Tips for menstrual cramps

Every couple of weeks every women for most of their lives deal with menstrual side effects whether it's cramps, bloating or sugar cravings (or the lot). Sadly it can make us feel sluggish, grumpy and all over a bit rubbish.

Here are some little tips to try and reduce some of this pain.

Drink lots of water!

I know you hear this one a lot but its so so important. During your time of month you should be consuming even more water than usual. Drinking more water may help ease bloating and some women experience diarrheaor vomiting in conjunction with menstrual cramps. It's important to replace lost fluids by drinking plenty of water.

Don't listen to the cravings

You may want to grab the chocolate but actually it's the last thing your body needs. Anti-inflammatory foods like cherries, blueberries, squash and tomatoes are good choices. Aim for fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and eat lots of calcium rich beans, almonds and dark leafy greens. Stock up in your iron with lentils, tofu and baked potatoes.

Ditch alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. All of these things increase inflammation and may encourage period pain. There is some evidence to show that reducing harmful fat intake may also help relieve painful periods.

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. NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen reduce prostaglandin production.

Go for Ginger

Ginger is a traditional remedy for inducing periods and is believed to cause uterine contractions. However, this remains unproven, though there has been some research into the effect of ginger on painful periods.

Ginger is unpleasant to eat raw, so the easiest way to take it is to make ginger tea. To use this method, boil a fresh piece of peeled, sliced ginger in a pan of water for five to seven minutes. Strain the tea and add honey or sugar to taste before drinking.

Skip the Caffeine

Eliminating caffeine helps many women relieve menstrual pain. Caffeine comes in many forms including coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and energy drinks. If you consume caffeine daily, you may need to taper your dose down slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. As a substitute, try smoothies loaded with antioxidant-rich greens, berries, and protein powder. The nutrients will give you a much needed pick me up without the increased pain that can accompany caffeine.

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. The continuous application of heat may work as well as ibuprofen for the relief of dysmenorrhea pain. Heat helps muscles relax.


Many women find that exercising helps relieve menstrual cramps. Exercise releases endorphins, brain chemicals that promote well-being. Whether you enjoy walking, running, or swimming, it's safe to participate in all of these activities during your menstrual period. Yoga and tai chi are gentler forms of exercise that may be easier to do if you experience fatigue. Here at Fitness in Time you can do a gentle workout to still get all the benefits

Work Your Core

An easy home remedy for menstrual pain is to perform light exercises that engage the core. Take deep breaths while lying on your back with the knees bent. Yoga is another type of exercise that may help women who have cramps. In one study, young women who practiced yoga for 60 minutes once a week for 12 weeks felt less menstrual distress and period pain compared to those who did not do yoga. Some of the best poses that help women feel better during menstruation include bridge, staff pose, and bound angel. Ask a qualified yoga instructor to show you these positions.

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