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This might sound a little crazy and you might be thinking to yourself, I can barely move, let alone exercise. However, brisk walking, or any type of physical activity, can help to ease your belly pain. When you're doing any type of aerobic exercise, your body is pumping more blood; this helps to release endorphins to counteract the prostaglandins and reduce your cramps. Exercising three to four times a week is good for the overall health of your body, but it is especially important if you're prone to painful menstrual cramps.
Ginger is a wonder herb that can effectively ease menstrual cramps. This herb plays a key role in lowering the levels of the pain-causing prostaglandins. It also helps fight fatigue associated with premenstrual syndrome and can make irregular periods regular.
Grate a small piece of ginger and boil it in a cup of water for five minutes. Strain it and add a little honey and lemon juice. Drink this tea three times a day during your menstrual cycle.
You can also add ginger in your food while cooking or suck on some ginger candies.
3. Apply heat
Heat helps to relax the contracting muscles in your uterus, which is the cause for your pain. There are many over-the-counter heating patches and pads, such as ThermaCare, Bengay, or electric, reusable ones. Or, even taking a regular plastic bottle with hot water and applying it to your abdomen is an alternative when you don't have access to a heating pad.
Basil is another very effective herb for reducing menstrual pain and cramps. The caffeic acid present in basil has analgesic, or pain-killing properties.
Add one tablespoon of basil leaves to one cup of boiling water. Cover tightly and allow it to cool. Drink this every few hours to ease cramps.
Alternatively, crush a handful of basil leaves to extract the juice. Add two teaspoons of the juice to one cup of warm water. Drink this three times daily while having pain.
You can also add fresh basil leaves to your food.
5. Drink chamomile tea
A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Chemistry found that there might be pain-relieving properties in this fragrant tea. "This is one of a growing number of studies that provide evidence that commonly used natural products really do contain chemicals that may be of medicinal value," said Elaine Holmes, Ph.D., a chemist with the Imperial College of London. The research found that when 14 participants were given urine samples, their urinary levels had a significant increase in hippurate, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory drugs help to decrease the prostaglandin production, thus relieving menstrual cramps.
6. Make sure you're getting enough vitamin D
Prevention is always better than the cure, which is why making sure your body has enough vitamin D is important in preventing menstrual cramps. A study found that high doses of vitamin D3 led to a significant decrease in menstrual cramps. As reported by Health.com, "40 Italian women were split into two groups: one receiving a single oral dose of 300,000 IUs of vitamin D3 and the other getting a placebo five days before the expected start of their menstrual periods." Their pain scored dropped by 41 percent, while those in the placebo group saw no change in their pain scale.
The antispasmodic, phytoestrogenic and anti-inflammatory properties of fennel can help relax the muscles in the uterus, which in turn relieves cramping and discomfort.
Add one teaspoon of fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water.
Simmer the mixture on low heat for five minutes.
Remove from heat and strain the tea.
Add one teaspoon of honey and mix well.
Drink this herbal tea two times daily beginning three days before the expected start date of your cycle. Continue drinking it as needed for pain. Drink it hot for best results.
8. Have an orgasm
Yes, that's right — orgasms help to relieve all kinds of pain, including menstrual cramps. Before an orgasm, the uterus is more relaxed, and at the moment of climax, blood flow increases, helping to relieve the cramps. Orgams relieve the pain through the release of endorphins, which help you to feel instantly better. They also help to relax your whole body and induce sleep so you won't feel any cramping at all.
Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine, which involves sticking the skin with small needles to stimulate the body at certain points. Researchers from the Oriental Hospital at Kyung Hee University Medical Center in South Korea found that acupuncture might have positive effects on menstrual cramps. The study was based on 10 trials with 944 participants. "There was an improvement in pain relief from acupressure compared with a placebo control," according to the study.
Flaxseed is great for reducing the intensity of menstrual cramps. The essential fatty acids in flaxseed help stabilize the production of progesterone. Plus, flaxseed can improve uterine function and help treat fertility problems.
When suffering from menstrual cramps, consume one to two tablespoons of flaxseed daily. You can sprinkle ground flaxseed over a salad, cereal and yogurt or put it in a smoothie.