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Working out how to stop period cramps will make all the difference to how a woman feels about her periods. Most find they can’t be ignored, but a few simple steps will help to relieve them.

Period pain relief tips

• Painkillers – Over-the-counter painkillers will nip cramps in the bud, but should always be taken after food, or with a glass of milk, to protect the stomach lining.

• Exercise – whether it’s a walk around the block or something requiring a little more energy – helps increase blood flow, oxygen levels and endorphin levels (nature’s painkilling and feel-good hormones). It might seem unappealing but these will all help your body to relax during this tricky time.

• Heat – A massage or heat will loosen up your muscles, so a hot bath, or hugging a hot water bottle are both recommended.

• Diet – We know that comfort food may be an appealing option, but lowering your fat intake and upping your vegetable count can ease the pain. 

• Chocolate – There’s a cocoa coloured lining to this cloud of period pain – chocolate contains magnesium and endorphins which will boost your energy so feel free to have a nibble!

When to go to your doctor about menstrual cramps

In a few cases, painful menstruation – or dysmenorrhoea – can get in the way of you living your life. In one study, up to 14% of women reported frequently being unable to go to work because of period pain [1]. But there’s no need to suffer. If your period cramps are this severe, talk to a doctor. In some cases, hormonal contraception can reduce period pain. Occasionally, period pain can be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. But where there isn’t an underlying condition, severe period pain tends to improve as women get older, and also after they have children.

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