menstrual cramps

page updated: 31-Mar-2004

A friend of mine (the same friend who gets mentioned all over the site) said that she noticed an improvement when her naturopath recommended going off dairy for a few days before bleeding, and that her previously horrendous cramps went away completely when she went vegan (almost typed vegas). Further, if she eats dairy on occasion it brings the cramps back in some capacity. My mum the nutritionist said this might have something to do with consuming soy products instead, because they contain notable amounts of estrogen-like compounds that can counteract the effects of the huge hormone drop during your period (also during menopause), but my friend said she didn't really replace the dairy with soy.

Curious. I feel a need to note that anybody considering ditching dairy during cramp time should please make sure to have an alternate source of calcium. (Furthermore, I recently discovered that another friend made her previously horrendous cramps go away with calcium and magnesium supplements).

If I am feeling well enough to think of it, having an orgasm can often help to relax the uterus or to coordinate its contractions somehow so that cramps are lessened. All the endorphin chemicals released in the brain during orgasm help too. I have sometimes masturbated just for this reason. Therapeutic orgasms.

Until recently, I thought that being on the pill had made my cramps go away, except for the occasional outburst. The last couple of months have been sort of bad though, involving major fatigue, dizziness and tunnel vision as well as a symptom I had forgotten about until it happened: whole body tenderness. Mostly arms, face and feet, aside from all the vaginal and tummy parts.

I think that I may have mistaken the cause of my lessened cramping. The cramps going away coordinated nicely with my retiring from work and school, and hanging out at home making projects for 9 months, getting enough sleep, food, water, pee breaks, exercise, good loving and whatnot. The cramps magically came back the first time I had to be at work during my period, standing still for 2 hours at a time hunched over a cash register, not getting to pee every 20 minutes and lie down like my uterus wanted me to. Another contributing factor may have been the way that waking up for shifts at different times of the morning (when I usually take my daily pill) will throw my pill-timing off. Being late or inconsistent with even one pill in a month will reliably make cramps spike (as well as being less effective birth control and causing more side effects like headaches etc. I was reading the package insert).

So I don't know what the pill has done to my cramps. However, that same friend of mine said that going on the pill made her cramps worse. My mum was on the pill to treat her endometriosis and it helped her cramps, but that was probably because it was keeping her rogue endometrial lining in check. Also, one time my mum mentioned that her brief use of an intra-uterine device (IUD) was ended because it gave her horrible cramps ("like having a miscarriage every month").

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