Can masturbation help relieve menstrual pain?

Period pain is something people often overlook as an inevitable part of life. But those who have experienced them will know that they can be extremely uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating.

Although there are a host of remedies that claim to relieve stomach cramps during your period, from ibuprofen to alternative methods such as magnesium supplements, there might be a way to soothe your pain without any type of medicine: self-pleasure.

Masturbation is an integral part of many people’s lives, even though we don’t talk about it much. It can help you relax, release sexual tension, and improve your sleep in addition to a ton of other benefits. And chances are it can help relieve your menstrual cramps, too.

“The endorphins released during masturbation can help relieve menstrual pain and cramps,” says Sarah Welsh, gynecologist and co-founder of the sexual wellness brand. Hanx. “Hormones can help relieve pain, promote relaxation and rest, and reduce stress.”

In reality, a 2020 study by Womanizer, which asked 486 menstruating people questions about their periods, found that 90% of participants recommended masturbation for pain relief. When asked whether masturbation or medication worked better for relieving menstrual pain, respondents were split, with 43% choosing medication and 42% choosing masturbation.

And although scientific research on how masturbation affects menstrual pain is lacking (as it is on most women’s health topics), scientists have long studied the effect of orgasm. on general pain. For example, a 1985 study found that women’s pain tolerance increased by 40% following clitoral stimulation and when this stimulation resulted in orgasm, tolerance increased to 74%.

While more up-to-date research needs to be done on these topics for the well-being of anyone with a uterus, it seems that masturbating to help ease your period pain might be worth a try.

Why do people experience menstrual pain?

To understand how masturbation can help ease menstrual pain, it’s important to understand why people experience cramps in the first place.

“Menstrual pain is very common and very normal,” says Welsh. “During your period, your uterus contracts to help get rid of its lining. When the muscular wall of your uterus contracts, the blood vessels supplying the muscles are compressed, which means that oxygen cannot reach them, causing the tissues to release hormones (prostaglandins) that cause pain and inflammation.

So why do some people have more period pain than others? “Some people who have a buildup of these prostaglandin hormones experience more severe period pain,” Welsh says, adding, “There are also medical conditions that can cause more severe period pain, such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and fibroids Some contraceptives can also make menstrual pain worse, such as the copper intrauterine device (IUD).

How does masturbation help relieve menstrual pain?

Masturbation and orgasms release feel-good hormones called endorphins, including dopamine (the “pleasure” hormone) and oxytocin (the “love” hormone). “These hormones help rebalance our cortisol (the ‘stress’) hormone levels, which also helps our immune system work better,” says Welsh.

“The surge of these feel-good hormones released during orgasm helps us feel relaxed and calm, which helps with sleep, which is also essential for healthy well-being,” she adds.

Interestingly, blood flow to your uterus during orgasm also helps manage menstrual cramps, according to Welsh.

How do you masturbate when you have your period?

There’s no one way to masturbate, and the same goes for personal pleasure during your period.

“Listen to your body and do what makes you feel good,” advises Welsh. Your genital area may feel more sensitive than usual when you have your period, so you may want to opt for a more gentle approach, and it may be a good idea to use a natural lubricant to avoid chafing or irritation.

However, this sensitivity could also lead to greater pleasure, as there’s likely to be greater blood flow to your genitals – so that’s a reason to look forward to your time of the month, anyway. way. Additionally, menstrual blood can act as a natural lubricant. If you’re worried about the mess, focus on clitoral stimulation or wait to masturbate until you’re in the shower or bath.

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