Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

SOS for PMS: Non-Medical Solutions for Period Cramps

by Stephen Silva

If you're like most women, your period is a time of aches, pains, and soreness all over your body. But usually the number-one cause of period pain complaints are cramps, which center in the lower abdomen and can last for days without a letup, even if you're taking the maximum dose of over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. So what are you to do if you can't take more meds, but you're still hurting? If you're looking for a few pain-relief suggestions that don't come from a drugstore, then here's what you need to know.

Take a Hot Shower

Heat goes a long way toward relaxing your muscles, which in turn can soften or even get rid of your cramps for a while. Taking a hot shower won't just feel really good (and give you a chance to properly clean any blood off yourself), it'll help dampen the pain and give your poor midsection a rest. A shower's preferable to a bath in this case, as it saves you the trouble of putting in a tampon—yes, you can still bleed underwater, no matter what your grandmother told you—and dispels the risk of bleeding into a perfectly good hot bath.

Get Up and Move

If your cramps are bad enough that you're hurting but are not to the causing-nausea stage, it may help to get up and move your body around. Take a short walk around your neighborhood—or even in your house or your apartment if you're worried about being out in public without quick access to a bathroom—or practice some light yoga and cardio. Not only will the exercise help to get your mind off your cramps, which can dampen the pain, but moderate exercise can help to release endorphins and get you one step further toward a less crampy future.

Distract Yourself

If the thought of sweating to the oldies or jumping in the shower causes the bile to rise up into your throat, it might be best to just try to distract yourself by doing an activity that doesn't require much thought or concentration. TV shows and movies—especially those that are lighter and softer—are perfect for this, giving you entertainment while not requiring the nausea-inducing close focus that books can sometimes cause. Ultimately, you're just looking to pass the time until you get some pain relief, so if the best distraction is re-watching the first few seasons of Gilmore Girls, switch on Netflix and just relax.