Natural remedies for menstrual cramps

Anyone with menstrual cramps knows how dreadful getting your period can be. Dysmenorrhea, the medical term for menstrual cramps, can be intense at times and may radiate to the thighs or lower back. It can even cause nausea, dizziness and vomiting. If you experience severe pain, see your healthcare practitioner to rule out underlying causes of menstrual cramps before trying natural medicine. Underlying causes of menstrual cramps include endometriosis, uterine fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Before you reach for that painkiller, you may want to try the following natural remedies:

  1. Warmth helps to relax muscles and improve circulation. Put a heating pad or warm packs on your abdomen. Do this for at least 15 to 20 minutes while doing deep breathing exercises.
  2. Magnesium is a nutrient that can help ease muscle cramps. It is found in many foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, leafy vegetables and whole grains. It is also available in homeopathic form and supplement form to treat muscle cramps. Consult a naturopathic doctor to determine what type and dosage is appropriate for you.
  3. Ginger root can help to relieve cramps by improving circulation and minimizing “stagnation”, a traditional Chinese medical phenomenon which is related to menstrual cramps. To make an easy ginger root tea, add 3 to 6 slices of ginger root into cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4.  Evening primrose oil in a 1000mg dosage taken once a day (take on a full stomach) provides essential fatty acids such as GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which help to ease menstrual cramps as well as other PMS symptoms.
  5. Seek a naturopathic doctor, osteopath or chiropractor for a lumbosacral mobilization session before and/ or during your period. This helps to relieve pain in the lower back and pelvic areas.
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