If you have a period, chances are you’re familiar with the side effects that roll round once a month. From mood swings and cravings through to painful cramps as your cycle begins, everyone has a unique experience of periods, ranging from uncomfortable through to downright agonising – hi, that’s me.
Since my periods started, nights spent in the foetal position on the bathroom floor, violent sickness, fainting episodes, and pain so excruciating I can’t walk have been common occurrences. I always dismissed my excruciating period pains as normal and assumed that my periods would become less of an issue as I got older, but as the months and years have gone by and periods have become less of a ‘taboo’ topic, I’ve realised that popping a couple of paracetamols isn’t quite enough for me.
Over the years I’ve tried everything from birth control and painkillers to supplements and OTC medication – all have helped in some small way, but not without unwanted side effects of their own, and while I know that nothing is ever going to cure my period pain, I’ve always dreamed of finding a less invasive solution.
Periods are a hot topic these days – from cycle tracking apps and sustainable tampon brands to the fight against period poverty, we’re openly discussing and innovating. One such innovation is the progress that’s been made in establishing the benefits of CBD for period pain. I recently had the opportunity to try a couple of products that claim to make the experience more bearable. Here’s everything you need to know.
What causes period pain?
During your period, your uterus sheds its inner lining by contracting. These contractions are caused by prostaglandins – inflammatory chemicals which force the muscular wall of the womb to vigorously contract in order for blood to be removed. On top of this, they also trigger heavy bleeding and increased sensitisation to pain. Studies have shown that women who experience heavy or more painful periods have higher levels of prostaglandins – meaning that treatments which lower prostaglandin levels can be highly effective.
How does CBD help?
The science is pretty clear – extracted from cannabis sativa (hemp), CBD targets the cause of period pain (prostaglandins) in order to relive the symptoms. It works by decreasing the production of prostaglandins, which then reduces the issues they cause – inflammation, contractions, and pain.
BeYou Period Patch
This pain-relieving body patch sticks firmly to skin like a giant plaster (it’s basically a more discreet, portable, and long-lasting alternative to a heat pad) and releases a therapeutic blend of menthol and eucalyptus oils which slowly absorb into the skin (eucalyptus is a powerful anti-inflammatory and menthol has the ability to block pain receptors). I was super skeptical about whether this would have any impact (like I said, my periods are agonising), and granted, it’s no miracle cure, but it made much more of an impact than I was expecting. Working for up to twelve hours (mine was noticeable for the first eight before it started to fade a bit), the patch releases a cooling tingle that relaxes muscles and has the same kind of numbing effect that a hot water bottle does.
BeYou CBD Body Balm
I enjoyed this solution, which involved massaging the balm onto my lower abdomen and letting it do its thing. The formula is designed to deliver CBD directly to the area that needs it most, and I definitely found this to be the fastest and most effective option of the three. Again, it didn’t put an end to my cramps, but it certainly reduced them to a more bearable state.
BeYou CBD Oral Drops 600MG
This is one that requires consistent long-term use, and I’m only six weeks in so I’ll report back. After three months of taking it daily, I should be able to notice less severe symptoms when my time of the month rolls round. I’m already convinced that the fact I barely had any PMS symptoms before my last period was down to this (I normally experience mood swings, headaches, and bloating right before I’m due on), but until I’m convinced, I’ll still be keeping my ibuprofen handy.
Top tip: Take your CBD/apply your patch or balm as soon as possible – ideally an hour or so before cramps properly start. If you hold off until you’re in pain, the prostaglandins will have already activated and will be harder to control.