Every month so many of us suffer unbearable period pains. Even painkillers are not 100% effective, and they are not very healthy for us either. But we catch up with Alice Williams, founder of Ovira (a wearable tech device that instantly relieves period cramps), who shared her tips and advice on drug-free ways to relieve period pain.
Alice Williams suffered with endometriosis and debilitating period pain before using her knowledge in health science to launch Ovira.
1. Give up caffeine
Trying to cut down on coffee is one of those things that we seem to revisit every couple of months, however, by the end of those “caffeine-free weeks”, we find ourselves more reliant on coffee than ever before. But caffeine has a huge effect on your menstrual cycle. Caffeine is a powerful vasoconstrictor, which narrows the blood vessels in your body, thereby decreasing the flow of blood to the uterus. This increases vascular resistance. What does that mean for your period? More pressure on the uterus and more painful cramps.
2. Reduce fatty red meat and dairy
Fatty red meats contain high levels of saturated fats and prostaglandins which contribute to inflammation, constricting the blood vessels in the uterus which results in painful cramps. Not only that, foods that are high in saturated fats can also increase cholesterol levels which can lead to a string of other health conditions.
3. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal, caffeine-free tea that is very effective for your menstrual cycle. The herb has a unique combination of ingredients: fragarine, tannins, calcium and magnesium. Fragarine is known to tighten the muscles in the pelvic region such as the uterus, which relieves muscle spasms and cramps. The tannins help to reduce blood pressure and fight inflammation, allowing your uterine muscles to relax. Finally, the minerals in calcium and magnesium play a huge part in neuromuscular transmission and muscle contraction, which means less muscle spasms in the uterus!
4. Lots of green juice
One thing some people struggle with quite badly during their menstrual cycle is fatigue and low energy, so an iron-rich pick-me-up like a big glass of green juice consisting of spinach, kiwi and kale is a great way to combat that. Starting off the day with enough iron helps you get through some of the most productive hours of the day. The magnesium in all these greens is a great way to ensure those muscle contractions are at bay and the uterus is happy.
Yes, there are foods that can be harmful to our teeth, but many are actually our best allies for optimal dental health. Fruit, vegetables and dairy products have many beneficial properties that help to strengthen and protect our teeth, and they can even help to prevent certain oral diseases – the benefits far outweigh the natural sugars contained within fruit for example.
Being told to focus on your breath whilst experiencing debilitating period pain sounds frivolous but much like exercise, regular yoga practice can promote better circulation of oxygen around the body and into those uterine muscles, helping to release pressure and soothe cramps. The poses that are particularly relieving are Child’s Pose or “Balasana” which flexes your reproductive organs and releases tension in your lower back, neck and shoulders, and the inverted leg pose or “Viparita Karani” which promotes blood flow to your uterus, thereby improving circulation and lowering the blood pressure.
7. Use an Ovira device
Saving the very best for last. Electrotherapy has been around since the 1980s and has been used for a myriad of things including relieving muscle cramps amongst athletes, but not once had it been mentioned to people with period pain as a form of relief for uterine cramps. So, I decided to take things into my own hands and created Ovira. Ovira uses Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) technology to overload your nervous system to reduce its ability to transmit pain signals being sent to your brain. No signals equals no pain, equals happy uterus! £109 from ovira.co.uk.