6 Ways To Relieve Your Severe Menstrual Cramps

For some women and teenage girls, those days of the month when they get their periods are the worst part, owing to the severe pains they often experience. If you fall within this category, here are a few tips to help relieve your severe menstrual cramps…

1. Place a heating pad on your abdomen. Placing a microwavable warm pack or heating pad on your lower belly for a few minutes at regular intervals often helps. You may also soak in a warm bath or have a warm shower. Generally, heat helps relax the muscles contracting in your uterus, responsible for your pains.

2. Take over-the-counter medication. Pain relief medications like ibuprofen taken daily three days before you start menstruating also helps minimize contractions that cause severe menstrual cramps. Ask your doctor about appropriate dosage.

If that doesn’t help, hormonal birth control is another option but discuss pros and cons with your doctor first

3. Engage in moderate exercise. Exercising or moving around is likely the last thing on your mind with all that pain, however, giving it a try helps the brain release endorphins – feel good hormones which are natural pain killers and promote increased blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Try simple aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, running and swimming.

READ ALSO: Menstrual Cramps: What You Need to Know

4. Drink lots of water. Though this doesn’t directly relieve cramping, it helps control bloating which can make menstrual cramps worse. Also, eat watermelons, cucumbers, berries, celery and lettuce which are water-rich to boost hydration.

Avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine (coffee, energy drinks, carbonated drinks) as they can make cramps worse.

Note that warm or hot water is better to increase blood flow and relax cramped muscles. For faster relief, grate and add a small piece of ginger to your hot water, sieve and drink.

5. Review your diet. A diet rich in fiber, including lots of whole grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables, and low in unhealthy fats also helps relieve menstrual cramps. So, if you are a lover of deep fried or junk foods, it may be time to embrace a healthier diet. This can help you get more of nutrients including vitamins E, B1, and B6, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower the level of prostaglandins – hormones which trigger contractions and pains.

6. Supplements. Some vitamin and nutritional supplements such as calcium, fish oil and vitamin B1, taken daily, can also help relieve menstrual cramps. Ask your doctor about these and other options to get a prescription that’s right for you.

Note that if your cramps are so severe that they interfere with your daily activities, you should see your doctor to rule out underlying causes. Before making an appointment, it helps to record your symptoms over a 2-3 month period, so you can give your doctor very detailed information to aid appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

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