Kerry loves to write about gardening, nutrition, sustainability, and entertainment.
If you are one of the more than 50% of women who suffer from menstrual cramps, have no fear, help is here! There are many home remedies that can help relieve painful periods.
Please note, I am not a medical professional, just a woman who used to suffer from incapacitating cramps and who tried just about every remedy on the face of the planet for relief.
Types of Menstrual Cramps
There are two main types of menstrual cramps: primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common type of menstrual cramps. It is especially common among teenage girls and young women. Up to 90% of teenage girls report having menstrual cramps at some time, and 10% of those report cramps so severe that they regularly cause them to miss school, work, and other activities. Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by excessive production of prostaglandins, the hormones used to contract the uterus and cause it to shed its lining. It often disappears after a woman has her first child, but the reasons for this are not fully understood.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is rarer and more likely to last throughout a woman's life. In fact, it often gets worse as she gets older. This is because secondary dysmenorrhea, unlike primary dysmenorrhea, is caused by an underlying condition such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
What the Doctors Say
The Medical Approach to Treating Cramps
Once upon a time, if you complained of menstrual pain, you were told it was all in your head and sent on your merry way, with no help or even sympathy. Those bad old days are gone, but medical professionals are still mostly at a loss about how to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.
The approach of the vast majority of doctors to treating cramps is simply to put you on the pill. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. If the pill helps you, by all means, take it. I am personally wary of messing with my body chemistry, but the pill has been around long enough and has been tested enough that we have good reason to consider it relatively safe, even for prolonged use.
However, if you have primary dysmenorrhea like me, and find that the pill doesn't help or you don't want to go on it, then maybe you need to find an alternative.
The Natural Way to Relieve Painful Periods
Back when doctors were still patting us on the head and telling us our cramps were imaginary, women were sharing tips and tricks with each other about how to relieve the pain. Some of these were ridiculous, but a lot of them really worked and I'm going to share some of the best and most effective treatments.
Ibuprofen: The Only Drug I'm Going to Recommend
For most women, Ibuprofen is the most effective over-the-counter drug to relieve menstrual pain. It will reduce pain for most women, and make it disappear entirely for some. The trick is to start taking it at the first sign of pain, possibly even before your period starts. The longer you wait, the less good it will do. In fact, when I waited too long to take it, I almost always just threw it back up again immediately, so it did not help whatsoever.
Heat: A Good Way to Start
Hot baths and heat pads are some of the oldest tricks in the book for relieving menstrual pain. They really work, too, but they give the most relief for relatively mild pain. Heat will help relieve more severe pain but is unlikely to get rid of it entirely.
It is also important to stay warm in general when you have cramps or might get them. Cold contracts your muscles and makes pain worse, so put on extra layers of clothes or blankets and crank up the heat in your house a little as soon as your period begins.
Counter-Pressure: Surprisingly Effective
When your insides feel like they're being squeezed in a vise, you wouldn't think that adding more pressure would help, would you? I found that getting my mother, friend, or husband to sit on or apply strong pressure with their fingers to points on my lower back could provide a surprising amount of relief during bad cramps.
Many women also swear by acupressure, the professional version of what my mom, friends, and husband did to me—though I've never tried it professionally.
Distraction: Fun and Effective
The doctors who told women their cramps were "all in your head" were wrong, but they weren't completely wrong. Pain does have a mental component. Studies have shown that patients who expect to be in severe pain after surgery report stronger levels of pain post-op than patients who expect more manageable levels of pain. Now, I'm not a doctor, but I don't see any reason why this wouldn't be equally true for menstrual cramps.
Once you've experienced a bad period, it's pretty hard to keep a positive attitude about them. I know I never could. One thing I could do, however, was distract myself once the pain had already started. Like Ibuprofen, this technique works best if you start when the pain is mild. In my experience, it works better than Ibuprofen at reducing pain once it's already strong.
Human interaction usually worked best for me—a lively conversation or a board or card game with a lot of action, for example. Books and movies were usually too easy to put aside if the pain worsened.
Relaxation: Mixed Results
A little bit of stress drives us to achieve great things, but too much is implicated in dozens of ailments. If you are prone to cramps, it is a very good idea to learn healthy ways of reducing and coping with stress. Exercise is one of the best remedies, and many women find yoga or pilates helpful. There are even yoga exercises specifically designed for women suffering from cramps.
I've never found relaxation exercises like yoga, deep breathing, or meditation to be at all helpful while I'm actually having cramps. However, some of the worst periods of my life have occurred during periods of great stress, so I highly recommend reducing stress in general.
Sex: Old Wives' Tale?
Some women swear by orgasms. I can see how orgasms might help—distraction and post-sex relaxation—but never experienced any benefit from it myself.
If you do give this technique a shot, remember that even though it's unlikely, it is possible to get pregnant during your period, so use protection!
Diet: Find What Works for You
When I was in my mid-teens, my mother suggested I start keeping a journal of what I ate every day to see if there were any patterns to how my eating habits affected my cramps. I never really did that, but I did start paying more attention, and the results were interesting. I discovered that eating chocolate when I had my period was almost a guaranteed way to end up moaning and writhing on the bathroom floor. Eating a lot of dairy products also seemed to make my cramps worse, while eating soy seemed to make them easier.
