How to Deal With Cramps

Three Methods:Get Immediate ReliefReduce the Severity of CrampsKnow When to Seek Medical Attention

For many women, menstrual cramps are a predicable part of getting their monthly period. Some people are able to go about their daily activities in spite of the cramps, while others are forced to stay in bed for a day or two until the pain goes away. Read on for information on relieving your cramps and preventing them from being as painful in the future.

Method 1
Get Immediate Relief

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    Take over-the-counter pain medicine. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are very effective at relieving pain from cramps. When you feel the pain coming on, take a painkiller, and the pain should go away in half an hour or so.
    • Do not take more than the recommended dosage stated on the pain medicine bottle, unless otherwise advised by a physician.
    • Some pain relief medicines are created specifically for dealing with cramps and other conditions associated with menstruation. If aspirin and ibuprofen don't work for you, consider trying Midol, which contains acetaminophen.
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    Use a hot water bottle. Cramps are caused when your uterus, which is a muscle, contracts to release its lining. Muscle pain always feels better when heat is applied, and the uterus is no exception.
    • Lie down and lay a hot water bottle or other hot compress across your abdomen.
    • You could also apply heat by taking a warm bath or shower to ease the pain.
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    Drink herbal tea. Drinking a warm, soothing fluid can help relax your muscles, and certain herbs are said to effectively relieve cramps. Brew up a pot of tea with one of the following herbs:
    • Raspberry leaf, which is said to help relax the uterus.
    • Cramp bark, a powerful herb that is said to ease uterine muscle contractions.
    • Dong Quai, which is relaxing to the nervous system.
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    Get a massage. Kneading the muscles in your lower back and abdomen can go a long way toward easing the pain of cramps.[1]Use a self massaging tool or have a partner work on these areas for you. If you're in the mood to splurge, hire a masseuse for a professional job.

Method 2
Reduce the Severity of Cramps

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    Get regular exercise. Women who incorporate regular exercise into their routines have less severe cramps than women who don't exercise.[1] Consider adding exercise to your life in one of the following ways:
    • Walk or bike to work. Walking or biking can take less time than other modes of transportation, and the light exercise it entails adds up a lot over time.
    • Start jogging or swimming a few times a week. Jogging and swimming keep your muscles toned and give your body a strong, healthy foundation, which helps keep cramps at bay.
    • Join a team sport. Basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball get you moving several times a week.
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    Limit substances that make cramps worse. Have you every noticed that your cramps are more painful during periods when you're drinking a lot of coffee? That's because caffeine has an effect on the severity and duration of muscle cramps, as do alcohol and salt.[1] Limit your intake of the following substances, especially as your period approaches:
    • Coffee, caffeinated tea, and soda.
    • Beer, wine, liquor, and other drinks containing alcohol.
    • Salty foods like chips, canned soups, and fast food.
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    Consider taking birth control. For people with severe menstrual cramps and other menstruation-related symptoms, taking birth control can help ease the pain. The hormones in birth control cause the uterine lining to thin, resulting in fewer uterine contractions and less severe cramps. Consider the following options:
    • The birth control pill is a popular method. A pill containing a certain amount of estrogen, progesterone or both is taken each day until the end of the cycle, when the period comes.
    • Injectable contraceptives contain the same hormones, and are administered in the form of a shot periodically.
    • Intra-uterine devices, or IUDs, are implanted inside the cervix. The device releases estrogen and progesterone hormones.

Method 3
Know When to Seek Medical Attention

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    Pay attention to your symptoms. If your cramps keep you from going to school or work, or prevent you from participating in your normal daily activities, there might be a medical issue aside from menstruation causing the problem.[1] See a doctor if you experience these symptoms:
    • Your cramping is so severe that you are unable to stretch out your body.
    • Your cramping lasts for more than 2 days.
    • The pain from your cramping leads to nausea and vomiting.
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    Determine whether a reproductive disorder is causing your cramps. Your doctor will conduct tests to ascertain whether your cramps are regular menstrual cramps or they are a symptom of a reproductive disorder.
    • Endometriosis is a condition in which the uterine lining is present outside the uterus.[1]
    • Fibroids are small tumors that can grown on the wall of the uterus and cause pain.[1]
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that can lead to pain and other symptoms.


  • If you feel cramps coming on in the morning, start your day with plenty of water, healthy food, and a light walk or run to loosen your muscles.


  • If you decide to go on birth control, avoid smoking, as it may cause blood clots.
  • Using an NSAID every time you feel cramps is said to make the cramps feel more painful next time. If you can manage to skip medicine a few times, your cramps might start feeling less severe.

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Categories: Cramps