My friend told me about a great idea for relieving cramps. Get a bottle of raspberry leaf extract at the health food store. Take 2 dropperfuls a day and it will help make cramps less. The kind I got is in a very strong EtOH solution, so it tastes a lot better if it's squirted into tea or hot water.
As a menstruation veteran of 18 years, I would like to share myexperience of coping with the pain and suffering that go with it.About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my leg that was caused by being on the pill and smoking. Since I had to make a choice and knew I wasn't about to quit smoking anytime soon, I decided to go off the pill for my own well being. I had terrible visions of what my body was going to do and I wasn't far off.While on the pill, my moods were even, my flow was light, and I hadlittle to no cramping. The first few months off were sheer hell. I was edgy and irritable, the cramps felt like knives digging into my abdomen, and my flow was like Niagara Falls. I felt miserable. After two months of this, I went to see a pharmacist who specialized inherbal therapies. She recommended the following vitamins (most can be found in any reputable health food store): Vitamin E, 400 units, a B complex such as B 50, one regular multivitamin, and a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. Two weeks before your period, increase the vitamin E to two a day. After trying that, not only were my symptoms diminished, I also didn't get sick during the winter. Exercise and proper diet are also extremely important. Now that my symptomsare under control, I actually like being off the pill. It makes me feelin control of my body. And, finally, if all else fails, a quart of beer and two ibuprofen's will knock out cramps rather quickly!
I noticed many women saying that their menses started out gentle and hardlynoticable, and seemed to get heavier and more pms and cramps as they gotolder. According to The Women's Book of Health and Emotional Healingthis is normal, and it is because as women age more hormones are requiredto get the menses going.
I just had my 40th birthday last month and my pms, cramps, headacheslow backaches, etc were REALLY bad. I discovered that if I took a cup ofstrong rosemary (a common herb used in cooking) tea twice a day when mypms began and kept it up daily till the end of my period that most of theproblems just disappeared. It really works for me. Maybe it can help otherwomen.
Also I quit using tampons years ago and changed to pads which did helpthe cramps some. But I wasn't very happy with pads, they are difficultto deal with when you're physically acitve. I found The Keeper and boughtone and it's the best thing I've ever used hands down. No leaks, even atnight, even if I run or dance or swim. I've read that other women don'tlike it because its messy and they have to put their fingers inside themselvesto insert it. I don't understand this - women put all sorts of unhealthythings inside themselves (like tampons) without a second thought. Anyway,things like this have never bothered me...it's my own body. They also seemto be concerned that they will have to empty it in a public bathroom. Onmy heavy days I flow quite a lot and I've never had to empty it more than3 times a day - I just empty it before I go out and it's fine till I gethome.
I've always been athletic or fairly active, which, I think, has reducedthe intensity of cramps I might feel otherwise. At the start of my period,however, I can and often have experienced severe bodily distress. SometimesI feel like I'm going to explode, like I don't have any extra space insidemyself. Physical activity, aspirin and aspirin alternatives, and attemptingnot to acknowledge feeling pain seem to help. Definitely, regular exerciseis great for reducing or eliminating cramps. I know that I have not hadthem as much as other women.
One time my mother and I were at Provincetown, Cape Cod, for the day.My period had just begun and I felt terrible. I took aspirin and triedto move about; we walked around the streets, thinking my pain would pass.It didn't, so my mom suggested getting a beer, saying that it would helpme relax. So, we had a beer, and then went swimming in the ocean. Havingsevere cramps on this day that my mother and I happened to be alone togetherhas helped me remember it. In a way I am happy to have experience the temporarypain of cramps, because it has given me a memory of an intimate time withmy mom.
Cramps feel like a muscle tightening and squeezing in your belly area.When cramps are intense, they can make your back, legs, and feet feel kindof achey too. Sometimes my cramps are accompanied by a feeling of weightand heaviness in my vagina, like the pressure of flow is pushing down onit. It feels heavy, like lead. This lasts only about a day, and isn't painful,just kind of a strange feeling.
Sometimes I have cramps, I treat them with exercise. The only time Iget cramps is if I am sitting for long periods of time during the first1-2 days of my period. It's not a big problem for me unless I am forcedto work a desk job.
I do get cramps, in my abdomen and my legs. I always describe them,mainly to men, as a sort of dull ache very much like I felt each time Igot my braces tightened in high school. I usually break down and take aMotrin. They last a day or so, but are worse when I'm not on the pill.
I get cramps every now and then. They usually coincide with gettingmy period while I'm under extra stress. or when there has been a big changein the weather. It feels like your insides are being pulled down and outwith a vacuum cleaner or something. They usually last the first day.
Exercise helps - it is tough to get out the door when you have cramps,but as soon as you are running, the pain subsides.
I find that during the first day of my period, when my cramps are theworst, my head is all fuzzy and I don't feel very connected to the outsideworld. This is a drag when I have a lot to do, but it is very helpful forcramps, because it's like I am almost in a trance. I curl up in bed andrelax, and I sink down past the pain. This may sound strange but I findit very easy to do when my head is all fuzzy like that. It is like divinginto a deep, warm pool. I come out of this pool feeling happily drugged.I have read that when you are in pain but relaxed your body creates endomorphines,substances similar to the powerful drug morphine, by itself.
My cramps have not been bad lately, just little ones on the first daylike a kind of warning. My cramps feel like stretching and sharp crunchingpains in my lower stomach. Sometimes there is back pain as well, and diarrhea...cramps aren't the only discomfort that comes with periods.
Walking around really helps cramps. I find that laying around makesthem worse, so if I'm under cramp attack I'll go for a walk, or go shoppingor something, anything to keep me moving and keep my mind off them untilthey go away.
One valuable thing I've learned about cramps -- and this is only a fewmonths ago-- is that Advil definitely makes cramps go away, but even better:take Advil every 6-8 hours for the first two days of your period (immediatelyafter the first spotting) can prevent cramps form occurring altogether.I am happy proof of this neat little trick even as I write this. If Advil-poppingmake you wary, try taking just two before you go to sleep, this ward offcramps that wake you a five in the morning. Sleeping with a hot water bottlehelps, too. As for the bloating, I try my best to eat bland foods and avoidcaffeine and carbonation those first few days.
I get very strong cramps! My mom says they'll be less severe after Igo through labor for the first time. When I was in high school, I got mydoctor to prescribe strong pain reliever and that seemed to do the trick.But now I just rely on an over-the-counter pain reliever (aspirin seemsbetter than Tylenol) and a heating pad. It's not as effective as the prescription,but not as much hassle, either.
Sometimes I think cramps are just an interesting sensation, sometimesthey genuinely annoy me. My advice about cramps would be 1) don't justassume that they're bad, to be eradicated -- attempt to use them as a wayto live in your body more completely; 2) on the other hand, if they areparticularly unpleasant, take all of the ibuprofen you want and also considersit-ups or orgasm - both work fine. Some people say jogging or exerciseis good too.