You’d think that your period cramps would be limited to the week of your period.
Cramps don’t just happen when your body is expelling its unused uterine lining.
Depending on their cause, cramps can strike at any part of your cycle, but often, women notice cramps two weeks before a period.
If that’s you, read on.
We’ll discuss how and why that happens, and which holistic and lifestyle changes you can try to relieve the pain and discomfort that comes from cramps two weeks before a period – and when you should seek professional help.
And if the last thing you feel like doing is reading an article, you can cut right to the chase and snag yourself a few period-soothing CBD and THC suppositories from us here at Hello Again.
Understanding Cramps Before Your Period
Not all cramps are created equally.
Ovulation occurs on day 14 of a 28-day cycle, putting this essential process about two weeks before a period starts.
For some women, ovulation comes with its own kind of discomfort, referred to as mittelschmerz, which is German for “middle pain”. It’s unpleasant, but benign, and is thought to affect roughly 40% of women of reproductive age.
There’s also PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, to consider. PMS cramps and pain can begin two weeks before a period.
Fluctuations in hormone levels like estrogen and progesterone happen throughout the menstrual cycle, triggering the release of prostaglandins that contribute to muscle cramps.
Conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids can also contribute to cramps two weeks before a period. With endometriosis, tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
This tissue can become irritated and cause pain, including cramping, in the weeks leading up to menstruation.
Uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus, can cause cramping and discomfort, especially in the weeks before menstruation.
Lastly, stress and anxiety can exacerbate cramps. If your baseline level of stress is already high, it can increase leading up to a period.
We’re not about to tell you that dietary changes will be the silver bullet that can cure all your cramp-related ills, but they can certainly help!
The key is management, not magic.
When it comes to the kinds of nutrients you want to focus on, think like an athlete. Cramps are muscle misfires, so eating to support your muscle tissue can help manage the condition.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Increased inflammation can trigger a cascade of negative effects in the body, including cramps at any time, but especially two weeks before a period.
Omega-3s can be found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, or flaxseeds and walnuts.
Magnesium is essential for healthy muscle function, and increasing your intake can help reduce the instance of cramping. Foods rich in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Calcium plays a role in muscle contraction, so good sources of calcium like dairy, leafy greens, and fortified plant-based milks can help regulate it. Magnesium and calcium work together in the body for all kinds of muscle movements, so having both in your diet is a good idea.
While we’re at it, try limiting caffeine, sugar, and excessive salt, as all of these can contribute to inflammation and painful cramping before, during, and after your period.
Hydration and Electrolyte Balance
Not to be too obvious, but hydration and electrolyte balance play a pretty essential role in healthy muscle function.
So while chugging water is nice and all, you might also want to make sure your minerals are in balance.
Minerals play a vital role in maintaining the electrical balance across cell membranes, including those in muscle cells. Imbalances in electrolytes = cramping in muscles.
Including electrolyte-rich foods in your diet like bananas, yogurt, and leafy greens all support healthy muscle function.
And if you’re fairly active, electrolyte drinks, packets, or powders can help you, too.
Herbal Remedies and Supplements
Herbal teas with anti-inflammatory properties
One of the simplest ways to support your body all month long is to sip some tea.
Ginger, turmeric, peppermint, and red raspberry leaf teas all have anti-inflammatory properties, with the bonus of being easy and pleasant to drink.
If your usual tea is black, green, or white, adding a chunk of ginger or a knob of turmeric can add an anti-inflammatory boost without having to go out and buy a whole new box.
Ideally, you’re getting the nutrients you need from a balanced diet. Supplements are to be used with care, and with the cooperation of your medical provider.
In the meantime, you should know that supplements for the nutrients we mentioned above are available in supplement form. Magnesium supplements exist in a variety of forms, and fish oil capsules can help you get your omega-3s.
Calcium chews and tablets are also a thing, as is the whole vitamin alphabet.
Supplements can interact with each other, and can have unique effects. So, if you’re curious about supplementation, definitely reach out to your doctor.
If you’re looking for a little extra boost, why not go straight to the source?
Hello Again’s vaginal suppositories have been specifically formulated to support you before, during, and after your period.
Similar to how a heating pad on the lower abdomen can ease period pain, our proprietary blend of botanicals along with carefully balanced CBD and THC compounds nourish and protect your v’s delicate skin while your bloodstream absorbs all the good stuff.
Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques
Stress management, when done correctly, can have a ripple effect.
Managing your breathing leads to awareness of tension. Addressing that tension leads to increased patience and self-understanding. Before you know it, you’re thinking and moving in a whole different direction.
It can be daunting to know where to start, or if to start at all.
Here’s a little tip: you can’t relax wrong.
Pick an area, any area of your body, and try a bit of self-massage. Do some stretching and see where you feel tense. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do a bit of deep breathing.
Instead of committing to an immediate and total lifestyle change, imagine stress management and relaxation techniques as items on a buffet line. You can sample as many as you like, as much as you’d like.
And once you find your favorites, you can always go back for seconds.
While we have yet to see “uterus exercises” suggested to us on YouTube, the truth is, when you start moving some of your body, all of your body benefits.
Traditional yoga poses, or “flows”, are a great place to start.
You can also try intuitive stretching, which is exactly how it sounds.
Start by sitting quietly, or with some music. Start moving your body, taking note of what feels good and what feels stuck. You might be surprised to learn that your body will move into positions that address and release tension.
The more you do it, the better you’ll be able to listen or tap into your body and what it needs.
Stretches or movements that move and strengthen the muscles of the trunk, especially, can help with cramps at any time, but especially cramps two weeks before a period.
When to Seek Professional Help
Do you find yourself actively ignoring your period-related pain?
Perhaps it’s gotten to the point where you’ve put it on the back burner, so to speak, because there’s just too much to get done, or there are “better” things to focus on.
If we can do one thing with this article, it’s to remind you that you don’t or shouldn’t have to live in pain just because you have a period.
If it’s been long enough that you’re honestly not sure, try tracking it. Nothing fancy, you can use the calendar app on your phone. Try adding a red dot for every day you experience cramping or pain. Do so for a few months, and see what patterns emerge.
If you don’t like what you’re seeing, you can talk to your doctor. They can perform diagnostic tests and evaluations for any underlying conditions you may not even know you have.
And if you don’t like what your doctor is saying, you can take the information you’ve gathered to a different practitioner. The answer may come from a collaboration between you and more than one medical professional – but that doesn’t mean the answer isn’t worth discovering.
Hormonal Birth Control
For some women, hormonal birth control helps them manage their period (and pre-period) cramps.
For others, it can make cramping worse.
While there are many options on the market today, including pills, patches, rings, hormonal IUDs and shots, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option against your specific chemistry.
Your healthcare provider can walk you through choosing what will work best for you.
You have options.
You have the power and ability to manage your cramps two weeks before a period, during a period, whenever and however they show up.
Whether that’s a new movement routine, a change in diet, an introduction to supplementation or learning about a chronic condition, there are ways to improve your quality of life.
Of course, none of it happens without self-awareness.
If you know you’re in pain, know it’s not your fault. You just need a little help.
We’re here to help you feel your best.