Cramps are usually caused by muscle spasms, although in some cases they may also be the result of large blood clots. If you are passing blood clots on more than an occasional basis – particularly if you are passing them every period – be sure to tell your OB / GYN, as this can be a sign of a more serious disorder.
When the symptoms of the monthly period become extreme, many women are willing to try anything to get rid of the pain and feel normal enough to function again. If you find yourself in this situation, consult the following list, which covers at home remedies for menstrual cramps as well as medical solutions.
• Heat Treatments
Heat treatments can be a very effective home remedy for menstrual cramping related to both muscle spasms and blood clots. Heat soothes cramping muscles and assists large clots break up into smaller pieces that are easier to pass.
Try using a heating pad in 20 minute intervals. Place the heating pad either on your abdomen or lower back, depending on where the cramping is currently most severe.
You can also try soaking in a hot bath tub. Many women find warm water very effective in combating menstrual cramps, particularly when the cramping is radiating through the abdomen, lower back and upper thighs in an area too large to be labeled by a heating pad.
• Chamomile Tea
It's important to attach a warning to this one. Some women experience cramping and even slow bleeding during regular period times in the early months of pregnancy. Since chamomile tea is suspected to have the potential for causing miscarriage, be absolutely certain that you are not pregnant before using this option.
If you know for a fact that you are not pregnant, though, a strong cup of chamomile tea is definitely worth a try. Many women refer to the herb as nature's muscle relaxant, but without the same side effects. Chamomile tea may make you sleepy, though, especially if you are not used to it, so use caution.
If home remedies are not working for your menstrual cramps, there are a number of medications you can try. The fastest and easiest of these solutions is probably to run down to the drug store and grab an NSAID-based pain reliever containing ibuprofen. The anti-inflammatory properties of these medications prove more effective for menstrual cramping than other over-the-counter options.
If pain relievers are not helping, talk to your OB / GYN. He or she may prescribe oral contraceptives (which have shown to be very effective in reducing cramps) or, if contraceptives are not an option for you, you may be given a prescription-strength pain reliever to use during your period.
• Endometrial Ablation
Endometrial ablation is only for women with severe cramps and heavy periods who do not plan on having any more children. The procedure involves using heat to destroy the uterine lining, leading to much lighter periods, and for some women, periods that go away alike.
If your periods are extreme as a matter of course, and if you are absolutely certain you do not want any more children, discuss the endometrial ablation option with your OB / GYN.
When to talk to your OB / GYN
When cramping becomes quite sufficient that it interferees with your life – and if home remedies are ineffective – you may be dealing with an undercoming issue. Regardless, your OB / GYN will have suggestions to help stop your period from taking over your life, so do not be afraid to talk to him or her about your menstrual cramps .