5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps (Period Pain)
More than half of women who menstruate report some pain from period cramps for a day or two each month.
While menstrual cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, are usually not a sign of a serious health condition, they can put a crimp in your lifestyle.
If your period cramps seem severe or you don't get relief despite trying some of these options, check with your doctor to rule out more serious health issues.
Curl Up With a Heating Pad
Applying a heating pad, heat wrap, or hot water bottle to your abdomen works wonders for relieving menstrual cramps. You can find these items in the drugstore or online. The continuous application of heat may work as well as ibuprofen for the relief of dysmenorrhea pain. Heat helps muscles relax. If you don't have a heating pad, heat wrap, hot water bottle, or heat patch handy, a hot shower or warm towel can be used instead.
Skip the Caffeine
Eliminating caffeine helps many women relieve menstrual pain. Caffeine comes in many forms including coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and energy drinks. If you consume caffeine daily, you may need to taper your dose down slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. As a substitute, try smoothies loaded with antioxidant-rich greens, berries, and protein powder. The nutrients will give you a much needed pick me up without the increased pain that can accompany caffeine.
Massaging your abdomen for as little as 5 minutes a day may be able to help relieve menstrual cramps. Massage encourages blood flow. Massing cream containing essential oils like clary sage, lavender, and marjoram has additional benefits for the body. These oils contain compounds that have been reported by many to help relieve pain and soothe dysmenorrhea.
Drink More Water
Menstrual cramps, or primary dysmenorrhea, are an uncomfortable part of life for many women on a monthly basis. Drinking more water may help ease bloating, which makes symptoms worse. Get in the habit of drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, especially during your period. Add some mint or a lemon wedge to make it more palatable. While you're at it, back off of the salt, which encourages fluid retention and bloating. Avoid alcohol, which promotes dehydration. Some women experience diarrhea in conjunction with menstrual cramps. It's important to replace lost fluids by drinking plenty of water.
Many women find that exercising helps relieve menstrual cramps. Exercise releases endorphins, brain chemicals that promote well being. Whether you enjoy walking, running, or swimming, it's safe to participate in all of these activities during your period. Yoga and tai chi are gentler forms of exercise that may be easier to do if you experience fatigue.