Cramps while traveling can ruin the best vacation. And unlike your period, you can’t plan for their arrival or their intensity.
Sometimes, they’re a small annoyance and other times, you’re doubled over immobile, squeezing your pillows with your back aflame.
Doctors believe that cramps are caused by a loss of oxygen to the muscle – at that time of the month, your uterus is contracting to shed its lining. When the contractions are especially strong, blood vessels are squeezed, cutting off the supply. Cramps are your muscles complaining about this treatment.
There’s no way to avoid cramps entirely – they are part and parcel of the sometimes tricky business of being a woman. But there are methods to alleviate them.
If you are not averse to Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Midol or Paracetemol, always try to have a few of these on you. They are small and inexpensive, and last for long stretches before they expire, under a variety of conditions. The good thing about painkillers is that if taken as soon as you feel cramps coming on, within half an hour, they are almost completely gone for the next 4-6 hours entirely.
However, there are those who are averse to the idea of self-medicating once a month, every month, and for those women, there are alternatives.
Hot water bottles have become a staple among many girls’ belongings, but while travelling these can become cumbersome. Heating pads are pricey, but widely available, and do wonders for a sore back. They’re especially comforting during trips to cold climates.
Many swear that drinking tea helps ease their discomfort. Herbal teas like chamomile, raspberry and blueberry are said to be especially helpful, not to mention calming. This is possibly the weakest of all the aforementioned remedies, but also the most readily available should you be lacking a pharmacy.
Taking care of your body year-round can help alleviate cramps. Regular exercise and good hydration can work miracles. Also, at the time, avoid junk food or anything overly salty or sweet. These can make cramps feel worse, not to mention increase bloating.
This is not often spoken about, nor is it entirely accepted in many countries for a woman to get frisky while on her period. Yet many women report sex helps not only cramps, but to end their period sooner (after initially making it much heavier immediately following). This is a messy option, and definitely not for the faint of heart, but there are some women who swear by it. Just be sure to bring a red towel – and remember, even though you’re less likely to get pregnant while on your period, you’re just as at risk of STDs.