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What are the Best Sources of Menstruation Relief?

Anna T.
Updated May 17, 2024
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The sources of menstruation relief are typically in the form of over-the-counter drugs designed to treat menstrual symptoms, exercise, and possibly some herbs. In addition to over-the-counter drugs for menstruation relief, some women also take over-the-counter pain relievers to help with cramps. It might also be beneficial to avoid certain foods and drinks just before and during menstruation to prevent the onset of unpleasant symptoms. Sometimes doctors advise women who regularly experience very heavy bleeding during menstruation to take birth control pills because the pills often make periods lighter. Birth control pills can also help regulate periods in women who have irregular cycles.

There are several different brands of medicines available at drug stores for menstruation relief. Some of the more common menstruation symptoms include cramps, heavy bleeding, and bloating. The medicines designed to treat these symptoms might also help with mood stabilization in women who experience irritability just before menstruation as a result of pre-menstrual syndrome, or PMS. Some women also find that basic pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, tend to help relieve their menstrual symptoms just as well as medicines designed specifically for treating menstruation symptoms.

Even though most women probably do not feel like participating in exercise during their periods, research suggests that it could help with menstruation relief. Menstrual cramps can occasionally be extremely painful, and exercise might help increase chemicals in the brain called beta-endorphins, which help to relieve pain. Doctors typically recommend aerobic exercise to get the full benefit of pain relief for menstruation. Fast-paced walking, cycling, and swimming are just a few aerobic exercises that may be helpful for relieving menstrual cramps.

Women who would prefer to avoid over-the-counter drugs for menstruation relief might be able to use herbs as an alternative. Some herbs that are thought to be helpful for treating menstruation symptoms include dandelion, milk thistle, and black cohosh. These herbs are all available in either pill or herbal tea form. It is important to ask a doctor before taking anything herbal because some herbs may not be safe for consumption, particularly if a person is on prescription medicine that could interact negatively with a specific herb.

There are certain foods and beverages that can make menstruation symptoms much worse, and many women find themselves craving these things just before and during their periods. Salt and caffeine are two of the worst things to consume during menstruation. An excess of salt in the body causes bloating because salt absorbs water, and lots of women develop cravings for salty things like chips and crackers just before their periods. Caffeine, particularly in the form of sodas and chocolate, is also something that menstruating women tend to crave. It is best to avoid caffeine during menstruation because it could make cramps worse.

Women who experience severe menstruation symptoms, such as very irregular periods or abnormally heavy bleeding, should see their doctors to ask about treatment. Some women are able to find menstruation relief for symptoms that are severe by taking birth control pills. The pills may not be recommended for all women, and doctors may recommend alternative forms of treatment for women who cannot take birth control pills.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Sep 06, 2014

@Pippinwhite -- You sound like me. I had horrendous cramps, too. My sister had her wisdom teeth out and had some leftover pain meds. One month, I'd been hurting like hell all day (still had to go to school, though), and had a headache, backache -- you name it.

My mom gave me one of those leftover pain pills -- I think it was demerol -- and in about 30 minutes, I felt better than I'd felt in six months! I was so happy I wasn't hurting! I was actually sore the next morning from the cramping. But that demerol made all the difference. I slept like a log that night and got up feeling great.

Sometimes, the hard stuff is the only thing that makes a difference, if you can get a prescription for it.

By Pippinwhite — On Sep 05, 2014

I had beast cramps from hell and backaches. Nothing really, really helped until I got on the pill. The advent of Naproxen as an over the counter drug really helped. I'd take one as soon as I got up in the morning and then another about noon and another about 4 p.m. That's the only way I could stay ahead of the cramps.

When I was in high school, I'd take 800 mg of ibuprofen (before it was OTC. My mom worked for a doctor) four times a day. That was to stand up, not to be pain free. My heating pad was my best friend.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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