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Fix Menstrual Cramps With Exercise

75% of women will have some menstrual cramps (known as dysmenorrhea) and exercise can help reduce or eliminate cramps.. Pain sensitization, psychological, social, and cultural factors will affect everyone’s menstrual pain, which is going to be true regardless of the type of exercise. In the September 2018 American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of exercise study reveals there is more research to be done, but here’s what the experts say.

1. Not only that, but exercise, for most women, is the healthiest and safest way to treat menstrual cramps.Not ‘exactly’ new news. Even flappers of the 1920s and 30s were told to dance their cramps away!

2. Menstrual cramps are due to the pain produced when the uterine wall contracts and when the lining releases prostaglandins which cause the pain.

3. The most studied exercise ‘interventions’ for decreasing pain include aerobic exercise, strength building, stretching, yoga, and even those that just look at doing Kegel’s exercises. No surprise all forms of exercise are effective at reducing menstrual cycle pain.

4. Exercise is both preventative as well as therapeutic! So even if you don’t yet have cramps, exercise is how you keep them at bay.

5. If you exercise during menstrual times you will have both less pain and less intense pain with menstrual cramps.

6.. Being consistent, no matter what you pick, helps.

7. Strength building during menstrual times might even increase the effectiveness of the exercise due to beneficial effects on hormones!

8. Dehydration worsens cramps, and that is especially true during menstrual times. So whatever you do, gauge hydration with your cycle!

9.. Exercise reduces stress, which always reduces pain, regardless of the type of exercise.

10. Female athletes have fewer cycles, lower estrogen, and lower progesterone. This is especially true if accompanied by being extremely lean with low body fat.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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