Your Complete Guide To Menstrual Cramps

yoga bow pose can help with menstrual cramps relief

Yoga poses, like this one, can really help! | Source: Shutterstock

1) Over-the-counter Pain Relief
Ibuprofen is your best friend, and is much more effective than naproxen sodium. (Think Advil over Tylenol.) Carry it with you at all times! When you know you’re due for your period, take some ibuprofen at night before bed, so that you don’t wake up in agony. If you’re looking for relief in the middle of intense cramp pain, it’s generally okay to take three pills instead of the recommended two, but definitely check with your doctor first.

2) Yoga
Believe it or not, there are specific yoga poses aimed at relieving menstrual cramps, like the cobra and the bow pose. These poses target the pelvis and the lumbar region, two muscular groups that often bear the brunt of soreness and tension during period pain. Googling “yoga for cramps” gets you a wide range of exercises and instruction videos, so you can choose what works best for you, or ask a yoga teacher for advice.

3) Hot Water Bottles
Yep, the same kind your Grandma uses for her back pain. Hot water bottles may seem old-fashioned, but they really, truly help warm and relax the muscles in your lower abdomen. At about $15, it’s a worthy investment that will bring you relief month after month.


Posted in: Body & Health, How To, Uncategorized, Your Body
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228 Comments

  1. avatarjames says:

    my gf is having terrible cramps, does rubing the lower back help? basically in the area where the back and butt meet?

  2. avatarRed says:

    Masturbation really helps!

  3. avatarGirl on Fire says:

    I find that when your home or in your dorm laying on your side while crossing your legs helps….A LOT.

    And guys…imagine having your “thing” kicked in by a third degree black belt, that pain pulsating and radiating through the lower half of your body. That pain last for 4-9 days and you’re still expected to interact with other people with a good attitude and smiling face.

  4. avatarabi says:

    I’m almost 21 and I began dealing with periods at the age of 9, and throughout these years I’ve realized that staying active does have its benefits. Using the thermo heading pads found in either rite aid or cvs. Or even the midol pills. nice hot showers, and drinking chamomile tea for bloating. Do avoid beans, broccoli, chips, Gum, spicy food, pretty much anything that will make youfeel bloated. And for myself extreme exercising makes cramps bad so just exercise regularly, jogging, running, yoga etc.

  5. avatarJen says:

    I’ve struggled with debilitating menstrual cramps since I was 13 and now I’m 31. Birth-control did nothing for me. Yoga is great! Especially forward bends, supported with a pillow. You can rub your feet too while you bend forward – there are tons of pressure points on the feet that can help. The bottom of the big toe is the hypothalamus point which helps to regulate hormones. Ibuprofen kind of helps, if taken before the onset of nausea. Hyland’s homeopathic for menstrual cramps seems to help, and they have a PMS homeopathic too that helps with cramps before you start menstruating. You can get them at vitamin cottage. Raspberry leaf tea, passionflower tea, cramp bark, and valerian all help me to relax & rest. Hot water is the best! Sometimes taking a long hot bath is the only real salvation for me. And I know it sounds a little awkward, but a warm water enema can really help if you’re feeling constipated or having stool issues (as many women do). Woman’s Balance is a great supplement you can get on Amazon.com. I take it twice a day, throughout my cycle, and it really helps to regulate my cycle. And I take pure pine pollen regularly throughout the month to help balance my hormones. I hope some of these suggestions help. I wish I had had better resources to consult when I was young. My gyno simply put me on birth control, which made me depressed & gain weight. There are so many natural therapies that we don’t always need to resort to artificially controlling our hormones.

    • avatarMeagan says:

      I feel like you’re my soul sister. I’ve also had what I frequently describe as “debilitating cramps” since I was 13, and I’m now 30. No doctor that I’ve ever talked to was phased by my descriptions, as if it’s normal to be completely incapacitated for several days out of the month. (It’s not, by the way, and if you suffer terrible menstrual pains, insist your doctor pay attention.) I began with Pamprin and Midol, but they did not help and made me dizzy and sick to my stomach. My mother found Hylands homeopathics for me a couple years into my period. They worked incredibly well for several years, though they didn’t completely take away the pain and I was still tied to my heating pad and constant hip movement. I was prescribed birth control pills to control acne (which they did not, and they also did not allieviate my cramps) and I remained on them for more than a decade (because doctors seem to have only one solution for persist at female acne). I really wish that this article didn’t encourage young girls to start birth control so early. The extra estrogens in those pills have made me estrogen dominant and I’m now unable to produce enough progesterone on my own to sustain pregnancy; proceed with caution on the hormonal pill front (it doesn’t happen to everyone, but there are more risks than your doctor will let on). Back to cramps: I made a move to another climate and that seemed to coincide with the homeopathic failing to work for me anymore, so my new PCP prescribed 550 mg of Naproxen. I don’t like that it makes me so tired, but now I work from home and the heating pad cord isn’t an embarrassing accessory. In addition, I drink several cups of raspberry leaf tea and use a magnesium supplement.

  6. avatarLindie says:

    Thank you for the tips. I have not tried it yet, but just reading your advice really made me feel better already! Dont you just hate it when someone who has no idea what you are giing through tries to give you advice! Your first sentence made me connect with you! You understand me! Yey! Someone understanding that this pain could really make you want to crawl up into a corner and cry! Will let you know how it goes with the tips you gave!

  7. avatarFlo says:

    auch!! its hell one wld scream but u jxt rem they r ‘normal’

  8. avatarRyan says:

    “your annoyingly lucky friend, every guy you will ever meet for the rest of your life as long as you live”
    Hey uh, could you stop being cissexist? I’m a guy who gets menstrual cramps every month

  9. avatarJen says:

    To be clear though, Advil is ibuprofen, Tylenol is acetaminophen, and Aleve is naproxen sodium. Naproxen sodium and ibuprofen are very similar and are both effective pain relievers.

  10. avatarTiffany says:

    Usually Ibuprofen works for me, but for some reason it didn’t this time. My fool-proof way of getting rid of the pain is to get a soft blanket and tuck it around my stomach and try to fall asleep. Sleep makes the pain go away!

  11. avatarbeth says:

    Too much sugar before is no good for me, starts to make me itchy and get thrush!!
    So chocolate isn’t always the best for me either, doesn’t seem to help with pain but moods it does. I drink camomile herbal infusion tea, do some walking or exercise..try some meditation. Drink lots of water. Thanks for the tips will give them ago. :)

  12. avatarDee says:

    My periods have always been irregular… this month she decides to show up with a major attitude!! I have never experienced cramps so bad that it makes me nauseous and I can’t sleep bcuz no matter what position I am in… it hurts… it feels like I am about to give birth and I am experiencing contraction… I tried the heating pad & hot shower… no relief… PLEASE tell me what else to do to try to ease the pain.

    • avatarShala B says:

      I know exactly what you mean, my periods are very regular but I’ve been dealing with those type of symptoms as well as a few more since I first began my period.
      I usually stay away from chocolate a week or two before I’m supposed to start. Many say chocolate will help but it can actually make symptoms worse(I am a proven case of that happening). Instead focus on your calcium intake(maybe a calcium supplement if your lactose intolerant like me). Also naproxen does wonders if taken upto 1 or 2 days before you’re due. You can find naproxen at WalMart.

      Hope this helps.

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