Donate Now
We've Moved! Check out our new boards.
  New Poll  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Menstrual cramps and medicine

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Menstrual cramps and medicine
Scorpio
Activist
Member # 4154

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Scorpio     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For the first few days of my period i can have bad cramps and i usually take alieve (sp?), ibuprophen or advil to help (i don't mix just whatever is laying around i'll use until they go away). But i don't like taking the medicine because it just doesn't feel right. i'm not really a believer into all of the medicine our society has today unless you really need it.

So my question: is there other ways to rid of cramps other than medicine? Things like herbal teas, drinks, baths etc? Stretches? Meditation?

Thanks.


Posts: 83 | From: Seattle, Washington | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 568

Icon 3 posted      Profile for Gumdrop Girl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, I'm big on Western medicine. First I'll explain how these over-the-counter drugs work, then get into the more holistic approaches. Ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen sodium (Aleve) and aspirin belong to a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). They work by slowing down the release of prostaglandins by smooth muscle tissue. It's these prostaglandins that are causing your cramps -- they cause smooth muscle to contract.

Warning: if your cramps are severe, you will need to see a doctor. He/She may prescribe birth control as a treatment, or put you on prescription strength NSAID painkillers.

Otherwise, here are some good ways of easing your cramps...

Lay on your back, hands at your sides. with your legs together, lift your knees and bring then in towards your chest (kind of like a fetal position, only you're on your back). Move your legs around in circular motions such that your shins are always parallel to your back and the ground.

A warm water bottle (the squooshy rubber kind) on your tummy feels nice.

hmm, i'm actually blanking out after this. So if anyone else has some suggestions, bring them on

------------------
"Go that way really fast, and if anything gets in your way ... turn." Better off Dead starring a teenaged John Cusack.


Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orchid
Neophyte
Member # 8663

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Orchid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Along the same line as the water bottle method, many women find that a heating pad or warm bath can help with cramping. I have few sisters who will swear by drinking hot milk as a muscle relaxer, and I've also heard that maintaining a more physically active lifestyle can make you less prone to severe cramping. Does anyone know if that last one is accurate, or if it's true that caffiene can aggravate cramps? Also, as you suggested, meditation can be helpful for some people as cramps may be worsened by stress - try it for yourself and see if it works for you.
Posts: 32 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ashy
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 4764

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ashy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When you need to be active, you could try wearing ThermaCare patches underneath your clothes. They're kind of like chemical handwarmers in a patch form, and you can stick them onto your stomach with no problem. See if your local drugstore has them if you're interested.
Posts: 1784 | From: USA | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kite
Activist
Member # 5957

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Kite     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know about the active lifestyle reducing cramps bit. From 11-18 I used to swim a lot (4-5 hrs a day most days), and I used to have horrible, horrible cramps. On days when I had moderate cramps and so went to swim practice, they would be made worse by the exercise. Since I stopped swimming my cramps have been more manageable (I am still quite active, but nothing competitive).

I've heard quite often, though, that exercise makes things better, so maybe I was just a statistical insignificance


Posts: 127 | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
soldier76:96
Activist
Member # 6511

Icon 1 posted      Profile for soldier76:96     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For my wife's menstrual cramps, I do massage on her feet, legs, & body parts. If medicine is not what you want, research different types of massage to lessen menstrual cramps.
Posts: 113 | From: Puyallup, WA, USA | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Beppie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 94

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Beppie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Orchid:
I have few sisters who will swear by drinking hot milk as a muscle relaxer, and I've also heard that maintaining a more physically active lifestyle can make you less prone to severe cramping. Does anyone know if that last one is accurate, or if it's true that caffiene can aggravate cramps?

I thought that the lactic acid in milk was bad for cramps, but I could be wrong. Gummy?

For me, being physically fit DID make a big difference in cramping. I found that even exercising one or two days a month in the week before my period would reduce my cramps significantly. Although this may not work for everyone, its worth trying.

And I believe that the statement about caffiene is true.


Posts: 2710 | From: Australia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 568

Icon 3 posted      Profile for Gumdrop Girl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bep (and other interested parties), the lactic acid produced during muscle cramping is the result of the tissue fermenting sugar during exercise in an effort to harness more ATP. It doesn't come from the milk we drink, which actually contains lactose, which does not metabolise into lactic acid under usual conditions. Instead, it splits into two smaller sugar units: glucose and galactose.

As for caffeine, I'd lay of it, too if I was having cramps.

------------------
"Go that way really fast, and if anything gets in your way ... turn." Better off Dead starring a teenaged John Cusack.


Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

Icon 1 posted      Profile for logic_grrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm generally a big fan of Western medicine, but at the moment I'm also trying alternative techniques to see if I can reserve the industrial-strength painkillers for the most agonizing cramps .

As well as the suggestions people have already come up with, you could try:

* Ginger tea - you can buy this in a shop, or just grate fresh ginger root, pour boiling water on it, and let it steep. Adding a bit of lemon juice and/or honey has no added medicinal value, but makes the taste even better .

* Massaging your abdomen (especially just above the pubic hairline, as this is roughly where the uterus is located) and lower back.

* The "Cobra" yoga stretch - lie flat on your front on the floor, arms by your side. Gradually raise your head and chest without using your arms. Then use your arms to raise your torso so your back is arched.

* Hot aromatherapy baths - there are lots of essential oils that are supposed to help with period pains, so your best bet would be to check a book or consult your local health food store and make up a blend of the ones you like best .

*Progressive relaxation - consciously relaxing all your muscles from your feet to your head. This doesn't seem to help the cramps directly, but it relieves aches in any other muscles that have tensed up in sympathy.


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To add to logic's list, Red Raspberry Leaf tea is an excellent female toner. Add the ginger to it and you can soothe your cramps a bit and your tummmy.

In general though, as a fan of BOTH western and holostic medicine, for the really big horrible pain, the Advil and the like is often what's going to have the effect you're used to.

But if your cramps aren't too horrible, AND you do some holostic stuff ( teas, yoga, baths. massage) not just during your period, but a little before, it works wonders.

As far as an extra Western med. trick, taking one aspirin a day for a few days before you're expecting your period seems to help some women (me included) with decreasing cramps and swelling.

Me? I combine both approaches. But on the worst months? I'm usually grabbing that Advil like it were a life raft. I remember all too well having awful periods in my youth before it came along, and while my heart is in holistic medicine most loyally, and certainly ideally, I also cannot be a rolled-up ball of pain and grumpiness for days on end, and I'm grateful the new meds are around.

:P

(And Ashy, what a great idea! I now must unearth the hand-warming patches from my camping gear for better use!)
------------------
Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-21-2002).]


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarlingBri
Activist
Member # 5036

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarlingBri     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Masturbation to orgasm is an *excellent* way to kill cramps, just for the record
Posts: 848 | From: London, UK | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Celtic Daisy
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 2971

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Celtic Daisy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just gonna throw up this topic, which i remembered this afternoon:
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/Forum22/HTML/000020.html

------------------
'You've got the eyes of ten women. Not in a jar! I wasn't accusing you. I just mean your eyes are really nice'-coupling

Erin Jane
~Scarleteen Advocate~


Posts: 1747 | From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tifa
Neophyte
Member # 9026

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Tifa     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is a kind of tea available at most grocery stores where I live, I forget the brand name, but the tea is called female toner. I used to drink it every night and it helped lessen the cramps alot. I've also heard that ginger tea is good for cramps..I wonder if ginger ice cream is.....hmmm...heh.
Posts: 8 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shenzie2007
Activist
Member # 9027

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Shenzie2007     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by DarlingBri:
Masturbation to orgasm is an *excellent* way to kill cramps, just for the record

I second that!


Posts: 73 | From: dallas, texas, usa | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daydreamer24
Activist
Member # 5578

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Daydreamer24     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are Western medicines Advil and Tylenol? Why do they call them that?
Posts: 1619 | From: TEXAS | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 568

Icon 3 posted      Profile for Gumdrop Girl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Western medicine" is considered to be "mainstream" treatments usings processed pills (including Advil and Tylenol -- though note that Tylenol is not an NSAID and generally not used to treat cramps), "regular" doctors and the like. it's what you see on the show ER. it is called "western medicine" because its practice originated in the "west" with the Greeks, namely Hippocrates, and later Galen (or was Galen Roman?).

"Eastern medicine" includes traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and certain kinds of massage.

And there are other forms of homeopathic or "alternative" rememdies that may include healing meditations, herbal remedies, chiropratic medicine, and even shamanism.

------------------
"I am so smart, I am so smart, s-m-r-t....I mean s-m-A-r-t." Homer J. Simpson
"Mmm ... floor pie!" Homer J. Simpson


Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

Icon 1 posted      Profile for logic_grrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just adding to this thread:

There's some evidence to suggest that looking at your diet to make sure you're getting enough Omega-3 oils can make a difference.

The various essential fatty acids are heavily involved in the body's manufacture of prostaglandins - which have a major effect on the amount of bleeding, cramping and other symptoms you get.

And it's thought that Western diets may often have too few Omega-3s - and too high a level of other oils which can negatively affect prostaglandins.

