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I had a noticeable reduction in the severity of menstrual cramps after switching from tampons to menstrual cups. I remember having absolutely paralyzing cramps (on the floor, unable to walk) that would diminish when I took the tampon out. I even found, oddly enough, that menstrual cups eased my cramps more than just using a pad (my working theory is that is holds the vaginal walls away from a sensitive cervix, but who really knows?).

Age 26 now, and I STILL suffer from cramps. They're not debilitating, and nothing ibuprofen or a hot water bottle can't handle, but they are uncomfortable. I heard recently that increasing dietary vitamin D might reduce the severity in cramps? Has anyone tried this? Looking at vitamin D-3 supplements now, and wondering if they might do the trick.

*Just wanted to add that I noticed different cups have had different effects on cramping. Softer cups + wider rim = fewer cramps. Classic Yuuki and small Sckoon (VERY narrow rim) were both crampy cups for me. Just a useful tidbit for menstrual cup users who are still sorting out cramping issues!
 
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on February 19th, 2016 03:57 pm (UTC)
Old wives tale: Drink more water before and during your period.
Always worked for me. You too?
margalee on February 19th, 2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
Yes and no. I get fewer painful clots to pass, but still quite a bit of soreness. Again, not debilitating.

Funny thing though: My husband's intuition was to plan some liver-themed meals around my period. I just looked it up, and liver is supposed to be high in vitamin D! It definitely helps with the period-related fatigue I'm prone to, but still no-go on cramps. Which makes me think a daily supplement throughout the month might help.
jezebelsblues on February 20th, 2016 05:27 am (UTC)
Is there an difference in cramping when wearing a menstrual cup vs cloth pads?

margalee on February 20th, 2016 06:56 am (UTC)
Curiously, yes, there is a difference in cramping between a (well-fitting) cup and pads. If my period starts before my cup is in, I get a very acute aching feeling in my cervix. This pain is relieved the moment I put my cup in.
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margalee on February 20th, 2016 07:37 am (UTC)
I have had problems with iron deficiency. No diagnosis of endometriosis or any gynecological anomaly, though. I've actually got the fatigue thing sorted at this point, and it's entirely dietary. I have low blood pressure and have in the past been slightly anemic, so this compounds on my period! I've got this mostly sorted out now, and all it took was some dietary awareness--lots of iron rich foods! So now I'm hoping to apply some similar "root cause" reasoning to my (admittedly minor) cramping.

Not on any hormonal birth control or IUD, and have no wish to be. For me, it caused a lot of undesirable symptoms throughout the month, and I flat-out refuse to try to the copper IUD (see cramping and iron deficiency, don't think copper IUD would help!), and it was much more pleasant for me to deal with a few days of slight discomfort than symptoms throughout the month. (FAM and barrier methods have been 100% successful at preventing pregnancy for over four years, so I'm confident and covered in that department.)

So where I'm at now is just trying to make those two days as comfortable as possible! As it stands now, I'm very functional on my period, just slightly more uncomfortable than I'd like to be.
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margalee on February 22nd, 2016 09:26 am (UTC)
No need to apologize :)
gigglygecko on February 22nd, 2016 06:37 am (UTC)
I've never used tampons, but I've definitely had a reduction in cramps using the cup the second time around.

The only other thing I have found that helps is a herbal tea marketed specifically to women. It was recommended to a friend for period pains and she suggested I try it. Worked really well for me (and you only drink one cup a day, so I don't think it's simply drinking more). Unfortunately, it can only be bought in one country in East Asia.

The tea and the cup together completely eliminate cramps for me. Before both, I used to have severe cramps that were borderline debilitating.
margalee on February 22nd, 2016 09:24 am (UTC)
Neat! Any idea what herb is in the East Asian tea? It might not be available in my country, but we might have an herb in the same family, either marketed or growing wild. (I'm really into wild foraging--don't worry, I'm very careful about toxicity!) Just curious!

I do remember using some "moon tea" or something back in the day, but I can't remember if it was all that effective for cramps.
gigglygecko on February 26th, 2016 04:14 am (UTC)
Hi margalee! It has several herbs in there and it's actually produced in Germany, but I have never seen it in Europe.

I don't know the proportions, but here are the listed ingredients: German chamomile, orange blossom, sage, yarrow, meadowsweet, marigold, safflower, liquorice root.
..::bella vita::..por_que_no on February 27th, 2016 03:43 pm (UTC)
Super random but I love foraging too! Cheaper than buying produce when you live alone and can't eat it all before half of it goes bad...but I'm in the US so we probably don't have the same stuff. But if you have something like lambs quarters (chenopodium album) I think it might be high in iron. We get it around construction sites around here and they put up a new building on campus fairly recently so it still sprouts up nearby. I make the best artichoke dip out of it!
margalee on February 27th, 2016 03:52 pm (UTC)
Foraging is the best! I live in a dry area, but it greens up in the winter with lambs-quarters aplenty. I cook a lot with wild greens and do a green shake almost everyday (with the edible wilds that are low in oxalic acid). Still in the thick of wild greens foraging season, so I'm super happy. :)
djehutys_wisdom on February 23rd, 2016 01:29 pm (UTC)
The tea that helps a lot with cramps is called Raspberry Leaf tea, and in the USA, you can get it at most health food stores or stores with a sizable organic section. Whole Foods carries it, among many others. There are several brands.

I too, used to have debilitating cramps. I got on birth control pills to control the pain. Eventually I got a copper IUD so that I could stay on the pills, and after a few months the cramping actually went down to a lower level than before the IUD. Just FYI.
margalee on February 27th, 2016 03:56 pm (UTC)
Pretty sure my local health food store carries something like that. Will have to check it out.

That's interesting that your cramps actually got better with the copper IUD. Cool!