I have come to believe that after exercise, diet is the single most important factor affecting the severity of menstrual cramps. Frustratingly, different things seem to work for different women. I recommend you experiment to see what works best for you. Meanwhile, here are a few common suggestions:
- Eat a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains throughout the month.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day all month. Drinking plenty of water can reduce bloating which can make cramping worse, and help maintain hormone balance.
- Avoid coffee, chocolate, and other caffeinated foods and beverages. Caffeine exacerbates cramping.
- Avoid food and beverages high in sodium and refined sugars. These increase bloating, which worsens cramps.
- Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber, which is plentiful in whole grains and many fruits and vegetables, reduces constipation, which can worsen cramps.
- Calcium and magnesium deficiencies are commonly associated with menstrual cramps, so increase your consumption of these minerals. If, like me, dairy products seem to make your cramps worse, you can get calcium from leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, some beans and legumes including soy, and seaweeds like kelp and kombu. Tasty sources of magnesium include leafy greens and other green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, coldwater fish like salmon and halibut, and many seeds, including pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower feeds, and flax seeds.
- Naturally occurring chemicals called phytoestrogens in soy seem to ease cramps in some women and worsen them in others. Because of soy's high levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, protein, omega 3 fatty oils, and other healthy nutrients, it is well worth experimenting with soy products to see if they help you. Learn more here: Does Soy Relieve Menstrual Cramps?
Exercise: The Single Best Thing You Can Do for Cramp Relief
Exercise releases endorphins into your blood that help reduce the feeling of pain. Many women claim that exercising during their periods makes them feel better. Personally, I never really got the chance to test this because it's kind of hard to exercise when you're doubled over in the fetal position from pain.
However, I also discovered that exercising during the rest of the month did help my cramps dramatically. The easiest periods of my life occurred when I lived in an apartment complex with a great gym and I used to go every day to watch The Daily Show while I was doing the ellipticals. During those months, my periods were not only easy, they were completely pain-free! Unfortunately, after I moved, I stopped my exercise regime and within a couple months, my cramps returned full force.
Aerobic exercise—exercise that raises your heart rate and works up a sweat, like brisk walking, swimming, jogging, or biking, seems to be most effective at relieving menstrual cramps.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Natalie on September 15, 2013:
WHen you have cramps I find it helps to take a slow deep breath filling your lungs deep into tummy and then hold for a count of 3-4 seconds and then slowly exhale. Repeat until you feel some relief. Helps to relax muscles around the uterus.
Katreena on May 07, 2013:
What does SB stand for??
Tina on March 15, 2013:
My cycle started yesterday and as always I anticipate painful periods and missed days of work. I am literally afraid around this time of month because I know the pain will be nearly unbearable. I cry almost every cycle. BUT! After reading these posts, I became hopeful and I'm glad to say that as of day 2 of my cycle (usually the WORST day) I am feeling great! This is what worked for me: Taking Aleve at the EARLIEST sign of cramps; chamomile tea with a cap full of ACV (2-3x a day), lots of fiberous foods & fish (omega 3), avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and my heating pad, which I heat in the microwave for about 1 min 30 sec. Thanks to everyone for posting and I hope this helps!
whaea tracey on February 09, 2013:
hi i have a tip to share,my grandmother use to warm up sum warm milk then grate fresh ginger init and drink it,or chu on fresh ginger,ginger is natrual anti flam.so i all ways have ginger in meals or soup wk b 4 period and eat ,i must all so say if young and have had no kids u young ones all ways do yr palvic exercise is a must as u b cum a mother as yr tammy musles will gt weak and u end up have third stag and bk problems. and op to take yr inners out if really bad.kia ora whaea tracey
Sneha on August 04, 2012:
Aaaaa it's sooo painful
kk on July 27, 2012:
thanks it will help my firend a lot thanku
Debbie Mercredi on June 28, 2012:
Advil works, yes warmth on the tummy and back helps. A nice back rub with heat rub is awesome.
anji on June 22, 2012:
i am suffering from period pain.its not too much but.....it really pains....what can i do now in home to get relief immediatele??
HELP on April 24, 2012:
I have the worst pain and I had had 3 days off already of school it's only my 2 period and it really painful it seems like nothing helps and my mum said I HAVE to go to school tomorrow but how it hurts so much :(
kerryg (author) from USA on April 20, 2012:
Caitlynn, signing up for HubPages is free and is not a scam. You can make money by writing articles like this one. However, you must be 18 to sign up. Maybe you know a parent or older sibling who might be interested?
Here is more info on how people can make money on HubPages: https://hubpageshelp.com/money/Learning-Center-mak...
Caitlynn on April 19, 2012:
I am 13 years old and I am going through a painful time. I haven't tried these tips yet I hope they work. Thank you and I will be visiting again. I have one question though is signing up for hub a scam? Do you have to pay? It says it's free and you get paid so Is this really true?
amara on April 18, 2012:
thnks am goin 2 try some of d remedies. D hot bath helps me sometimes. It s nt easy bein a woman only few men undastand d pains we go through.
Chik on April 18, 2012:
Thanks so much I found this usefull.
Ibby on April 16, 2012:
This is a good article however, it is best to understand that strong menstrual pain is due to an increase in prostaglandins in the body. These hormones are what causes women to experience excruciating pain. The best course of treatment is one that decreases the amount of protaglandins in the body. Of course other medical conditions such as endometriosis will also cause severe pain.
