One of the worst parts of your monthly cycle is painful period cramps. For many women, the arrival of your period means the start of painful cramping. Sometimes, those cramps are so intrusive, they keep you from going through your daily activities. (Don’t believe us dudes? Check out these male morning show hosts experience a menstrual cramp simulator on YouTube.) Now, that’s just a reflection of the simulated pain. But in real life, it can be much worse. In fact, according to an Australian survey, 3 out of 10 girls skip at least one class a month because of period pain.
(If that’s your situation, and your period is also very heavy, you may have uterine fibroids. Be sure and talk to your healthcare provider.) And, we also want you to remember this fact. No matter what’s causing your menstrual cramps, relief may be available sooner (and easier) than you’d think. Try our top five tips for getting rid of period cramps!
Medical and Lifestyle Interventions That Can Help Manage Period Cramps
Depending on how bad your period pain is, one or more of these tips can help you feel better:
1. Heat therapy. Try putting a heating pad on your lower abdomen. If that’s not an option, relax into a warm bath. Both these options should help relax your uterine muscles, easing those cramps and alleviating much of your discomfort.
2. Get your sweat on. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins—hormones that naturally make you feel good and can help battle pain. If you’re able to get to the gym for a few 45 min- 1 hour sessions in the initial days of your periods, your cramping discomfort will likely calm down. But remember, if you have fibroids, you may need to change your workout a bit. Here are the best ways to exercise with fibroids. So you can get period relief and fibroid relief while you explore your treatment options!
3. Self-care. Though not helpful for everyone, many women find relief from menstrual pain through massage and acupuncture. And, while we can’t attest to scientific evidence that these treatments help, if they work for you then there’s no harm in trying!
4. OTC (over-the-counter) meds. If your period pain is strong (but not debilitating) you may find relief from drugs like:
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
5. Treat your fibroids. If non-cancerous uterine tumors are causing your painful periods, treatment should give you a permanent solution to your cramps. At our office, we offer a minimally-invasive option known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE.) Talk to your healthcare provider, or schedule a consult with our Houston fibroid specialists, to see if UFE is right for you!
Sources: The Conversation