[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 09-06-2004).]


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MarvellousPurple
Activist
Member # 8776

Icon 1 posted      Profile for MarvellousPurple     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(Gummy: in response to your two-year-old question, Galen was Roman.)
Posts: 475 | From: Back in Providence, RI | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
summergoddess
Activist
Member # 11352

Icon 2 posted      Profile for summergoddess     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't get my periods now since I've been on Depo for a year and almost 5 months. However, before Depo.. i had my periods and yeah, i had cramps. I used to take ibuprophen to relieve them.. and i do agree that exercise is another way. It worked for me. I used to crave cabury chocolate in the first 3 years of HS the week of my periods. But that's me.

------------------
~Jules


Posts: 369 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

Icon 1 posted      Profile for logic_grrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Two years on ...

Looking at this thread, I realized that my first post here is over two years old.

So, here's how the story continued:

I have heavy periods, and was having bad cramps, bad enough to be prescribed Ponstan (mefenamic acid) in my teens. Basically, 3 years ago I was taking ibuprofen or similar meds pretty much every day of my period.

I'm a firm believer that Western medicine is a good thing but needs to be treated with respect; anything that's powerful enough to work is powerful enough to have side-effects. I'm already on daily meds for other issues, so I wasn't feeling too happy about taking even more pills so often.

So I figured I'd try alternative remedies like yoga, ginger tea, massage, etc. as my first line of defence when I had cramps. Then I'd have ibuprofen as a back-up if I needed it.

And it definitely made a difference and significantly reduced the pain. Sometimes I still needed the ibuprofen, but I needed it a lot less often. I realized a while back that I was taking only about a third of the amount I'd been taking before.

Been working on eating healthily (more Omega-3s, among other things) and getting enough exercise.

And, as a matter of fact, last month I suddenly realized that I'd got through my whole period without popping a single pill for it. I wasn't being stoic - I had some mild aches, but nothing that I could be bothered to go to the medicine cabinet about!

How much of this is just growing up, my body settling down, etc., I don't know. But wow, big difference.


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

Icon 1 posted      Profile for logic_grrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I used to crave cabury chocolate in the first 3 years of HS the week of my periods. But that's me.

Actually, maybe not just you. Sometimes cravings are your body's way of telling you what it's lacking.

The body needs magnesium for muscle contraction and relaxation to work properly, and magnesium deficiency is associated with muscle cramping.

And cocoa is a rich source of ... guess what? .... magnesium.

(Not to mention antioxidants and a whole bunch of "feel-good" natural chemicals).

Okay, that still doesn't make it a health food, but you could do a lot worse, especially if you go for a good quality dark chocolate (high cocoa content and usually dairy-free - personally I go for Green & Black's organic and fairtraded chocolate ).


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Londongirl
Activist
Member # 18235

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Londongirl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello Logic_grrl

This is interesting, I have heavy periods, but not much pain (nothing the occasional paracetamol can't handle). Do you know if any of these alternative remedies reduce bleeding specifically?

I too don't like popping too many pills if there is an alternative. I've been taking tranexamic acid, which reduced the bleeding better for me than mefanamic, but recently I have been struggling to control the bleeding adequately - the meds aren't working as well as before. I'm already taking the maximum dose, so the only other alternative my GP is offering is combined oral contraceptives, which I'm not too keen on. So I'd be really interested to know if there is anything out there which reduces bleeding as well as/rather than pain.

And Green and Black's chocolate? I'm hooked.

------------------
Londongirl
Mature Student in Psychology(About to graduate - what do I do now??) Read about me here

[This message has been edited by Londongirl (edited 09-06-2004).]


Posts: 352 | From: UK | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

Icon 1 posted      Profile for logic_grrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Haven't found anything that makes a drastic difference to bleeding levels, although the Omega-3s are supposed to help with that sometimes (prostaglandins are involved in how much you bleed).

And some people swear by yarrow tea.

However, I do love my Mooncup - it's by far the most convenient and hassle-free option for dealing with heavy bleeding I've come across (way better than having to use night-time pads during the day and change them every hour, for sure).

Some people also report that using a menstrual cup shortens the length of their bleeding, although nobody knows why that would be so.


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Londongirl
Activist
Member # 18235

Icon 7 posted      Profile for Londongirl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks, I'm going shopping for yarrow tea, and some sort of omega-3 source! Can you get veggie omega-3 supplements? I have tried taking fish oil but hate the taste, even the lemon-flavoured ones.

I'm also going to ask my doc to check my iron levels again as I heard recently that being anaemic can increase bleeding, making you more anaemic, making you bleed even more etc. in a vicious circle.