Taking a high dose of omega 3 fatty acid is very helpful. The dosage is around 2500 to 4000 mg a day. The fish oil must be taken consistently. Flaxseed can also be taken however it may not always work for all women.
There are some powerful botanical herbs that can help women by balancing their hormones and reducing pain. I recommend that each person visit a Naturopathic doctor or trained herbalist who will put you on the correct herbs and monitor you.
Also, it is important to have a diet high in fiber in the form of fruit, veggies and whole food. This will help move your bowels.
If you have access to homeopathic medicine, magnesium phosphoricum is a great remedy that works rather quickly. It helps if you can place a heat source on your abdomen or back.
Lastly, I would recommend finding a licensed acupuncturist who can help before and during the menses to ease pain and discomfort.
Hope this helps.
Cruise on April 15, 2012:
Taking pain med as soon as I have the period works, because the uterine muscles are of smooth muscles which contract involuntarily takig the med later on wont ease the pain after contractions would have already started
Brown on March 28, 2012:
Thanx a lot,my girlfrend will b freed from dis delima,i almost cry whenever i see her in pain.we'll try those advice given.but my question is which one of these methods give quik relief?
Reena on March 18, 2012:
I'm going through your list now...
Taken a hot bath. Going to have a hot water bottle under me and over me. Reading through the comments have also helped!Might get on the wiiFit and do some of the yoga exercises.
With the pressure thing, I didn't completely think it works, but my first few years of having my period, because I read novels a lot, I would be reading one while having 2 or 3 resting on my abdomen. It really did help. I've find that Ibuprofen just doesn't work for me anymore, so I need to start trying out these other options.Thanks for this hub! :)
Akshita on March 01, 2012:
This was very helpful....n even Meftal-Spas tab helps in reducing the cramp....
Sandeep john on February 26, 2012:
Thank you for giving these useful information's, i was searching for this for my wife, i don't know how to take care of her during periods, now i'm ready to serve her in this situation... thanks a lot.
sona on February 23, 2012:
i m 28 yr and suff. From 20 days regular blooding with pain and fever. Wat should l do. Rply fast.
Kenzie on February 15, 2012:
Im 16 and I was just having the worst cramps in my stomach and upper legs! I was almost in tears it was excruciating. Just then I made myself a warm bubble bath and it cured it straight away
Dev on February 15, 2012:
jane on February 15, 2012:
No masturbation makes it worse after few months.pls don't put this habit. Bcos there is chances of geeting viral infection inside bcos of toxin bleeding.
Pls go for herbal medicine. Reason I'm saying this bcos I have experienced it my self. I started taking SB GROUP medicine for my sugar level as I'm Diabetic and my period pain was 2nd deadly issue to get rid of it.
SB has put good amount of time to study my immune system then he asked me to get few herbs,in last I managed to make my own medicine with my hands. Today I'm happy bcos I don't have to masturbate or take any pills for my pain during my period. SB group medicine is good. no doubt.
Katie on February 14, 2012:
Okay, so, as awkward as this sounds, sex does help. Well, "sex", as in masturbation. LOL. Because, it tenses the muscles with a sudden relaxation and makes you just feel better. Dunno about others, but it works. C:
ally on February 11, 2012:
I often use my blowdryer to apply heat to my lower back and wear loose clothing because sometimes wearing tight clothing can make the pain worse
$r!j@n@ on February 02, 2012:
m a gal of 16 and m havn my periods since 11 yrz of my age...n wnever i hav periods it really does pain a lot..and i cry n cry so much...i used to take medicines but i kno later its gonna effect me back so i started takng a lot if cadburys..cheese ..paneer and curd...so now d pain iz gone...
K.S. on January 26, 2012:
Just wanted to tell anyone out there who also suffers from strong menstrual cramps and has a pet. Animals are known to boost "happy" hormones, as well as our body's natural pain killers, so when you feel a period coming, plan some games with your furry friend and/or always have them in your room or just constantly with you wherever you go. I've sworn by this completely natural (strange) way of leaving my cramps behind and it has never failed me! I pet-sit for all my family and friends so you could say I've never had a bad cramp since I was 14! Animals are the best!
Sasha on January 22, 2012:
Suffering from painful periods which last for 10days.failing to have children.what can i do
l3oo on January 19, 2012:
Oh god. I moved to PR from FL a couple months ago, and the only thing that helped me was laying in the shower with pure hot water on my lower tummy or back. Theres NO hot water in my house, and it sucks really badly. My period wasn't bad at all until a few months ago. Around a year and a half ago my ex and I had our last encounter and he really hurt me, which I thing is the primary cause for the excess pain. Since Im not fully situated yet I haven't gone to the GYNO, but I def gotta hit that up soon. I find tea REALLY helps, but the medications are killing me, they work for 2 periods and stop, making me switch meds. Hot water/heating pads work. So does pressure. Any physical activity KILLS me. I find warming a towelette and placing it on my lower tummy and lying down helps a lot.
Take care & please update if theres anything else, my pains are REALLy bad.
Laylali on December 31, 2011:
I became my period when i was 13...and till my 15th i had no pain at all...! But i had anisomastia,and so doctor gave me the Pill...and since then it got horrible...i loose my sences some times,i spit up,and i cant walk for 3 days at least,even now i stoped the pill for 6 years...! The only thing that really helps me is putting a heatpad on my back and liyng on it!
