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Tips & tricks to relieve menstrual cramps

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Any woman who has experienced menstrual cramps knows how uncomfortable they can be. Some women experience cramps that are so bad they spend their days curled up on the sofas or in bed. Instead of suffering and missing work or school, there are different remedies that offer varying degrees of relief. 

Drinking Tea

Stated by Your Herbal Remedies Guide, many women find relief by drinking tea, but not just any tea. Unfortunately, tea with added caffeine can make the cramps worse, so the best choice is relaxing chamomile tea. The chamomile leaves have an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help reduce the pain in cramps. The natural anti-inflammatory blend is safer for the body than over-the-counter products like ibuprofen and naproxen. 

Sucking on Peppermints

Along with chamomile, peppermint is another natural tool for relief from cramps. You can drink peppermint tea, chew peppermint gum, or suck on peppermint candy. Studies found that natural peppermint oil relaxes the intestinal smooth muscles. Many people suck on peppermints to help them stop feeling nauseous, and the same candy helps slow cramps.

Taking a Daily Dose of Fish Oil & Vitamin B1

Taking both vitamin B1 and fish oil on a daily basis can reduce menstrual cramps. The efficacy of the pairing takes about two months to become noticeable. However, studies on teenagers with menstrual cramps found that women who took them both daily for at least two months had less painful cramps than women who took just one or neither of the vitamins. 

Avoiding Caffeine, Fatty Foods, and Alcohol

Many of the problems associated with menstrual cramps come down to inflammation. To stop inflammation, it is wise to avoid eating foods and drinking beverages that are associated with inflammation. These include foods that have high levels of refined sugar, as well as foods that are cooked in trans-fatty acids, like french fries and onion rings. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages also increase inflammation and should be avoided around the time that cramps tend to start. 

Heating Pads

If you are confined to the couch, or you have some time to sit and relax, use a heating pad or hot-water bottle. The heat can help reduce pain associated with menstrual cramps, as the heat relaxes the muscles that are related to the cramping. If you can get the temperature to 104°F, you should experience the most relief. If you do not have a heating pad or hot-water bottle, you can use a hot towel or make your own heating pad by filling a sock with rice and sewing it closed. Throw it in the microwave and enjoy the heat. 

Stretching the Core

Another useful tool for fighting cramps is exercise. You might not want to run a marathon while experiencing cramps, but a few core stretches like bridge pose, cobra pose, and upward-facing dog pose can ease muscle tension. If you exercise regularly, you are less likely to have cramps in the first place. 

The OTC Route

If nothing else seems to work, there are always over-the-counter remedies like ibuprofen and naproxen. Just do not take them for too long, as they can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding.

More Insights: Check out this great article on how plants can impact your hormones.


  • Alex Hurst is a writer for HUM@Nmedia covering Optimyz and Silver magazines in print and digital editions and is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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