Painful periods can keep you home from school or work and can interrupt your daily activities. For some females, cramping begins in the lower abdomen, below the stomach area, a day or two before their menstrual period begins, and it continues for the first two or three days of the period. If you experience severe pain and cramping during your periods, see a doctor to rule out an underlying condition. For mild to moderate pain, Medline Plus, a division of the National Institutes of Health, suggests some home remedies that might offer relief.
A heating pad, placed directly over the cramping area, may be just as beneficial for easing period pain as taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen, according to MayoClinic.com. Relaxing in a hot bath may also reduce the pain.
Sipping hot beverages, such as herbal teas or hot cocoa, may help, but Medline advises against drinking regular coffee, which may make the cramps worse.
Stress and anxiety can make you tense your muscles, increasing the severity of period cramps. If you learn how to relax, you might experience less pain. Medline recommends learning to meditate or taking a yoga class to teach your body to relax on queue. Practicing deep-breathing exercises might also help.
Help your abdominal muscles relax by giving yourself a massage all over your lower abdomen with your fingertips while lying on your back.
Skip large meals that leave you feeling stuffed and opt instead for frequent light meals. Include whole grain breads and cereal products, but leave the saltshaker alone. Salt can promote water retention that may make cramps worse. Go easy on the sweets, but eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, says Medline.
Ask your doctor about adding supplements to your diet if you suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Potentially beneficial supplements include calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6.
Losing weight, if you're overweight, might reduce the pain of menstrual cramps. Regular exercise burns calories to help control your weight, and even a brisk daily walk may be beneficial. Talk to your doctor, however, before starting any new exercise program.