Jacinta on December 27, 2011:
I have had cramping with my periods since I was 12. I only get it mildly for a few days before my period, and then really painful on the first day, and it usually subsides after that.
I have tried many of these things over the years, one that I will definitely be doing again soon is exercise. The idea is to exercise when you don't have your period and exercise lightly( if you can manage it) when you do.
I have also taken the pill. I took Yasmin for about 4 years. It cleared up my skin and reduced pain with my period. I recently (5 months ago) decided to stop taking the pill. It was only a temporary solution and I didn't want to stay on it too long as I didn't want to interfere with my hormones and fertility any longer. Everything that the pill had 'fixed' came back twice fold. My periods are so painful now and my skin is horrible. My advice if you are thinking about taking the pill is to research and try as many other options as you can. I'm not saying that the sAme will happen to you, just I've heard the same story l over and over. The pill may only be a temporary patch, why not change the way you live ( eat, exercise etc.) and make a permanent change for the better?
Wear loose clothing when you are on your period as excess pressure around your pelvis can aggravate cramping and just make you feel worse.
I usually use an icepack not a heatpack as well, the heat pack usually makes me feel worse.
One thing that I would recommend if you are finding nothing is working or are feeling overwhelmed and just want to try one thing is, as another user suggested; lie down in the shower ( well semi lie down) and have the hot water faced so it hits your pelvic area (or where ever the pain is) when you're laying down.
I just did this for almost an hour, after spending the morning whimpering and vomiting. And I feel so much better than I did before.
Primrose oil supplements are also know for assisting with not only menstruation pain but also PMS, bug it must be taken all the time. I would ask the pharmacists what they have which may help alleviate the symptoms you have.
Take care if yourselves :)
leeAnn H on December 15, 2011:
Hey, I'm laying in bed sicker than a dog. I hate this time of the month because. I don't want to get up and do anything. I am thinking. About doing some of these suggestions. Thanks for everything.
Chanel on December 08, 2011:
I have been having really bad periods since the age of 12 (now 27). When I was younger I will say my period was much, much, much worse. A few things do work for me, grant it that I catch it in time before my cramps get to the point of no control (at this point the only thing you can do is lie down and only with time do the cramps ease up and trust me they do ease up, you can feel the difference). From ages 12- 20 I used pain meds, lots of them and that did the trick. The downfall with this is your body gets used to them and they become way less effective, and you will be puking the whole night if you take to much. While I did experience severe pain while waiting for the meds to kick in, this worked well enough to get me through my child hood periods. I also ran track in High school, I could swear this made my cramps sooo much worse. Maybe it was because I practiced while I was on my cycle. It felt as if my uterus was going to fall out( very, very painful). Another thing I tried was the hot shower and this worked. I didn't even have to take a single pain pill while doing this and I bled a lot less than usual, actually it shortened my period to 3 light days when I do not take pain killers. I usually lay on the shower floor with very hot water that burned so bad but I quickly get used to it. Funny how your tolerance can change when you are in desperate need of relief. I usually stay in the shower with my eyes closed laying on the floor with the water running directly over my back or on my side so it could get my back and my abdomen. All the steam and warmth puts you in a mode that is so comfortable that you almost loose control of your bowel movements (ALMOST), but who in the world would let it get that far???lol! When I do this I do not have to take any more meds for the remainder of my cycle and truthfully, those cycles have been my easiest to boot. Now here is the tricky part, when your cycle catches you away from home... Recently, to address this issue I started on the birth control patch- Ortho Evra and I can tell you I got full relief by my second cycle while on it. I didn't have to take a hot shower nor meds to relieve my cramps. They were basically non existent(cramps). The patch has worked wonders for me and I am one who has never, ever had an easy period. Last but not least there is another way to rid yourself of cramps beyond the first day... I do not recommend this unless you have no other choice (no med, no hot water, no liquor, nothing)! Ok, I know this sounds crazy but If you sit through your cramps and lie in your bed and stretch your legs with each cramp this helps significantly. I have found when you don't take any chemicals and you let your body go through this naturally you have a 100% better period. It usually can take anywhere from 3- 7 hours to get full relief but when the relief comes your body goes into this mode where you are completely relaxed. I believe your body reacts to pain naturally and our body has a natural pain killer because after the fifth hour the cramps ease up and become less tense. At first your cramps will feel like death but then when you least expect it the pain just dulls away. Usually after you endure this you will be exhausted and want to get some sleep and the next morning when you wake up you will find that you barely bleed, because there will be very little blood and that you have no more cramps. In order for this to work you must not take anything, no tea, nothing hot, no meds, no orgasm, nothing. Just let nature do here thing. I understand that no one would want to do this but if you are home and want to experiment like I did, try it and you will be surprised, your pain will not be in vain. (I have only tried this method 3 times... I do not have a high threashold for pain so I just chicken out now, but it works)
zaam on December 06, 2011:
thanks.you posted very important information which helpful for all women.
chizzyy chris on December 03, 2011:
tanks a lot.dis info wud b veri gud 4 my gf.she feels lyk dyin wen it starts
hazel on November 30, 2011:
am 22 and used to have so so painfull periods. i tried most of the tips above, but the only thing tht really helps is drinking 2 hot glasses cinnamon a day before the period comes by 2 or 3 days. it really helps me a lot.also a bottle of hot water and hot pad.
