For whatever reason The Universe decided that women must experience bleeding and cramping for one week a month during her most active years has surely been debated since the first woman turned 13. But if progress has given us any tools over the last several thousand years, perfecting the methods that soothe our monthly woes is nothing short of a victory. While millions of women turn to pain relief pills with gnarly side effects, or take birth control pills to decrease the number of cycles they have each year, or just suffer through the pain needlessly, there are a number of effective measures to reduce and prevent menstrual cramping—including, yes, The Orgasm.
1. Orgasms cause the uterine muscles to contract and release a slew of brain chemicals, including oxytocin, which is the body's natural pain reliever and can stop menstrual cramps immediately. If having sex seems like an unnatural act when on your cycle, consider using menstrual catchment devices like the Softcup, which you can wear during sexual activity. It fits like a diaphragm and collects menstrual blood at the cervix so your partner won't even know it's there.
2. Acupuncture has been used for millennia to ease all sorts of physical ailments, including pain. Certain pressure points on the body can be activated to release pain and other blocks within the body.
3. Calcium and magnesium deficiencies have been linked to menstrual cramping. Eating foods high in calcium and magnesium or taking cal/mag supplements can help to relax the uterus and relieve muscle soreness.
4. Avoid chemicals that produce unnatural estrogens. Many household products from lotions to laundry detergent can contain chemicals that mimic the body's natural hormones, and they can increase the body's risk of excessive cramping and even lead to more serious issues like mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
5. Going for a run or taking a yoga class can seem like the very last thing your body wants to do when having cramps, but exercise improves blood flow, which can move the cramping out of you rather quickly.
6. Drinking a glass of wine takes the edge off of most anything. And if you're experiencing menstrual cramps, it will also thin the blood, which can help reduce your pain.
7. Stay busy! An active mind rarely notices what's going on in the body, so whether that's watching a movie, working or spending time with friends or loved ones, resist the urge to curl up in bed and suffer and you'll probably be glad you did.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³