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How to get rid of cramps

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Ten helpful tips for women experiencing menstrual pain, or Dysmenorrhea

Ten helpful tips for women experiencing menstrual pain, or Dysmenorrhea

Cramps occur when muscles in the human body involuntarily contract, and do not relax. Muscle cramps can be brought on by a wide variety of factors such as exercise, over-exertion, and dehydration. 

Women, however, are all too familiar with a different type of cramping that can occur on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, menstrual cramps are a fairly normal part of a woman’s menstrual cycle.  Menstrual craps are caused by hormonal fluctuations that trigger contractions of the uterus.

Normal cramps, which may cause mild discomfort are typically referred to as dysmenorrhea. Extreme or incapacitating menstrual cramps are categorized as secondary dysmenorrhea, and may be an indication of serious medical or gynecological issues such as endometriosis, pelvic disease, uterine cysts or fibroids.  

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If you, or someone you know is experiencing regular, severe and debilitating period pain, medical advice should be sought immediately. Women who are seeking simple solutions for how to get rid of cramps, or at least lessen the discomfort associated with the common menstrual cycle, may benefit from the tips and suggestions listed below.


How to Get Rid of Cramps: 
Ten Helpful Tips for Women Experiencing Menstrual Pain or Dysmenorrhea

1.  Mild pain killers such as Aspirin, Tylenol, Midol, Advil, Aleve, and Pamprin are the most fast-acting answers for how to get rid of cramps.

2.  Heat can help to ease muscles. Use a hot compress, hot water bottle, or heating pad to relieve your cramps. Along the same lines, a hot bath, steamy shower or a sauna bath are equally effective methods for reducing cramps.   

  Various scientific and medical studies have proven that vitamins and certain dietary supplements can help to significantly reduce cramps, and other symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Vitamin E, Thiamine/Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B6 and Omega-3 supplements are proven to reduce cramps, while Zinc and calcium reduce cramps as well as bloating and PMS symptoms.

4.  Balance your diet by reducing your intake of caffeine, salt and sugar during the week leading up to your period. Increase your consumption of foods rich in calcium, Omega-3 and B Vitamins. For example milk, yogurt, leafy green vegetables and fish/seafood are ideal foods to consume just prior to, and during your menstrual cycle.

5.  Dehydration can only serve to intensify menstrual cramps. Make sure your body stays well hydrated prior to, and during your period by drinking plenty of water and fluids. Many nutritionists, homeopathic and naturopathic experts recommend drinking particular herbal teas known for their healing properties. Teas with ingredients such as chamomile, mint, evening primrose oil, fever-few, hops, ginger, thyme, and flax-seed have been proven to lessen the severity of menstrual cramps.

  Menstrual pain can also be eased with some light exercises and stretching. Intense exercises can aggravate cramps. Experiment with yoga, Pilates, swimming, or even a simple outdoor stroll.  Fresh air and light movement can often be the best remedy and help you deal with period pain.  

7.  Particularly if you experience lower back pain associated with menstrual cramps, avoid any situations that will involve standing for long periods of time. This can serve to heighten pain and discomfort.

8.  Gentle massage is a great way to combat menstrual cramps, as it serves to relax the nervous system and promote a smooth and even flow of blood. Make an appointment with your local massage therapist, and be sure to explain your reasons for seeking a massage. This will help your masseuse to focus on key areas, and avoid any techniques that may aggravate your cramps. In addition to massage therapy, reflexology, acupressure and acupuncture can also help to get rid of cramps.

9.  Many women experience relief from menstrual cramps through aromatherapy. Particular essential oils are reputed to have relaxing effects upon the mind and body. If you are interested in exploring the benefits of aromatherapy, try particular oils such as chamomile, rosemary, lavender, sage, ginger, cypress, and marjoram.

10.  Alcohol is in fact a muscle relaxer, which can cause uterine contractions to subside. Try a shot or two of brandy or other strong liquor to ease cramps. Consume alcohol responsibly, and beware that this approach can add to dehydration.

Center for Young Women’s Health
Mayo Clinic: about menstrual cramps


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