Zoe Amadeus on November 17, 2011:
What or who is SB??
Good collection of remedies! I'm surprised though reading about chocolate and coffee from so many....since these two things seem to reduce my pain a lot.
bec on November 16, 2011:
I never used to get bad cramps,till after the birth of my kids,I've just gotten my first cycle back. After 9mths of breast feeding and Ouch! I like to keep healthy, so I ran tonight,only expecting to be able to walk,but once I warmed up I found the pain released and I had no pain for hrs after. I'm a tea junky,so ill keep the caffeine in mind, thanx, great segment!
anand on November 07, 2011:
very usefull thanks
ashika on November 05, 2011:
distraction is the only thing that helped me. while reading this article i didn't felt that much pain i was feeling before . but i m really worried because i cant watch tv all the time coz m having my exams and whicle preparing for exam and the worse sitting in the exam hall nd giving exam is very painful but i cant miss that. what should i do??
angel cindy on November 02, 2011:
am so happy,i read this,all i have to say is thank u,so much.
rags on November 01, 2011:
thnx 4 d info..m 18 nw m suffering painful periods since i gt d first one....n d pain s vry bad...it makes me almost faint...bt den i hav a qusn....i hardly bleed during the first 2 days....n d pain is just awfull...are the 2 symptoms related in anyway?...i hv tried taking blood supplements n also visited the doc...bt no use...its still d same...damn deadly
Anne on November 01, 2011:
I am 18 and my god I get the worst cramps and more inconveniently I ALWAYS get them in the middle of the night and I lie there in agony and sometimes I can't even get out of bed to get relief, I rely on m electric blanket a lot I put it on 3 and sweat like hell but it helps a lot I also think that ibuprofen really helps me only nurofen zavance rapid action does anything for me.. Even now I know I won't be going to school it's 5:18 am and I will be too exhausted. Cramps really are the worst pain ever and I find that heat works for me best, thanks heaps!
jb on October 28, 2011:
I Have tried everything and nothing works am i just the one with no luck? I continue to expcience vomiting, horrifying cramps and back pains.
Tracey on October 23, 2011:
I 31 and I am on SB medication for my diabetes , period cramp and blood pressure.
surprisingly all 3 problems are reduced.
It is said that SB Group is best in reducing blood sugar, he is best in reducing spiked blood pressure and only helps if asked to provide medication for period cramp. what I have got is mixture of 5 herbal powder, i remember 2 herb name--neem powder+ awwela powder.
grace on October 21, 2011:
great article that is i always exerience cramps the first two days of my each period term.doctors told me its normal.i never heard of the pressure so i will try it right now coz i happen to be on my periods now.god bless u.dankie baie.
Emma on October 14, 2011:
Thank you for the advice. I'm sitting here with a heat pack right now, but it's not helping much. It often causes me to wake up in the early hours of the morning. I do get very sick and sometimes faint. I will have to try these tips and be more careful about what I eat :)
Rue Gandy on October 12, 2011:
Thanx so much i'm goin to try ur remedies. Oh my God i did nt knw that coffee made it worse.
Lilliana on October 10, 2011:
lying on your back, and squeezing your knees to your chest can relieve pain, and lying on your stomach with a hot water bottle under you also works well. i agree about the ibuprofen not working once you have reached a lot of pain, in fact i have to take it as soon as i know i have my period for it to actually work. otherwise, a really hot water bottle is the only thing that will work for me.
Anon on October 09, 2011:
I try to avoid chocolate, beer and booze (especially red wine), pop (diet and sugared), milk and lactose containing foods, coffee, and junk food the week before and during my period. I also take ibuprofen when I can feel the first hint of pain. I wait for the hint just in case the pain doesn't come. Ibuprofen also helps with the back-shoulder-neck pain that accompanies the cramps.
I'm lactose intolerant 10 days before my period starts to a day or two after it is done. Once I find milk is not digesting, I stop eating the other foods.
Sometimes I convince myself after a couple pain-free months that I'm "cured" and I eat foods from the banned list. Invariably I get brutal pain, which is only just controllable with ibuprofen, and awful, personality changing PMS.
Another thing I do when the cramps are killing me is pull myself off the bed (or toilet) and walk quickly up and down my hallway. At the same time I rub my lower belly and hum loudly (I do this to distract myself). Sometime I can be at this for 30 minutes before the pain wanes.
simmy on October 06, 2011:
I am on Sb medication. No jokes. It works.
Thank you Mariam and Trupti. I had heard about Sb before.
He is so young and cute guy.I was expecting old man to be SB but he is just 37 or 38. may be. yes my pains has reduced.
Rose Frankie on September 26, 2011:
a great info hub thnx
NIDHI SHARMA on September 13, 2011:
thank u very much..these imp info r really helpful for me..once again thank u very much
cassie on September 06, 2011:
I have found taking Aleve at the first sign of discomfort, drinking a lot of water or gatorade and a stick on heat wrap to be my cramp pain reducer
Didi on July 10, 2011:
Hi, I am 45 and got my first period at 12. Ever since, all my periods are bad: abdominal pain, muscle pain in all my body, nausea, perspiration, brain fog, you name it..... In the last 4 years it's worse, I miss 2-3 days of work a month, and I can not afford that. Like everyone else here, I have tried everything. Painkillers helped at first, but my body got used to them real fast, and they had no effect. Anti-inflammatory drugs are heavy on the liver, so you should not take them every month. Hot pads provide momentary relief, but you have to be at home to use them. Iron supplements help too, but you can not take them continuously. So nothing could really help me.
