How To Relieve Period Cramps + DIY Heating Pad


So, periods. Something a lot of people have but not something that is talked about. Well not until recently. We are starting to open up about this topic that affects so many of us and that is truly amazing. I will be doing a couple of posts in the future about different zero waste period products but today it is going to be all about cramps.
Cramps can be very painful and super uncomfortable. I used to have bad period cramps. Pain where I can do nothing but lie in my bed and try to relax. Going vegan helped a lot with that though I still experience some pain in my stomach and back. Here are some other things that help with my cramps:

Clue
Not about cramps other than if you want to keep track of the pain but I just want to talk about Clue #notspons. It is just really an amazing app because it tracks your cycle and you can set the settings so there will come a pop up message a couple of days before your period or for example PMS starts. This is so helpful so you can be prepared. In the app you can also note how your mood is, if you have any pain, how much you are sleeping and much more. 

DIY heating pad
This is an absolute life savior. All you do is put the pad or the pads if you have more (I like to use two) in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 150C and it is ready for use. Lay them on your stomach or back and you won't feel the pain. (Be careful not to burn yourself they can become quite hot). This is absolutely amazing and I would not survive without them!

Make this in some non stretchy fabric. I found something at the thrift store. How much rice or seeds like flax seeds or wheat kernels you need depends on how big you make the heating pad. For our 22cm x 66 cm we used 2,5kg wheat kernels. We already had these heating pads made so I just used some scrap fabric to demonstrate how to make them.

Fold the fabric in half, measure out a rectangle the desired size. The size I made was 22cm x 66 cm.

Cut out the rectangles and place them right sides together. 

Pin and sew three of the edges together leaving a 22 cm side open.

Turn it inside out. Part and the 'bag' into 4 equal parts. Draw 3 lines marking the 4 parts. 

Then put 1/4 of the rice into the bag and sew the first line. 

Then put in the next 1/4 of the rice and sew the next line. It will look something like this: 

Repeat until you make it to the other edge and all 4 parts have been filled. 

Fold the edges in, pin them together and sew it shut.

and voila, heating pads to relieve pain! 

Teas
Herbs are nature's medicin. And whenever I drink a couple of cups of tea my body instantly relaxes and releases pain. And paired with the heating pad I don't have to take pain killers. A tip I always use to get the teas down as quickly as possible is to pour in the boiling water into your mug with the tea but I don't fill it all the way. Have it only 3/4 full of the boiling water and then fill the rest with regular water so you can drink it quicker than you would if the boiling water had to cool. If you want to prepare for the cramps, drink the period tea from my ebook between your periods making it work even stronger.

I have a period tea recipe in out free ebook 'teatime' - Get it right here

A hot shower
This has the same effect as a heating pad but I just wanted to throw it in here because a shower also refreshes. Though you have to get out of bed which is sometimes not so nice... But holding the shower head on your stomach will also relieve pain.. though you will never want to get out, haha. But while you're in the shower heat up the heating pads in the oven so they are ready and hot when you get out. Before you go into the shower you can also prepare a cup of tea that will be ready when you get out.

Exercise 
Something that really does help is exercising regularly. It does not have to be something crazy but what I like to do is walking everyday. No matter how far it is just regularly walking to move your body. Yoga would also be lovely for your body and if you can, doing some poses that can relieve pain is also helpful both on your period and between. I didn't think it had that much to say whether or not I moved my body but after a few months it has really helped along with the food and teas.

Foods and drinks
There are some things that helps a period and then there are foods that does the exact opposite. Some foods that has made my cramps worse is definitely cacao/chocolate because of the small amount of caffeine making the blood vessels retract. Which obviously also makes coffee bad to drink up to and on your period - anything with caffeine, really.
Some foods that has helped me is oranges, bananas and  obviously teas both because of the herbs but also because of the heat. Something that also helps is eating fresh fruit and vegetables which can be hard because of the cravings of fatty foods and salt - but it does really help with a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. 

Soluuna