Upper Abdominal Pain During Menstrual Cycle | 9 Strategies for Period Relief

Upper Abdominal Pain During Menstrual Cycle | 9 Strategies for Period Relief

The calendar turns, and the arrival of "that time of the month" is on its way. Long before your periods are due, cramps begin to plague your body.

Your entire upper abdomen starts hurting. The only way to describe the sensation is the urge to throw everything away and snuggle up in your bed. Cut off all the ties from the world and pray for the unbearable pain to go away.

The menstrual cycle welcomes upper abdominal pain, which zaps your peace, sleep, and happiness away.

Don't you think it is time to start coping with this piercing upper abdominal pain during periods?

Let's unleash some golden strategies to bid farewell to your painful upper abdominal pain before the menstrual cycle.

Here's what you'll learn.

  • What Is Upper Abdominal Pain During Menstrual Cycle?
  • The Mechanism Behind The Upper Stomach Pain During Periods
  • How to Relieve Upper Abdomen Pain during Menstruation?
  • Natural Remedies To Relieve Pain In The Upper Abdomen During Periods
    • Herbal Teas
    • Ginger
    • Avoid Caffeine
    • Reduce Stress
    • Dietary Supplements
      • Calcium
        • RDA Of Calcium
      • Vitamin D
        • RDA Of Vitamin D
      • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
        • RDA Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
      • Vitamin E
        • RDA Of Vitamin E
  • Heat Therapy Is The Best Solution For Upper Abdominal Pain During Menstrual Cycle

What Is Upper Abdominal Pain During Menstrual Cycle?

The upper abdomen is everything encompassing the area below your chest and above your belly button. Organs such as the stomach, spleen, liver, gallbladder, and parts of the pancreas, small intestines, and large intestines are situated in this area.

Common abdominal pain during the menstrual cycle is the pain that usually revolves around your lower abdomen. But in some females, the pain can move towards the upper abdomen. Depending on your symptoms, this menstrual stomach pain can be a dull ache or a sharp shooting pain.

This pain generally occurs due to gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea caused due to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).

woman with upper abdominal pain holding the upper area of her stomach with ovaries to her right

The Mechanism behind the Upper Stomach Pain during Periods

According to the Cleveland Clinic, every month before the arrival of your menstrual cycle, Prostaglandins start releasing. They help your uterus muscles contract and relax. The relaxation induces the shedding of your uterine lining, and the contraction causes the cramps.

(Prostaglandins - a group of lipids that are involved in the contraction (thromboxane) and relaxation (prostacyclin) of the uterus. They are produced at the site of injury, like the shedding of the uterine lining.)

Unfortunately, these prostaglandins also impact your gastrointestinal tract. So, once they release, they can also relax your bowels, causing bloating and diarrhea. When combined, both can cause mild to severe pain in the upper abdomen during periods. The levels of cramps in the upper stomach during periods may vary from woman to woman.

The hormone Progesterone also slows down your digestive tract causing bloating and gas buildup during the first 2-3 days of your period. Approximately 55% of women experience some sort of gastrointestinal symptoms.

In some cases, the epigastric pain or the sharp upper abdominal pain during periods may indicate the occurrence of endometriosis. [1]

(Endometriosis - a condition where your uterus's endometrial lining starts growing outside of your uterus).

How to Relieve Upper Abdomen Pain during Menstruation?

Fortunately, with the advancement of nutritional therapies and pain relieving technology, we now have awesome ways to tackle upper abdominal period pain. 

First of all, let's take a look at some natural remedies that can help you with the pain in the upper stomach during this period.

Natural Remedies to Relieve Pain in the Upper Abdomen during Periods

1.    Herbal Teas:

In the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, the beneficial effects of certain herbs were found to be beneficial for period pain in the upper abdomen. [2] The following herbs possess qualities like antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic (pain relieving).

  • Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile)
  • Nigella Sativa (Black Seeds)
  • Apium Graveolens (Celery)
  • Cuminum Cyminium (Cumin)
  • Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel)

You can make herbal teas by seeping these herbs or seeds in warm water. Add honey or lemon for flavor, and enjoy these herbal teas while relieving your upper stomach period pain.

happy woman drinking tea with tea herbs on the right of her with tittle herbal remedies to relieve pain

2.  Ginger:

Ginger is packed with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects containing compounds called Gingerol and Gingerdione. Its anti-inflammatory properties are already pretty popular as a therapeutic approach to treating a cough, the flu, migraines, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is also highly beneficial for treating gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is specially used as a remedy by pregnant females during the first trimester to treat morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting.

single-blind clinical trial conducted on 200 women aged 18-25 determined the effect of vitamin D, vitamin E, and ginger and found that ginger had the highest impact on reducing period cramping. It suppresses the activity of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. [3]

3.  Avoid Caffeine:

Sorry to break your heart! Caffeine consumption is not recommended during periods. Because it can narrow your blood vessels, constricting the uterus and increasing the painful cramping and upper abdominal pain during your period.

It also elevates bloating and diarrhea making your condition much more vulnerable. Stop consuming caffeine at least 2-3 days before your expected date, and don't drink it until your heavy blood flow and painful days are passed.

According to research, caffeine consumption is linked to menstrual disturbance and caffeine use is also considered a risk factor for menstrual abnormalities. [4]

4. Reduce Stress:

Do you know that stress causes irregular and painful periods, and severe stress can even stop your menstrual cycle?

All the ladies know how badly stress can impact your reproductive health. Whether it's messing up with your head or your periods, stress can take a toll on your health.

The excess release of stress hormone Cortisol impacts your hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovaries, causing delayed, irregular, or even no periods. The higher the stress, the more complicated everything will get.

Depression, anxiety, and stress are significantly associated with stress and dysmenorrhea. [5]

Dietary Supplements:

5. Calcium:

Healthy levels of Calcium and Vitamin D are important in maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle. Low calcium levels in the body can increase uterine contractions and cause severe pain in the stomach region during periods.

Clinical trial in women with PMS has found a significant relationship between calcium supplementation and PMS. It also suggests a remarkable similarity between PMS symptoms and Hypocalcemia (low calcium levels in the blood). [6]

RDA of Calcium:

The RDA of calcium for females aged 14-18 is 1300 mg, while for women aged 19-50 is 1000 mg. Food sources of calcium are dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Calcium can be found in other foods like green leafy vegetables, spinach, broccoli, soya drinks, fortified cereals and juices, and fortified bread.

6. Vitamin D:

Vitamin D also lowers prostaglandin synthesis and increases prostaglandin inactivation, helping to reduce menstrual stomach pains.

Another study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology investigated the relationship between Vitamin D supplementation and reduced menstrual pain intensity. It also concluded that vitamin D supplementation reduced the number of days with pain and reduced the need to take pain-relieving medications. [7]

research study on 77 females demonstrated a relationship between low vitamin D levels and menstrual disorders. [8]

RDA for Vitamin D:

The RDA for Vitamin D is 600 IU to 800IU (15mcg to 20mcg) per day. Food sources of the vitamin are milk, egg yolk, liver, fortified foods like cereals and juices, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel.

7. Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Other supplements like Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, and B vitamins significantly reduce inflammation.

Omega 3 fatty acids inhibit inflammatory prostaglandins; hence omega 3, like fish oil, flax seeds, or flaxseed oil, are great sources of Omega 3 with a higher EPA to DHA ratio.

RDA of Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

The RDA of Omega 3 fatty acids for women aged 19-50 years is 1.1g per day. Food sources of Omega 3 are nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Fatty fish is also a great source of omega 3, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines.

8. Vitamin E:

Vitamin E has a potent antioxidant function that protects against oxidative damage and increases blood flow to the uterus.

According to research, vitamin E inhibits the release of arachidonic acid and stops it from converting into prostaglandins, relieving dysmenorrhea's severity. [9]

RDA of Vitamin E

The RDA of Vitamin E for females aged 14+ years is 15 mg. Vitamin E can be found abundantly in nuts and seeds. It is also found in peanut butter, beet greens, collard greens, spinach, wheat germ oil, red bell pepper, and pumpkin.

woman taking her dietary supplements

9. Heat Therapy Is the Best Solution for Upper Abdominal Pain during Menstrual Cycle

Lastly, heat therapy is the favorite method of all ladies to relieve upper abdominal pain during the period.

