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During your period, your uterine muscles contract in order to shed the lining of the uterus. This causes the pain of menstrual cramps. Some women barely notice them, while others feel incapacitated by them. Since you shouldn’t have to suffer through the pain, and because severe menstrual pain may indicate a medical problem, you should make an appointment with your gynecologist. The doctor may recommend hormonal birth control, if you aren’t already using it. Hormonal birth control pills lessen cramping by thinning the uterine lining, which means there’s less of it to shed.

A woman holding her abdomen in pain

If hormonal birth control doesn’t do enough for you, or you’d rather avoid it, try heat therapy. Gynecologists recommend keeping a heating pad nearby during that time of the month. Additionally, avoid salty foods, since dehydration can worsen the cramping. You could also try taking an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) shortly before you usually get cramps.

Washington Surgi-Clinic is a trusted provider of gynecology services for women in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. You can request an appointment by calling (202) 659-9403.

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