You don't have to suffer through menstrual cramping every month. Take charge and make Aunt Flow's visit a bit less agonizing by following the advice of our medical experts, who offer five ways to get menstrual cramp relief.
Pop a pill
According to Dr. Cheryl Pagel, family practice faculty at the family practice educator residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, "Menstrual cramps are caused by a substance in the uterus called prostaglandin, which is triggered during menstruation." To combat bad cramping, she suggests taking ibuprofen or naproxen to not only reduce cramping but also decrease blood loss by 30 to 50 percent. According to MayoClinic.com, "Prescription NSAIDs, such as mefenamic acid (Ponstel), are also available."
In addition to protecting you from getting pregnant, birth control has other benefits, especially when it comes to that time of the month. Pagel notes that birth control pills decrease blood flow and ease cramps, as well. According to MayoClinic.com, "Hormonal birth control can also be delivered by injection, a patch you wear on your skin, or in a flexible ring that you insert into your vagina." There are also other options, such as Mirena (an IUD); Pagel notes that it can shut down your period altogether, thus decreasing bleeding and cramping.
A hot pack on the lower stomach can do wonders to relieve cramping, according to Pagel. MayoClinic.com suggests soaking in a hot bath to alleviate cramping associated with menstruation.
Alternative therapeutic approaches
Several other forms of relief can help reduce your cramping. According to MayoClinic.com, participating in stress-reducing activities like yoga, massage and meditation can reduce menstrual cramping. So, don't skip your bikram class when it's that time of the month! Acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (which stimulates the release of endorphins) and dietary supplements such as vitamin E, thiamin and omega-3 supplements may also help reduce your painful cramping, per MayoClinic.com.
If you suffer from severe cramps due to an underlying disorder such as endometriosis or fibroids, MayoClinic.com says, "The surgical removal of the abnormal tissue may help reduce your symptoms."
Instead of spending another week doubled over in pain, try one of these five suggestions and say sayonara to menstrual cramping once and for all.
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