Whether you call it “a visit from Aunt Flo” or “Shark Week,” getting your period is no picnic, and menstrual cramps is one of the most common health issues that women face. To calm cramps quickly, opt for an anti-inflammatory that reduces muscle pain. Alison M. Leong, M.D., says, “Try over-the-counter pain relievers like Motrin, Aleve or Midol.” It sounds simple, but she insists these can be quite effective. Couple some OTC painkillers with a heating pad or hot-water bottle on the areas that are the most painful. After all, cramps are caused by contracting muscles in your uterus, so treating PMS cramps like you would sore muscles from a workout makes sense. If you prefer a more natural approach, Susan Lark, M.D., author of “Dr. Susan’s Solutions: The Menstrual Cramps Cure,” writes, “Sit on a comfortable carpet or pillow with the soles of your bare feet touching each other, then use your thumbs to firmly massage your arches for at least three minutes.” She explains, “This acupressure technique helps stimulate the release of endorphins, which are powerful painkilling hormones.” Note that if you regularly experience crippling pain, you should see your doctor or gynecologist to rule out conditions like endometriosis or fibroids.
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