Exercise can ease PMS and period pain – too busy to exercise?

When you’re curled up with cramps the last thing you want to do is work out, right? Gentle exercise with the emphasis on ‘gentle’ can ease period pain. Soft yoga postures have been found to reduce pressure on the lower back by elongating the spine, while stretching and toning the abdominal muscles.

It’s now official too. Recent Australian research has finally proven that gentle movement while menstruating pacifies pain, soothes moods and regulates periods. The Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute analysed studies of over 2,300 women1. They concluded that gentle exercise was the most effective way to ease period pain. Jane Chalmers, pelvic pain researcher at WSU, says exercise for her has been ‘life changing’.

Millennia old medical systems such as Ayurvedic medicine identifies exercise as an essential pillar in relieving menstrual symptoms. Ayurvedic practitioner Dr Rama Prasad agrees, “If sleep, diet, rest and exercise are balanced during the month women notice a balancing effect on their menstruation.”

Science tells us that exercise increases endorphins which improve anxiety, depression, cramps and pain. Stretching and deep breathing with aerobic activity boosts circulation, relaxation and regulates bowel movements. Menstrual headaches, PMS and bloat have all proven to improve with exercise during periods.

Take it easy

You don’t need to go gung-ho and exhaust yourself. Strenuous exercise can aggravate aches. More rest, less stress and a balanced diet combined with mild movement is ideal. Using a menstrual cup or period pants can increase confidence that you won’t leak during exercise.

For those of us unrolling the mat, choose your yoga moves carefully during menses. Avoid inverted yoga poses where the hips are higher than the heart as this increases the upward inward flow of blood, hence inhibiting the natural downward outward stream.

Movement-based vs plant-based

Exercise, massage, osteopathy, acupressure and yoga are a range of movement-based therapies that can help you ease PMS and period pain.

Naturopath Caroline Robertson advocates movement-based therapies but knows this is not always possible with our busy lifestyle. Caroline is the supervising practitioner for an on-going set of Clinical Case Studies with a plant-based listed medicine, Khapregesic® for Period Pain.

Caroline’s comments after concluding 24 patient case studies, “I’ve been prescribing Khapregesic® for Period Pain with confidence because it is getting remarkable results.”

If you suffer from PMS and period pain view this video for yourself and see what women are saying about Khapregesic® for Period Pain. It may help you become more active and “boost your productivity”.

Caroline Robertson is a Clinical Naturopath and Ayurveda Practitioner. She is a natural therapies author, clinical case study supervisor, and practices in the Northern Beaches of Sydney Australia.

1) BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Jan 17;19(1):22.The effectiveness of self-care and lifestyle interventions in primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Armour M, et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30654775