- Women's Health
Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps
You found this hub because you want a solution to a problem that has probably been bugging you for months or even years! You are not alone in your quest for information on how to get rid of menstrual cramps. Approximately half of our planet’s population is female who at one time or another have suffered from mild or severe menstrual cramps.
One of the main differences between human males and females is that females have to undergo a menstrual cycle to prepare the body for sexual reproduction. Some women do not experience menstrual cramps at all but unfortunately, for majority of us, menstrual cramps is a fact of life. In this hub, I will discuss several ways to get rid of menstrual cramps.
Before I do so, I would like to point out that there are actually two types of menstrual cramps (or dysmenorrhea) to help you understand that not all of the home remedies for menstrual cramps may work for you.
Types of menstrual cramps
- Primary dysmenorrhea – this is the most common type of menstrual cramp. Girls who have just reached puberty can expect this type of dysmenorrhea and can expect to experience severe menstrual cramps for at least a decade or so until they reach their twenties or until after they give birth. For some, however, this doesn’t completely go away until they finally reach menopausal stage. If you are suffering from this type of dysmenorrhea then it will be quite easy for you to get menstrual cramp relief!
- Secondary dysmenorrhea – unlike primary dysmenorrhea which can be treated or cured by homemade remedies, secondary dysmenorrhea needs to be diagnosed and treated by medical professionals. These severe menstrual cramps are caused by ovarian cysts, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, uterine fibroids and /or the use of IUD or intra-uterine device for birth control.
If you believe you are suffering from secondary dysmenorrhea, please see your doctor as soon as possible.
Note that this hub on home remedies for menstrual cramps mainly apply to primary dysmenorrhea.
Home remedies for menstrual cramps
Here are 6 simple ways you can cure menstrual cramps naturally:
1. Eat fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of potassium. Potassium helps regulates blood pressure and muscle function which in turn will help relieve your cramping muscles. Bananas, prunes, potatoes, tomatoes and spinach are good sources of potassium.
2. If you want to know how to stop menstrual cramps without spending a dime, then try placing something hot on your abdomen, like a heating pad or heating bottle. Heat helps relax your cramping muscles. Alternatively, if you are on your laptop and it’s already warm (or hot), try closing it and then putting it on your abdomen for a few minutes. I usually do this and find it helps alleviate the cramps for some time.
3. Do some mild exercise such as walking, jogging or doing a few sit-ups to help stretch out your muscles. This not only helps divert your attention (from your cramps), it also allows you to burn a few calories! Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!
4. Wear loose clothing. Don’t wear clothing made of tight material as this will only add to your discomfort. I find that clothes made of cotton help me relax as its super comfortable and allow my skin to breathe.
5. Drink a lot of water. I would recommend lukewarm, and not cold water. Warm liquid running down your throat will feel good and has a warm healing effect.
6. Aromatherapy also does wonders. You can put some fragrant oil in your bath, such as lavender, or in an oil burner and the aroma will help you relax. Put on some classical music and you’ll soon find yourself drifting off to sleep!
Using medication and supplements for menstrual cramp relief
Some women want to cure menstrual cramps naturally, however, these often take time and some relaxation is involved. If the remedies above are not for you, then taking medication using over-the-counter drugs may be best for you.
Useful medication for menstrual cramps relief
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as mefenamic acid, ibuprofen and naproxen are usually helpful. Personally, however, on the odd month when I cannot afford to stay at home and relax, then I just take some mefenamic acid. This does wonders for me and cramps are usually gone within the hour and I’m free to do whatever it is I’m doing for the rest of the day! Note, however, I do not take mefenamic acid every time I feel cramps. Only when I absolutely have to! I do not want my body getting used to any kind of medicine.
- The use of topical analgesic patches may also help. There are many over-the-counter brands for this type of medication but the brand I find to be most effective (in my case) is Salonpas. On days I do not take mefenamic acid, I usually put on a patch or two on my abdomen.
- Hormonal birth control. Hormones that are found in birth control pills, injections, patches or implants prevent ovulation as well as the severity of menstrual cramps. Please check with your doctor for medical advice.
- Food supplements that are rich in Vitamin E, thiamine, omega-3, zinc, calcium and magnesium have been found to be effective in reducing menstrual cramps. Before taking any of these, however, it will be best to seek advice from your doctor.
I hope this hub will help you get rid of menstrual cramps. While the tips I have offered above will not provide a permanent solution, these will certainly help alleviate the pain. As women, this is something we may have to go through for as long as we have our periods. However, consistently following a good healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise may eventually cure menstrual cramps naturally.