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  • Michael Frey, MD

10 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Hydrate - Drink More Water Menstrual cramps, or primary dysmenorrhea, are an uncomfortable part of life for many women on a monthly basis. Drinking more water may help ease bloating, which makes symptoms worse. Get in the habit of drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, especially during your period. Add some mint or a lemon wedge to make it more palatable. While you're at it, back off of the salt, which encourages fluid retention and bloating.

Sip Chamomile Tea

Sipping chamomile tea may help reduce cramps when you menstruate. Chamomile tea is full of anti-inflammatory substances that inhibit prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are made by cells in the endometrium of the uterus. These cells release prostaglandins during a woman's period, provoking muscle contractions of the uterus, pain, and cramps. Prostaglandins in the bloodstream are responsible for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache during the menstrual period.


Crampbark, Dong Quai, Chasteberry, Vitamin B-6, and Ginger. Great combination, really helps for many of my patients. Available online.

A Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Try a sprinkle of cinnamon on your cereal or cup of hot cocoa. It can't hurt and it might help your cramps and other period symptoms like nausea.

More Magnesium

Magnesium helps to alleviate symptoms of PMS, especially when taken with vitamin B6. Good sources of magnesium include almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, and black beans. Try BioEmblem Magnesium.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief Menstrual pain occurs due to uterine contractions. For severe menstrual pain, over-the-counter remedies like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen sodium can reduce menstrual cramps. Keep your pain relievers of choice at home, work, and in the car so you have them on hand when you need them.

Reach for Heat Applying a heating pad, heat wrap, or hot water bottle to your abdomen works wonders for relieving menstrual cramps. You can find these items in the drugstore or online. CareMe makes a nice product. Another good brand is CrampCare. The continuous application of heat may work as well as ibuprofen for the relief of dysmenorrhea pain. Heat helps muscles relax.

Acupuncture Acupuncture is eastern healing that stimulates certain trigger points on the skin to produce desired effects in the body. The therapies are very effective for a variety of medical conditions including menstrual cramps.

Baths Sooth Pain - Just Add Bubbles A warm bath may be just the thing you need to soothe pain and relax tense muscles. Start by adding some luxurious bubble bath or fragrant essential oil. Read your favorite book or magazine to help melt stress and tension away. Taking a bath in the evening is a great activity to help you wind down and sleep better. Birth Control Pills Pills help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce pain. Hormonal birth control helps guard against pregnancy and may help ailments associated with the uterus like endometriosis if present. It also prevents the lining of the uterus to become as thick as it normally would during normal monthly hormonal fluctuations. Many women who are on the pill don't experience menstrual bleeding or periods that are much lighter than usual.


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