1. 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. Avoid alcohol, which promotes dehydration.
2. Eat to Reduce Pain
You may be craving fatty, sugary, or salty foods when you have your period, but these foods are not your friends. Skip the doughnuts and potato chips. Some women find that eating the right kinds of foods may help ease menstrual pain. Anti-inflammatory foods like cherries, blueberries, squash, tomatoes, and bell peppers are good choices. Cold water fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids are also healthy choices. Eat more calcium-rich beans, almonds, and dark leafy greens. These foods contain compounds that combat inflammation.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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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 period. Yoga and tai chi are gentler forms of exercise that may be easier to do if you experience fatigue.
6. Plants That Relieve Pain
Health practitioners may prescribe herbs to treat a woman’s menstrual cramps. Black cohosh, cramp bark, turmeric, and chasteberry are a few herbs that have been used. They are effective for pain relief and decreasing inflammation. Make sure your doctor knows about all of your medical conditions, medications, and supplements because herbs are not appropriate for every woman. Herbs may interfere with the action of some medications or decrease their effectiveness.