Two months ago I realized that I had not been eating fish for a long time, so I decided to put it in my daily routine and I had a smoked salmon salad 2-3 times a week for lunch. And for the first time this month, my period is bearable. The flow is still too much to handle, but the symptoms are 80% lighter, and the only thing I did was eat more fish. I hope this helps someone!
faith on July 06, 2011:
im in agony, ive been on several different types of contraception and non really seem to help - or their side effects do not compensate for the slight relief from pain. i take ibuprofen and hope for the best really, hot baths do help a lot but although the relief is great not long after im in pain again! HELP! im sick of doctors just saying it will get better when infact i feel worse!
madhu on June 11, 2011:
tried everything to reduce my period pain but in last SB medication only solved my problem. I had approached SB Group for diabetes medication. As SB is the best to reduce sugar score by means common tree leaf powder, same time I discussed my problem with him. he provided me with herbal medicine which has almost reduced my pains 80%. At least I can move around during my dates. Thanks to this site .
KC on May 29, 2011:
Great article, I've had real bad periods since i started i've found that breathing technique like those used when one is in labour help get through the pain. i can't have any forms of painkillers so i'm on my own there. My mother once told me that having tomatoes or salt the week leading up to them can also make them worse. I'm still looking for helpful hints as i can't say for others but i can get real sick to the point i throw up and feel as though i'm going to pass out. It's insane (men have no idea do they) and you’re right doctor’s don’t help and sympathy hard to find where I am. but i did find it helpful to read this i didn't know about the chocolate must be mindful of that see if it’s a trigger for me. My mother can't use hot water bottles they make the pain worse though for me they help (shrugs) each their own. Thanks for writing this it was informing. Cheers
weseppers on May 23, 2011:
This is great hub, I always do that twice a week.
rose on May 12, 2011:
Almost always menstrual cramps are produce by a deficiency of calcuim, magnesium, zinc. You can also try vitamin K to reduce excesive bleeding. For long period use a natural progesterone and dontn eat chicken at all
isjung from Montreal, Quebec on February 09, 2011:
oh god, i'm DYING right now. Always have had the most killer, debilitating menstrual cramps. Hugging my hot water bag to my tummy right now :(
edit: I tried applying some pressure to my lower back as you suggested and it's relieved some of the pain. Def. need to get my bf here to help with that.
enihs on January 14, 2011:
Is there a side effect if you drank pain releaver while you have menstruation?
miss on January 10, 2011:
Is there any way SB Can recommend what leave to use? since Can not all come to
se him In person thanks
S.M. ALGHANIM \ KUWAIT on December 19, 2010:
TODAY SCIENCE IS HELPING MY WORDS TO REACH ALL OF YOU.I HAVE SEEN OUR LAND TURNING FROM DESERT TO GREEN.ALLAH WILL HELP THOSE WHO HELP OTHERS IN THERE SICKNESS.MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN IN TOUCH WITH SB, WHEN SB WAS IN KUWAIT & HE USE TO DO PRAYER FOR KIDS HEALTH IN FINTAS.LOT OF KUWAITY TOOK HIS HELP TO GET HEALTHY.MOST OF THEM NOW TAKE HERBAL EDICINE TO REDUCE SAKHER LEVEL.LIKE B4 NOW ALSO SB LOOKS LIKE 1 MAN SHOW.
NOW MY 3 DAUGHTER ARE TAKING HERBAL MEDICINES FROM SB TO REDUCE PAIN &CRAMPS DURING PERIOD TIME.SB HIMSELF HAVE SEEN MY DAUGHTERS SUFFERING.TODAY MY DAGHTERS ARE QUITE HEALTHY.PAINS HAVE REDUCED A LOT.WALLA RAB WILL HELP SB TO REACH ALL SICK PEOPLE.
trupti on December 17, 2010:
hi sb is my cousin sister neibour.my self &my all sisters &friends taake tree leaves from sb for period pain.no side effect but good effective in reducing pain.my whole family +2o houses over here takes medication from sb.he is not a doctor but better than doctor.he is actually very good in diabetes &blood pressure.lots people take medicine from him.
mariam behbhani on December 17, 2010:
hi, i use to have very painfull periods with lot of cramps.i tried all the herbs b4 &medicines b4, but it wsa no use.when i had gone to meet sb for my son diabites medicine that i spoke to him about my problm.he gave me few common tree leaves.at present 80% of my pain has reduced.pls take medicine from sb for period pains.basically he is good in diabetes medicine but he helped me in overcoming my painfull period.
Tresia on December 11, 2010:
Wow thnx 4th infrmation, i discrvrd drinking coke make the pain worse, i get thirsty more often before and and during the periods, it also get worse when i drink or eat smthng. Bt i'l try to apply pressure and using heat. Thnx vry much for th infrmtins en the tricks.
