You might think of menstrual cramps as something you just have to put up with each month--kind of like your period itself. Good news: There are several easy ways to put a damper on cramps before they even start. If the fixes below don't put a dent in your discomfort, alert your doctor--your pain may be a sign of a more severe condition, like endometriosis.
Stay in Shape
Those regular workout sessions can really pay off when your period rolls around (and you thought they were just for swimsuit season). "We advocate exercise to help with everything, but regular aerobic exercise and strength training really do help with cramps," says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professer of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine.Slow Down to Shape Up
Get enough calcium
You already know it strengthens your bones and wards off osteoporosis--and there's some evidence it may help with PMS and cramping, too, Dr. Minkin says. Aim for 1,000 mg a day from food or supplements.
Keep OTC meds on hand
Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen prevent the body from making prostaglandins, the chemicals that cause cramps. "The key thing to remember is to take it early before the cramps really get going," says Dr. Minkin.Dumb OTC Drug Mistakes
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