Types of cramps
Before and during your period, you may experience a variety
of aches and pains. The most common are
menstrual cramps — also known as
dysmenorrhea. Many women have no cramps at all, while others get slight pain. But
some women have cramps that are so painful that it interferes with their daily lives.
There are different kinds of cramps:
A little discomfort: This will feel like a muscle cramp or
spasm. Once you realize that it's a menstrual cramp, it doesn't really bother you.
Intense pain: This may be a sharp pain that causes you to
double up or cry out. Pain that
spreads: Pain can start in the center of your lower back, or in the lower abdomen,
and radiate up your back and down your legs.
If you have slight discomfort, intense, short pain or pain
that spreads, you might be able to relieve your cramps. If you suffer from dizziness,
nausea, diarrhea or vomiting during your period, or if you experience intense pain
that won't go away, see a doctor.
When dealing with cramps, it's best to use the type of period
protection that makes you feel the most comfortable. Whether it is pads or tampons,
it's important to find what works for you. It’s also useful to track your period,
so you know exactly when you might start having menstrual cramps. Try using our
Period Calculator. You’ll know when can expect your next period and you
can have the proper protection planned out for when you need it the most.
What you can do to receive cramp relief
There are many ways to receive cramp relief. The trick is
to find one that works for you.
Lying down if possible at the first sign of pain
Gently rubbing your abdomen
Mild exercise and stretching (see below) Taking pain
medication containing ibuprofen Taking a
warm bath or applying a heating pad to your lower abdomen or back
Exercises to receive cramp relief
If you exercise all month, you will help your
body keep away menstrual cramps. Light exercise during your period will help to
ease the heavy, bloated (puffy) feeling. Workouts that stretch your body are best.
Here are a few exercises that are great for cramp relief:
Sit on the floor, legs as far apart as you can get them.
Hold your toes if you can, or clasp your ankles lightly. Keep your back straight
and breathe in, holding your diaphragm (the muscle under your ribs) up and in. Holding
this position, take a few deep breaths. As you breathe out for the last time, bend
forward towards the floor and exhale. Sit with
your knees open and bent at the sides, with the soles of your feet together in front
of your pelvis. Clasp your hands under your toes or hold your ankles. Press the
soles of your feet together and breathe in, deeply expanding your chest and lifting
your diaphragm, as described above. Raise your head a little and feel your stomach
expand. Breathe in and out deeply into your stomach four or five times.
Lie on your back with one leg stretched out, and pull the
other knee up to your chin. Clasp your knee with your arms to ease the strain and
then hold the posture, relaxing for a few minutes.
If you get pain all of a sudden, or notice a change in your
periods, you should contact a doctor.
Read about cramp relief and learn helpful tips for dealing with your period from BeingGirl.