Menstrual cramps can be frustrating at best, a nightmare at worst. Either way, you shouldn't have to live with them. That's why we asked three experts from a range of disciplines how to find menstrual cramp relief. See which one works for you. Or, combine all three to kick cramps to the curb.
1. Menstrual Cramp Relief Strategy from the Gynecologist
"At the first twinge of menstrual pain, take ibuprofen. It blocks the production of prostaglandins, bodily chemicals that cause uterine contractions. You can have up to 800 milligrams every six to eight hours. If that doesn't help, ask your gynecologist about going on continuous-use birth control pills to skip your period—and eliminate those PMS cramps." —Patricia Sulak, M.D., an obstetrician at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas
PICK THE RIGHT PAIN PILLS: Got a headache? Menstrual cramps?
2. Menstrual Cramp Relief Strategy from the Dietitian
"Research suggests that getting 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day can help lessen many menstrual symptoms, including cramps. So get plenty of lowfat dairy and fortified soy milk and juices. Certain brands of milk and yogurt, as well as mushrooms and egg yolks, also contain vitamin D, which boosts the absorption of the mineral." —Lona Sandon, R.D., an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas
HEALTHY EATING: The best foods for a better sex life
3. Menstrual Cramp Relief Strategy from the Acupuncturist
"Acupressure can help ease discomfort from menstrual cramps. Using your thumb and forefinger, apply firm pressure to the webbing between your first and second toe for one minute; repeat on the other foot. I also recommend drinking a tea made with the herb dong quai (it's also spelled dong gui), like those by Yogi Tea ($8; amazon.com), to help relax the uterine muscles and improve blood flow." Just read up on it first and make sure it's right for you. —Janet Humphrey, founder of the Giving Nature Center in New York City
ARTICLE: The best pain management techniques
More Menstrual Cramp Relief:
•Exercise and Your Menstrual Cycle: What Your Period Means for Your Workout
•Top 5 Embarrassing Health Questions, Answered