MG on December 05, 2010:
I'm sixteen and I have been working at finding a natural way to ease or even stop the pain completely. The best thing I have found to work is something hot or really warm that you can put on ur stomach (like a heating pad). But honestly, I haven't found a natural way to ease the pain during school. Because I now realize that my friends, family, and teachers are victims to my pain and bad attitide that comes with it!!!
ranjana on November 23, 2010:
i'll definitely do it .i just want relive from mensuration cramp. my parents also don't allow me take ibuprofin . 1 day the pain was sooooo much that that i vomitted twice then the doctor gave me an injection,
BlackWhiteAndRed SweetiePie on November 18, 2010:
Hey! I'm a 13 year old girl and I suffer from a lot of menstrual cramps. This is the first time I'm checking out this site so I haven't tried out any of these remedies yet. I do Yoga but for me, anything physical just increases the pain. Also, I have strict parents who do not allow me to miss school so I usually end up on the class floor moaning in pain surrounded by friends. The nurse doesn't really do anything, she just gives me painkillers which are bad for me in the long run.I am allergic to soya. Please suggest a remedy for me which I can carry to school and make fast. Also my parents won't allow me to take Ibuprofin.
KFlem on November 09, 2010:
I also have terrible periods. Its been 12 years now. I've been on every birth control, had to gives myself shots. The only relief was when I didn't have a period from injections but they caused bad side effects. I recently had surgery b/c my doc found tissue and a bump in my uterus when he finally did an ultrasound on me. I still cramp bad even after the tissue was removed. I stopped birth control due to lack of relief. I may have adenmyosis which can be made worse with estrogen. I'm going to a new specialist next week, but in the mean time I have supplemented my diet w/ magnesium and b1 (thiamine) it helps a lot. Also taking a pain medicine called Ketoralac helps, but its an nsaid and can cause ulcers/stomach bleeding. Good luck to everyone! I hope you find my remedies helpful!
Anisah on November 04, 2010:
Thank you that was a great help! and i so totally agree with what you have said i have found that too. Another thing that i would recommend is that those of you who are wearing any form of tight clothing around your abdominal area may find that you have serious pain. E.g.tight jeans which have been pulled up to push stomach in. This is not a good idea if you are in this position make sure that you immediately change!
Katie1 on October 14, 2010:
Im 16 i get the really bad cramps that if i try to keep going i will end up fainting from the pain or vomit sometimes both. I tryed the exercise thing while have them and ended nearly passing out.But i find the heat pack the best.
yoga is good on October 08, 2010:
hey great article but i think yoga works well.. never tried it myself but generally u r supposed to do yoga on a daily basis and not only on periods day... it removes the pain completely and is also good 4 ur health... it works better than these temporary gym exercises........heard this from a friend who tried yoga! and i believe it and i am going to try it in near future.. but i hope there is some special food item which works!
Olivia on August 22, 2010:
earlThanks for your site. After years of extremely bad periods I've come to the conclusion that chocolate is the number 1 culprit for causing period pain. If I cut chocolate out altogether the pain is not nearly so bad.
Alisa on August 05, 2010:
kerryg, have you heard about using apple cider vinegar? i was just reading about it, and wanted to know if you've heard of it helping or giving it a try? thanks, good info on here.
Anya on July 26, 2010:
Why has nobody mentioned mefenamic acid? As I understand it this is commonly prescribed for period pain where I live in the Uk - it works for me! Without it I reckon I would miss 2-3 days of work each month. As it is I'm still in pain but nothing like as bad as it is if I don't take it... As I understand it, it's an analgesic, anti-cramping agent a bit like ibuprofen. Available from your general practitioner by prescription. Taking it is not ideal for me; like Ibuprofen it can upset your stomach, and I'd rather not take drugs full stop, but I can't imagine my life without it - ladies, ask your doctors, and if they say no, find another doctor!
ladli on July 17, 2010:
my period time i face so many pain , i am not work or not move to single point
the purple umbrella on May 02, 2010:
wow! adding MORE pressure helps?
the pink umbrella from the darkened forest deep within me. on April 02, 2010:
Do you have any tips for getting him out of my face when i have pms?
sevenstarsister on March 29, 2010:
After suffering a lifetime(30yrs) of painful periods, & believe me when i say i practice ALL of the above with no results... I was eventually(after 18yrs!!!) diagnosed with endometriosis. I have been prescribed every painkiller known to G'P's. I have been around the world looking for a cure & rigorously practised every complementary health treatment i have been introduced to to avoid the medical conventional treatment a Hysterectomy.
YOU MUST TRY THIS!!!YOU HAVE ONLY TO GAIN & NOTHING TO LOSE
In just 30 days(1 cycle) of practising OIL PULLING. I can report a 50% improvement of all my symptoms.(Chronic Pain,Flooding,anemia,exhaustion,constipation,depression)
YOU MUST TRY THIS!!!!! its called OIL PULLING.
Just search OIL PULLING within these hubpages or Earthclinic.com.
its simply swishing a high quality oil around in the mouth twice a day every day to detoxify the body.
I swear im 1 month into what i believe to be the saving grace & a life without pain....
PLEASE PLEASE give it a go
LauraMae on January 26, 2010:
Thanks for this article! The cal mag is definitely great advice. I am always looking for more natural ways to relieve pain! I have very very painful periods (pretty much incapacitated for the first 3 days...) I have found that the only med. that help is tylenol with codiene (and even that doesn't help much). I am on a waiting list to see a doctor, and I get very concerned as I have been told that the most effective way to treat this, is to "trick my body so that I do not menstruate". I really don't want to do that as I would like to have children in the near future, but I also realize that missing 2-3 days of work a months is not good! Anyways...here I go rambling. Another thing I have found that helps is B Complex vitamins! They see to balance something...and I have noticed an energy improvement. Thanks again!! If anyone has suggestions-please I am open to them!!!
