Five Tips to Help Ease Period Cramps

For some women their monthly period comes and goes without much fuss. Many women, however, experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms, cramps being among the most common. You don’t have to suffer through another month of painful cramps that interfere with your daily activities. There are steps you can take to get relief now.

Why do I get cramps during my period?

Many women experience throbbing pain in their lower abdomen right before and during their monthly period. The pain is usually mild to moderate but can be severe enough to significantly disrupt your daily activities.

Your period is a coordinated series of physiological events that occur every month without your input. Part of this involves the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins that trigger the uterine muscles to contract so that you shed your uterine lining.

Prostaglandins are inflammatory substances that play a role in pain levels. Uterine contractions, together with elevated prostaglandins, are responsible for menstrual cramps. 

Here are five ways to get relief if menstrual cramps are raining on your parade.

#1: Increase your water intake

It may seem too simple to be true, but boosting your water intake during your period can help ease cramps. Water is vital for regulating many functions in the body. Even a slight dip in hydration affects the cells of the body.

The reduction in the amount of estrogen and progesterone can cause retention of water in the body. Drinking enough water can help to flush your system and keep you hydrated. 

#2: Get moving

Exercising may seem like the last thing you’d want to do when dealing with menstrual cramps. But in fact, engaging in regular exercise is proven to improve menstrual cramps. Aerobic exercise such as running, spinning, and dancing increases circulation throughout the body and produces mood-boosting and pain-relieving endorphins.

Find an activity that you enjoy such as swimming. Women who are active have less menstrual pain than women who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

#3: Reduce fat intake in the week before your period

Dietary fat can promote inflammation, and increased inflammation raises the risk for painful menstrual cramps. In fact, a low-fat diet reduces overall inflammation throughout the body. 

Many women tend to crave sugar and fat right before their period, and while a bowl of chocolate ice cream may seem like a wonderful comfort snack, it’s bad news if you’re someone who gets menstrual cramps. Instead, cut back on fat intake the week before your period, especially saturated fat. You may be surprised at how much doing so relieves menstrual cramps.

#4: Sip herbal tea

Certain herbal teas may help ease menstrual cramps. In fact, cramp bark is an herbal tea known for providing some relief from period cramps. It’s a plant native to North America and traditionally used by Native Americans to reduce fluid retention and inflammation. If you plan to try drinking herbal tea to quell menstrual cramps, be sure to discuss it with your provider first.

#5: Boost magnesium intake

Magnesium is a vital mineral that helps to regulate nerve and muscle function. Getting enough magnesium can help reduce menstrual cramps. Avocados, nuts, legumes, and chocolate are rich in magnesium. This gives you another reason to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate. If you’re unable to get enough magnesium in your diet, talk to your provider about adding a supplement to boost your magnesium intake.

The providers at Capital Women’s Care are dedicated to women’s health. We have offices in Arlington and McLean, Virginia. Call the office nearest you to schedule a visit with Dr. Andrea Williams, Dr. Sandra Caskie, Dr. Michele Berkeley, or Dr. Alexis Light. You can also click the online scheduling tool to request an appointment right now. 

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