What a pain (literally) it is to suffer from cramps every month before getting your period. If you've stuck to over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin for relief or even started taking the birth control pill to help alleviate your discomfort, you may be interested to learn about other strategies that can help decrease menstrual pain.
Your first instinct is probably to lie down, and it's a good one to follow. Curling into fetal position will likely provide some comfort, but try different positions until you find one that works for you. Elevating your feet is said to be helpful, as is lying on your stomach while elevating your derriere.
Actually, eating regularly in and of itself may help reduce menstrual cramps. This is because your body's focus turns to digesting the food you've consumed rather than cramping and causing you pain. Which foods have potential relief benefits? Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate cramps (try drinking ginger tea or using ginger in a stir-fry), and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce cramping as well. Why not marinate some salmon (a good source of omega-3 fatty acids) in a sauce that includes fragrant ginger?
Thanks to its bromelain content, pineapple juice can relax the muscles that are working away and causing your cramps. Not a fan of pineapple juice? Orange juice is another option, since vitamin C can help reduce the pain of cramps.
If you're stressed and tense, your menstrual cramps will be more pronounced. Make relaxing a priority: Take a warm bath, practice deep breathing or go for a walk. Practicing some gentle yoga postures may also help you let go of tension.
The irony: The very foods your PMS symptoms make you crave — those loaded with sugar, salt and caffeine — are the same foods that can worsen the pain of your cramps. Resist the temptation and focus on clean eating instead, and you'll be much better off.
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