Most women experience some degree of menstrual cramps at some point. Cramps can be mild to severe. Endometriosis, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, and other conditions may be a contributing factor.
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- OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen used around the clock at the first sign of your period helps to reduce the severity of cramps in many women by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins.
- Regular exercise such as walking helps to prevent or at least reduce the severity of menstrual cramps for some women.
- Oral contraceptives may effectively reduce or eliminate menstrual cramps for some women; however you should consider the side effects of oral contraceptives before using them to prevent cramps.
- Zinc, calcium, and B vitamins obtained in food and supplements have been found to reduce cramps, bloating and other symptoms.
- Herbal remedies such as Viburnum prunifolium, Scutellaria spp., and Cimicifuga raemosa have an antispasmodic effect that may reduce some menstrual cramps.
- A warm bath filled with aromatherapy or a heating pad on your lower abdomen and back is often helpful for relieving menstrual cramping.
- Always take painkillers with food to prevent stomach discomfort.
- If you don't have a heating pad, you can make one by filling a sock (a men's tube sock works best) with rice and heating it in a microwave over for a few minutes.
- Talk to your physician if these tips do not help, there may be an underlying cause. Severe sudden cramps, vomiting, or fever may be a sign of a medical emergency, contact your physician immediately.