stopping period pain is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy involves using essential oils to treat ailments and cure diseases. Essential oils, concentrated oils obtained from plant parts, have been used for thousands of years as treatment for several conditions, of which menstrual cramps is one of them.

Essential oils as natural remedies for period pain

The use of essential oils to relieve menstrual pain dates back to centuries ago. Modern research has shown positive results that lend credence to the use of essential oils as effective home remedies for menstrual cramps and PMS.

All things being equal, the reason you may get cramps in your lower abdomen during menstruation is because your uterus contracts repeatedly in a bid to expel blood during menses. This increased uterine contractions become painful when your body releases hormones responsible for menstruation in excess.

Essential oils for period pain work by triggering your brain to produce endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that help to relieve pain and stress in the body, as well as improve your mood. Some essential oil molecules make their way into your blood, and are able to interact with hormones and enzymes, thus relieving pain. Massaging your belly with essential oils provides relief from menstrual cramps by causing your skin to absorb many essential oil particles thereby causing an increased oxygen circulation in your blood. This effectively reduces pain intensity, giving you a lasting relief from the cramps. The relaxing effect of gentle massage strokes also help to ease period discomfort, too. Stress triggers more production of hormones that causes uterine contractions and so intensifies menstrual cramps. Essential oils that reduce stress also reduce menstrual cramps.

A 2020 study demonstrated that inhaling 3–5 drops of essential oils for 5 min significantly reduced menstrual pain. Research also shows that there is a decrease in the duration of period pain when the belly is massaged with essential oils.

So far, no side effects have been noted when essential oils for menstrual pain are inhaled. This consolidates use of essential oils for menstrual cramps relief as safe treatment for dysmenorrhea.

Essential oils for menstrual cramps and period pain

Certainly, not all essential oils have the ability to effectively reduce menstrual pain. Here are some essential oils we recommend for relieving period pain and reducing PMS.

  1. Lavender Essential oil.

Lavender essential oil is unarguably the most widely used essential oil for menstrual pain. This is one essential oil that shouldn't be missing in your medicine cabinet if you battle PMS or period pain.

Lavender relaxes your uterine muscles, thereby reducing painful uterine contractions. Its heavenly fragrance alleviates anxiety, soothes your mind, and reduces stress. It also improves your sleep quality, and helps you get all the rest you need during that time of the month. Several studies on the efficacy of lavender essential oil in reducing menstrual pain have proved that lavender is truly effective in relieving cramps related to menstruation.

  1. Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage essential oil is another top essential oil for menstrual cramps. This essential oil is popularly used in aromatherapy as a natural pain reliever, and it is not surprising that it made it to our list of best essential oils for reducing period cramps. Clary sage essential oil works directly on the blood, balancing your hormone levels. It also has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which help to alleviate pain and cramping.

  1. Cinnamon Essential Oil

Cinnamon essential oil is great for relieving painful menstruation and uterine cramps. It has an amazing ability to reduce inflammation and pain. Massaging diluted cinnamon essential oil to your lower abdomen is a good way to reduce cramping. It also helps to stop bloating associated with PMS.

  1. Peppermint Essential Oil

The refreshing aroma of peppermint essential oil can dispel that dreadful emotional downtime that PMS brings. This invigorating scent eases tension, chases anxiety away and lightens up your mood. Inhaling peppermint essential oil helps to control nausea, enhances circulation of oxygen in your blood and reduces abdominal cramping.

  1. Ginger Essential Oil

A study carried out in 2019 revealed that ginger essential oil is a powerful natural remedy for menstrual pain. In the study, massaging the belly with ginger essential oil for 3 minutes significantly reduced the severity of menstrual pain. Similarly, in another study, inhalation of ginger essential every 6 hours in the first 2 days of menstruation was shown to be highly effective in relieving dysmenorrhea pain.

  1. Ylang-ylang Essential Oil

Ylang-ylang essential oil balances your hormones, combats inflammation and relaxes your uterus. All of these work to keep cramping under control. The sweet, heady fragrance of ylang-ylang essential oil has a calming effect on the mind and body, and that's exactly what you need when PMS descends with its gloom.

  1. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil has great anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, hence its use as a home remedy for alleviating menstrual pain. It is used to combat symptoms of PMS and dysmenorrhea such as cramps, headache, backache, nausea, and mood swings. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it a potent remedy for easing menstrual cramps. Frankincense essential oil also has soothing effects on the muscles and can help relax your uterine muscles and stop painful cramping.

  1. Geranium Essential Oil

For several decades, traditional birth attendants have used geranium oil to massage the belly and ease labour pangs. Scientific research has also proved geranium essential oil is a great essential oil for easing PMS symptoms. This oil effectively reduces stress and improves your mood.

How to Use Essential Oils for Menstrual Pain

Before you try out any essential oil on your skin, make sure it is dissolved in a carrier oil like sweet almond, jojoba or fractionated coconut oil. (A safe dilution is 3 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil.) Test the diluted oil on a patch of your skin to observe your skin reaction to the essential oil. It is advised you discontinue use or go for an alternative essential oil if you notice any skin irritation with an essential oil/oil blend.

Through Massage:

Apply a few drops of diluted essential oil and massage on your belly. Do this at least once per day right from about a week prior to when your next flow will come.

By Inhalation:

Inhaling essential oils for menstrual pain also deliver great results. Apply the oil on a handkerchief or tissue paper and breathe in the essential oil particles. For the best experience, inhale essential oils with a diffuser.

Diffusers are small electronic devices that transform your essential oil into an airy mist that disperses and fills your room with the essential oil particles. They come in different shapes and sizes, and are quite easy to use. Simply add water up to the fill line, place 5-10 drops of your essential oil/blend, turn on your diffuser and breathe in lungful of the dispersed oil particles.

Essential Oil blends for period pain

All essential oils for relieving menstrual pain don't work in the same way. Some function directly to regulate your hormones, some reduce pain and inflammation, and others alleviate headache, stress, mood swings, etc. Combining more than one type of essential oil for period pain yields the best results. Several studies have attested to this fact.

Here are some combinations that are very effective in relieving period pain and PMS.

Essential Oil Blend 1:

  • 1 drop of geranium essential oil

  • 1 drop of clary sage essential oil

  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil

Essential Oils Blend 2:

  • 1 drop of ginger essential oil

  • 1 drop of cinnamon essential oil

  • 1 drop ylang-ylang essential oil

  • 1 drop of lavender essential oil

To conclude, a good number of essential oils have proven to be effective in taking the edge off the pain of menstrual cramps. There's really no need to expose your health to harmful effects of prolonged pain-relief usage. Essential oils for menstrual cramps present a safe, natural and easily-accessible alternative to relieving period pain.


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