There are simple ways to lessen the pain that comes during a woman’s menstrual cycle, but it may not be the myths that are circulating around the Internet, said experts at Baylor College of Medicine.
“It’s not unusual for patients to tell me the different theories they’ve heard regarding menstrual cycle relief,” said Dr. Jennifer Bump, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor. “Most of those theories, such as not exercising and adding lemon to your diet, have no merit.”
Regulating hormone cycles is best way to solve serious issues that coincide with menstrual bleeding, she said.
“For most women this involves taking birth control or using some sort of hormonal IUD (intrauterine device),” Bump said. “This affects bleeding regulation and the amount of cramping during cycles.”
For side effects not as serious, anti-inflammatory agents can help protect against heavier flows and cramps.
“I recommend that my patients start taking ibuprofen a few days before their cycles start,” Bump said.
She also said eliminating caffeine may help lessen cramping and bloating because caffeine is a diuretic and dehydrates the body.
“Some women, mistakenly, will decrease fluid intake, thinking it will help with bloating, but it actually does the opposite,” Bump said. “They need to keep up with fluid intake while on their period, because if your body senses that you’re dehydrated it will actually retain that fluid more, which causes you to feel bloated.”
For women who experience severe cramping that spreads beyond the lower stomach, Bump recommended applying heat, exercising and sleeping.
“Getting up and moving around is one of the best ways to lessen cramping,” she said. “Exercise releases endorphins that provide relief.”
Women who have tried all of these options and don’t experience relief should consult their physician. There are other surgical options, Bump said.