Simply put, periods suck.
Tell any woman that you’re on your period, and you’ll automatically garner a sympathetic “ughhh” from her.
Whether you are one of the lucky ones that report having “little-to-no-menstrual-cramps” during your flow, or you experience cramps that are so debilitating you can’t even go to work- if you are still getting your period, you are experiencing at least some amount of discomfort during your menstrual cycle.
Unfortunately, there are many factors that contribute to having painful menstrual cramps; such as emotional stress, poor diet and not getting enough exercise. There is also evidence to point to the fact that bad menstrual cramps are hereditary; so you can thank your mom and grandma if you unable to function for a few days out of the month.
Menstrual cramps are typically both annoying and distracting; 10% of menstruating women are in so much pain during their period that they can’t get off the couch to go to work or attend school. And let’s not even mention the toll that bad menstrual cramps can take on a woman’s mental health.
Why Do Women Experience Menstrual Cramps, Anyway?
Once a month, if an egg hasn’t been fertilized (AKA you haven’t gotten pregnant) your uterine lining sheds itself, since it won’t be housing a baby.
To trigger this shedding process, your body naturally releases a hormone-like substance, prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are known to regulate the female reproductive system, and are involved in the control of ovulation, the menstrual cycle and the induction of labour – as well as muscle contractions, blood vessel constriction, blood clotting, and pain.
Right before your period begins, the endometrial cells that form the lining of your uterus break down, releasing large amounts of prostaglandins. They constrict the blood vessels in your uterus, and make its muscle layer contract- this causes the dull pain commonly associated with menstruation.
Occasionally, these prostaglandins enter your bloodstream; in addition to cramping, this can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Typically, women will start to experience menstrual cramps right before their period starts. This usually lasts anywhere from 48-72 hours, and can range in severity.
CBD: The Alternative to NSAIDS for Menstrual Cramps
In recent studies, it was discovered that women with higher amounts of prostaglandins produced by the endometrial cells were experiencing higher levels of menstrual pain, as compared to women with significantly less levels of prostaglandins.
This is one of the reasons why non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be temporarily effective in relieving painful menstrual cramps. NSAIDS work by reducing the production of prostaglandins, which is causing the pain and inflammation.
Having said that, NSAIDS are accompanied by a list as long as your arm of horrible side-effects, especially when used over long periods of time.
For centuries, women have turned to over-the-counter drug relief, popping about 30+ Advil and hoping that they will at least be able to make it through the day. But with the staggering amount of NSAIDS side effects, many health-savvy ladies are turning to natural methods of menstrual cramp relief.
This is where CBD comes in.
Research has recently discovered that CBD, like NSAID’s, can also inhibit the production of prostaglandin. CBD inhibits COX-2 over COX-1, which basically means that its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits aren’t accompanied by any of the side effects you can expect when you pop anti-inflammatory pills.
Using CBD for Menstrual Cramps
Quick disclaimer here: CBD on its own will not be a “miracle cure” for your menstrual cramps.
Just like popping a few Midol isn’t usually enough to quell the worst case of menstrual cramps, taking a dropper of CBD oil, and hoping for the best, isn’t quite enough either.
Because Rosebud is a woman-owned company- and we are greatly invested in the health and wellness of our female friends- we have put together a list of tips and tricks for using CBD for menstrual cramps.
We hope that you will be able to find some practices in here that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to have an easier, less painful menstrual cycle next month.
When you’re suffering from painful menstrual cramps, it’s natural to want to binge on greasy foods and sugary drinks. However, if you are putting a bunch of junk into your body- especially when you’re not feeling great to begin with- the output isn’t going to be so amazing.
If you usually feel bloated and full on your period, make sure you’re drinking LOTS of water. Additionally, take it easy on the caffeinated drinks; caffeine can make your menstrual cramps worse as it constricts your blood vessels, and raises tension levels.
Add a few drops of Rosebud CBD oil into a large water bottle, throw in a few wedges of lemon for an added bonus, and drink the whole dang thing.
If it’s cold out and you want something more soothing, sip on warm water instead; this can help lessen your period cramps from the inside, as heated beverages have a relaxing effect on your muscles.
Take a Bath
Taking a warm bath at the end of a long day feels just really, really great.
But, did you know that there are many added health benefits that you could be tapping into with your evening dip? The warm bath water encourages the muscles of your uterus to relax, increasing blood flow and easing pain.
Not a bath girl? By gently massaging CBD oil or CBD salve into your lower abdomen, you are helping stimulate the uterine muscles, which can ease the discomfort.
Finish off your massage with a heating pad or hot water bottle for additional pain relief. Using a hot water bottle, though it might seem terribly old fashioned, can bring as much relief from menstrual cramps as NSAIDs — and oftentimes delivers relief much more quickly.
Applying heat increases blood flow to the area, which soothes the muscles and delivers oxygen to oxygen-starved tissues. Some scientists also think that heat desensitizes the same pain receptors that CBD works on.
Make sure to apply a CBD oil or CBD salve next time you are using a hot water bottle for menstrual cramps!
Even though this might be the LAST thing you want to do when you’re menstruating, a good sweat sesh might be just what you need.
When you exercise, it boosts your body’s production of “feel good” endorphins, which can act as a natural pain reliever. Exercising is also a fantastic way of stretching and soothing aching abdominal muscles.
Working out while you’re menstruating can also help get rid of the bad mood you might be in, courtesy of Aunt Flow.
Women who focus their workouts on their lower abs and stomach area in the days leading up to their period report that their cramps are lessened that month. This is also why athletes supposedly experience having less heavy, painful periods.
Indulge in Magnesium
Do you often experience intense chocolate when Aunt Flow comes to town? It’s not a coincidence- dark chocolate is high in magnesium, which is what our bodies crave during our menstrual cycles.
Women who take magnesium supplements during their periods have reduced pain and reduced inflammatory prostaglandin levels.
So, go ahead and give in to your chocolate cravings, and consider asking your doctor if you might benefit from adding a magnesium supplement to your lifestyle.
Read Rosebud’s article on how to make your own hormone-balancing CBD chocolates at home!
CBD for Menstruation: Emotional Benefits
The changes that take place in a woman’s body during, or before, menstruation often cause strong mood swings that can be hard to control.
Anandamide, our main internal cannabis molecule, helps to tamp down the stress response and return our hormones to a more normal balance.
Though not specifically tested for the mood swings, many believe that CBD is an extremely effective tool for “taking the edge off” of a bad mood.
When to See a Doctor
Painful menstrual cramps are a common side effects of menstruation- but they shouldn’t interfere with your life. If you feel like you have tried everything, and you’re still in horrible pain every month, it might be time to talk to your doctor. They will check to see if there are any underlying causes, like fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis or an ovarian cyst.
Make sure to take your menstrual cycle charts and any dietary logs, if you keep them, and tell them about any medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins or supplements you are taking.
Say “hello” to a more painless period with CBD
Gone are the days where you have to lay on the couch, helplessly doubled over in pain. With a little tweaking, you might find that CBD is the perfect way to naturally treat the pain of menstrual cramps.
If you’re looking for a natural remedy to alleviate pain during your menstrual cycle, CBD might just be the answer.
Do you use CBD for menstrual cramps? What are your favorite methods? Share them in the comments below!