Have you ever wondered why putting a hot towel on your abdomen or taking a warm bath eases your period pain?

Here's why heat helps with period cramps!

A 2-day study was conducted on non-pregnant females divided into three groups. One group took heat and ibuprofen, one took heat alone, and the other took ibuprofen alone.

The results showed that women with heat and ibuprofen and heat alone felt complete pain relief compared to the control group. This proved that heat therapy is just as effective as ibuprofen in treating painful period cramps.

Here are some great benefits of Heat therapy for reducing menstrual pain:

  • Heat therapy improves blood flow by dilating the blood vessels and relieving tension
  • Heat therapy induced by EMS naturally produces heat that helps in pain relieving hence eliminating the need for traditional hot towels and cloths 
  • The use of EMS has also proved to release beta-endorphins that reduce pain
  • Lowers blood volume during periods
  • Reduces painful uterine contractions
  • Heat generation lowers period bloating hence resolving upper abdomen pain during the period

Wrapping Up

Would you believe that doctors have admitted to the fact that period pain is equivalent to the pain caused by a heart attack?

Our women are fighters that fight this pain like a lioness. Regardless of how severe their upper abdominal pain may be during their menstrual cycle, they never stop!

All the strategies mentioned above can help you tackle upper abdomen discomfort. However, heat therapy works best among all the methods!

Suggested Article For You - Is It Normal To Get Menstrual Back Pain?

At SUPMOGO, we are dedicated to finding solutions for our brave women who fight their period pain like a queen.

The SUPMOGO RecoveryFlex System is curated, keeping YOU in mind. The EMS technology generates heat naturally, helping you combat the excruciating upper abdominal pain during the menstrual cycle. It releases beta-endorphins and enkephalins that naturally reduce your period cramping.

So what are you waiting for? Get your hands on the revolutionary SUPMOGO RecoveryFlex System.


SUPMOGO logo on the left with QR code for Linktree, in the middle is a picture of the blog author Huma Khurshid, to the right of her it says "Huma Khurshid" "Health Nutrition & Fitness Copywriter" "(877) 900-6646" "info@supmogo.com" "www.supmogo.com"

[1] Podgaec, S., Gonçalves, M. O., Klajner, S., & Abrão, M. S. (2008). Epigastric pain relating to menses can be a symptom of bowel endometriosis. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 126, 242-244.

[2] Sultana, A., Lamatunoor, S., Begum, M., & Qhuddsia, Q. N. (2017). Management of Usr-i-Tamth (menstrual pain) in unani (greco-islamic) medicine. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 22(2), 284-293.

[3] Pakniat, H., Chegini, V., Ranjkesh, F., & Hosseini, M. A. (2019). Comparison of the effect of vitamin E, vitamin D and ginger on the severity of primary dysmenorrhea: a single-blind clinical trial. Obstetrics & gynecology science, 62(6), 462-468.

[4] Mahmoud, A. Z. B., Makhdoom, A. N., Mufti, L. A., Alreheli, R. S., Farghal, R. G., & Aljaouni, S. E. (2014). Association between menstrual disturbances and habitual use of caffeine. Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 9(4), 341-344.

[5] Pakpour, A. H., Kazemi, F., Alimoradi, Z., & Griffiths, M. D. (2020). Depression, anxiety, stress, and dysmenorrhea: a protocol for a systematic review. Systematic reviews, 9(1), 1-6.

[6] Thys-Jacobs, S. (2000). Micronutrients and the premenstrual syndrome: the case for calcium. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 19(2), 220-227.

[7] Rahnemaei, F. A., Gholamrezaei, A., Afrakhteh, M., Zayeri, F., Vafa, M. R., Rashidi, A., & Ozgoli, G. (2021). Vitamin D supplementation for primary dysmenorrhea: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Obstetrics & Gynecology Science, 64(4), 353-363.

[8] Łagowska, K. (2018). The relationship between vitamin D status and the menstrual cycle in young women: a preliminary study. Nutrients, 10(11), 1729.

[9] Pakniat, H., Chegini, V., Ranjkesh, F., & Hosseini, M. A. (2019). Comparison of the effect of vitamin E, vitamin D and ginger on the severity of primary dysmenorrhea: a single-blind clinical trial. Obstetrics & gynecology science, 62(6), 462-468.

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