It's that time of the month when Aunt Flo decides to come for her weekly visit. The mood swings clue you in that the time is near, and then the cravings come next. To top everything off, you get hit with bad cramps that can last the first two days of your period.
For some, the cramps are so bad, they end up spending that time in bed. For others, they're just a mild inconvenience; and you have those who are everywhere in-between. No matter where you fall on the cramp scale, you can do a number of things to help lessen the severity of your cramps so that you don't have to be miserable. Check out these 8 ways you can control your cramps.
1. Exercise. Although you may not feel much like exercising, everyday health recommends doing some. The endorphins that are released during exercise will make help ease the discomfort from the cramps.
2. Reduce stress. The Mayo Clinic says that stress can often cause cramps to be worse, so finding ways to relax and reduce your stress, especially around that time of the month, may mean lighter cramping and discomfort.
3. Eat healthy. Another recommendation by everyday health is to eat a low-fat, vegetarian diet. Not only will it help with cramps, but you get the added benefit of eating healthier overall. Medical News Today recommends eating lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting your intake of salt, sweets, caffeine and alcohol as all of these can make cramps worse.
4. Take vitamins. The Mayo Clinic points out that taking vitamin E, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-6, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids may also help minimize the severity of your cramps. Speak with your doctor to know how much of these to take.
5. Drink tea. Teas are great for helping to reduce stress, but WebMD states that some appear to help reduce the discomfort of cramps as well. Chamomile, mint, raspberry and blackberry tea are some of the ones that are recommended. Stay away from caffeinated teas as caffeine can worsen cramps.
6. Use heat. Applying heat to your lower abdomen is a remedy that's been around for a long time, but Medical News Today says it's still one of the best ways to deal with cramp discomfort. A hot water bottle, heating pad or heat patches will do the trick.
7. TENS. Medical News Today also says that using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to stimulate the muscle may also help alleviate the discomfort.
8. Take a painkiller. If the cramps are too bad and nothing else is working, don't be afraid to take a painkiller. everyday health recommends taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium which help reduce the amount of prostaglandins being released which are what is responsible for causing the cramps. NSAIDs are also anti-inflammatories, so they will help decrease any inflammation and help with overall pain. If you are uncertain if you can take NSAIDs, check with your doctor before taking any.
Try putting some of these into practice now, and by the time Aunt Flo comes back around, you may find that she's not too bad of a visitor. No one should be miserable because of cramps. Hopefully, you'll find the solution that works great for you.