What helps with period cramps? Experts weigh in on possible solutions

Aunt Flo's visit is typically unwelcome, but there's no reason to fear. Here's what helps with period cramps

Period cramps
(Image credit: AJ_Watt/Getty Images)

What helps with period cramps? As it turns out, quite a bit. Music to our ears!

Though Aunt Flo's visit is typically unwelcome, there's no reason to fear period pains and symptoms. We spoke to the experts—nutritionists, gynos, fitness instructors and so on—to help you make it through the most difficult time of the month effortlessly. 

Cramps, be damned!



What helps with period cramps?

1. Sex

We figured we'd get your attention early on with a promising tidbit: a little friskiness goes a long way when you're menstruating. Whether you're riding solo or with a partner, science has proven that sex and orgasms help reduce period pain, and who are we to argue with data? 

Check out our tips for "menstrubation" (yes, it's exactly like it sounds) and the best sex positions for menstrual cramps. If you're going to get rid of the terrible feeling in your lower abdomen, might as well make it enjoyable!

2. Exercise

Should you work out during your period? Absolutely, though you might want to think about adjusting your typical routine a bit. 

"Choosing to slow down and focus on something like yoga or swapping out some high-intensity moves with more stretch and mobility can be a good idea," says fitness coach Lauren Leavell. "Movement can help with cramps but it is also totally fine to not exercise and take a break!"

Well, if you're going to twist our arm...

Woman doing yoga stretch at home with laptop

(Image credit: (Image credit: Getty Images))

3. Relaxation

Well, since we've been told to relax, why not? Get your Netflix queue in order and prepare to enjoy some TLC.

"Stress is the number one factor for aggravating difficult menstrual symptoms as it interferes with our hormones and can deregulate our cycle," says Unfabled's Hannah Samano. "Finding ways to take the pressure off and give ourselves a breather is so important."

She suggests sipping some turmeric tea, and we suggest perusing the best meditation apps to help get you in a ~zen~ mindset. 

4. Heat therapy

"Warmth helps relax the muscles that contract as the uterus sheds its lining and the increased blood flow to the area caused by applying heat is also thought to act as a natural painkiller," Samano adds. "A hot water bottle, a warm bath or heat patches that can be applied under clothes will all help to provide relief."

Not only does heat therapy allow you to get rid of the horrid cramps, but it also gives you an excuse to relax and catch up on some TV. (Don't pretend you aren't curious about the Love Is Blind couples!)

5. Healthy eating

Though we're always up for a bowl of ice cream, sometimes we have to be mindful of what we're eating while on our period.

"Green vegetables are a great source of magnesium which plays a role in over 600 processes in the body and is particularly important in supporting mood, anxiety, stress and relaxation," says nutritionist Jenna Hope.

Hope also recommends increasing calcium intake while on your period and limiting the caffeine. We think the best time to drink coffee is 24/7, but in an effort to make positive changes, we'll limit our usual 16 cups per day to one when Aunt Flo visits. 

Woman eating healthy food

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Medicine or supplements 

The typical treatments for cramps include anti-inflammatory painkillers, hormonal contraception and supplements, including Ginger, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin B1, according to Clue’s Chief Medical Officer Lynae Brayboy, M.D.

One thing's for certain, Brayboy always suggests speaking with a medical professional for introducing your body to new medicines or supplements. 

7. Take notes

"One of the tools I have used to help during this time is to keep notes on how I'm feeling and to pay attention to my body, but I always keep moving," says Temitope Nuga London-based personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach and PT with A Body Forever

Explore period tracker apps, like Clue, to make note of what you're feeling and how you deal with it. 

Yellow Notebook and Coffee Mug on Work Desk

(Image credit: Getty)

While we are always in favor of wallowing over a sad movie, Ben & Jerry's at hand, there's no need to fall victim to the typical period stereotype. You can beat your cramps with a few healthy changes. 

"If your period pain, heavy flow or PMS symptoms are having an impact on the way you live your life, don’t suffer in silence,' says Rachel Grocott of Bloody Good Period. "There are many things medical professionals can support you with and you should contact your local GP to discuss these options."

We told you cramps wouldn't stand a chance!

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)