Menstrual cramps are caused by prostaglandins, the same chemicals that cause the uterus to contract. Some women experience these contractions as a slight feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen, while others feel aching or even intense pain in the pelvis, lower back, and legs. If your doctor has ruled out an underlying cause of your pain, such as endometriosis or fibroids, you can use simple home treatments to get some relief.
Things You'll Need
- NSAID pain reliever
- Heating pad
Take pain relievers. Any over-the-counter pain relievers should work, but NSAID pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, are best. NSAIDs not only relieve the pain but they also decrease the amount of prostaglandins you make, so they address the problem two ways.
Use a heating pad on your lower abdomen. Heat helps relax muscles, and eases menstrual cramps. According to MayoClinic.com, heat is just as effective as medication in relieving cramps.
Take a warm bath. This also brings soothing heat to your lower abdomen, but it also relaxes you all over.
Consider hormonal birth control if all else fails. Severe cramps that don't respond to regular home-care measures are often relieved by the hormones present in birth-control pills. Ask your doctor if you want to try this method.