Cramps happen when the uterus sheds its lining - the muscular walls of the uterus contract, and for some people that feels uncomfortable. The pain can be sharp and stabbing, or it can be dull and achy. Some people feel bloated - like their belly is full of water. But, lots of people don’t feel any discomfort at all. If you do get cramps, here are some ways to relieve them.
Use a heating pad. A heating pad is a great option to soothe period cramps. By putting heat on your belly, you are actually helping to relax the contracting muscles of your uterus, which are the source of the pain in the first place.
Take a warm bath. A warm bath works a lot like a heating pad, warming your belly and relaxing the contracting muscles of your uterus that cause cramps. Not to mention, a warm bath can be super relaxing for the mind too!
Exercise. While some girls prefer to lay down when they’re crampy, others find it more helpful to stay active during their period. This is because exercise releases all sorts of natural chemicals and hormones that block pain receptors. Any physical activity - from going on a brisk walk to playing sports or dancing - can help you beat your cramps!
Pain relievers. Sometimes, you just don’t have time to take a bath or go for a run, and for some girls, those activities aren’t enough to alleviate their cramps. A pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help make your cramps better - just make sure an adult knows you are taking them first and follow the dosing recommendations on the bottle.
Usually girls who get cramps notice that the pain lessens as they get older. Regardless, if your cramps interfere with your regular daily life, you may want to talk to a parent or healthcare provider about how to reduce the pain. Cramps are different for everyone, so this is a case of you do you… that being said, finding ways to manage your discomfort will be a big benefit because periods will happen every month for many years, and there’s no reason not to make them easier to manage.