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How to Reduce Menstrual Cramps

Based on work by Ben Rubenstein,Krystle C., Christy, Tom Viren, Nicole Willson, Lily A, Katie, Dave Crosby, Zack, Elyne, BR, Maluniu,Teresa, Random, Leona and Rebecca, wikiHow user(s) Flickety, Foxglove, Booky, FourFinger, Lottiotta,Bokehmon, Sophie Caley, Lillian May, Mitch and Rick2, OhioMike, Question mark, PZ and Tauseef_7 and Anonymous.

Having your period is hard enough, now you have to deal with cramps. Cramps are caused by the contraction of your uterus during your period. It usually means that the uterine muscles are contracting too hard. The pain can be mild, moderate or severe. You may feel the cramps in your abdomen, in your back, or even down your legs.


  1. Keep a healthy diet including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as plenty of water. Attempt to keep track of how particular foods affect your period. Plenty of fiber is particularly useful in cleansing the body of excess estrogen (which can lead to heavier and more painful periods).



  2. Take dietary supplements. Some studies indicate that Vitamin E, thiamine and Omega-3 supplements may reduce menstrual cramps. [1] Zinc and calcium have been found to reduce cramps, bloating and related PMS symptoms. [2]

  3. Make sure to have regular health check-ups to ensure health, mention to doctors any menstrual problems you feel you might be having, and take into consideration how conditions such as IBS or anemia may make you feel during menstruation. In addition, menstrual cramps can be caused by an underlying disorder such as endometriosis or fibroids, in which case the surgical removal of tissue may be required to help alleviate your symptoms. [3]

  4. Some new scientific evidence points to xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens actually causing menstrual cramps. Xenoestrogens are simply "foreign" estrogens that are not really estrogen but mimic estrogen. Xenoestrogens can be chemicals present in items used in every day life such as lotions, shampoos, and laundry detergent. Phytoestrogens are plant estrogen's that can be found in some herbs. If you avoid Xenoestrogens and Phytoestrogens, the menstrual cramps will go away. Xenoestrogens and Phytoestrogens can cause Magnesium and Vitamin B deficiencies. A Magnesium deficiency can cause muscles to cramp. A Vitamin B deficiency can cause Neuropathy. Think Restless Leg Syndrome.

  5. Topical Natural Progesterone can also counteract xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens, if the body load of xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens is not too high. If the body load of xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens is too high, then topical Natural Progesterone may actually temporarily increase menstrual camps.

  6. Use painkillers around the clock as soon as you notice your period. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs), medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin etc.) or naproxen (Aleve) actually reduce menstrual blood flow not just the pain associated with menses. Acetaminophen, while helpful for the pain, is not nearly as effective as the NSAIDs. Many women find that painkillers can decrease menstrual pain. If you can't tolerate ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, simple aspirin or acetaminophen can help a lot. The effectiveness of NSAIDs builds up over time, so if your cramps are so severe that the painkillers don't do much, start taking ibuprofen every six hours up to a couple of days before you expect to get your period and continue until your cramps abate. If over-the-counter NSAIDs do not help, your doctor may prescribe a prescription NSAID such as mefenamic acid (Ponstel).

  7. Hormonal birth control. Birth control pills contain hormones which prevent ovulation and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. [3] This is why your doctor may recommend birth control pills for menstrual cramps. The same hormones can also be delivered through injection, a patch you wear on your skin or in a flexible ring you insert into your vagina.

  8. Some women find it eases pain if they lay face down on a bed, then get on their knees, sticking their butt up in the air, but leaving their head on the pillow. This tilts the uterus and can relieve pain.

  9. Try placing a hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen. This helps ease your muscles. According to the Mayo Clinic, this appears to be just as effective as over-the-counter pain killers. [4] If you don't have a heating pad, you can make one.

  10. Do some mild exercise. Walk around the neighborhood, run on the treadmill, go ride your bike, or any other exercises you enjoy. This will increase blood flow which will help the cramps go away. [5]

  11. Use the body's own pain-killers. If you're worried about over-use of traditional pain-killers, or they are not available, you may also wish to make use of the body's own pain-management mechanisms.

    • Distract yourself from the pain. Distraction is one of the most powerful and readily available painkillers. So if you have intense cramps, do something that normally totally absorbs you, such as socializing with good friends, reading a book, playing a computer game, or spending time on facebook.
    • Get regular exercise. Exercise increases your overall serotonin levels. Serotonin is the body's own painkiller, and also makes us feel happier.
    • Sexual activities do help anything with the menstrual cycle. Try to get as much as possible. Orgasm releases oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions which eases pain

  12. Try acupuncture, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, may help to relieve pain associated with menstrual cramps. [6] Acupuncture has been used as a pain relief method for over 2,000 years. Hair-thin needles are placed into the skin on specific locations on your body. The needles do not cause pain for most people.
  13. (Article extracted by WikiHow)

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