Froggy_dear already tried to persuade me of the merits of menstrual cups in my "Holiday from the Period from Hell" thread, but I am not keen on the idea personally.

[ 09-05-2006, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Londongirl ]

Posts: 352 | From: UK | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
London, flax or borage oil are vegetarian sources of Omega-3.

You can get capsules, or just the opils themselves: I often put a capful of flax in my smoothies at breakfast.


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Londongirl
Activist
Member # 18235

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Londongirl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks, I'll look out for them too. Think I might have taken borage before for PMS - I think it is what has been marketed as starflower oil over here. Thank goodness for plant oils, cod liver oil left a nasty taste in my mouth!

------------------
Londongirl
Thirtysomething and counting
Who the **** is Londongirl?


Posts: 352 | From: UK | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

Icon 1 posted      Profile for logic_grrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Londongirl, do you eat fish?

If you do, forget the capsules. A fine source of fish oils is (surprise, surprise ) oily fish: salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, etc. Way more fun than capsules or cod liver oil!

As well as flax (you'll often see it labelled as "linseed" here in the UK) pumpkin seeds and some dark green leafy vegetables are also good sources of Omega-3s.

It's also important to look at the balance of essential fatty acids in your diet.

If you're consuming a lot of arachidonic acid (typically found in meat, liver, kidney, egg yolk and prawns), that contributes to the "bad" prostaglandins, including some of the ones that can increase menstrual bleeding.

By the way, I seriously recommend "Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle: herbal and medical solutions from adolescence to menopause" by Ruth Trickey - it's a fantastic and detailed but very readable guide to the biology of things like the prostaglandins, and covers both Western medical and herbal and dietary approaches to menstrual problems in a very balanced way.

[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 09-06-2004).]


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Londongirl
Activist
Member # 18235

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Londongirl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I do eat fish, but I'm finding I don't want it more than once or twice a week, and some weeks I don't eat any. I'm also not finding much enthusiasm or time to shop for and cook fresh food at the moment, and the current stresses in my life are not about to magically disappear, so being honest with myself I might manage supplements more easily than big diet changes.

I'm a meat-eater too, mainly chicken. I only have meat or fish once a day usually though, typically eating a veg soup and/or cheese for lunch. I'll lay off the prawns before my period, although I haven't been eating them much recently anyway. But it's good to know - I will treat yummy prawn sandwiches with greater caution in future!

I didn't know that linseed = flax. Interestingly I'm already eating a tablespoon of the seeds themselves on my breakfast in an effort to increase my soluble fibre intake to combat IBS. But as you can eat more seeds than I'm currently eating, I expect I could take some supplements too to bump up my intake of the oils.

And more greens/veg/fruit seems to be a health panacea. I eat some every day, but I have to admit I don't consume the 5-9 portions a day that seems to be recommended now. Unfortunatly my mind/stomach seems more interested in lots of carbohydrate laced with a modicum of fat! And meat/fish......

That book sound great. My local health food shop is going to love me for spending so much next time i go....

I am going to do something about this. I have just booked an appointment with my GP to check my iron levels/blood count, and cycle issues generally. I will ask her to work with me on non-hormonal options - she is not mad keen to put me on the Pill for the sole purpose of controlling bleeding anyway, so hopefully she will be supportive.

------------------
Londongirl
Thirtysomething and counting
Who the **** is Londongirl?

[This message has been edited by Londongirl (edited 09-06-2004).]

[This message has been edited by Londongirl (edited 09-06-2004).]


Posts: 352 | From: UK | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
logic_grrl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

Icon 1 posted      Profile for logic_grrl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
And Green and Black's chocolate? I'm hooked.

My current fix when I need a treat - Green & Black's hot chocolate powder, made up with soy milk instead of cow's milk .

I'm trying to consume more soy products, and it tastes excellent, which is a big deal given that normally I can't stand soy milk at all. I think the drug-level cocoa content helps .

[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 09-06-2004).]


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Londongirl
Activist
Member # 18235

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Londongirl     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mmm, now there's an idea to get me through my next bout of PMS. Had forgotten that stuff existed, must have quit using it when I gave up buying cow's milk. Might have to spike some of my Rice Dream with it.......

P.S. Have you read the rice milk? soy milk? oat milk? thread lately? I posted my soy-milk-for-soy-milk-haters suggestion in there.

------------------
Londongirl
Thirtysomething and counting
Who the **** is Londongirl?

[This message has been edited by Londongirl (edited 09-06-2004).]


Posts: 352 | From: UK | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

  New Poll   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3