Myah on October 08, 2009:
I've taken so much medicine for my cramps that pretty much none of the over the counter stuff no longer works. I have 2 use a heating pad & drink hot tea & hope for the best.
Moon Daisy from London on September 14, 2009:
Great hub! It's a shame that the things that make the cramps worse (like chocolate and coffee) are the things that most of us crave the most during our periods!
I also find that exercise helps, especially running which makes me feel more in control of it all. And relaxing sports such as tai chi and swimming are also good.
Karraline on September 09, 2009:
these are all great tips. I really have found that eating less sugars helps reduce cramps. Lots of water too. And coffee really does just kill you, all that caffeine is hard on the system.
GainCurves2 on July 21, 2009:
great info! I can use a lot of these tips!
Suiiki from City of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead on July 18, 2009:
I have cramps due to a medical condition that no one can identify yet (Just wrote a hub on it in fact, and this was one of the recommended hubs!) I find that milk help lessen the pain for me, because it gets some calcium into my system.
Also I swear by orgasm to reduce pain...but only if you're aroused to begin with. It gets worse if you are just doing it to relieve pain. There have been times that my spouse and I have laid down a towel and gone at it, and I have not had a cramp for the rest of the evening unless I did something silly like consume caffeine.
Ibuprofen also does not help, it just makes the pain worse for me. But most women swear by it. I think that if there is an underlying cause of the pain, then aggravating it with chemicals will just make it worse.
beautyrose on July 03, 2009:
Nice hubs specially for women like us who is experiencing menstrual cramps.
Kk on June 27, 2009:
Try drinking a glass of Soymilk - Unflavored. Works wonders! Contains lots of Magnesium which helps those cramps tremendously. I was a Ibuprofen junkie the first two days of my cycle but now I drink the soymilk and hardly need to take any at all. It really does work!
Lesa on June 12, 2009:
I am still totally trying to find a cure for my painful periods. One thing that helps is laying on the floor of my shower and having the hot water hit my lower tummy or lower back and legs. I move around according to what hurts the worst, and sometimes elevating my legs a bit helps too.The water falling is like a massage and the heat is so soothing. I usually just close my eyes and try to enjoy the heat. Also the water is way hotter than a normal shower, so my skin turns all red, but it is worth being able to relax and not hurt.
Rita on May 28, 2009:
I've tried masturbating a couple of times when my period got really, really painful. (Sorry, I'm not trying to be crass!) While the pain lessened while I was doing it, and disappeared for a few minutes after I orgasmed, it came back even more painful after about ten minutes.
Dena Christensen on April 18, 2009:
My daughter just had the most severe cramps she has experienced since she started five years ago. She took some Ibeprophen. I knew to use a heating pad and a warm moist compress. But we did not know to apply pressure. The pressure finally did the trick! :D
Thank you so much!
Brittany Mongold on April 11, 2009:
Oh my gosh was this site helpful. I'm almost 16 and had my first period when I was 10. I've never been able to find anything to help my cramps until now. I usually miss two days of school because my cramops are so unbearable. However, heating pads and chocolate seem to help me immensely. I had my dad and my boyfriend apply pressure to my lower back and that did wonders as well. Thanks ever so much.
Talk About Low Budget Flights... on February 28, 2009:
Thanks for this, very useful. he thing about dairy products and chocolate is so true. XD
My sister will find this really useful, thank you! <3
sarah on February 14, 2009:
hi there i swear,just reading your article made me feel alot better! seriously i really appreciate your information...and definetly will try these amazing tricks thanks!... all the best!
Karri on January 24, 2009:
Thank you so much for this info. I have been in agony ever since i got my first period! Doctors really couldn't help and the meds that they would give me would almost make it worse (stomach upset).
I too have noticed that exercise is a great help. Also, watching my diet. If I eat junk that's how I'll feel.
A naturopath had also suggested pine bark??? Do you have any thoughts on this?
kerryg (author) from USA on December 31, 2008:
Annnnaa, one of the interesting things about period blood is that it almost always stops flowing when you're immersed in water. If you wash yourself off in the shower before filling up the bathtub, it's pretty unlikely you will get any blood in the water at all. If you're worried about it, however, you can wear a tampon to be sure.
Annnnaa on December 30, 2008:
thanks for this, it really was informative and i found the part about the dairy and chocolate making cramps worse was VERY true!!!
I do have one question though : How are you hsupposed to have a hot bath when you have your period? The bathtub wiill be filled with the red period blood!!!! Isn't that a bit disgusting for some? Or maybe it's me....
Great article anyway!!
patidamsy on December 30, 2008:
thanks, i think this gonna be usefull to my sis.
Del on December 11, 2008:
Well I take midol but that doesn't even help a whole lot. But I do use a magic bag and I do get my husband to apply pressure on my abdomen takes some pain. But I am gonna try one of these remedies to see if they help me at all. My cramps are like so painful and geez lol HAHA..its hard bein a woman.
Like sometimes my husband thinks I am jus puttin on an act. I just tell him "No uterus, No opinion" lol haha....It seems to work anyways lol to get him off my back.