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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Five Easy Ways to Reduce Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, is recognized as the single greatest cause of lost school and working hours among women which is estimated at 140 million hours annually in the United States alone.

Unlike before, menstrual cramps is now considered as a serious medical condition. Thus, in addition to the usual home remedies of dysmenorrhea, health experts and practitioners alike are giving some helpful tips that can help women during that particular painful time every month. Here are some that we have listed just for you.

1.Try an over the counter Ibuprofen. It can be found as the active ingredient in several OTC medications, such as Advil, Nuprin, and Motrin IB. The OTC dose per pill is 200 milligrams. The recommended dose is one tablet every four to six hours (or two, if one does not work), not to exceed six in a 24-hour period. Prescription formulations come in dosages of 400 to 800 milligrams.

2.Try taking an oral contraceptive. Oral contraceptive pills can be quite useful in treating menstrual cramps because they decrease the amount of menstrual tissue formed and lower the pain level (amplitude) of the uterine contractions probably due to their progestin effect.

3.Try an over the counter mefenamic acid. Mefenamic acid effectively relieves severe menstrual pain while also reducing heavy menstrual bleeding, easing menstrual migraine, and easing the physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

4.Try to eat small frequent meals because a lot of food causes blood sugar to swing up and down causing symptoms of PMS. Instead of eating three large meals, eat five or six small meals a day, about two and a half hours apart.

5.Exercise can help alleviate painful menstrual cramps by raising the level of beta-endorphins, chemicals in the brain associated with pain relief. Exercise raises the levels of beta endorphins, which have a positive effect on mood and behavior.

6.Reduce salt intake to prevent water retention that causes bloating. Likewise, avoid liquor and other alcoholic beverages to reduce headaches.

7.Learn to relax. Rest, sleep and relaxation exercises can help reduce the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps. At least take time for a relaxing massage or bath with oil made with chamomile, lavender, marjoram, ginger and/or clary sage. They are aromatic and can aid in relaxation.

8.Visit your health care provider if excessive pain and cramping persists.

Do not live in pain. So next time a painful menstruation strikes, try these simple tips.

by Alex Sharp


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