It’s that time of the month again when your womb conspires to kill you.

Menstrual cramps suck. To say they make you uncomfortable would be understating it.

The quick solution would be to pop a painkiller and go about your day, but if you don’t have easy access to a painkiller, here are a few natural options that you can use to alleviate the pain.

1. Heat

A hot water bottle should be a staple in every woman’s arsenal of period products. Fill it up with hot water and place it on your abdomen and feel it work wonders as it soothes your aching muscles. If you don’t have a hot water bottle around, you can improvise by filling a heavy glass bottle with hot water and wrapping it with fabric. The make-shift water bottle may not be as effective as a store- bought one because it won’t be as flexible, but it will still do the job.

2. Exercise

Exercising when you’re having cramps may not help you. In fact, it can put additional strain on your abdominal muscles and make the pain worse. The old saying prevention is better than cure couldn’t be more true than in this situation, where the activity that you engage in before the onset of your period could go a long way in making sure that your period is a breeze.

Adopting a more active lifestyle can help strengthen your abdominal muscles so that they’re in more control of the spasms that make cramps so excruciating. You don’t have to run out and get an expensive gym membership or wake up at 5am for a run, rather, simply increasing the distance you walk everyday or taking the stairs instead of the lift will do.

3. Hydrate

Drinking a lot of water before and during your period will prevent your body from retaining water and reducing bloating which can make you pretty uncomfortable. Drinking warm water helps to increase blood flow and relax your cramping muscles. Avoid food and drink that dehydrate you, like caffeinated drinks or food high in sodium. They will constrict the flow of blood to your muscles to and make the cramping worse.

4. Ginger

Boiling a ginger root in water and drinking the mixture is one way to keep the cramps at bay. Ginger contains properties that inhibit the production of the hormones that cause cramps.

5. Bananas

They’re cheap and available all year around and they are rich in potassium and vitamin B6, making them one of nature’s perfect remedies for cramps. Vitamin B6 prevents water retention in your body thereby reducing bloating and potassium prevents muscles cramps. Need I say more?

6. Chocolate

If you’re always looking for the right excuse to indulge, well now you have it. Dark chocolate contains endorphins (feel good hormones) that uplift your mood. They also contain minerals and antioxidants that are beneficial to your health. They also give you that energy boost, increase blood flow to your muscles and reduce pain of muscle contraction.

7. Essential oils

A few drops of lavender or peppermint essential oil mixed with water and rubbed onto your abdomen can be as effective as swallowing a pain killer to get relief from cramps.

8. Avocado

An avocado a day will keep the cramps away. Eating one everyday will give you the healthy balance of magnesium and potassium that will be the firewall against that super annoying menstrual pain. Who said avocados can’t be more awesome than they already are?