I’ve had horrible period cramps since I was in high school — it always felt like I was getting stabbed in the lower abdomen with a pair of scissors. Plus, the period products at my disposal weren’t great, so it was a mess both literally and figuratively. This usually isn’t the case for everyone with a period, but as someone with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), this time of the month can be a bit more painful.
PMDD is a condition where people experience heavy cramping, extreme fatigue, irritability, suicidal thoughts, and a plethora of other symptoms roughly two weeks before their period begins until onset. To this day, I still experience excessive cramping and fatigue despite being on psychiatric medication and trying birth control.
Upon my initial diagnosis, I found relief with some over-the-counter medications like Pamprin and Tylenol and taking a long nap. However, as I got older, I noticed those pain relievers no longer worked like they used to. Once that started to happen, I realized it was time to take matters into my own hands and find period products that would help make that time of the month more tolerable. Now, see how I don’t say “pain-free” because my periods are still painful, but they aren’t nearly as debilitating as they were half a decade ago.
Related: It’s time to start loving your period
After a quick Google search, I found that heating pads, supplements, and oils could be helpful in providing relief from symptoms of PMS and PMDD. I didn’t want to go in blind and just test out different products, so instead I reached out to some OB/GYN’s for their expertise in the area of period products and pain relief and got the lowdown on what actually works.
Let’s just say, most of the recommendations for products and home remedies you’ve read online have the potential to work, but it’s really about finding what works best for you and your body. (Although these products have worked for myself and others, you’ll want to consult with a doctor prior to adding or trying anything new or different for period relief.)
Related: I’m a menstrual cup convert and here’s why you could be too
Keep on reading to see what period products have helped me, plus a few expert-recommended picks and highly-rated options from customers who have found relief during this uncomfortable and painful time of the month.