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Your guide to effective period pain relief products to buy today

Lounge draws a list of pain relief products in the market that promise to alleviate period cramps and are safer than the controversial painkiller, Meftal

It is believed that around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime.
It is believed that around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime. (Pexels/Cottonbro Studio)

The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), in December last year, issued a drug safety alert regarding the painkiller Meftal, a popular choice amongst women suffering from menstrual cramps. Ever since the advisory was announced, more women are looking for alternatives to help with their menstrual cramps. The market is flooded with new-age menstrual relief products like heat patches, pain relief roll-ons, pain relief massage devices, and even herbal alternatives. Lounge gives you a lowdown on the best period pain relief products available in the market today. 

Also read: Study asks women not to ignore issues like irregular menstruation and PCOS

Pain relief patches
Around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime. There are several formulations available in the market to help relieve the pain, without popping painkillers. Pain relief patches are one such option.  Pain relief patches are usually applied to the area of pain and are either self-heating or are made with Ayurvedic formulations. 

Dr. Ajeet K. Srivastav, AVP - R&D and compliance of Pee Safe, one of the few brands that offer herbal pain relief patches recognized the need to provide a natural and effective solution for menstrual pain management, making it easier for women to deal with this common problem. With an easy application, portability, and travel-friendliness, the pain patches are said to work for 12 hours providing instant relief from cramps. “These patches are not only safe to use, but are also natural and herbal. The ingredients are carefully selected to provide a powerful and effective solution”, says Srivastav. Pee Safe has also obtained a release certificate from the NABL laboratory.

Cramp relief oil and supplements
Most women have are used to popping painkillers every month to deal with menstrual cramps. A not-so-safe habit especially when you consider that clinical trials of medicines do not always include women. “Long-term use of these drugs may come with side effects and so, we at Inaari launched period products that are safe for long-term use,” shares Rashmi Putcha, founder of Mumbai-based natural healthcare brand, Inaari. 

Cramp relief oil is another popular alternative to popping painkillers. Inaari’s cramp relief oil is an Ayurvedic formulation that is a mix of over ten essential oils. When applied topically, oils help relieve inflammation and period cramps. “The results are almost instantaneous but also temporary. Menstrual cramps are common but not normal. They are a clear sign of hormonal imbalance. We offer supplements in the form of a cycle realign kit that contains micronutrients for each stage of the menstrual cycle and helps balance the hormonal cycle. This is not a quick fix but works more to solve the root cause,” emphasizes Putcha.

Exercise and diet
Dr. Ashwini Bhalerao Gandhi, consultant gynaecologist at P D Hinduja Hospital and MRC, Mahim, Mumbai says that regular exercise and a healthy diet can play a key role in preventing menstrual cramps. “Engage in physical activity to improve blood circulation and reduce cramping. Consuming a balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals, while limiting caffeine and salty foods can also act as a deterrent.”

Also read: Why women often quit exercising

CBD products
In the late 19th century, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom suffered from severe menstrual cramps to the extent that she'd have to cancel certain royal engagements. Her physician, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, a forward-thinking neurologist ahead of his time, prescribed a medical cannabis tincture to alleviate the Queen’s menstrual discomfort. CBD has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Loveena Sirohi co-founded India Hemp Organics with a promise of helping individuals better their overall, holistic health. “We prepare medical formulations using medical cannabis leaves and hemp seeds, along with several other ayurvedic super-herbs that are proven to alleviate chronic pain and inflammation, including pain from menstrual cramps,” says Sirohi. 

Clinical studies demonstrate cannabinoids (medical compounds present in the cannabis plant) interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which in turn helps alleviate pain and inflammation in the body. With an oral pain relief CBD oil as well as a topical menstrual pain relief roll-on, Sirohi firmly believes in the power of cannabis as a medical alternative for cramps. “For additional steps on safety concerns, we have medical doctors that consult with our patients to advise them personally based on their symptoms and the recommended product to use, along with the recommended dosage”, she adds.

Non-invasive pain relief devices
Preksha Chopra, 34, from Ahmedabad, founded Welme while working in the body pain management industry. “Just like several other menstruators, I went through pain and discomfort during the initial days of my menstrual cycle. Having experience in using TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) technology for pain relief, I thought of creating something that can help ease menstrual pain using the same technology,” says Chopra. The pain relief device from Welme is based on TENS therapy, a drug-free and scientifically tested technology for pain relief. It releases soothing electrical impulses through sticky electrode patches. 

Explaining how the device works, Chopra says, “Once the pads are in place, the device can be turned on. You can start with the lowest setting and gradually increase the intensity. The impulses from the device block pain signals and stimulate the release of endorphins. It relieves period pain and eases period days.” TENS devices are non-invasive and have no side effects. There is no intake, use of chemicals, or high-voltage currents. Welme is CE certified and has recently received certification as a Class B medical device. It is also safe to carry the device on airplanes.

While all these products listed here are easily available over the counter,
Dr. Gandhi offers a word of caution – to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice based on one’s health history. “There are no scientific studies available about these products.  It all boils down to the personal experience and choice of the woman which products she’d want to use,” she warns. She suggests alternatives like heat therapy or simply applying a heating pad or warm water bottle to the lower abdomen along with adequate hydration to help ease bloating and discomfort. “Non-prescription medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also help manage pain along with practicing stress-relieving methods such as deep breathing or yoga,” she signs off.

Aditi Sarawagi is an independent writer who covers wellness, travel and food.

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