Move Aside Menstrual Cramps! Top 7 Remedies To Reduce Cramps

Top 7 Remedies To Reduce Menstrual CrampsThere are many proven remedies to reduce and relieve menstrual cramps, from avoiding certain foods to partaking in certain exercises.

The medical term for menstrual cramps is dysmenorrhea. These pesky cramps are prone to occurring before or during your monthly menstrual cycle.

One of the most common questions our patients ask: What causes cramps in the first place? During menstruation the uterus, the hollow muscle where babies grow, contracts. If contractions are severe they can press against blood vessels and temporarily cut off oxygen supply to the muscle tissue of the uterus, causing cramping and discomfort. 

Types Of Menstrual Cramps

There are two types of cramps: primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.

Primary dysmenorrhea is normal menstrual cramps generally experienced about 1 to 2 years after your first period. These cramps range from mild to severe, and usually impact the lower abdomen and back. As you get older cramps tend to decrease in severity. Some women stop getting cramps entirely after giving birth to their first child.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is related to a disorder impacting your reproductive organs. These cramps tend to originate earlier on in your menstrual cycles and last longer than cramps associated with primary dysmenorrhea. Conditions that lead to this type of cramping include endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and tumors (fibroids).

How Common Are Menstrual Cramps?

Menstrual cramps vary from person to person, some people experience debilitating cramping every month while others experience little to no cramping at all. The severity of cramps can change throughout your lifetime.

40% of all American women experience some form of debilitating menstrual cramps, while over 10% of these same women are unable to do anything for 1 to 3 days of every month.

7 Tips To Relieve Menstrual Cramps

1. Eat Calcium & Vitamin-rich Foods

Calcium makes your bones stronger and your menstrual cramps less painful. A recommended guideline for women between 19 and 15-years-old is 1,000 mg per day. There are plenty of calcium rich foods such as dairy products, leafy green veggies, almonds and sesame seeds. Calcium is also available in supplement form.

Other foods that help reduce cramps include:




-Foods rich in vitamin B6 such as brown rice

-Foods rich in manganese such as walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

-Foods rich in vitamin E, such as broccoli or olive oil.

-Foods rich in iron, a vital nutrient lost during menstruation, such as chicken, leafy green vegies, and fish.

2. Drink Lots Of Water

Drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest ways to reduce cramps. When your body is dehydrated it retains excess fluids, causing painful bloating on top of any cramps or bloating associated with your period. Hot or warm liquids help relax cramped muscles. Eating plenty of water-based foods is also helpful, such as fruits and veggies.

3. Avoid Fatty Foods, Carbonated Beverages, Alcohol & Caffeine 

Fatty foods are known to make menstrual cramps worse. You should also avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages, all of which are prone to upsetting the stomach and making cramps increasingly unbearable. Coffee and other forms of caffeine should also be avoided.

4. Apply A Heat Pad

Depending on where your pain is centered, it may be helpful to apply a heat pad to your lower back or abdomen. Surprisingly, heat can be just as effective as medicine when it comes to reducing discomfort. You could use a heating pad, warm water bottle or hot towel to do the trick. Taking a warm bath may also help.

5. Exercise

We get it, when you’re suffering from cramps the last thing you feel like doing is putting on tight workout pants and heading to the gym. But… it might be exactly what your body needs to start feeling better. Not to mention, when you exercise the body releases endorphins, uplifting your mood and naturally reducing pain.

Don’t hit the gym too hard; light to moderate exercise will do the trick. Just going on a walk around the block can help reduce cramps. Light yoga can also reduce symptoms by increasing blood flow, relieving stress and promoting relaxation of muscles.

Women who exercise on a consistent basis tend to incur less cramping around their period.

6. Get On An Oral Contraceptive

Birth control is not only prescribed to keep the babies at bay. Oral contraceptives can also be prescribed to help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps and regulate your period.

7. Take Pain Relievers

Ibuprofen may help reduce cramping. If that doesn’t do it, you may need a doctor to prescribe you something stronger than over-the-counter pain relievers.

Treatment For Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps can be treated regardless if there’s an underlying cause or not. If your cramps are making life unbearable, even if it’s just for a day or two each month, visit Urgent Medical Center for answers and relief.

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