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New ways to relieve menstrual cramps, from period pain-relief devices to oral supplements

New ways to relieve menstrual cramps, from period pain-relief devices to oral supplements

Crimson wave

Text: Emily Heng


Image: Instagram | @vabyvel
Image: Instagram | @lunettecup

In a time before biology classes and the Internet, the matter of periods was shrouded in misunderstanding and misconception abound. Once thought to be the consequence of witchcraft and sorcery (lol), few mysteries surrounding the menstrual cycle remain today. The biggest, naturally, being: why does it hurt so damn much?

Rationally, we get that it has to do with the shedding and expelling of the thicker lining of our uterus. Irrationally, it is an (unwelcome) reminder from higher beings that we womenfolk are mortal. But are we just going to gird our loins and allow ourselves to the full intensity of its assault? Not in our nature. Thanks to a multitude of advancements in tech and research, there's been a slew of new, innovative period pain-relief methods hitting the market, from oral supplements to cramp-relief devices. We round up everything you need to know to fix this gut-wrenching sitch.

Livia

This wearable gadget prides itself as the world's first scientifically-proven solution for period pain. Picture a small device with two electrode gel pads that emit pulses to close the gate to painful signals — effectively blocking any discomfort before it is felt. Relief is expected within 30 to 60 seconds, thus removing the need for painkillers entirely.


Oral supplements

Recent studies have shown that consuming certain oral supplements can relieve menstrual pain. Omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, can reduce both physical and emotional symptoms of periods such as headaches, bloating, and breast tenderness. Magnesium, on the other hand, diminishes back pain, fluid retention, and nausea.


Acupuncture

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Complementary Medicine, hitting certain pressure points can reduce period pain up to 50%. In fact, frequent acupuncturers (yes we made that word up) are said to experience significant improvements in period pain intensity and related symptoms over time. Acupuncture is recommended by local physicians — Dr Jin Hua from Thomson Medical Centre says it stimulates the energy and blood supply that improves circulation, thus further alleviating period pain.


Exercise

As difficult as it might be to believe, the mood-boosting endorphins released during exercise can actually elevate your mood and offer relief from uncomfortable periods. Light walking, cardio, as well as low-volume strength training is recommended. A study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine ascertains that yoga and pilates help reduce period-pain symptoms such as cramps, breast tenderness, muscular fatigue and soreness.


Oral contraceptives

Yup, these bad boys aren't just used to prevent pregnancy. When consumed daily at the same time each day, they also regulate menstruation and reduce heavy menstrual flow. Though they are considered to be one of the most effective methods of period-pain reduction, it's always best to consult a gynaecologist to find out if this is a suitable treatment method for you. We say get a crash course on all things birth control in Singapore here before deciding if you should even be making an appointment.

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