Sorry, guys. I know it’s not a topic you find fascinating for the most part.
Like most women, menstrual cramps have been very bothersome for me at various points of my life. I do not have endometriosis, so my suggestions may not be of use for those with more severe pain. However, I have found a few things that help make life a little less painful in this regard.
When I was having problems with cramping in college, I was advised to change my diet: No chocolate and less sugar. Those are not recommendations that a woman with PMS wants to hear, and at that point, I didn’t have the willpower or desire to follow them. I wanted an “easy” magic solution. However, as I’ve aged and I’ve had to make far more severe changes to my diet, I’ve found that it does affect cramping greatly. The most important thing for me is eating organic. It really does reduce the cramping.
What I’ve discovered overall is that the more I’m detoxing, the worse the cramps can get. Our bodies have to detox all the chemicals we are exposed to, including pesticides on conventional foods. Menstruation is one of our bodies’ ways of detoxing: It is a means of elimination just like mucus, sweat, urine, feces, and vomit. Thus, eating organic is helping reduce my cramps by reducing the amount of toxins I’m exposed to. However, I also find that the more chemical exposures from being out in public in scented places, the more intense and painful my cramps are in a given month.
At some point along the line I read somewhere that orgasm can help relieve menstrual cramps. I’ve found that sometimes it helps for a very short while, but sex is not usually on the top of one’s list of things to try when cramps are bad. (However, this is the part of the article that I’m sure many guys would find interesting!)
Cramp bark is an herbal option to help reduce menstrual cramps. I learned about it during my last pregnancy at the recommendation of my midwife when it really helped with intense Braxton Hicks contractions. It also can help reduce the cramping pain during menstruation. In tincture form, it’s pretty strong tasting, but if you follow it with a chaser of a strong tasting beverage (like orange juice), you can get the taste out of your mouth fairly quickly.
One other correlation that I’ve found is that when Lyme is dying off intensely in my body at the same time as my period, the pain from both gets worse. I’m not sure what the exact mechanism of this is, but I suspect that it has to do with the total load of pain my body is dealing with creating an exponential rather than linear increase in pain. I’m not alone in dealing with this phenomenon: Many women end up with menstrual cycles and Lyme cycles happening at the same time, and it can create a great deal of misery.
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