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Menstrual pain and cramps are very common and they are the top reason why women take time off work and school! In some cases, menstrual cramps and pain signify a more serious medical problem.

In other cases, nothing is "wrong" but the woman goes through a horrible couple of days each and every month nonetheless. What can you do to feel better before and during your period?  

Menstrual cramps and pain can make a woman's life hell. Besides the cramps, that can be so bad that some women literally lie on the couch curled up into the fetal position for days every month, there can also be some additional symptoms. Mood swings, nausea, sweating, dizziness and even diarrhea. It isn't all that uncommon for women to depend on over the counter pain killers to get them through their period (or the days before it). Some don't want to use these medications and prefer to try natural remedies. Most of the natural remedies for menstrual pain and cramps and most other conditions are not scientifically proven. That means that we can't claim that these things actually work. Yet, it is very clear that tons of women swear by all kinds of natural remedies for painful periods or premenstrual cramps. A reduction in pain is all that matters, at the end of the day. Who cares if it's just the placebo effect? As long as you feel better, that is fine!

Evening primrose oil is one natural remedy many women use to manage menstrual pain and cramps. It is also used to induce labor naturally. Evening primrose oil is often abbreviated as EPO. Search the web to find testimonials from women who have been using it. You can find evening primrose oil in most health food stores and even in grocery stores, in the supplement aisle. Apparently, you need to take daily EPO supplements for a few months before you start to notice any improvement in your period pains.

Omega 3 fatty acids are another nutritional supplement that will really improve many of your bodily functions. This one has more of a scientific basis. Omega 3 fatty acids improve your memory and concentration, your general health, and perhaps your painful periods as well. They work by reducing prostaglandin levels which in turn reduces period pain. You can find omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements, but you can also just increase your intake of fatty fish if you like. Eating a fishy meal two or three times a week will really help!

Meat and dairy products, on the other hand, actually contain prostaglandins, and excessive consumption of these products may be partly to blame for heavy cramps and pain during your menstruation. Try reducing your intake of these things to see if you see any difference. Some women say they see an immense improvement. It is worth a go, ins't it?

Every woman is different, but some will find that their menstrual cramps get worse with the use of tampons! Since I started using the Diva Cup a reusable silicone menstrual cup my period pains have reduced to the point where I hardly even notice that I am menstruating. An internet search revealed that I am not the only woman who noticed this positive side effect after starting the use of the Diva Cup.

Some women try something completely different again and find that gentle stretching or walking reduces their pain and cramps! This sounds almost unbelievable, doesn't it? When you are in pain, you just want to lie in bed with a hot water bottle or hot pack on your tummy (that is, of course, yet another possibility you could try!). Going out to exercise is totally counter intuitive when you are in pain. Yet, it may well help. The uterus is a muscle, and stretching or walking can get it to relax a little.

Keep in mind that you will have to stick at any method you choose for a while before you may see results. Don't conclude that one natural remedy doesn't work for you if it doesn't offer instant relief only tylenol is going to do that for you! Dietary changes and supplements need time to be effective, so don't give up.

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