How Do You Relieve Period Cramps?

According to Mayo Clinic, you can relieve period, or menstrual cramps with over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and oral birth control pills, depending on the severity of the cramps. You can also relieve cramps with home remedies such as applying heat to the lower abdomen, exercising and taking dietary supplements.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, period cramps are caused by strong contractions of the uterus during a woman's menstrual cycle, which help expel the uterine lining. The cramps typically start to occur one to two days before a woman starts her period. Symptoms of period cramps include an aching pain and pressure in the lower abdomen, as well as pain in the hips, lower back and inner thighs. The pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. Period cramps can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fatigue and diarrhea in some women.

Mayo Clinic recommends taking over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as soon as symptoms appear and continuing to take the medication as directed until the symptoms have gone away. A doctor may recommend taking oral birth control regularly to reduce severe period cramps. In some cases, severe cramps may be caused by an underlining medical issue, such as endometriosis or fibroids, which may require surgery to correct.