Nearly every woman will have menstrual cramps in her life. But for same women, the cramps are severe not just occasionally but month after month. Doctors call this condition dysmenorrheal. It literally means “difficult monthly flow,” and that’s an understatement. In many cases, the cramps are accompanied by other problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, or overall achiness.
It’s unfortunate, but cramps are a normal part of menstruation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get relief. There are a number of strategies that will help reduce monthly pain.
Here are a few you many want to try.
Try some soothing heat . Putting a hot water bottle or a heating pad on your abdomen will help ease the discomfort of cramps. As long as you keep the temperature at safe levels, you can leave the heat in place for about twenty minutes at a time, and repeat it every few hours throughout the day. Taking a hot shower or a long bath can also be very soothing, doctors say. A little pampering can do wonders.
Put your trust in medications . For most women, over the counter pain pills such as aspirin and ibuprofen are very effective at stopping cramps. These drugs block the effects of chemicals in the body called prostaglandins, which are responsible for causing much of the pain. You can take these drugs when cramps begin, but they will be more effective if you take them a day or two ahead of time and continue until the cramps go away.
Take a long walk. Doctors aren’t sure why, but evidence suggests that walking, swimming, or other forms of exercise make cramps less troublesome.
Stretch for relief. For quick relief from cramps, try this stretch: Get on your knees, then sit back so your bottom rests on your heels. Bend forward until your chest is resting on your thighs and your forehead is touching the floor. Hold the stretch for minute or two. Many women swear that it’s the best and quickest way to quiet cramps.
Give up coffee for a few days. For some women, giving up caffeine – found not only in coffee, but also in chocolate cola, and some teas – helps make menstrual cramps less severe. You don’t have to give up caffeine entirely – just for a few days until the cramping subsides.
Get plenty of minerals . Doctors say that getting enough calcium, an element found mainly in dairy foods; and magnesium, which in beans, whole grains, as well as in a variety of vegetables, can be very helpful for reducing cramps.
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