What Are Menstrual Cramps?
During a woman's menstrual cycle, hormones are released that increase the contractions of the uterine muscle. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can temporarily decrease the flow of blood and oxygen to the muscle, causing cramps
Cramps can also be accompanied by headaches, weakness, chills, and dizziness. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can also occur.
Most cramps are just the result of what's going on in your body—not a sign of an underlying gynecological problem. Severe cramps may be a symptom of another medical condition. Always discuss these symptoms with your doctor
Menstrual Cramp ReliefWhat You Can Do All Month to Minimize Cramps:
- Get regular exercise. Try to do at least four 30-minute sessions of aerobic activity per week.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat more complex carbohydrates (whole grains), fiber, and protein. Cut back on sugars and fats.
- Take calcium, about 1000 mg per day. It may help reduce symptoms of water retention, cramps, and back pain—and it's good for you anyway!
What You Can Do When You Have Cramps:
- Avoid salt, caffeine, and alcohol in the days before your period, as they may worsen your symptoms.
- Take a walk. Mild exercise may alleviate menstrual pain and cramps.
- Apply heat. Use a heating pad or hot water bottle to warm the painful area and reduce pain temporarily.