Menstrual cramps are a painful monthly occurrence that can be debilitating for many.
Doctors have confirmed that period pains can be ‘almost as bad as having a heart attack’.
To ease the pain that comes with menstruation, people have their pain relief methods perfected. From medication to heat pads to chocolate and bad films, one approach won’t work for everyone – but we’re always up for trying a fresh hack.
Now one woman has shared her ‘life-changing’ key to easing period pain.
Taking to TikTok, user @lessiamac shared her hack in a video that has been watched over 14 million times.
In it, she takes the rubber end of a pencil and massages it around the upper crevice of the ear.
She says to rub that point for about one minute and to do the same on the other ear too.
Idk how, but it really works!! Try this!! #reducepain #periodpain #menstrualcramps #reduce #lifehacks #bestlifehack #forwomenonly
Many in the comments lauded Lessia for her method and said it helped ease their cramping.
‘Woah it actually reduced the pain. Just tried it,’ wrote one user.
However, others weren’t so keen.
‘I guess my period pain is harder then. This makes no difference when my insides are turning. No chance,’ wrote one disappointed viewer.
‘It helped but I’ve had such severe periods that it just cut it a bit,’ commented another.
To see if there is any medical proof behind this trick, we asked Dr Claudia Pastides, a GP with Babylon Health, for her take.
While she is unsure of the medical reasoning, she believes this method’s occasional success may have something to do with an ancient form of massage.
‘I presume it has something to do with acupressure,’ she explains.
‘Acupressure is used for treating period pain and there are a handful of studies that suggest acupressure can be helpful – although the pressure points used were not on the ear and one of the systematic reviews suggests it may be a placebo effect.’
She notes that if it works, you can continue to use the method in a safe manner but to remain wary.
‘Can putting a pencil against your upper ear cause any harm? I think if done sensibly, gently and not too frequently – it is unlikely to cause any damage,’ Claudia tells us.
‘But don’t stick it in your ear hole or lose the rubber inside. And remember this isn’t something I can find good evidence to support.’
To effectively treat period pain, Dr Pastides says there are a number trustworthy routes to follow.
‘When it comes to period pain – applying heat through hot water bottles and taking painkillers works,’ she says.
‘In particular anti-inflammatory drugs, which are researched and known to be helpful for relieving period pain.
‘Other non-drug options you can try include massage, relaxation techniques such as yoga or pilates, a warm bath, a shower, and a TENS machine.’
However, severe period pain that cannot be eased by those means should be investigated further.
Dr Elise Dallas, another GP from Babylon, notes: ‘Pain that awful needs looking into.
‘Endometriosis, for example, takes an average of 7.5 years to be diagnosed and causes terrible suffering in the meantime.
‘No amount of acupressure will prevent endometriosis. So if you’ve got crippling period pain, please speak to a healthcare professional about it.’
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