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how to relieve menstrual cramps

Improve Your Diet to Alleviate Period Cramps

Reducing fat and increasing vegetables in your diet may help ease monthly cramps. “A low-fat diet actually decreases overall levels of inflammation in the body,” says Aldo Palmieri MD, an ob/gyn at UCLA Health and professor of ob/gyn at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles. A low-fat, vegetarian diet not only helps your health generally, says Dr. Palmieri, but it can have an indirect yet noticeable effect on menstrual cramps, too.

Pop a Safe Painkiller

Not everyone wants to turn to medicine to soothe period cramps, but moderate use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help, Palmieri says. Menstrual cramps occur due to local release of substances called prostaglandins, he explains, and NSAIDs lower prostaglandin production and decrease overall inflammation and pain.

Check first with your doctor to be sure NSAIDs are a good choice for you, especially if you have a history of bleeding or kidney issues. And read the label for dosing instructions to be sure you don’t accidentally take too many.

Turn to Tea to Calm Menstrual Cramps

Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps, says Sonya Angelone, RDN in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, say experts, but teas have been used traditionally and can help. Because some of the herbs may act as estrogens, ask your doctor first before using one, especially if you have a history of a hormone-related cancer or take blood-thinning drugs.